Abbeville, Louisiana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Abbeville, Louisiana
City of Abbeville
St. Mary Magdalene Church abbeville.jpg
Country  United States
States  Louisiana
Parish Vermilion
Incorporated 1850
ZIP code 70510, 70511
Area code(s) 337
For other communities of the same name, see Abbeville (disambiguation).

Abbeville is a small city in and the parish seat of Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, United States,[1] 150 miles (240 km) west of New Orleans and 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Baton Rouge.[2] It is the principal city of the Abbeville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Vermilion Parish. It is also part of the larger LafayetteAcadiana Combined Statistical Area. The population was 12,257 at the 2010 census.[3]


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.[4]

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.[2]

"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]." [5]

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.[6]

In 1856, the Last Island Hurricane destroyed every building in the town.


Abbeville is located at 29°58′21″N 92°7′45″W / 29.97250°N 92.12917°W / 29.97250; -92.12917 (29.972489, −92.129056)[7] and has an elevation of 16 feet (4.9 m).[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.7 square miles (15 km2), of which, 5.7 square miles (15 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 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 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.[2]

The Freshwater Bayou Deepwater Channel connects Abbeville to the Gulf of Mexico.[6]


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.[2]

Avery Island, which contains a bird sanctuary and a salt dome, is 24 kilometres (15 mi) southeast of town.[6]


Climate data for Abbeville, Louisiana
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 63.9
Average low °F (°C) 43.2
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.1
Source: Weatherbase [9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 545
1880 255 −53.2%
1890 637 149.8%
1900 1,536 141.1%
1910 2,907 89.3%
1920 3,461 19.1%
1930 4,356 25.9%
1940 6,672 53.2%
1950 9,338 40.0%
1960 10,414 11.5%
1970 10,996 5.6%
1980 12,391 12.7%
1990 11,187 −9.7%
2000 11,887 6.3%
2010 12,257 3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[2][10]
St. Mary Magdalen Church

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 11,887 people, 4,499 households, and 3,014 families residing in the city. The population density 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, 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 at home, 16.5% of the population spoke French or Cajun, and 5.5% spoke Vietnamese.[12]

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 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 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.[13]




The City of Abbeville is served by the Vermilion Parish School District.[14] 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[edit]

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[edit]


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.

Abbeville is one of the main places in the TV Series True Detective.


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Johnston, Bernard, ed. (1997). "Abbeville". Collier's Encyclopedia. I A to Ameland (First ed.). New York, NY: P.F. Collier. p. 8. 
  3. ^ "Abbeville (city), Louisiana". Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Abbeville, Louisiana Historical Marker". 
  5. ^ "The Naming of Abbeville"
  6. ^ a b c "Abbeville". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  8. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Abbeville, Louisiana". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  10. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Atlas, 1959 Edition, p. 298
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ 2010 Census population report for Abbeville
  14. ^ Official website of the Vermilion Parish School District
  15. ^ "Bobby Duhon". NFL & AFL Football Statistics - 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 

External links[edit]