Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MOTHER CHURCH OF THE "CAJUNS"

If the title had said "Mother Church of the Acadians", you may not recognize what this blog is referencing.

St. Martinville, La
New Iberia Parish
We recently visited the Mother Church of the Acadians, established in 1766, St. Martin de Tours Church Square in St. Martinville, Louisiana, and received a memorable history lesson!

Saint Martin De Tours - Established 1765
St. Martinville, La
St. Martin de Tours Church
St. Martinville, La
There is much detail to Acadian history we weren't taught,  and probably wouldn't understand unless we traveled to this beautiful region of Louisiana.

B & B close to Evangeline Oak
St. Martinville, La
We would have known very little about the significance of the Expulsion of the Acadians, the Great Upheaval and the Great Deportation and Le Grand Derangement,  which was the forced removal of the Acadians from Acadie, or present day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island when the Acadians were deported in massive numbers from their homelands.  The Expulsion (1755-1764) occurred during the French and Indian War and was part of the British military campaign against New France.  If these facts were mentioned as a part of early American history in my high school years my eyes may have glazed over and I would have daydreamed until the end of the story.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Statue
at the Evangeline Oak, St Martinville, La


Evangeline, the epic poem written in 1847, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was about an Acadian girl named Evangeline Bellafontaine, and her search for her long lost love, Gabriel Lajeunesse, set during the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians.

The Evangeline Oak is a very popular and famous tourist spot.
The poem Evangeline became Longfellow's most famous work of his lifetime.  The poem also had a powerful effect in defining Acadian history and identity in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Evangeline Statue in St. Martinville, La
In 1929 the small town of St. Martinsville, La received a gift statue of Evangeline which is located in the Perpetual Adoration Garden and Historic Cemetery in St. Martin de Tours Church Square on Main Street, St. Martinville.

The Evangeline Oak
St. Martinville, La
The Evangeline Oak
St. Martinville, La
Nearby is the famous and beautiful park of the Evangeline Oak,  regarded as the original meeting place of Evangeline and Gabriel.  When we arrived we didn't realize the historical significance of this tourist spot and would recommend a visit if you are in the south Louisiana area.


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