In 1765 Joseph Broussard, also known as Beausoleil, led a group of 193 Acadians to New Orleans. The colonial government of Louisiana provisioned the Acadian families and directed them to settle in the Attakapas District along the banks of the Bayou Teche. Within months of their arrival they were afflicted with a virulent epidemic, possibly yellow fever. As many as 34 died between the summer and winter of 1765, including Beausoleil and his brother, Alexandre Broussard. These pioneers and founders of Nouvelle Acadie were buried at the places they had initially settled, known as le dernier camp d'en bas, premier camp d'en bas, and camp Beausoleil. The Acadian camps and gravesites are thought to be located on the Teche Ridge, between St. Martinville and New Iberia, in the vicinity of the present-day village of Loreauville.
The historical and cultural significance of this project is made increasingly urgent by continued residential and commercial development in the region. The irreplaceable archaeological record and unique information it might provide on early Acadian history and culture in Louisiana may be destroyed. The unknown gravesites and places where Cajun culture and Acadiana were sown two and a half centuries ago may be inadvertently obliterated and as a result, unparalleled opportunities for heritage conservation, cultural tourism and economic development will be irretrievably lost.
The New Acadia Project is a long-term, collaborative undertaking in public archaeology, public history, and cultural resource management planning. The first phase of the project will involve public outreach and consultation, historical and archival research, oral history, and archaeological survey. Individuals and organizations interested in supporting this research can contact the New Acadia Project Steering Committee at the Acadian Heritage & Culture Foundation, Inc.
New Acadia Project Steering Committee
Acadian Heritage & Culture Foundation, Inc.
203 South Broadway - Erath, Louisiana 70533
The Acadian Heritage & Culture Foundation is a non-profit corporation based at The Acadian Museum in Erath.
For additional information on this research and the archaeological expedition to discover Nouvelle Acadie, contact Mark A. Rees, Ph.D., in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Child and Family Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.