The following is from BONNES NOUVELLES, January 14, 2011 (reproduced with permission of Bobby Dardeau, Publisher and Editor)
Creation of Evangeline Parish passed with a vote 104-0 Approved June 15, 1910
Centennial Celebration Courthouse Lawn October 29, 2011
Towns Along the Trail
BASILE - incorporated in 1915, is famous today as the birthplace of renown Cajun musicians, Dewey Balfa, Nathan Abshire, and Nonc Allie Young who are immortalized on a mural downtown. To promote the pork industry each November Basile is host to Louisiana's only Swine Festival ruled by King Porky and Queen Petunia and annually the town celebrates a traditional rural Mardi Gras.
CHATAIGNIER - incorporated in 1972, deries its French name from a small type of chestnut tree (castenea pumila)or 'chinquapin' the early settlers found in abundance on the surrounding praries but eventually lost to blight. This agricultural community supported a school before the Civil War and has the second oldest Catholic Church in the Parish.
(Note from Rose:Chataignier Ch: Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, P.O.Box 118, Chataignier, LA 70524. Although the parish was established in 1869, those early records are located at St. Anthony's in Eunice, St. Landry Parish, LA. The church in Chataignier was closed in 1901 and the pastor established the church in Eunice and brought the records wth him to Eunice where they have remained. The parish of Chataignier was re-established in 1905 and so those records begin again in 1905. Source: Southwest Louisiana Records by Rev. Donald J. Hébert, Volume 41, page 8).
Mamou - incorporated in 1911, is home to the world famous Fred's Lounge which honors Cajun Musicians every Saturday morning with a live show called the Cajun Music Radio Hall of Fame. Every year hundreds of visitors are welcomed to the tradition of the Courir de Mardi Gras where masked riders go door to door begging for the makings of gumbo.
PINE PRAIRIE - incorporated in 1959, was noted by an early settler that "...the Prairie was just beautiful, with it's cattle, wild flowers and fresh breeze surrounded by the Pine Trees." The community supports education and after the founding of the Parish the first brick high school was built here in 1912. The economy of the area was enhanced as a station of the Rock Island & Pacific Railroad and notably, with thediscovery of oil under the prairie.
TURKEY CREEK - incorporated in 1956, was settled at the confluence of three creeks that reminded the settlers of a turkey's foot, hence the name. Early settlers had surnames like Nugent, Singletary, Stewart, Clark, Johnson, DeVille and Fontenot. Around 1845, the settlement had an elementary school with a post office established in 1895. In 1905 it became a station of the Rock Island & Pacific Railroad which created a booming logging business until the 1950s.
VILLE PLATTE - incorporated in 1858, under leadership of the seat of parish administration. The history of the town began in 1829 with the first public land sale of the area that became Ville Platte or "flat town". In 1842 a post office was established; the Annual Tournoi, an ancient sport of tournament on horseback began in 1887 and in 1892, the first school opened as Evangeline Academy. The town is host to the Louisiana Cotton Festival where the Tournoi is a featured event, Festival de la Viande Boucanee or smoked Meat Festival, the Mardi Gras Gumbo Festival and the Swamp Pop Music Hall of Fame.