Region
La Pointe-Krebs House is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Please visit the Gulf Coast Ecoregion Page for information about watersheds, soil, topography, and climate. Historic information specific to the site region is as follows.

Throughout the French, British, and Spanish colonial periods of the 18th century, plantations were established in the northern Gulf Coast region, from New Orleans to northwest Florida. Colonial plantations ranged from concessions of a few hundred to thousands of acres although only a small percent was improved and cultivated. Colonial plantation homes and support buildings were small, usually made of wooden posts set vertically in trenches, and typically French in character. Enslaved Indians and Africans labored under the watch of overseers since the owners usually lived in town and only stayed at their plantations during growing and harvesting seasons. Maps of the early 1700s show the numerous Indian villages and a scattering of French plantations around Mobile Bay and in the Mobile-Tensaw river delta. Later maps from the 1770s illustrate abandoned Indian fields, older French concessions, and new British claims with houses and palisaded compounds. Of particular use in our study are a 1771 map by British cartographer David Taitt and an anonymous circa 1775 British map.

In the 1720s and 1730s French engineer Dumont de Montigny drew several sketches of plantations in the Louisiana colony, including the Chaumont and La Pointe concessions. Both drawings show two-story houses with slave cabins, kitchens, warehouses, milk houses, forges, and pigeon houses, and wooden palisades.

Economic activities of colonial plantations were diversified, sometimes experimental, and often unstable. The soils and climate of the northern Gulf Coast were not suitable for growing wheat, a staple in the French diet, but other grains such as rice, vegetables, and fruits could be cultivated. The raising of domestic animals and the production of naval stores and timber were also practiced. Surrounding a plantation home were orchards and gardens providing fruits and vegetables for the planter's family. In 1713 a French garden on Dauphin Island was described as "a bit of terrestrial paradise, there are a dozen fig trees that are very fine and that produce black figs. I saw pear trees of wild stock, three apple trees, a little plum tree about three feet in height that had seven poor plums on it, about 30 feet of grapevines with nine clusters of grapes, about forty feet of French melons, and a few pumpkins." Cash crops included corn, rice, sugar, tobacco, indigo, and cotton. The unpredictable Gulf Coast seasons and severe weather can subject crops to extremes such as hurricanes, floods, high heat and humidity. Therefore we can assume that at least some crop failure was sustained by colonial farmers.

By the 1730s French plantations were established on bluffs of Mobile Bay and the Mobile-Tensaw delta. In 1756 the Narbonne Plantation house was described as a structure measuring 20x30 feet of posts set into the ground. The house had six windows, two doors, bousillage walls and chimney, and a bark roof. Also built of posts in ground were a kitchen, a fowl house, a barn, and a 13 by 60-foot slave quarters, all enclosed by a wooden palisade.

With British rule in 1763, new plantations were established on Indian lands now available for settlement and at abandoned French concessions. Between 1772 and 1779, 284 land petitions were filed in British West Florida. One example of a British West Florida plantation was that of Major Robert Farmar, who led the 1763 British occupation of Mobile. At his Farm Hall plantation, attempts were made to grow rice and indigo, but raising livestock and timbering proved more successful. By 1780 there were 55 slaves were working his plantation. When Farmar died his estate was valued over $30,000.

The Spanish period for Alabama's Gulf coast began with the May 1780 British surrender of Mobile. This governmental change again brought an influx of immigrants, particularly to the Mobile-Tensaw river settlements. Economic activities of Spanish plantations differed little from previous colonial periods.