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Abbeville, Louisiana

Abbeville, Louisiana

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Abbeville is a town in and the parish seat of Vermilion Parish
Vermilion Parish, Louisiana
Vermilion Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish seat is Abbeville. As of the 2010 census, the population was 57,999....

, Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, 150 miles (241 km) west of New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. The population was 12,257 at the 2010 census. Abbeville is in the heart of "Cajun Country", and is home to many restaurants that specialize in the authentic tastes of the region.

Abbeville is the principal city of the Abbeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Vermilion Parish. It is also part of the larger Lafayette
Lafayette, Louisiana
Lafayette is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, United States, on the Vermilion River. The population was 120,623 at the 2010 census...

Acadiana
Acadiana
Acadiana, or The Heart of Acadiana, is the official name given to the French Louisiana region that is home to a large Francophone population. Of the 64 parishes that make up Louisiana, 22 named parishes and other parishes of similar cultural environment, make up the intrastate...

 Combined Statistical Area
Lafayette-Acadiana combined statistical area
The Lafayette-Acadiana Combined Statistical Area is made up of six parishes in the Acadiana region of southern Louisiana. The statistical area consists of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area and four micropolitan statistical areas - Abbeville, Crowley, New Iberia, and Opelousas-Eunice...

.

History



Formerly called La Chapelle, the land that was to become Abbeville was purchased by founding father Père Antoine Désiré Mégret (Père is French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 for 'Father'), Capuchin
Order of Friars Minor Capuchin
The Order of Friars Minor Capuchin is an Order of friars in the Catholic Church, among the chief offshoots of the Franciscans. The worldwide head of the Order, called the Minister General, is currently Father Mauro Jöhri.-Origins :...

 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 (161,874.4 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
Abbeville
Abbeville is a commune in the Somme department in Picardie in northern France.-Location:Abbeville is located on the Somme River, from its modern mouth in the English Channel, and northwest of Amiens...

 in the Picardy Region of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan 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
Roman Catholic Diocese of Amiens
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Amiens , is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. The diocese comprises the department of Somme...

 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 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
Gazebo
A gazebo is a pavilion structure, sometimes octagonal, that may be built, in parks, gardens, and spacious public areas. Gazebos are freestanding or attached to a garden wall, roofed, and open on all sides; they provide shade, shelter, ornamental features in a landscape, and a place to rest...

. A statue in memory of Father Megret stands in the square.

In 1890, 637 people lived in Abbeville; in 1900, 1,536; in 1910, 2,907; in 1940, 6,672; in 1950 9,338. In 1990, 11,187 people lived in Abbeville. In 2010 30,000 people lived in Abbeville.

Geography


Abbeville is located at 29°58′21"N 92°7′45"W (29.972489, -92.129056) and has an elevation of 16 feet (4.9 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the town has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km²), of which, 5.7 square miles (14.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1035995244 km²) of it (0.53%) is water.

Abbeville is the southern terminus of U.S. Highway 167. Abbeville Municipal Airport is in the eastern part of the town. The Vermilion River
Vermilion River (Louisiana)
The Vermilion River is a river in southern Louisiana in the United States. It is formed on the common boundary of Lafayette and St. Martin parishes by a confluence of small bayous flowing from St. Landry Parish, and flows generally southward through Lafayette and Vermilion parishes, past the...

 runs through downtown, and numerous canals and coulies go through other parts of Abbeville.

Demographics



As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 11,887 people, 4,499 households, and 3,014 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 2,104.3 people per square mile (812.3/km²). There were 5,125 housing units at an average density of 907.3 per square mile (350.2/km²).

The ethnic makeup of the Abbeville was 54.29% White, 38.56% African American, 0.19% Native American, 5.50% Asian, 0.39% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.93% of the population. In 2005, 76.0% of the population over the age of five spoke English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 at home, 16.5% of the population spoke French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 or Cajun
Cajun French
Cajun French is a variety or dialects of the French language spoken primarily in Louisiana, specifically in the southern and southwestern parishes....

, and 5.5% spoke Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

.

There were 4,499 households out of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 21.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.23.

The population was 29.7% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.9 males. The median household income was $19,714, and the median family income was $21,400. Males had a median income of $27,766 versus $16,073 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 was $11,680. About 33.3% of families and 37.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 53.8% of those under age 18 and 23.6% of those age 65 or over.

In 2010 Abbeville had a population of 30,000. The racial and ethnic makeup of the population was 48.8% non-Hispanic white, 41.0% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 5.2% Asian, 0.1% non-Hispanic of some other race, 2.0% reporting two or more races and 3.1% Hispanic or Latino.

Life in Abbeville


Modern Abbeville is a trade center for agricultural products, especially rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 and seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

. Abbeville and its citizens also provide many services for the oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 and natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

 fields in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

.

Education


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:

National Guard


Abbeville is the home of HHC (headquarters company), 2nd Battalion
Battalion
A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

, 156th Infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 (mech.), of the Louisiana Army National Guard
Army National Guard
Established under Title 10 and Title 32 of the U.S. Code, the Army National Guard is part of the National Guard and is divided up into subordinate units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia operating under their respective governors...

. The 2nd Battalion served with the 256th Infantry Brigade ("The Tiger Brigade") during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004-2005.

