Friday, June 13, 2014

Donald J. Arceneaux's recent article on New Acadia

THE INITIAL ACADIAN SETTLEMENT: A New Look at the Initial Acadian Settlement Location in the Attakapas

by Donald J. Arceneaux

A fascinating article on the 1765 settlement of New Acadia has just been published online in the Attakapas Gazette by the The Attakapas Historical Association.
Among the information presented by Arceneaux is the following excerpt from a letter written in April of 1766 by Jean-Baptiste Semer, who arrived in New Acadia in 1765 with Joseph Beausoleil Broussard.

 I arrived here [New Orleans] in the month of February 1765 with 202 Acadian persons…Beausoleil led [the group]…seven or eight men [as scouts] have [had] been sent to look over the land and locations in order to find a suitable site, and we were told that at Attakapas there were magnificent grasslands with the finest soil in the world…. We [the Beausoleil group] went to Attakapas with guns, powder, and shot, but as it was already the month of May, the heat being so intense, we started to work in too harsh conditions.  There were six plows that worked; we had to break in the oxen [and] travel fifteen leagues [to the Opelousas post area] to get horses.  Finally, we had the finest harvest, and everybody contracted fevers at the same time and nobody being in a state to help anyone else, thirty-three or thirty-four died, including the children. 
Jean-François Mouhot, ed., and Bey Grieve, trans., “Letter by Jean-Baptiste Semer, an Acadian in New Orleans, to his Father in Le Havre, April 20, 1766,” Louisiana History XLVIII (2007), 216-22.