For the last 20 years, Zoe and her family have been researching and accumulating pictures of Chenire au Tigre. That fact-finding mission is over, and the result of it is a 350-page hard cover book titled “My Memories of Cheniere au Tigre.”
“I am 92 years old now, and each time I visit Cheniere au Tigre, I remember my younger days as a girl living on the island. Amazingly, it all comes back like it was yesterday,” she wrote in her book.
Today, her daughter Nora, who helped write and organize the book, is selling the large book out of the back of her car. There are also copies at the Kaplan State Bank for sale. If anyone wants to buy the book, they can call Nora (652-4568).
In Zoe’s book she talks about how the island received its name. She wrote that a boy was left alone on a boat near Hell Hole Bayou by explorers (around 1806). The boy was clawed by a large panther or wildcat, she wrote.
The book has photos of people who have stayed on the island and cowboys who brought their cows there to graze. It displays old buildings and homes that were built in the 1920s and 30s. Many photos are of the Sagrera family.
Cheniere au Tigre is a small island off the coast of Vermilion Parish that borders the Gulf of Mexico. Even today, it can only be reached by boat.
Cheiniere au Tigre consists of three ridges, resembling long fingers. The book contains hundreds of photos of the island’s landscape dating back to the 1920s. In the 1920s and 30s, the Sagrera Hotel and Health Resort was a popular resort. The island also had a school, church and Sagrera Cemetery.
Zoe’s parents Raphael Semmes Sagrera andMary Zoe Cessac Sagrera moved to the island when their parents moved there which was early 1900s.
The island was also a popular spot for cowboys who came through with their cattle. The men needed a place to sleep and Zoe’s father provided them a place. According to Zoe, her father realized a service was needed and the beaches began to gain popularity, creating a large interest in the island, she wrote in her book.
The hotel was opened in 1920 with about eight rooms. By 1926, electricity was provided to the rooms. Her dad charged $1.50 per day and weekly rates was $8.50.
In the book she wrote about different pranks that were pulled on the island.
The island has changed a lot since the 1920s. Over time, people moved off the island and never returned. The hotel eventually shut down and few came back to live. The grave yard still remains intact.
Hurricane after hurricane destroyed the structures and many homes were turned into camps over time. Today, there are a handful of camps left. Zoe still visits the island. She made a trip there two months ago and walked the beaches. She also rode on the back of a four-wheeler from location to location.
“This book was written because I wanted to leave something behind. Cheniere au Tigre is a special place for me. I wanted others to see what I already know,” Zoe said.