Acadia Parish, Louisiana
|Parish of Acadia|
|Founded||June, 30, 1886|
|Named for||The Acadians|
|• Total||657 sq mi (1,700 km2)|
|• Land||655 sq mi (1,700 km2)|
|• Water||2.3 sq mi (6 km2) 0.4%|
|• Density||88/sq mi (34/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Acadia Parish (French: Paroisse de l'Acadie) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. At the 2020 U.S. census, the population was 57,576. The parish seat is Crowley. The parish was founded from parts of St. Landry Parish in 1886, and later an election was held to determine the parish seat, ending when Crowley beat Rayne and Prairie Hayes. Acadia Parish is included in the Lafayette metropolitan statistical area.
The name of the parish is derived from the former French colony of Acadia in Canada (which consisted of the modern provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and much of Maine), many of whose French-speaking inhabitants were deported to France and then migrated to Louisiana in the Great Upheaval (see Cajuns).
The parish itself was formed from the southwestern portion of St. Landry Parish. On Wednesday May 19, 1886, a bill was introduced in the house entitled "An act to create the parish of Nicholls, and to provide for the organization thereof." The title was later changed to read: "An act to create the parish of Acadia." Father Joseph Anthonioz, the first pastor of the Catholic Church at Rayne, is credited with having suggested the name, Acadia Parish. The bill passed the house on June 11, the senate on June 28, and was approved by Governor Samuel D. McEnery on June 30. On October 6, an election was held to affirm the creation of the parish, with 2,516 votes for and 1,521 votes against the creation. The population of the new parish was from 10,000 to 12,000. Acadia Parish population in 1890 was 13,231.
After a close election held on March 1, 1887, Crowley was chosen as the parish seat, gathering 698 votes to Rayne's and Prairie Hayes' 560 and 519, respectively. The election also determined the first officers in the parish: Elridge W. Lyons, first sheriff of Acadia, and R. T. Clark, first clerk of court. The first courthouse was therefore constructed in Crowley and completed on June 30, 1888, and continued to be used until May 1, 1902, when it was destroyed to make way for the second building.
- Interstate 10
- U.S. Highway 90
- Louisiana Highway 13
- Louisiana Highway 35
- Louisiana Highway 91
- Louisiana Highway 92
- Louisiana Highway 97
- Evangeline Parish (north)
- St. Landry Parish (northeast)
- Lafayette Parish (east)
- Vermilion Parish (south)
- Jefferson Davis Parish (west)
Other unincorporated communities
- Gatte's Cove
- LeJeune Cove
- Little Japan
- Lyons Point
- Mermentau Cove
- Mire (formerly Marais Bouleur and Bosco)
- Peach Bloom
- Pointe Noire
- Prairie Hayes
- Robert's Cove
|U.S. Decennial Census|
At the 2010 United States census, 61,773 people were residing in the parish, and 58,861 people at the 2000 United States census. In 2019, the American Community Survey estimated 62,045 people lived in the parish. The 2020 census determined 57,576 people lived in the parish.
According to the 2019 American Community Survey, the racial and ethnic makeup of the parish was 77.4% non-Hispanic white, 17.4% Black and African American, 0.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Asian alone, 0.3% some other race, 2.8% two or more races, and 2.6% Hispanic and Latin American of any race. In 2010, 79.5% were White American, 18.1% Black and African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.6% some other race, and 1.3% of two or more races; 1.7% were Hispanic or Latin American of any race.
Among the population in 2019, 73.8% were aged 18 and older, and 14.9% aged 65 and older; 7.0% were aged 5 and under. The median age was 36.7, and 27.4% were of French heritage; 9.3% were German, 4.2% English, 4.1% Irish, 0.5% sub-Saharan African, 0.4% Scottish, 0.1% Norwegian, and 0.1% Polish in ancestry. Among the population in 2010, 43.7% were of French, French Canadian or Cajun, 10.8% American, and 8.0% German ancestry. Approximately 10% of the parish spoke a language other than English at home.
There were 22,236 households spread among 26,435 housing units. There was a home-ownership rate of 71.1% with an average of 3.31 people per household; an estimated 32% of the population living in the parish were never married, and 26.2% of households had children under the age of 18 living in them. The median gross rent was $662, and the median household value was $118,000. The median monthly cost with a mortgage was $1,083, and $312 without a mortgage.
An estimated 1,120 businesses operated in the parish, and the median household income was $43,396; the mean income was $61,465. The parish had a 52.6% employment rate, and 24.2% of the total population lived at or below the poverty line in 2019.
Arts and culture
Many festivals and cultural celebrations are held annually in Acadia Parish, including the International Rice Festival in Crowley, Frog Festival in Rayne, and Buggy Festival in Church Point. Cajun food and music, both specialties of the local population, feature prominently in these festivals.
Several communities in Acadia Parish celebrate the tradition of Courir de Mardi Gras. Disguised with masks and costumes, Cajuns travel through their rural neighborhoods, making merry while begging for gumbo ingredients. The gumbo is the centerpiece of a communal supper and dance.
Acadia Parish is served by Acadia Parish Schools.
