The history of Opelousas

Opelousas took its name from a tribe of Indians who were living in the area when the first Europeans arrived.

“Opelousas was actually a very early trading post. As early as the 1720's there were Europeans going there to trade with the Opelousas Indians.” said the Director at the Center of Louisiana Studies, Dr. Michael Martin.

The next big step forward came when the Spanish governor, Don Alejandro O'Reilly paved the way for some of the first settlers to obtain land grants.

Those first to arrive were French Creoles and Acadians. In 1774 St. Landry Catholic Church was built and still stands proudly today. Two years later Opelousas was made the parish seat.

In 1862, when Baton Rouge fell to union forces, Opelousas was made the capital of the Confederate States of America. That lasted for nine months until the capital was forced to move again to Shreveport.

The economy has always been based on agriculture and of course that includes St. Landry Parishes famous sweet potatoes. The parishes other claim to fame and maybe its greatest is it's music.

As unique as the people who first breathed life into it, it has come to be known as zydeco.

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