|St. Martinville, Louisiana|
St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church, built in 1836
|Elevation||23 ft (7 m)|
|Area||3.0 sq mi (7.8 km2)|
|- land||3.0 sq mi (8 km2)|
|- water||0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%|
|Density||2,330.1 / sq mi (899.7 / km2)|
|Mayor||Neil Bordelon (R) |
City Council District 4: Debra Landry (D)
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
St. Martinville is a small city in and the parish seat of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies on Bayou Teche, sixteen miles south of Breaux Bridge, eighteen miles southeast of Lafayette, and nine miles north of New Iberia. The population was 6,989 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area.
St. Martinville is located at (30.125053, -91.830593).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles (7.8 km ), of which, 3.0 square miles (7.8 km ) of it is land and 0.33% is water.
Area code: 337
ZIP code: 70582
In the 16th century, the area between the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico and Trinity River, in Texas, was occupied by numerous Indians tribes or subdivisions of the Attakapas people. The Indian Territory was not closed to outsiders, and several traders roamed through it on business. However, it only began to be settled by Europeans after Louisiana was founded in 1699. The territory between Atchafalaya River and Bayou Nezpique, where Eastern Atakapa lived, was called the Attakapas Territory. The French colonial government gave land away to soldiers and settlers.
Attakapas Post was founded on the banks of the Bayou Teche and settlers started to arrive. Some came separately from France, such as the Frenchman Masse, who came about 1754. Masse came to Louisiana from Grenoble. Gabriel Fuselier de la Claire a Frenchman from Lyon, France and some other Frenchmen, from Mobile arrived in late 1763/early 1764. Fuselier bought land between Vermilion River and Bayou Teche from the Eastern Attakapas Chief Kinemo. It was shortly after that a rival Indian Tribe, the Appalousa (Opelousas) coming from the area through Atchafalaya River and Sabine River, exterminated the Attakapas (Eastern Atakapa). Gabriel's son Agricole Fuselier was prominent in the settling of the town New Iberia . Then other European settlers came in groups, such as the first Acadians from Nova Scotia, who were sent there in 1765 by Jean-Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie, the French official who was administering Louisiana for the Spanish. The group was led by Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil. In 1768-1769 fifteen families arrived from Pointe Coupee. Their members came from Santo Domingo (French Saint Domingue, today Ha ti) or from Paris via Fort de Chartres, Illinois. Between the arrivals of the two groups, the French captain Etienne de Vaugine came in 1764 and acquired a large domain east of Bayou Teche.
On April 25, 1766, after the arrival of the first Acadians, the census showed a population of 409 inhabitants for the Attakapas region. In 1767 the Attakapas Post alone had 150 inhabitants before the arrival of the 15 families from Pointe Coupee.
Napoleon sold Louisiana in 1803 to the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. The organizing of the Attakapas Territory took place between 1807 and 1868, culminating in the creation of Saint Martin Parish. Attakapas Post was named Saint Martinville.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,989 people, 2,496 households, and 1,722 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,330.1 people per square mile (899.5/km ). There were 2,778 housing units at an average density of 926.2 per square mile (357.5/km ). The racial makeup of the city was 35.78% White, 62.84% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.34% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.04% of the population. In 2005, 81.1% of the population over the age of five spoke only English at home, 15.9% of the population spoke French, and 2.7% spoke Louisiana Creole French.
There were 2,496 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.1% were married couples living together, 26.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.28.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 83.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $19,600, and the median income for a family was $28,711. Males had a median income of $28,946 versus $18,314 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,529. About 26.9% of families and 31.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.4% of those under age 18 and 31.2% of those age 65 or over.
Public schools in St. Martin Parish are operated by the St. Martin Parish School Board. The city of St. Martinville is zoned to the Early Learning Center (Grades PK-K), St. Martinville Primary School (Grades 1-4), St. Martinville Junior High School (Grades 5-8) and St. Martinville Senior High School (Grades 9-12). The community is also served by Trinity Catholic Elementary School (PK-8)  established by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The Evangeline campus of Louisiana Technical College is located in St. Martinville.
St. Martinville is widely considered to be the birthplace of the Cajun culture and traditions, and it is in the heart of Cajun Country. There has been a true multicultural community in St. Martinville, with Cajuns, Creoles (French coming via the French West Islands - Guadeloupe, Martinique and Santo Domingo), French, Spaniards, Africans and African Americans. Once New Orleans was founded and began to have epidemics, some New Orleanians escaped the city and came to St. Martinville. Its nickname, Petit Paris ("Little Paris"), dates from the era when St. Martinville was known as a cultural mecca with good hotels and a French Theater, the Duchamp Opera House (founded in 1830), that featured the best operas and witty comedies.
The third oldest town in Louisiana, St. Martinville has many buildings and homes with beautiful architecture, such as the historic St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church and La Maison Duchamp on Main Street. The church was dedicated to Martin of Tours in France, where a St Martin de Tours church can be found. St. Martinville is the site of the "Evangeline Oak", made famous in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem. It is also the site of an African American Museum, and is included as a destination on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
St. Martin de Tours Church is the oldest church parish in southwest Louisiana. It is known as the Mother Church of the Acadians because it was founded in 1765 upon the arrival of Acadians in this area. The current building has served as a center for religious activities in this predominantly Catholic community for over one hundred fifty years. At the side of the St. Martin de Tours Church is a monument dedicated to the Militiamen of St Martinville (36 of the militiamen were French Creoles, three were Acadians, and three colonial Americans, one's citizenship was not known) who took part with General Bernardo de Galvez in the "Capture of Baton Rouge in 1779 Battle of Baton Rouge. The monument was erected by the Louisiana Daughters of the American Revolution.
La Maison Duchamp on Main Street in St. Martinville, Louisiana was built by Eug ne and Am lie Duchamp in 1876 as their town house. This St. Martinville landmark house has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places; future generations will be able to see its creative architecture.
Duchamp Opera House, which dates to the mid-19th century, hosted many theatrical companies in its lifetime and has recently been completely restored. It once again hosts theatrical companies on the second floor.
The Evangeline Oak, made famous in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "Evangeline", stands on the bank of the Bayou Teche. Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site, containing an eighteenth century Acadian cabin, the Creole Maison Olivier, and a museum interpreting Acadian life, is located north of the historic district.
The African American Museum, located in the historic district, uses the latest technology to provide insights into the culture and life of the Free People of Color in the community and their contributions to the Attakapas region from the 1750s on. They were integral to building and service trades. Many descended from Africans from the Senegambian region of West Africa and from French and Spanish colonists.
The newly renovated Old Teche Theater offers entertainment to the town. The 1930s Art Deco movie house is now converted into a television and film studio as well as a performing arts venue and recording studio.
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