Notable restaurants

  • Courtyard Cafe
  • Dupuy’s Oyster Shop
  • The River Front Restaurant
  • Shucks Restaurant
  • Comeaux's Cafe
  • Richards Crawfish Patio
  • Ms. Judy's Kitchen
  • Hainam Buffet
  • El Camino

Festivals

  • 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
    Robert Angers
    Robert John Angers, Jr. , was an American journalist, businessman, and conservative politician. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography describes Angers as "a tireless and unselfish promoter of good government, the Acadiana region, and free enterprise."-Early years, education, military:Angers was born...

     (1919–1988), journalist born in Abbeville, founded Acadiana Profile
    Acadiana Profile
    Acadiana Profile is a bi-monthly magazine published in the American state of Louisiana. It is the longest-running magazine in the state's history, and one of the most enduring regional publications in the United States...

    magazine
  • Allen Bares
    Allen Bares
    Allen Ray Bares, Sr. was a Lafayette lawyer who served as a conservative Democrat in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature between 1972 and 1992. He is particularly remembered for his strong support of the pro-life cause and the Boy Scouts of America...

     (1936–2008), represented Lafayette Parish in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature
    Louisiana State Legislature
    The Louisiana State Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is bicameral body, comprising the lower house, the Louisiana House of Representatives with 105 representatives, and the upper house, the Louisiana Senate with 39 senators...

     from 1972–1992
  • George A. Caldwell
    George Caldwell (Louisiana)
    George A. Caldwell, sometimes known as Big George Caldwell , was a powerful Louisiana contractor who supervised the construction of nine buildings on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, including the university library and the structures housing the dairying and physics...

     (1892–1966), building contractor convicted in the "Louisiana Hayride scandals" of 1939-1940; born in Abbeville
  • Bobby Duhon, professional American football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     player
  • Bobby Charles Guidry
    Bobby Charles
    Bobby Charles was an American singer-songwriter.An ethnic Cajun, Charles was born as Robert Charles Guidry in Abbeville, Louisiana and grew up listening to Cajun music and the country and western music of Hank Williams...

     (1938–2010), songwriter and musician, wrote See You Later Alligator & Walking to New Orleans; born in Abbeville
  • Sammy Kershaw
    Sammy Kershaw
    Samuel Paul "Sammy" Kershaw is an American country music artist. A third cousin of Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw and ex-husband of Lorrie Morgan, he has been active in country music since 1991. He has released ten studio albums, with three RIAA platinum certifications and two gold certifications...

    , born in nearby Kaplan
    Kaplan, Louisiana
    Kaplan is a small city in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 5,177 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Abbeville Micropolitan Statistical Area.-History:...

     country music artist, resides in Abbeville
  • Anthony Levine
    Anthony Levine
    Anthony Levine is an American football safety for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. He is currently a member of the Packers' practice squad....

    , professional American football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     player; born in Abbeville in 1987
  • Charlton Lyons
    Charlton Lyons
    Charlton Havard Lyons, Sr., also known as Big Papa Lyons , was a Shreveport oilman who in 1964 waged the first determined Republican bid for the Louisiana governorship since Reconstruction. Lyons also made a strong but losing bid for the United States House of Representatives in a special election...

    , considered the "father" of the Republican Party
    Republican Party (United States)
    The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

     in Louisiana
  • Brandon Mitchell
    Brandon Mitchell (defensive end)
    Brandon Mitchell is a former American football defensive lineman who played eight seasons in the National Football League. He started in Super Bowl XXXVI for the New England Patriots....

    , former professional American football
    American football
    American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

     player; born in Abbeville 19 June 1975
  • George Petty
    George Petty
    George Brown Petty IV was an American pin-up artist. His pin-up art appeared primarily in Esquire and Fawcett Publications's True but was also in calendars marketed by Esquire, True and Ridgid Tool Company. Petty's Esquire gatefolds originated and popularized the magazine device of centerfold...

    , (1894–1975) pin-up artist; born in Abbeville
  • Deb Richard
    Deb Richard
    Deb Richard is a former American professional golfer who was a member of the LPGA Tour for ten years during the 1990s and 2000s.- Amateur career :Richard was born in Abbeville, Louisiana in 1963, and raised in Manhattan, Kansas...

    , golfer. Winner of five LPGA Tour tournaments
  • Roy Theriot (1914–1973), born in nearby Erath
    Erath, Louisiana
    Erath is a town in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,187 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Abbeville Micropolitan Statistical Area.Erath is home of the Acadian Museum....

    ; Mayor of Abbeville (1954–1960); Louisiana state comptroller
    State Comptroller
    The power of the Knesset to supervise and review government policies and operations is exercised mainly through the state comptroller . The incumbent is completely independent of the government and answers to the Knesset alone.- Duties :...

     (1960–1973); founder of the Dairy Festival (now known as the Cattle Festival)

Films


The 1988 remake of The Blob
The Blob
The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania...

 movie
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 was filmed in Abbeville.

Robert J. Flaherty
Robert J. Flaherty
Robert Joseph Flaherty, F.R.G.S. was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature length documentary film, Nanook of the North...

 chose Abbeville in 1948 as his base of operations during the filming of "The Louisiana Story
Louisiana Story
Louisiana Story is a 78-minute black-and-white American film. Although the events and characters depicted are fictional, it is often misidentified as a documentary film. In fact, it is a docufiction. The script was written by Frances H. Flaherty and Robert J. Flaherty, and also directed by Robert...

." He rented a house in the current downtown area for 15 months over 1946-47.

External links