Cecilia, Louisiana

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Cecilia is a census-designated place (CDP) in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,505 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

Geography

Cecilia is located at 30°20′11″N 91°50′52″W / 30.33639°N 91.84778°W / 30.33639; -91.84778 (30.336379, -91.847867)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.7 square miles (4.5 km²), all of it land.

History

The unincorporated community of Cecilia was originally known by the Spanish as La Punta, describing a deep bend in Bayou Teche. This was translated by the French into La Grande Pointe, a name that was used by many people until modern times when it was then called Cecilia, named after the first postal clerk. The community began as a small service center of sorts for the many landowners in outlying areas. As more settlers populated the land along the northern Bayou Teche, the need grew for easier access to religious services, education, and trade. It was because of these basic needs that the community became more than a crossover on the bayou trail between Opelousas and St. Martinville, the two early trading posts in the region.

Pierre Guidry, the first settler of Cecilia, acquired three tracts of land from Mrs. Joseph Alexander Declouet in 1791. Joseph Angelle settled nearby soon after.

Both men apparently settled on lands that had been given to Declouet by a Spanish land grant dated May 16, 1772, that included some 2,600 acres (11 km2) of land.

Grover Rees I, in his history of Breaux Bridge, describes Guidry's land as "fronting 50 arpents on Bayou Teche and 50 arpents deep, for which he agreed to deliver in payment 100 bulls." Guidry married three times and fathered 20 children, many of whom remained in the area and established their own farms.

There was a chapel at La Grande Pointe sometime after 1874. Some sources say that it was named for St. Etienne, but that is not a certainty. In January 1889, Father Borias of Breaux Bridge wrote that "the chapel was originally located about midway between the Four Corners and Grand Anse area, but later was moved closer to what is now Cecilia." A church parish was created at Cecilia in 1890 and Rev. Augustin Blanc became first pastor. He would serve there for more than 38 years. St. Rose of Lima Church was established there for the African American congregation in 1944.

During the Civil War, the settlement was also known as La Place. This name was dropped when postal authorities began to confuse it with the LaPlace in St. John the Baptist Parish.

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