St. Landry Parish, Louisiana

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St. Landry Parish (French: Paroisse de Saint-Landry) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is at the heart of Acadian/Cajun culture and heritage in Louisiana. The parish seat is Opelousas. In 2000, the population of the parish was 87,700. As of 2009, the population estimate was 92,326.

St. Landry Parish is part of the Opelousas–Eunice Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the LafayetteAcadiana Combined Statistical Area which has a population of 546,834.

Contents

History

French and Spanish Territory

The land which became St. Landry Parish was inhabited since at least 10,500 B.C., as deduced from excavations of three prehistoric dwelling sites. By the 15th century, the Appalousa Indians settled in the area situated between Atchafalaya River and Sabine River (at the border of Texas-Louisiana). The Appalousa were a warlike tribe, preying on their neighbors to keep their own territory.

The first European recorded in the Appalousa territory was the French trader Michel de Birotte. He came in 1690 and negotiated with the Appalousa nation. Nine years later in 1699, France named Louisiana as a colony and defined the land occupied by the Appalousa as the Opelousas Territory. The area south of the Opelousas Territory between the Atchafalaya River, the Gulf of Mexico and Bayou Nezpique, occupied by the Attakapas Indians (Eastern Atakapa), was named Attakapas Territory.

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