The Acadians made their mark here in Southwest Louisiana over 250 years ago. the first week in April in particular has its own history that’s important to the Acadian history.
“Some significant events happened this week,” says Elaine Clement, the director of tourism for st. martin parish. She says that the events that happened 252 years ago, lead to the establishment of the Acadian community to this area.
The history of how the Acadians ended up in the Bayou State traces back to the 1600s when french immigrants settles in Canada and New England to an area that would be called Acadia.
fast forward one hundred years, the Acadians were deported in 1755 by the British
Many Acadians migrated to Louisiana which was still Spanish territory during that time.
“April 4th, The Dauterive Compact was signed,” says Clement.
A copy of the original contract can be read at the Acadian Memorial Museum.
Long story short, this contract was the foundation of the Acadian cattle industry.
The deal was made between landowner Antoine Bernard Dauterive and 8 of the Acadians to raise cattle,
and after 6 years land and livestock would be the reward.
Tom Guidry, a tour guide at the Evangelina -Longfellow State Historic Site in St. Martinville says “When the Acadians came here, the Spanish were very interested in helping them so they supplied them with cattle which would have been the typical Texas longhorn style of cattle. They also gave them grains and tools and things of that nature to help them settle in.”
The Acadians settled on Dauterives land which was on the east back of the Bayou Teche, which is known as St. Martinville.
Other important events took place this month that sculpts the history here.
“On April 8th, Joseph Beausoliel (Broussard) was created captain of the militia and commandant of the newly created Attakapas District.
This district is what we call home. It consists of Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermilion Parish.
The Acadian Memorial Museum reopened its doors two week ago after finally being repaired from damage from the August Floods.
The St. Martinville Cultural Hermitage center is still under repair and will be open to the public in the upcoming months.