Church Point, Louisiana

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Church Point (French: Pointe-à-l'Église[1]) is a town in Acadia Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 4,756 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Crowley Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

In the late 18th century, French settlers from Quebec, Canada created clearings by burning the underbrush, leaving what they called a "brûlé." A brûlé is a "burn", much as the Native Americans in the area had created a "burn" to promote new grass to attract bison and other grazing and browsing animals.

One of these clearings was created on a slough off of Bayou Mermentau, near where the slough came to a point. This new clearing became known as Plaquemine Brûlé in 1843 when Etienne d'Aigle III, a descendant of immigrants from Quebec, became the first settler in the area, which at that time was in the middle of Opelousas Parish (later St. Landry Parish), which stretched from the Atchafalaya River to the Sabine River.

Plaquemine is an Atakapa word for the native Louisiana persimmon. The French term "Plaquemine Brûlé" is translated into English as "Burnt Persimmon" - a result of the burning off the brush and other woody growth, which apparently contained persimmon trees, during the widening of a slough off of Bayou Mermentau to accommodate barge travel for local farmers up Bayou Mermentau.

As more families were attracted to the area, Jesuit missionaries fulfilled their spiritual needs by establishing a chapel in 1848 on land donated by the d'Aigle brothers Etienne(III) and Joseph "José'". The church was known as "La Chapelle de la point de Plaquemine Brûlé" (in English, "The Church at the point of Burnt Persimmon"). The English term was later shortened to "Church Point" to refer to the spire on top of the church which could be seen, and traversed to, for miles in this frontier area, and translated back into French as "La Pointe de l'Eglise".

The town's first school was established in 1856, providing encouragement for the community to grow further. The first Post Office, for the town of "Church Point," was established in the area on September 29, 1873, marking the settlement's first official recognization as a community. Thirteen years later residents of the town voted with those of surrounding communities to form a new parish, known as Acadia Parish.[2]

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