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Lafayette Parish - History


The Lafayette-Breaux Bridge Parish region of south Louisiana was settled by the French-speaking Acadians in the mid 1700's. The British had driven them from Nova Scotia for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to England.

The Acadians soon were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers. At he time of the migration, Louisiana was under Spanish rule, and authorities welcomed the new settlers. Louisiana's northern half mainly was settled by the English and the Scots. The southern half predominantly was settled by Spanish and the French.

Lafayette began as "Petit Manchac" in the mid 1700's when the English and Indian traders flocked to the point where the Old Spanish Trail crossed the Vermillion River. In 1821, an Acadian refugee, Jean Mouton, formally designed Lafayette with St Jean Church in the center. The town grew around the church, and in 1824 individual parishes were formed.

The Acadian region today is composed of 22 south Louisiana parishes (counties) linked by their strong French Acadian culture, language, and traditions. The Cajuns, who are descendants of the Acadians, possess distinctive French speech, cuisine, and music.

The Louisiana wetlands are the largest on the North American continent. Lafayette Parish has a wide variety of scenic and histroical tours, excursions, and cruises providing views of the native wildlife, swamps, marsh, and bayous.

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