Chataignier, Louisiana

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Chataîgnier is a village in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 383 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

Chataîgnier is located at 30°34′15″N 92°19′9″W / 30.57083°N 92.31917°W / 30.57083; -92.31917 (30.570834, -92.319089)[1].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.6 km² (0.6 mi²), all land.

History

The name Chataîgnier is French and means "chinquapin," a small chestnut. Chinquapins (castenea punita) grew abundantly in the surrounding prairie until the chestnut blight wiped them out. They are now non-existent in the Chataignier community.

The community know as Chataîgnier had a beginning, but its age will never be determined. The age of a community is a nebulous thing, depending on whether one uses as point of inception the date of the arrival of the first settler, the establishment of the post office, the coming of the railroad, or any other such memorable happening. Resources for determining the historical origin of a community such as Chataîgnier are limited. For such information, one must rely on a few recorded instances coupled with the reliable knowledge of the elder members of the community.

Gleanings from old records indicate that Chataîgnier's first settler was Ursiana Manuel who came from Mexico via New Orleans about 1793 when Louisiana was a Spanish Colony and George Washington was serving as President of the new republic known as the United States of America. The descendents of Ursiana Manuel are still living on the original land grant obtained by him during the Spanish domination of Louisiana. Other early settlers mentioned are Jacques Fontenot, Louis Redan, General Garis de Flaugeac, Artemon Lafleur, and Valentine Savoy. Savoy, incidentally, was the first man to begin the manufacture of spinning wheels in this part of the country. He also operated a large plantation, a cotton gin and a saw mill.

The settlers of Chataîgnier have long enjoyed the benefits of religion (predominantly Catholic), education and postal service, in that order. The second oldest church in the Evangeline country was founded in Chataîgnier. Records show that it was first a mission of Opelousas beginning in 1856 but that in 1869 it was created as a separate parish called Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A church was built with Father Jean Baptiste Bre as its first pastor. In 1901 the then pastor Father A. L. Bacchioci moved to the new nearby village of Eunice, of which Chataîgnier became a mission at that time. The following year, in 1902, Chataignier became an established church and separate parish for the second time and has remained such to this day.

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