On May 23, 1827, Pere Antoine Desire Megret was born
in France, somewhere in the Catholic Diocese of Coutances. In 1803, when Megret
was only six years old, the Louisiana Purchase was negotiated. If young Megret
would have only known that it would be in this territory that he would later
find his own town, Abbeville.
On September 22, 1822, Father Megret was ordained into the priesthood. He stayed in his native country for several years before coming to the U.S. During his later years in France, he became involved in occupations outside of his Catholic priesthood. He became a journalits to a controversial, but popular newspaper, the “L’Avenir.” Father Megret left the staff of the newspaper, where his writing skills were criticized. Megret later sailed to New Orleans. By February 28, 1842, he was serving at St. John’s church in Vermilionville (Lafayette).
On July 25, 1842, after a trip down Vermilion River to a town of what is now called Perry, Father Megret purchased a residence. This residence is now the beautiful St. Mary Magdalen Church. Several months later, residents in the surrounding area asked Father Megret to name his future town “Abbeville.” Years went by and Father Megret fought for Abbeville’s spot in the parish seat. He offered to supply the land and money for the courthouse.
Unfortunately, Megret fell ill during an epidemic of Yellow Fever. On December 3, 1853, Father Pere Antoine Desire Megret, founder of Abbeville, died at the age of 56. Today, the statue of Father Megret has a permanent place in Magdalen Square. He left behind three extraordinary marks in his lovely town of Abbeville- the courthouse square, Magdalen Square, and St. Mary Magdalen Church. His attributes to Abbeville and Southwestern Louisiana were both spiritual and superior.
Written by Jasmine Cavallaro (2006), Jennifer LeBlanc (06), Erika Ramke (06), Jennifer Broussard (06), Lauren Broussard (06)
Web ressources and Bibliography concerning Pere Antoine Desiree Megret :
Pere Megret: Founder of Abbeville " : Abbeville Historical society article written by Mr. Ken Dupuy .
"Abbeville Louisiana the early years" : Abbeville Historical Society article written By Mr. Ken Dupuy.
"La chapelle,court house made Abbeville parish center" article by Jim Bradshaw Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, June 24, 1997
Abbeville “Gateway to the Gulf”
la gazette des Hebert article .