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Acadia Parish History


This is the Acadia Parish Courthouse in 1888.

See other old photographs of Acadia Parish Here.


A Brief History of the Parish

The Attakapas Indians were the early inhabitants of Acadia Parish. Claimed by France in 1682, the Louisiana territory was held as a French colony until 1763, when it was ceded to Spain. Louisiana was returned to France in 1800 under Napoleon. Three years later, the United States purchased the Louisiana territory.

During the French regime Acadia Parish was a part of the district known as Poste des Opelousas, later known as St. Landry Parish, from which several southwest parishes were formed. Under United States jurisdiction, Opelousas became the seat of all legal transaction. As more and more small communities sprang up in the area, long distances of travel became a hardship. St. Landry Representative J.C. Lyons of Plaquemine Brulee in 1886 introduced a bill into the Louisiana legislature calling for the creation and organization of the parish Nicholls. The suggested name for the parish for subsequently changed to Acadia. Act #39 was passed and signed by Governor McEnery. On October 6, 1886, the election was held to decide if St. Landry Parish would be divided. The vote was 2516 for and 1521 against and so the parish of Acadia was created by the vote of the people. There was a bitter fight as to which town would be parish seat. In the election of March 1887, the city of Crowley was chosen with 698 votes, while Rayne received 560 and Prairie Hayes 519.




How Our Communities Got Their Names

BRANCH: The community dates back to 1818 when it was known as Plaquemine Brulee, believed to be the oldest settlement in Acadia Parish. The name was changed when Branch Hayes was appointed constable.

CHURCH POINT: In 1872, a U.S. Post Office official in seeking for a name for the post office between two settlements, decided on the name because of a church with a high steeple in one of the settlements. Another version states that the resident priest Father Eby suggested the name after a French city in Acadie in Nova Scotia Point de Eglise.

CROWLEY: The Parish seat of Acadia Parish, was founded January 4, 1887 by C.C. Duson and his brother W.W. Duson. It was named for Patrick C. Crowley, an Irish roadmaster for the railroad.


C. C. Duson

W.W. Duson
EGAN: This area was first called Canal Switch, then Abbott's Post Office, before becoming Egan. It was named after William M. Egan, a pioneer business man of Crowley who laid out 600 acres for the town in 1903.

ESTHERWOOD: Formerly known as Coulee Trief, it was named for the wife of the railroad section boss, Esther. The wood part may come from the fact that the trains stopped for fuel wood here.

EVANGELINE: It was probably named for the Evangeline of H.W. Longfellow's poem. The first oil fields in Louisiana was discovered near Evangeline.

IOTA: Originally named Pointe Aux Loups (Wolf Point) because there were many wild wolves in the area. In 1894, the railroad company, laying a track, refused to accept that name because of its length. One version of how Iota received its name says that the railroad opposed going through the area, but C.C. Duson, legislator, refused to exclude it, saying, Not by one iota will I cut out this area.

LYONS POINT: Named for John Lyons, the colonial landowner and settler.

MAXIE: First known as Long Point, the name was changed to honor Maxie Duson, youngest son of W.W. Duson, one of the founders of Crowley.

MERMENTAU: Incorporated in 1899, the village is located on the Mermentau River. Jean Castex, a French merchant, was one of the first to settle the area. The chief of the Attakapas Indians living in this area was called Nementou (the French spelling according to the Indian pronunciation). Referring to the river as Nementou flowing to the open mer (French for sea) led to the popular usage Mermentau.

MIDLAND: The site for this town was chosen by C.C..Duson. He chose the name Midland because the village is midway between Houston and New Orleans

MIRE: The Acadia Parish School Board formally changed the name of the Elementary School from Mier (unknown variant of the Mire name) to Mire (the correct spelling of the Mire families in the area) in 1973. The area was previously know by the name Marais Bouleur and Bosco.




Acadia Parish Statistics

Square Mile Area: 655.3

Agriculture: Rice, Soy Beans, Wheat, and Crawfish

Industry: Rice milling, garment manufacturing, commercial bags, metal works, crawfish processing.

Population:

2004 estimate: 58,920

1990: 55,582

1890: 13,231

Major Cities Population (1990 census):

Church Point - 4,477

Crowley - 13,983

Estherwood - 745

Iota - 1,256

Mermentau - 760

Morse - 782

Rayne 8,502




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