Town of Sorrento
The first three settlers of Sorrento were Desire LeBlanc, Sr., Jerome Lee, Sr., and Jules Trabeau who each homesteaded 160 acres of land. At this time Sorrento was known as Conway and the main settlement was near Bayou Conway. The first postmaster of Conway was Edmond Landry and the first mail carrier was Wallace Trabeau. Trabeau carried the mail from Burnside to Conway, and at that time there were no roads, only a trail through the woods from Bayou Conway to the plantation fronts along the Mississippi River.
In 1902, the first railroad right-of-way was established. Jerome Lee and Telesphore LeBlanc donated the land. In 1908, the Louisiana Railroad and Navigation Company were established. William Edenborn, a German immigrant, built the railroad. Queen Wilhelmina of Holland financed the venture and the railroad ran in conjunction with the Dutch Steamship Line.
Edenborn, in 1909, named the town Sorrento after Sorrento, Italy where it is claimed he took his young bride for their honeymoon. The first postmaster of the town of Sorrento was Willie Everrett, followed by Joe Gravois in 1915 and Sidney Chauvin in 1925.
The Odenweyder-Fisher Company built the first sawmill in 1909. This partnership was dissolved in 1914 and Odenweyder-Alcus became the owner. Cypress and tupelo gum were marketed with the mill having a capacity of 60,000 board feet per day. This capacity was exceeded many times as a record of 93,000 board feet was reported. The mill closed in 1921 and a veneer mill began in 1925. It was known as the DeHass Eby and Alcus Company.
In 1928, when oil was discovered in McElroy Swamps, a subdivision was laid out and streets and lots were surveyed. Sorrento was incorporated as a village in 1956, and on August 20, 1962 was reclassified as a town.
Sorrento’s population today is 1,460. It is home to River Parish Community College and a growing number of other commercial developments along Highway 22 near Interstate 10.
PHOTOS OF SORRENTO