About Saint Martinville, Louisiana:
Saint Martinville is a city in and the parish seat of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. To appreciate the history of Saint Martinville, it is best to know the background of the city and how it came to be. The population is known as the Acadians (now referred to as “Cajuns”). The Acadians were originally French colonists who settled in Canada in the early 1600’s. These Roman Catholic French Canadians were driven out when the British captured French colony of Acadia (now Nova Scotia and adjacent areas), xpulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, the Great Deportation, and the Deportation of the Acadians (French: Le Grand Dérangement or Déportation des Acadiens), was the forced removal, by the British, of inhabitants of parts of a Canadian-American region historically known as Acadia, between 1755 and 1764. The area included the present-day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, and the present-day U.S. state of Maine.[b] The Expulsion, which caused the deaths of thousands of people, occurred during the French and Indian War (the North American theatre of the Seven Years’ War)[c] and was part of the British military campaign against New France. with some being deported to France while others settled in the fertile bayou lands of southern Louisiana. It was these exiles who established the Acadian culture and traditions that you still find today in Louisiana.
About Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church in Saint Martinville, Louisiana:
Founded by these Acadian exiles, Saint Martin de Tours Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in America and the third oldest in Louisiana. The current church structure was constructed in 1836 and dedicated on June 2, 1844.
Among the unique features of this beautiful church is its “Lourdes Grotto”. You would expect to find this outside as it is in so many other churches, but here at Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church the grotto is actually inside the church building. You will also find many ex-votos in thanksgiving for many prayers being answered.
The Evangeline Monument at Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church in Saint Martinville:
On the church grounds you will also find the Evangeline Monument. Evangeline, the prototype of the Acadian maiden, was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his epic poem of the same name (we recommend reading it beforehand). The monument was donated by Delores del Rio after she starred in the motion picture production of Evangeline which was filmed in the area in 1929. The statue was sculpted by Marcelle Rebecchini. Cast at the Departo Studios in Chicago, Illinois and dedicated by Miss Del Rio in St. Martinville on April 19, 1931.
In front of the Monument are tombstone plaques, some in pieces and some dating back to 1791. It is an eloquently written piece of history of the Acadian people and their expulsion from Novia Scotia to Southern Louisiana. Also depicted in the poem is the Evangeline Oak located behind the church across the street heading toward Bayou Teche. It is a nice place to reflect on the Acadian history and see an exerpt of the poem on Longfellow’s bust.
Traveling to Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church in Saint Martinville, Louisiana:
Saint Martinville lies on Bayou Teche, 16 miles southeast of Lafayette, and 9 miles north of New Iberia.
Address: 133 South Main Street, St. Martinville, Louisiana 70582
Tel: +1 337.394.6021 / 337.394.6020
email: use the contact form on their website
Click here for the official website of Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church in Saint Martinville, Louisiana.