History of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

This history of St. Landry Parish from the 1690’s was a 224-page special edition of the Daily World published to celebrate St. Landry Parish’s 150th year anniversary in 1955. It is newspaper print and was published on 3 Nov 1955 along with the normal 32 page daily paper. Due to the number of pages and the fact they were bound together, often the text of a page is bound into the gutter and did not scan. This special edition, however, replete with photographs, albeit on newspaper. Some of the text is also faint, but readable. There was an “index” published in the book which really serves better as a table of contents, and even as that, is incomplete. If you’re looking for an old resident of St. Landry Parish I suggest a search of their surname if the family itself is not listed in the index.

Table of Contents

Arnaudville, history of, p. 177
Banks, early Opelousas, p. 74
Baptist Church, first, p. 93
Baptists, Negro, p. 92
Barry Family, p. 184
Bellevue Grant, p. 220
Big Cane, history of, p. 148
Boagni family, p. 87
Bourque family, p. 158
Bowden, Mrs. Fannie, p. 82
Bowie, James, p. 75
Camp Hamilton, p. 7
Cankton, origin of, p. 164
Chachere family, p. 15
Cotton Carnival, p. 73
Daly family, p. 97
de Clouet, Captain Chevalier, p. 180
Dejean family, p. 169
Dupre family, p. 56, 100
Early Newspapers, history source, p. 198, 216, 222
Episcopal Church, p. 93
Eunice, history of, p. 113, 197
Fire Company, first, p. 69, 105
Fuselier de la Claire, p. 20
Garland family, p. 78
Garrigues de Flaugeac, General, p. 52
Gradnigo’s Island, p. 6
Grand Coteau, p. 186, 195
Health Board, first, p. 69, 103
Indians, p. 173, 176
Krotz Springs, p. 168
LaFleur, doctor family, p. 89
LeBeau, history of, p. 156
Lemoyne, history of, p. 155
Lastrapes family, p. 3
Lazaro family, p. 95
Letters, Confederate soldier, p. 214
Lewis family, p. 48
Lewisburg, p. 158
Libell, doctor family, p. 94
Mamou, birth of, p. 162
Masonic Lodge, history of, p. 139
Mayer family, p. 96
Melville, history of, p. 142
Methodist Church, First, p. 92
Morgan, Dr. Gordon, p. 146
Morrow, history of, p. 151
Northern St. Landry Parish, History of, p. 141
Olivier family, p. 181
Opelousas, early ordinances, p. 61
Palmetto, history of, p. 149
Pavy family, p. 210
Perrodin, Jules, p. 83
Police Jury, early history, p. 68, 107
Port Barre, history of, p. 166
Presbyterian Church, First, p. 92
Prescott Place, Washington, p. 130
Prescott, W. B., p. 131
Ray family, p. 79
Residents, early (1765-1805), p. 85
Rosa, history of, p. 157
St. Landry Catholic Church, p. 5
St. Landry Parish, early days, p. 59
St. Landry Parish, history of, p. 29
Second Lake, p. 221
Steamboats, first, p. 69
Steamboats, last, p. 132
Students “secede,” p. 4
Wartelle family, p. 212
Washington – 1896, p. 18
Washington Catholic Church, p. 134
Washington, then & now, p. 138, 140

Editor’s Preface to the History of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

We are indebted for this edition in large measure to Mrs. Ruth Robertson Fontenot (Mrs. L. Austin Fontenot, Jr.), who wrote virtually the entire contents. Our staff compiled a few articles, such as the did police jury ordinances, the Opelousas ordinances, and the like.

Mrs. Sue Lyles Eakin of Bunkie, herself a descendent of an early Central Louisiana family, wrote the history of the northern part of St. Landry Parish — Melville, Palmetto, LeBeau, Rosa, etc., and we believe you will agree that she did it well.

Another Fontenot, Mary Alice (Mrs. Sidney), wrote the Eunice history. She at first demurred on the basis that Eunice isa ‘new’? city, which it is, of course, there being a few people still living who can remember the time when there was nothing there but prairie. But there’s a history to everything, and once Mary Alice got to digging into Eunice history she found it as fascinating as everybody finds history, and the results of her efforts are apparent herein.

We are grateful to those who made loans of their treasured pictures, and especially because they were willing to wait so long to get them back.

Ruth Fontenot was remarkably well equipped in background and inclination for the task. She is the daughter of the late beloved W. A. (Mr. Alex) Robertson, attorney and studious gentleman who was keenly interested in the history of this section, and would drop his regular pursuits at any time to delve into some historic data. In fact, some of the pictures herein were his, and some of the translations from French were done. by him.

Mrs. Fontenot’s mother is the former Miss Lelle Dupre? Thus, the author is a descendent of one of the outstanding pioneer families of the region, for the Dupres have been leaders in this area through its development — lawyers, judges, bankers and plantation operators. In fact, her history is of her ancestors. Mrs. Fontenot is descended, for instance, from Fuselier de la Claire, one of the first commanders of the Poste de Attakapas. So are many others here.

In addition to her writing abilities, with which you will become familiar, Mrs. Fontenot is an artist of considerable talent. Her oils, water colors and sketches grace many a home here. You will find some of her work herein.

A tireless worker, Mrs. Fontenot waded | through the voluminous records at St. Lan- k dry’s Catholic’ Church, the old court house

records, and many private family records. ;

(She cautioned us when the church gra- ‘ ciously allowed us to reproduce a page from an early baptism record book to choose the page carefully. In the early. days it was not all unusual that people had baptised their illegitimate children. One man, one day in the early 1800s brought in four children at one time for baptising, two illegitimate, and two not. Somebody might well have been embarrased, you see).

It is unfortunate that the earliest settlers kept few records, and that there was no church in St. Landry parish until 1777. We do not know, for instance, exactly when Opelousas was first settled. There is evidence that white people were living here prior to 1700.

Both Mrs. Fontenot and the editors know that there are gaps in this effort, which we regret. We should have — but somehow couldn’t find the time — spent hours in Cabildo in New Orleans going through early records. So family histories we’d have liked to include weren’t available. And much historic information simply can’t be found anyplace.

For that we are sorry.

But we believe that you will agree with us that both Mmes. Fontenot and also Mrs. Eakin have done excellent work, and we thank them for their conscientious hours of research and writing.


Fontenot, Ruth Robertson, Some history of St. Landry Parish from the 1690’s, Opelousas, Louisiana : Daily World, 1955.


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