Jean Lafitte National Historic Park
Acadian Cultural Center
501 Fisher Road
Lafayette, LA 70508
The Acadians came primarily from the rural areas in the Vendee region of western France, and began settling in Acadie, now Nova Scotia, in 1604. There they prospered as farmers and fishermen. In 1713 Great Britain acquired control of Acadie, but the Acadians did not become cooperative British subjects, preferring to maintain their independence and freedoms. Finally, in 1755 the British began the removal of the Acadians from their new homeland. The Grand Derangement, as it was known, resulted in the dispersal of the Acadians to the British colonies along the East coast, the Caribbean, Britain, and France. Eventually some of them found their way to South Louisiana, and began settling in the rural areas west of New Orleans. By the turn of the 19th century 3,000-4,000 Acadians had arrived and settled in Louisiana.
The Acadians who settled along the bayous and wetlands adapted to water-based lifeways. They fished, hunted and trapped in the rich swamps, marshes, and coastal waters of this region. Their way of life is further explored at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. Eventually the Acadians expanded further westward, beyond the Atchafalaya Basin, onto the prairies of Southwest Louisiana, where a different lifestyle evolved. The region was especially well-suited to cattle-raising, rice-farming, and other cash crops. Head to the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center to learn more.
The Acadian Cultural Center tells the story of the Acadians who settled the prairies, bayous and marshes of southern Louisiana.
Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center
314 St. Mary Street
Thibodaux, LA 70301
A network of bayous, swamps and marshes laces the southeastern portion of Louisiana. This became the home for many of the Acadian arrivals in the region. They adapted to the wet conditions and tapped the natural bounty of the area through trapping and fishing. Thibodaux is in the heart of this wetlands area and is the site of the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center. The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center tells the story of the Acadians who settled along the bayous and in the swamps and wetlands of southeastern Louisiana: their origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture.
Prairie Acadian Cultural Center
250 West Park Avenue
Eunice, LA 70535
Eventually the Acadians expanded further westward, beyond the Atchafalaya Basin, onto the prairies of Southwest Louisiana, where a different lifestyle evolved. The region was especially well-suited to cattle-raising, rice-farming, and other cash crops, and differed from the swamp and wetland environment that characterizes many Acadian settlements in southeast Louisiana. The Prairie Acadian Cultural Center tells the story of the Acadians who settled the prairie region or southwest Louisiana. Their origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture are interpreted in this center.
This facility features extensive exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of the region's Acadian population, known today as the Cajuns. Their history, language, music, and architecture are interpreted, and artifacts tell the story of everyday life among the Acadians of the region, then and now. Recreation, clothing and home furnishings, religion, cuisine, and farming are other aspects of their rich culture which are explored in detail.
An auditorium in the facility is used for musical performances by local Cajun bands and musicians, as well as video and film presentations. Workshops are conducted to acquaint visitors with musical techniques of the region.
A spacious craft room is used for demonstrations of such things as spinning and weaving, musical instrument-making, and other unique and interesting local crafts. Completed craft items are periodically on display.
A demonstration kitchen is located in the facility and affords visitors the chance to see actual preparation of local food specialties, and perhaps pick up a few ideas to try at home.
A wide assortment of publications and recorded music are available for purchase in the Center, as well as children's books and craft items.
Park rangers are on duty at the information desk to answer questions and assist visitors.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication