Abbeville, Louisiana (Story and Questions)


Abbeville, Louisiana

Have you ever heard of Abbeville, Louisiana? If you have, did you know that a priest named Father Antoine Desire Megret was the founder of Abbeville. When it began though, Father Megret spelled Abbeville ("Abbville") without the "e". The "e" was added later on.

In 1842, Father Antoine Megret arrived in Louisiana. He lived in the Perry area a while then moved along the Vermilion Bayou. On July 25, 1843, Father Megret bought land from Mr. Joseph Leblanc. He paid $900.00 for the land. Some say that he built a little church named " La Chapelle". At that time, a few buildings were also built. That is how this city began. Exactly how the community was named is not really known. Some say it Some say it was a combination of "Abbe" for Abbé Mégret and "ville" for town or the Abbé's town, while others say Father Mégret named it after his hometown Abbeville, France.

Abbeville kept growing. In 1847, the Abbeville Post Office was established. Abbeville was incorporated a town in 1850. The first mayor at that time was Theophil Veazey. Abbeville became the new Parish Seat in 1850. It was in Perry before this time. Abbeville was incorporated in 1850. In 1851, St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Parish was established. Father Megret died of yellow fever in December 5,1853.

At that time, fires caused tragedies. In 1854, the church burnt. St. Mary Magdalen Church was rebuilt. On April 6, 1885, the Abbeville Court House burnt down and destroyed all documents. It was rebuilt again. In 1903, a huge fire caused the National Bank of Abbeville and many businesses around the area to burn down.

Many tragedies happened in Abbeville through the years. World War I began in 1917. In 1940, Abbeville had a flood. In 1941 World War II began. The Korean War began in 1950 and men served in the Vietnam War too. The Gulf War was in 1991. Many area men fought in these wars. Some lived to share stories and some died during the war. Sickness, hurricanes, and hard life brought tragedy to Abbeville also.

Abbeville has had many schools in the past. The first Abbeville High School was built in 1902. The old Abbeville High School is the Vermilion Parish School Board Office. Abbeville, Louisiana had 6 schools. Abbeville High, Eaton Park Elementary, James A. Herod, J.H. Williams Middle School and two private schools, Mount Carmel and Vermilion Catholic.

Now in 2005 Abbeville is the largest city in Vermilion Parish and has over 11,000 people. As the Parish Seat, it has the Vermilion Parish Court House. Abbeville has many stores and businesses. There is a Museum with artifacts and art. It is called the Abbeville Alliance Museum and Art History.

Abbeville has the Cattle Festival, Giant Omelette Festival, Day Lily Festival and other celebrations each year. The resources are cattle, certain animals, crops, hunting and fishing.

Sometime you can see people go to Magdalene Square to rest or visit. When they are there they see the statue of Father Antoine Desire Megret and remember that he started it all!