Abbeville, Louisiana
"Gateway to the Coastal Wetlands"


Kaplan, Louisiana is called the "Gateway to the Coastal Wetlands". Like the other Vermilion Parish areas, hunting, fishing and farming are all alive in Kaplan. As the parish's second largest city, Kaplan, Louisiana has a unique history.

Agriculture, animals and other natural resources have always been a part of the Kaplan area. The first settlers raised corn, cotton, sugar cane, cattle, peas, watermelon and rice. Religion also played a part in the history. In 1896, the Holy Rosary Catholic Church was established in the Kaplan area.

Kaplan got it's name when Abrom Kaplan bought the Jim Todd Plantation in 1901. Kaplan grew quickly and was established in 1902.  Abrom Kaplan came from Poland in 1885 after working as a young man in cigar and furniture businesses. He first settled in Crowley.  Kaplan opened a small store. He developed land, established local banks and opened rice mills across the region. By the turn of the century, Kaplan owned rice mills in Crowley, Abbeville, Gueydan, and several other towns.

On July 14, 1906,  the first Bastille Day Celebration was held. In 1916, the Kaplan Telephone Company began.  

Kaplan schools have been through a lot of changes. In 1903, first school was formed. In 1920, the school was rebuilt.  Kaplan has four schools. Kaplan Elementary,, Rene Rost Middle School and Kaplan High  School. Maltrait is a private school in Kaplan.  Kaplan Elementary is Pre K-4th grade.  Rene Rost is a 5th through 8th grade school.  Kaplan High School has grades 9,10,11 and 12. Now Vermilion Parish has 18 public schools and 4 private schools.

Abrom Kaplan died in 1944.The Abrom Kaplan Memorial Hospital was founded in 1958 and remains open today.

Many terrible things happened through the years. In 1917 World War 1 began. In 1941 World War II began. The Korean War began in 1950.  The Vietnam War began in 1965 and in 1991 men fought in the Gulf War and many have served since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Kaplan survived many tragedies with fires, hurricanes, floods and sicknesses. 

It now has a lot of businesses. It is a city with over 5,000 people. Some of the landmarks are the Kaplan City Hall, Post Office, Police Station and Fire station. The Kaplan area has five churches, two nursing homes, day care centers, an ambulance service, public library and a local weekly newspaper called “The Herald”.

The Kaplan Museum (Le Musee de la Ville de Kaplan) has old photographs and artifacts for everyone to see.  The historical building that houses Le Musee de la Ville de Kaplan (Kaplan Museum) was constructed in the 1920’s as a water and light plant for the village of Kaplan.  In 1994, the museum opened its doors. Kaplan has festivals each year. “Bastille Day, Mardi Gras, the Cajun Food Fest” and other holidays are celebrated in the city of Kaplan.

Kaplan, Louisiana, or "The Gateway to the Coastal Wetlands", has an interesting history and has always had interesting people.

Helpful Links, Lessons and Ideas
Kaplan, Louisiana Interactive and Story Vermilion Parish Area PowerPoints (Includes Kaplan)
Kaplan Link for Kids Kaplan History Printable Story (Longer Version)
Kaplan Timeline

Kaplan Timeline to Create Printable

Rubric (Timeline to grade) Kaplan Links
Vermilion Parish Lessons and Facts What's In a Name Lesson (Naming of Each Town)
Rubric to grade Timeline Family Tree printable
Vermilion Parish Schools: Hurricane & Weather Links! Vermilion Parish: Hurricane Rita in 2005
2008 Hurricane Ike's Storm Surge (Vermilion Parish)
Graphic Organizers
Written by Ross Granger, Ross Bares, Taylor Abshire and Jonathan Cahn

Written June 17, 2005

Revised October 15, 2008

Questions or comments email