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Louisiana State Parks

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Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site Another home on the farm. © Cecil R. Theaux
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site Storage building on the farm © Therese B. Haywood
For generations, a blend of history and legend has drawn visitors to this meeting place of incredible natural beauty and unique historical background. In legend--the area was the meeting place of the ill-fated lovers, Evangeline and Gabriel. In history--it was the meeting place of exiled French aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution, and of Acadians of Nova Scotia seeking refuge after the British expulsion. It was also the meeting place of wealthy New Orleanians escaping the oppressive heat and epidemics of the city. In nature--it is the meeting place of the swamp and the prairie.

At Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, visitors are introduced to the diverse cultural interplay among the French-speaking peoples along the famed Bayou Teche. Many visitors may be familiar with the 1755 expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, and their arrival in Louisiana, as portrayed in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1847 epic poem "Evangeline." In Louisiana, the story is also known through the poem's local counterpart, Acadian Reminiscences: The True Story of Evangeline, written by Judge Felix Voorhies in 1907.

An Acadian Cabin vividly illustrates how different the lives of the Acadians and Creoles were. Prior to the arrival of the Acadians, or Cajuns, in 1764, the Bayou Teche area had already begun to be settled by the French. Many of these settlers were descendants of the first wave of French settlers in Louisiana. They are sometimes called "Creoles," meaning native, since they were born in colonial Louisiana.
History of the Area
Maison Olivier:

Maison Olivier was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. Once part of Louisiana's royal domain, the historic site was first used as a vacherie, or cattle ranch, and later developed as an indigo plantation. A wealthy Creole family acquired the property in the late 18th century, and Charles DuClozel Olivier inherited the property in the early 1800s. Under his management as a sugar planter, the plantation attained its greatest prosperity.

DuClozel built the plantation house, the central feature of Longfellow-Evangeline SHS, circa 1815, with improvements to the home in the 1840s. The structure is an excellent example of a simple and distinctive architectural form called a Raised Creole Cottage, which shows a mixture of Creole, Caribbean, and French influences. The ground floor walls, 14 inches thick, are made of brick from the clays of the adjacent Bayou Teche. The upper floor walls consist of a mud and moss mixture called "bousillage" which is placed between cypress uprights.

The house is furnished with a variety of pieces dating to the mid-19th. The landscape surrounding the home includes native and exotic fruit, nut, and shade trees. Near the Maison Olivier is a barn constructed in the 1820s near Grande Cote. The pasture is home for horses typical of a type common in this area in the 19th century.

In 1934, the property became the first park of the Louisiana State Parks system. In 1974, Maison Olivier was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Acadian Life:

The Acadian Farmstead showcases how a single family home-place would have appeared in the early 19th century.There are two features on site for our visitors to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Acadian settlers in this area.

Near the Visitor Center, you will find a charming Acadian Cabin which vividly illustrates how different the lives of the Acadians and Creoles were. This small rustic cabin is furnished with original "Louisiana Cypress" furniture. There is a small garden at the cabin with a variety of culinary and medicinal herbs and plants that were traditionally grown in this area.

Area Attractions
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--The rich and colorful heritage of South Louisiana is kept alive in the stately plantation homes, churches, and unique historic structures along Bayou Teche.

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.

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.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 21 First time Visitor by Tanya
This was my first visit to this park and we really enjoyed the tour! Lots of information. The tour guide was entertaining. He answered all of questions. After the visit my kids kept discussing the things we saw and now are super interested in checking out other historical landmarks in Louisiana.
December 31 Great educational place to visit by Luana R, Ohio
I & my 12 yrold son were there in April 2010. We tagged along with a school tour group. The tour leaders were so friendly and informed that we learned bunches of stuff. The rangers/docents were helpful to show us other places in the area to visit including a home that might have been haunted. In the big house there is a rocking chair that sometimes will rock with no one or breeze to push it. It is a well maintained, well staffed park.
August 20 A wonderful place to visit. by Judith, New Mexico
I had the tour completely to myself since I arrived early in the morning in Feb. Very leisurely and informative. I tend to prefer the tours of the raised Creole style houses like this one. Wonderful walk back to the parking lot. Staff very friendful and helpful, as are most people in Louisiana.

Area Campgrounds
KOC Kampground
3104 Kampground
New Iberia, LA

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site--(1200 N. Main Street, St. Martinville, LA 70582; 337-394-3754 or 1-888-677-2900) is located on LA 31 in St. Martinville, 30 minutes southeast of Lafayette. The site tells the tale of the French-speaking people of the Bayou Teche area. Guided tours of historic Maison Olivier are available, special interpretive programs and events take place throughout the year, and an ambitious livestock breeding program has made this charming site a lively destination.


Louisiana State Parks