Abbeville, Louisiana
"Gateway to the Gulf"


Maurice, Louisiana is a small village in South Louisiana. Maurice is known as the "Gateway to Vermilion Parish”. Look at the map. Can you find Vermilion Parish?

The small Louisiana village Maurice was named after Maurice Villien. Both Maurice Villien and his wife Marie Chati Villien had land in the area and they established a home and grocery store. When they were married they created a plantation. The village was originally called Mauriceville.

Maurice Villien, was a native of Savoy, France and he came to America in 1855 and sold goods in New Orleans, New Iberia and Milton. Maurice and Marie Villen had two sons named John and Joseph Villen.

The town was incorporated on December 27, 1911. Maurice and Marie Villen’s son Joseph became mayor and remained at that post until 1928. Do you know who the mayor is now?

The community's first church was La Chapelle a Maurice and Sunday services were held in a small schoolhouse.

St. Alphonse Church was built in January 1893. On May 29, 1889, Villien donated the ten acre site, on which the church and rectory in Maurice were to be built.

Maurice has one school. Maurice Elementary is a Pre K through 6th grade school. When the children get 7th grade they transfer to North Vermilion High School in Leroy. Like all other communities in Vermilion Parish. The Maurice schools have gone through changes through the years.

The Broussard Cove School was the first school built on land donated by Joseph Clark in 1885. In July 1899 it was moved to Maurice on land donated by Maurice Villien. It was located on Maurice Avenue and the Indian Bayou Road until 1914 when it burned down.

In 1928 Maurice High School had its first graduation with 2 graduates In 1977, the largest graduating class ever with 49 graduates graduated. In 1980, the last class graduated from Maurice High School

In September 1980, Maurice became an elementary school for grades K-6 then a 1981 fire destroyed the Maurice school on February 11th.

The present Maurice elementary opened in 1986. In 2007 it was renamed “Cecil Picard Elementary at Maurice” after a prominent Vermilion Parish and Louisiana educator, Cecil Picard.”

In September 1980, the high school moved to a new location four miles south. The consolidated school combined students from Maurice, Indian Bayou. Leroy and Meaux areas to form North Vermilion High School The school houses 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade.

Cecile Picard was a Maurice resident who became the State Superintendent of Education. Cecile Picard was born in 1938 to the late Romain and Evangeline Picard . He grew up on the grounds of Maurice High School because his father was the principal. Picard graduated from Maurice High School and University of Louisiana at Lafayette and became a teacher.

When his father died in 1969, Picard was named principal of Maurice High School for 11 years. Picard a retired as principal and he became a Senator. In 1996 he was named Superintendent of Education for the state of Louisiana.

He died in 2007. Maurice Elementary is now named after him.

Kent Desormeaux is a famous US Jockey was born in Maurice in 1970. Desormeaux started racing in 1986.

He is an Hall of Fame jockey who holds the U.S. record for most races won in a single year, 1989. In 2004, Kent Desormeaux was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. In 2008, he won his third Kentucky Derby.

Many terrible things happened through the years. In 1917 World War 1 began. In 1941 World War II began. Many Vermilion Parish men fought in World War I began in 1917 and World War II began in 1942. 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.

Maurice survived many tragedies with fires, hurricanes, floods and sicknesses.

Their resources like other Vermilion Parish areas are farming, hunting and fishing. Maurice is a great village to visit. It is named the "Gateway to Vermilion Parish!"

Helpful Links, Lessons and Ideas
Vermilion Parish for Kids Site Vermilion Parish Area PowerPoints
Maurice History Maurice School Timeline
Early Pictures form Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana Historical Images (Vermilion Historical Society)
Vermilion Parish Lessons and Facts What's In a Name Lesson (Naming of Each Town)
Rubric to grade Timeline Family Tree printable
  Timeline Printable
Vermilion Parish: Hurricane Rita in 2005
Hurricane Ike (September 13, 2008)
3rd Grade Social Studies Louisiana Interactives
Compare the Two Abbeville Maps
Abbeville, Louisiana Map - Abbeville, France Map
Abbeville Alliance Museum and Art Gallery
Vermilion Historical Society
P. O. Box 877
Abbeville, LA 70511-0877
General Information:
Gary E. Theall

Written by Miranda Hebert & Joseph Oliva
Summer Tech Camp
June 17, 2005

Revised October 15, 2008


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