Evangeline's Gabriel Settled in Lafayette in 1765

Is Beau Bassin a Cajun Shangri-La?

One of the earliest settlers of Lafayette parish was Louis Arceneaux. Many believe that Louis was the real-life character, “Gabriel” in Longfellow’s famous poem, Evangeline. Back in Nova Scotia, Louis was engaged to Emmeline Labiche, who is identified as “Evangeline” in the poem. When the English began deporting thousands of Acadians onto ships in 1755 for over a period of ten years, many families and loved ones were separated, and Louis thought that he would never see his beloved Emmeline again. Of the 17,000 who were estimated to have been banished and scattered from their homeland, about half of them perished, mostly the elderly and young children. When Emmeline had finally reunited with Gabriel many years later near St. Martinville, Louisiana, she sadly found that he was married to another. Their relationship was a casualty of the Great Upheaval, le Grand Derangement.

Louis Arceneaux was raising cattle north of Lafayette as early as 1765. In 1787 he moved his family to a ridge east of Carencro next to a basin and named it Beau Bassin (Beautiful Basin) because the area reminded him of his beloved hometown, Beau Bassin in L’Acadie, Nova Scotia.

When driving by, one cannot but notice the beautiful homes, the spacious, attractive golf course, and the abundant natural wildlife in the area. Today, Beau Bassin has resurrected to become a modern-day Shangri-La and a symbol of rebirth for the Acadian people.



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