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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Abbeville, LA

Abbeville is a small city in and the parish seat of Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, United States, 150 miles (240 km) west of New Orleans and 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Baton Rouge. It is the principal city of the Abbeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Vermilion Parish. It is also part of the larger Lafayette–Acadiana Combined Statistical Area. The population was 12,257 at the 2010 census. It is 41 percent African American.


Père Antoine Désiré Mégret
Formerly called La Chapelle, the land that was to become Abbeville was purchased by founding father Père Antoine Désiré Mégret (Père is French for 'Father'), Capuchin missionary, on July 25, 1843 for $900. Megret named the town after his home in France. There were two people living on the land at that time, Joseph LeBlanc and his wife Isabelle Broussard, whose former home Father Megret converted into a chapel. The chapel burned in 1854, and St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church now stands at the same location.

Father Megret modeled his original plan for the village after a French Provincial village. In a map he made in 1846, the town was 38 to 40 acres (160,000 m2) in size. It was bounded on the north by St. Victor Boulevard, on the south by Lafayette Boulevard, on the east by "the Sisters of Charity," and on the west by Bayou Vermilion. At this point in time the town was called “Abbville”. It is not clear exactly when or why the transition to "Abbeville" took place. There were two theories as to why this name was chosen. One is that it was a combination of "Abbe" for Abbé Mégret and "ville" for town – thus Abbé's town. The other is that it was named for Abbeville in the Picardy Region of France, which some believe to have been the birthplace of Père Mégret. Some support for the second theory could be found in the fact that the town in France is pronounced "Abbville" by its denizens. However, in 1995, Fr. Jean Desobry discovered in the diocesan archives of Amiens the dossier of Fr. Antoine Jacques Désiré Mégret, who was born on May 23, 1797 at Abbeville dans la Somme and was to become founder of Abbeville in Louisiana. He also found that on February 12, 1844, the pastor gave to his Louisiana town the name of the place where he was born. The residents that settled the town were descendants of the Acadians from Nova Scotia that had moved to the area around 1766 to 1775. It was incorporated in 1850.
"The residents find this name especially fitting because of the French word abbé which means father added to the French word ville [which means town]. Their Abbeville is truly la ville de l'abbé [the priest's town]."
At the center of downtown is Magdalen Square, which is accented by large oak trees, a fountain, and gazebo. A statue in memory of Father Megret stands in the square. Megret's Chapel was destroyed by fire in 1854, and in its place, in 1910, was built St. Mary Magdalen Church.

Abbeville is the southern terminus of U.S. Highway 167. Abbeville Municipal Airport is in the eastern part of the town. The Vermilion River runs through downtown, and numerous canals and coulies go through other parts of Abbeville.


The Southern Pacific Railroad has a route through the town, which helped bring the freight and produce that was produced locally to market.

The Freshwater Bayou Deepwater Channel connects Abbeville to the Gulf of Mexico.


Abbeville is a trade center for agricultural products, especially rice and seafood and provides services for the oil and natural gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico. It also is an important producer of sugarcane, cotton, and locally sold corn. Within the city are rice mills and a large open-kettle sugarcane syrup mill.

St. Mary Magdalen Church

Avery Island, which contains a bird sanctuary and a salt dome, is 24 kilometres (15 mi) southeast of town.




The City of Abbeville is served by the Vermilion Parish School District. The following public schools are located in Abbeville:
  • Abbeville High School (Grades 9–12)
  • J.H.Williams Middle School (Grades 6–8)
  • Eaton Park Elementary School (Grades PK–5)
  • Herod Elementary School (Grades PK–5)
  • Meaux Elementary School (Grades PK–6)
  • Seventh Ward Elementary School (Grades PK–5)
In addition, the following parochial schools are located in Abbeville:
  • Vermilion Catholic High School (Grades 9–12)
  • Mount Carmel Elementary School (Grades PK–8)

National Guard:

Abbeville is the home of HHC (headquarters company), 2nd Battalion, 156th Infantry (mech.), of the Louisiana Army National Guard. The 2nd Battalion served with the 256th Infantry Brigade ("The Tiger Brigade") during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004–2005.


  • Daylily Festival and Garden Show
  • Giant Omelette Celebration
  • Les Lumieres du Village d'Abbeville
  • Louisiana Cattle Festival
  • Vermilion Carousel of Arts

Notable Residents:

  • Robert Angers (1919–1988), journalist born in Abbeville, founded Acadiana Profile magazine
  • Allen Bares (1936–2008), represented Lafayette Parish in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature from 1972 to 1992; Vermilion Parish native
  • George A. Caldwell (1892–1966), building contractor convicted in the Louisiana Hayride scandals of 1939-1940; born in Abbeville
  • Bobby Duhon, professional American football player
  • Bobby Charles Guidry (1938–2010), songwriter and musician, wrote See You Later Alligator & Walking to New Orleans; born in Abbeville
  • Tommy Mouton, aka Tommy Street, syndicated radio announcer, invented Mobile Mic, billed as the "world's first bluetooth remote broadcast microphone"; born in Abbeville
  • Sammy Kershaw, the Country music artist, born in nearby Kaplan, resides in Abbeville.
  • Dudley J. LeBlanc, businessman and politician who made a fortune in the 1950s in the patent medicine Hadacol, lived most of his life and died in Abbeville.
  • Anthony Levine, professional American football player; born in Abbeville in 1987
  • Charlton Lyons, considered the "father of the Republican Party in Louisiana", born near Abbeville
  • Brandon Mitchell, former professional American football player; born in Abbeville 19 June 1975
  • George Petty (1894–1975), pin-up artist; born in Abbeville
  • Deb Richard, golfer. Winner of five LPGA Tour tournaments
  • Roy R. Theriot (1914–1973), born in nearby Erath; Mayor of Abbeville (1954–1960); Louisiana state comptroller (1960–1973); founder of the Dairy Festival (now known as the Cattle Festival)
  • Sam H. Theriot (born 1954), member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1979 to 1996; former Vermilion Parish clerk of court; educator and Abbeville native


The 1988 remake of the 1958 film The Blob was filmed in Abbeville.
Robert J. Flaherty chose Abbeville in 1948 as his base of operations during the filming of Louisiana Story. He rented a house in the current downtown area for 15 months over 1946–47.

External Links:

 Source: Internet