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St. Martin Parish

Map of St. Martin ParishOf the twenty-two Acadiana parishes, St. Martin Parish is the only to have non-contiguous parts.  There are three major geographical areas dividing the 739.9 square mile parish, including the Atchafalaya Basin, the prairie, and the Bayou Teche area, on which several major cities, including the parish seat, are located.

Over one third of St. Martin Parish's 48,000 inhabitants are Cajun, and the area certainly boasts large African-American, white Creole, and Creole of Color communities.  The parish celebrates its diversity through some of the state's most important festivals, parks, and museums.

St. Martin Parish was established in 1807, five years before Louisiana was admitted into the Union.  In the late 1700's, French immigrants from Canada and France moved into the area, laying the bases for two local myths—the Evangeline story and the migration of French aristocrats to the banks of Bayou Teche.  British eviction of French settlers in Canada after the French and Indian War resulted in many Acadian farmers settling in Louisiana.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline immortalized the Acadian exile from Nova Scotia, and created two mythical lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel.DOTD Tourism Map of St. Martin Parish  According to local tradition, a few years later, French Royalists, in an effort to escape the horrors of the French Revolution, settled in the same region, supposedly re-creating a society of wealth and luxury that became known as "Le Petit Paris."  Although the Evangeline and Petit Paris stories are legends, both play a major role in the continuing historic appeal of St. Martin Parish.

St. Martinville, the parish seat, Henderson, and Breaux Bridge, the "Crawfish Capital of the World," and Cecilia are the parish's largest communities.  Area attractions include the Evangeline Oak where Evangeline and Gabriel were supposedly reunited, St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, and the Petit Paris Mardi Gras Museum.  The Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival (May), Henderson's Cajun Crab Festival (June), St. Martinville's Pepper Festival (October), and the Atchafalaya Heritage Festival (October), are all fun ways to experience the vibrant Cajun culture of St. Martin Parish.

by Elista Istre

 

Principle Towns

Parks

Cecilia

St. Martinville

Breaux Bridge

St. Martin Parish Tourism Commission

Events and Festivals

Parks Cracklin Cookoff

Pepper Festival (St. Martinville)

La Grand Bayou Boucherie (St. Martinville)

Acadian Memorial Festival (St. Martinville)

Creole Zydeco & Okra Festival (St. Martinville)

Fire & Water Celebration - Le Feu et l'Eau (Arnaudville)

Atchafalaya Basin Festival (Henderson)

Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival

Mardi Gras Events

Historic Sites, Plantations & Museums

Longfellow/ Evangeline State Historic Site

Duchamp Opera House & Mercantile

African American Museum

Evangeline Monument

Acadian Memorial

La Maison Duchamp

National Register of Historic Places

Wildlife Preserves

Attakapas Wildlife Management Area

Indian Bayou Wildlife Management Area

Sherburne Wildlife Management Area

Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area

Lagniappe

La Poussiere Cajun Dancehall (Breaux Bridge)

Atchafalaya National Heritage Area

St. Martin Parish Courthouses

St. Martin Parish Library

Atchafalaya Basin Program

Friends of the Atchafalaya

LSU AgCenter