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Chef Menteur facts for kids

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For the band, see also Chef Menteur (band).

Chef Menteur is associated with several place names in eastern New Orleans and South Louisiana, including:

  • Chef Menteur Pass
  • Bayou Chef Menteur
  • Chef Menteur Highway (U.S. Highway 90 in Louisiana)

The literal meaning of "Chef Menteur" is "Lying chief" in the French language, and probably derives from the Choctaw phrase "oulabe mingo."

According to one account, it was the name that the indigenous tribe of Choctaw Indians gave to the colonial French governor (Kerlerec) after the Frenchman had reneged on a treaty. Another account claims that the Choctaw had originally assigned the name to the Mississippi River. The river's path was untrustworthy, due to the many twists and turns in the Mississippi River Delta region as it wound its way to the sea, splitting into bayous and swampland before the levees were built to regulate its flow.

Another origin for the name Chef Menteur is given in an old history book titled "A History of Mississippi: From the Discovery of the Great River by Hernando de Soto, Including the Earliest Settlements Made by the French, Under Iberville to the Death of Jefferson Davis". This book was written by Robert Lowry and William H. McCardle and published in 1891 by R.H. Henry & Co. Jackson, Miss. It includes the following paragraph from a section on the Choctaw Indians:

"What the Choctaws were most conspicuous for was their hatred of falsehood and their love of truth. Tradition relates that one of their chiefs became so addicted to the vice of lying that in disgust they drove him away from their territory. In the now parish of Orleans, back of Gentilly, there is a tract of land in the shape of an isthmus, projecting itself into Lake Pontchartrain, not far from the Rigolets, and terminating in what is called "pointe aux herbes," or Herb Point. It was there that the exiled Choctaw chief retired with his family and a few adherents, near a bayou which discharges itself into the lake. From this circumstance this tract of land received, and still retains the appellation of Chef Menteur, or 'Lying Chief.'"

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