Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
1200 N. Main Street, St. Martinville, LA 70582|
337-394-3754 or 1-888-677-2900 toll free
Directions: The site is located on LA 31 in St. Martinville, 30 minutes southeast of Lafayette. GPS Coordinates: N 30 8.0322, W 91 49.6047.
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday; closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Guided tours of historic Maison Olivier are available, and special interpretive programs and events take place throughout the year.
Entrance Fees: $4 per person; free for seniors (62 and over) and for children age 12 and under. Groups are asked to call in advance.
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site explores the cultural interplay among the diverse peoples along the famed Bayou Teche. Acadians and Creoles, Indians and Africans, Frenchmen and Spaniards, slaves and free people of color-all contributed to the historical tradition of cultural diversity in the Teche region. French became the predominant language, and it remains very strong in the region today.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1847 epic poem Evangeline made people around the world more aware of the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia and their subsequent arrival in Louisiana. In this area, the story was also made popular by a local novel based on Longfellow's poem, Acadian Reminiscences: The True Story of Evangeline, written by Judge Felix Voorhies in 1907.
Once part of the hunting grounds of the Attakapas Indians, this site became part of a royal French land grant first used as a vacherie, or cattle ranch. The first Acadians to settle in Louisiana established themselves here, on the banks of Bayous Teche and Tortue, on the edges of this vacherie.
When the grant was sold and subdivided, this section was developed as an indigo plantation. In the early 1800s, Pierre Olivier Duclozel de Vezin, a wealthy Creole, acquired this property to raise cotton, cattle, and eventually, sugarcane. He built the Maison Olivier, the circa 1815 plantation house which is the central feature of Longfellow-Evangeline SHS. His son, Charles, made improvements to the home in the 1840s. The structure is an excellent example of a Raised Creole Cottage, a simple and distinctive architectural form which shows a mixture of Creole, Caribbean, and French influences.
A reproduction Acadian Farmstead is situated along the bank of Bayou Teche. The Farmstead is an example of how a typical single-family farm would have appeared around 1800. The site includes the family home with an outdoor kitchen and bread oven, slave quarters and a barn. In the pasture located adjacent to the barn, there are cattle typical of those raised by the Creoles and Acadians at that time.
In 1934, the property became the first park of the Louisiana State Parks system. In 1974, Maison Olivier was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Cypremort Point State Park (24 miles south of Jeanerette off LA 319) - This 185-acre park offers access to the Gulf of Mexico. A man-made beach offers fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and other water sports. Picnic pavilions, tables and a bathhouse, along with a fishing pier, sailboat ramp and boat ramp adjacent to the park offer easy access to the water. Large populations and varieties of birds and animals attract nature enthusiasts.
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park (18 miles southeast of St. Martinville off the West Atchafalaya Basin Levee Road) - Located on the edge of the Atchafalaya Basin, the park offers 50 improved campsites, 18 Acadian-style waterfront cabins with fishing piers, pavilions, picnic tables, a playground, and nature and walking trails through woods and swamp. A conference center is also available.
Historic Town of St. Martinville (On Hwy. 31 south of I-10) - The third oldest town in Louisiana retains many buildings and homes with beautiful architecture, such as the historic St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church and the Evangeline Oak made famous in Longfellow's poem.
Historic Town of New Iberia (Off Hwy. 182 and US 90, south of I-10) - Its historic district features plantation homes along the Bayou Teche and the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.
Promised Land Scenic Byway - Winding its way through Henderson, St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge, the levee road takes visitors into a land filled with historic homes, exotic wildlife and Authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine.
Plantations along Bayou Teche - The rich and colorful heritage of South Louisiana is kept alive in the stately plantation homes, churches, and unique historic structures along Bayou Teche.
Chitimacha Indian Museum-Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (On LA 326 in Charenton) - For centuries, Chitimacha Indians have lived by the Atchafalaya River and Grand Lake. The museum features cultural displays and a craft shop offers quality crafts.
Wedell-Williams Memorial Aviation Museum (LA 90 in Kemper Williams Park, Patterson) - The Louisiana State Museum's collection centers around memorabilia from the lives of Louisiana aviators Jimmy Wedell and Harry Williams, along with artifacts and documents from the state's aviation history.
Original Swamp Gardens (725 Myrtle Street, Morgan City) - A guided walking tour through 3.5 acres of natural swamp depicts life in the great Atchafalaya Swamp and native animals such as deer and alligator.