1902 Establishment of Original Planters Rice Mill
Planters’ Rice Mill Company was organized to construct an eight hundred barrel-per-day rice mill located one city block east of the first Abbeville mill. Gustave Godchaux held the lumber contract to build the mill, while son, Frank Area Godchaux (Sr.) served on the original board of directors. In 1904, the Planter's mill burned and Frank (Sr.) took charge of its reconstruction, building the most modern mill of its time. Gus served as president until his death in 1908, and Frank (Sr.) became general manger of the Planters Mill, and by 1911, the mill became part of Louisiana State Rice Milling Company.
Note: The Godchaux Family Tree can only be definitively traced to Gustave Godchaux's parents, David Godchaux and Brunette Bloch whom immigrated from Fénétrange, France to Franklin, LA in 1840. Of David and Brunette's ten children, only one, Gustave survived to the twentieth century.
1911 Charter for Louisiana State Rice Milling Company
1916 Organization of Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Incorporated
The Louisiana rice industry was plagued by a supply that greatly exceeded demand and the ever-increasing variety of rice mills that, “raised milling costs, produced rice of inconsistent quality, made sales overly competitive and reduced opportunity for advertising distribution” (Grist for the Mill, Moore, 2000, p. 1). To discourage these losses faced by Louisiana rice growers and millers at the time, the Lousiana State Rice Company of New Orleans was established to consolidate industry interests into this one entity commited to increased efficiency in rice milling and merchandising. Frank A. Godchaux (Sr.) spearheaded the merger and a few months after the charter for rice sales and marketing was received, the organization became the Louisiana State Rice Milling Company of New Orleans (LSRMC) with Frank as president of the board of directors. At the year’s end, LSRMC aquired thirty of the seventy-five mills in Louisiana, including Godchaux’s own Planters’ Rice Mill. In 1916, LSRMC was restructured and a new company, the Lousiana State Rice Milling Company, Incorporated (LSRMCI) was formed. LSRMCI "could now focus on its initial goals of efficiency and merchandising as America's Largest Rice Millers" ( (Grist for the Mill, Moore, 2000, p. 20).
1918 Purchase of Live Oak Plantation
Frank A. Godchaux Sr. purchased 12,155 acres of land known as Live Oak Plantation, originally owned by Adrien Nunez. In the 1930's part of the Plantation was sold, and the family maintained ownership of nearly 6,000 acres. Live Oak remains today the heart of the Godchaux family where we manage rice and cattle-farming operations and enjoy hunting, fishing, and other activites. The family engages in proactive conservation and environmental practices and exercises stewardship of land, livestock, and wildlife resources.
1926 Relocation of Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Inc.
Louisiana State Rice Milling Company, Inc. offices moved from Crowley and New Orleans to the Godchaux’s hometown of Abbeville, establishing all department headquarters in the former Abbeville Rice Mill Building. This decision was made when a year earlier Frank Sr. and a few colleagues gained controlling interest in LSRMCI and wanted the company’s main location where he could personally direct operations from day-to-day.
1933 Cellophane Packaging of Rice
The first packaging of rice was in Kraft bags; a basic brown bag that hid the product from consumers’ view. Frank Godchaux Sr. felt that consumers should be allowed to see what they were buying, and so intiated LSRMCI to begin packing rice in see-through cellophane bags, promoted by the company’s “See What You Get Campaign." The company continued to progress in packaging and merchandising of its standard rice brands as consumer popularity increased heavily.
1965 Formation of Riviana, Inc.
River Brand Rice Mills, Inc. of Houston, TX merged with Louisiana State Rice Milling Company of Abbeville, LA to form Riviana Foods, Inc. The merger’s purpose was to develop higher quality rice and transition into speciality convenicence rice products. Each company had well-established brand names as well as extensive international business. By consolidating assets and integrating operation systems, of buying, milling, and selling rice, the company achieved dramatic growth and expansion of its activites. By 1976, Riviana was a multi-food and consumers products company, resulting largely from increased sales of rice and rice products abroad.
1994 Creation of Abbeville Family Partnership, L.P.
At this time Riviana Foods, Inc. was a private corporation, largely owned by the Godchaux family. The Abbeville Family Partnership was created as the family considered it advantegous to consolidate the family’s holding in Riviana stock. Riviana went public a year later and finally sold to Ebro Puleva in 2004. The Partnership continues to serve as a centralized organization that actively manages family business operations and investments, enhancing the economic efficiency of all partnership activities. Among others, these activities include farming and wildlife management of Live Oak Plantation, administration of Planters Rice Mill, LLC with partner, Elton Kennedy, and operation of large philanthropic foundations within the partnership.
2004 Sale of Riviana Foods, Inc.
The Godchaux family sold Riviana to Ebro Puleva, a world leader in the rice sector and long-time Spanish partner in Europe. Riviana, which was then the leading company on the U.S. rice market and had one of the most extensive distributions networks in the United States, as well as a presence in Central America. Riviana is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ebro Foods, S.A.
2006 Launch of Planters Rice Mill, LLC
The Abbeville Family Partnership wanted to continue the milling operations in Abbeville and therefore acquired the rights to operate in the Riviana rice mill in Abbeville, the original Planters Rice Mill building of 1904. The partnership joined with Elton Kennedy of Kennedy Rice Dryers and Mill to form Planters Rice Mill, LLC, a rice milling and distribution operation offering a variety of services. The mill facilities are now rented from Ebro.
2007 Relocation of Abbeville Family Partnership
The Abbeville Family Partnership operated on the first floor of Riviana Foods’s main office in Abbeville, but relocated 3 years after the sell of Riviana. After examining many locations within the city, the family was approached informally about the possibility of purchasing the house on fifth street, previously lived in by family members decades earlier. The Partnership then went to work customizing the house into a functioning office where we continue to operate today.