Thursday, July 25, 2019

A Road Trip To Cajun Country

May I suggest that you click on the video below before reading this post.  I think it will set the stage and make it more meaningful.

Amazing Grace in Cajun French

Last week while visiting my sis in South Louisiana, we took a road trip through the back roads to the little town of Breaux Bridge.  It is located between Opelousas and Lafayette deep in Acadiana.

Along the way is the small village of Leonville.  It was settled by free "people of color" living on the beautiful Bayou Teche, and was named after the Catholic priest who built the settlement's first church in 1898.

Just outside this Cajun village we came upon this beautiful old plantation home.  It faces the picturesque, wandering Teche River.

One of the most captivating things to see in South Louisiana are the huge old oak trees draped with Spanish moss.

Notice the old tin roof with its beautiful rusted patina.  This is very characteristic of homes in this part of the state.

The home appears to be empty but it and the grounds are being meticulously maintained.

Nearby are the old servant quarters which are also empty but well maintained.

Leonville, is still a gathering place for Catholic worshipers.

The grotto at St. Leo's Catholic Church in the center of town is a local visitor attraction. Leonville is located on the outskirts of Opelousas, which means that its Cajun roots run deep.

In the village of Cecilia I saw this beautiful new home.

Placed in the middle of rich farmland and strategically between these massive old oak trees, with its wrap-around porches, it harkens back to the old plantation days.

Sadly, these two pictures paint the story of so many rural villages.  As it has for centuries, the farming and cattle industry keep the economy thriving in this part of the state.

Near the town of Arnauldville, is this beautiful old historic French manor so characteristic of many of the plantation homes scattered throughout our state.  This one just happens to be for sale for a meager $800,000.

Evidently, the house has been renovated while keeping many of the original features such as the antique bricks of the entry porch.

The Cottage House to the left of the home is a relatively new structure as is the summer kitchen and the replica pigeonneire on the right side.

This lovely old manor is known as the Stephanie-Martin Duralde House and is on the Historical Registry.  Martin Duralde, a native of Bayonne Biscaye, France and arrived in Louisiana in 1769, was commandant at the Opelousas Post from 1795 to 1803.  He was the leading political figure in all of the southwestern part of the state during the Spanish Era.

Duralde had occupied and developed a 1423 acre tract along the Upper Teche by 1781.  He served as senator for the Attakapas Parish in 1812.  This parish has been divided and renamed and no longer exists as designated at that time.

Duralde's daughter Clarissa married W. C. C. Claiborne in 1806, then governor of Louisiana who was responsible for the naming and creation of the original parish districts.

After Duralde's death in 1822, the property was sold to a fellow Frenchman, the wealthiest man in southwest Louisiana at that time, who expanded the holdings to some 50,000 acres.  In 1882, in a bankruptcy sale, the property was sold and continued to change hands until the most recent family purchased it in 1997.  It is now a meager 17 acres.

Louisiana Cajun History lesson:

The Attakapas were aborigines who were native and some of the most ancient tribes of southwestern and southeastern Louisiana.  Their traditions date back to the time of the prehistoric mammoth. The Attakapas is one of six linguistic bands to inhabit Louisiana.

The first Europeans arrived in Louisiana in the 1730s, and they were predominantly French or of French descent.
In the 1760s and 1780s, the area received a sizable influx of Acadian immigrants, who had been deported from their homes in Nova Scotia and thus the Acadian heritage that makes this such a rich and fascinating culture.

It would certainly be worth your while to tour our diverse state and especially the Great River Road across the south and central parts of Louisiana.  And don't forget to include gaining a few pounds on the delectable Cajun cooking.

Elizabeth "Libby" Day
Elizabeth "Libby" Day

Hello, My name is Libby. I enjoy reading good books, painting, blogging, spending time with friends and whatever my "Heart" leads me to do. Welcome to Beauty Without Within.


  1. The photos are beautiful. What a wonderful place to visit. Looks like you had a nice time. I always love seeing moss on the trees.

  2. You visit some of the best places! I always love seeing your photos.


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