- Acadia Parish Head Start - Church Point
- Church Point Elementary (grades PK-5) (Church Point)
- Church Point Middle (grades 6-8) (Church Point)
- Church Point High (grades 9-12) (Church Point)
- Acadia Parish Head Start - Rayne
- Central Rayne Kindergarten (grades PK-1) (Rayne)
- Martin Petitjean Elementary (grades 1-3) (Rayne)
- South Rayne Elementary (grades 4-5) (Rayne)
- Armstrong Middle (grades 6-8) (Rayne)
- Rayne High (grades 9-12) (Rayne)
- Acadia Parish Head Start - Crowley
- Crowley Kindergarten (grades PK-K) (Crowley)
- North Crowley Elementary (grades K-5) (Crowley)
- Ross Elementary (grades K-5) (Crowley)
- South Crowley Elementary (grades K-5) (Crowley)
- Crowley Middle (grades 6-8) (Crowley)
- Iota Elementary (grades PK-5) (Iota)
- Iota Middle (grades 6-8) (Iota)
- Iota High (grades 9-12) (Iota)
- Acadia Parish Head Start - Estherwood
- Branch Elementary (grades PK-8) (Branch)
- Egan Elementary (grades PK-8) (Egan)
- Estherwood Elementary (grades PK-7) (Estherwood)
- Evangeline Elementary (grades PK-8) (Evangeline)
- Mermentau Elementary (grades PK-7) (Mermentau)
- Mire Elementary (grades PK-8) (unincorporated Rayne)
- Morse Elementary (grades PK-7) (Morse)
- Richard Elementary (grades PK-8) (unincorporated Church Point)
- Crowley High (grades 9-12) (unincorporated Crowley)
- Midland High (grades 8-12) (unincorporated Midland)
Acadia Parish is also served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette with five schools:
- St. Francis School (grades PK-8) (Iota)
- Rayne Catholic Elementary School (grades PK-8) (Rayne)
- St. Michael Elementary School (grades PK-8) (Crowley)
- Our Mother of Peace Elementary School (grades PK-8) (Church Point)
- Notre Dame High School (grades 9-12) (Crowley)
Additionally, Acadia Parish is served by one unaffiliated private school:
- Northside Christian School (grades PK-12) (Crowley)
Acadia Parish is served by two institutions of higher education:
- Louisiana State University, Eunice (Eunice)
- South Louisiana Community College service area: Acadian Campus (Crowley)
Acadia Parish Library operates branches in the parish.
C Company 3-156TH Infantry Battalion resides in Crowley, Louisiana. As part of the 256th IBCT, this unit deployed to Iraq twice, 2004-5 and 2010.
Historically, along with the rest of Louisiana, Acadia Parish strongly supported the Democratic Party, with support waning throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Following Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election bid, Acadia Parish has voted exclusively for Republican candidates at the presidential level, by ever-increasing margins. This is largely due to increased isolation from the energy policy and perceived cultural agendas of the national Democratic Party. Due to local reliance on natural resources from the oil and gas industries, and the large Catholic presence in the parish, Republican campaigns that have focused on interests important to these communities have gained support from otherwise disaffected voters.
- Bill Cleveland, Crowley real estate developer and member of both houses of Louisiana state legislature from 1944 to 1964; defeated for third term in state senate in 1964 by Edwin Edwards
- Francis Dugas, state representative from Lafourche Parish from 1956 to 1960, was born in Rayne in Acadia Parish in 1919.
- Paul B. Freeland coauthored Acadia Parish, Louisiana: A History to 1900. His collection of photographs and memorabilia of the Crowley area can be accessed from the archives of the Acadia Parish Library in Crowley.
- George Stanley, sculptor for the design of the Oscar statue and the Muse Sculpture at the Hollywood Bowl
- Mary Alice Fontenot, journalist and author of children's books and books on Louisiana history
- Sidney Brown, a musician from Church Point (28 October 1906 - 6 August 1981) who was known as one of the first accordion makers and repairmen in Louisiana. Brown also has the distinction of having recorded the third-best selling Cajun music album of all-time (Noir Chaussette's "Two Step/Pestauche Taunte Na Na").
- John Breaux, a retired U.S. Senator, is a native of Acadia Parish.
- Edwin Edwards, a former Louisiana governor (four terms), lived and worked in Acadia Parish for many years. His political career began on the Crowley City Council.
- "QuickFacts: Acadia Parish, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Acadia Parish History". Acadia Parish Library. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "Official Journal of the Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana". 1886.
- Fontenot, Mary.Acadia Parish, Louisiana. The Center for Louisiana Studies, 1976, p. 244.
- Fontenot, Mary.Acadia Parish, Louisiana. The Center for Louisiana Studies, 1976, p. 254.
- Fontenot, Mary.Acadia Parish, Louisiana. The Center for Louisiana Studies, 1976, p. 298.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- "Geography Profile: Acadia Parish, Louisiana". data.census.gov. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
- "2019 Income Statistics". data.census.gov. Retrieved August 12, 2021.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
- Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce
- Acadia Parish Clerk of Court
- Acadia Parish Tourist Commission
- Acadia Parish GIS Maps
- Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office Archived August 9, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- Heinrich, P. V., J. Snead, and R. P. McCulloh, 2003, Crowley 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.