Most of the Acadians to travel to Louisiana were Catholic, so for our purposes, we will concentrate on the history
of the Catholic Churches in the area where LeBlanc Family attended and has record of Marriages, Deaths, etc.
Lafayette Area Church History
The Diocese of Lafayette was established in Louisiana in 1918 in the southwest portion of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, between the Atchafalaya and the Sabine rivers. But the history of the Catholic Church in southwest Louisiana began in the mid 1750's when settlers came from France, Spain and Germany. Many were accompanied by priests to bring the sacraments and preach the word of God in the new land.
When England expelled the French colonists from eastern Canada, also in the middle of the 18th century, many of these came to south Louisiana where previous settlers had the same French language and Catholic faith of the exiles.
The first church parishes in what is now the Diocese of Lafayette were St. Martinville, established 1756; St. Landry, 1776, and later Grand Coteau, 1819, and Vermilionville (now Lafayette) 1821.
All of southwest Louisiana then belonged to the Archdiocese of New Orleans. The Diocese of Northern Louisiana, first known as the Diocese of Natchitoches, was erected in 1853. It became the Alexandria diocese in 1910.
In 1918, the civil parishes (counties) of southwest Louisiana carved from the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the new Diocese of Lafayette was formed. At the time of its erection, statistics indicated 48 church parishes with a Catholic population of 152,000.
St. John the Evangelist in Lafayette, Louisiana (many LeBlanc family members are
buried here along with the Civil War Veteran Gen. Mouton)
LeBlanc Church North of Erath
The LeBlanc Cemetery is located behind a very old pioneer church just north of Erath, Louisiana.
This church is currently being completely remodeled and plans on opening again. It was closed for
many years. As of June 2002 the church was not opened yet. This church is located on what was
LeBlanc family land in Erath. It is one of the many churches in southwest Louisiana that the
LeBlanc family had their hand in establishing, including Abbeville, and Rayne (Pouppeville). I am not
sure about the year the church dates back to, but it is over 100 years old.
Lyon Pointe Catholic Church
Lyons Pointe is located just south of Crowley, Louisiana and just east of Morse. Lyons Pointe is a small community that was established because of it's location, between Kaplan (Vermillion Parish) and Crowley (Acadia Parish). Farmers wanted to have access to both areas. Many families were split between Kaplan and Crowley, so this little community allowed people to be close everyone
Grand Coteau Catholic Church, Grand Coteau, Louisiana
This Church and school is the only site in the United States where the Vatican
recognizes an actual Miracle took place. The Sister that was attributed with this
miracle is now a Saint. The School located here was founded by her: Saint Madeline Sophie Barat.
Saint Madeline Sophie Barat is the Founder of the Society of Sacred Heart around 1800 in France.
St. Madeline Sophie was educated by her brother during times when women were not educated.
It became her vision to educate young women and with the help of Mother Eugene Aude' and and Sr. Mary Layton
they traveled to Grand Coteau, Louisiana and opened the doors of the School in October 1821. None of this would
have been possible without the help of Mrs. Charles Smith, a wealthy widow that financed their dreams. Many
members of the LeBlanc family were married and baptized in this church.
Donaldsonville Courthouse is directly across the street from the site where the Old State House was located
Donaldsonville was also a settlement for many LeBlanc's. To this day the town
has many historical sites that play into the Acadian/Cajun History.
Abbeville is one of the most historical towns in Southwest Louisiana. This cemetery contains
the remains of many of the pioneers and influential people that helped create the town of
Mermentau Catholic Church, Mermentau, Louisiana.St. John the Evangelist was built prior to 1900, but
the first building was struck by lightning and destroyed
in 1914. It's first location was Hwy 90 where there are
still some graves of the pioneers of Mermentau in a concrete
fenced in area. After the first building was destroyed, the location was moved back several streets to it's current location.
Castex Grocery was established by Jean Castex in Mermentau, Louisiana.
Jean Castex was from France and a merchant by trade. He was one of the first to settle
the area. The Chief of the Attakapas Indians in the area was named Nementou. Add Mer to
that (Mermentau) which is the french word for sea.
This was the sole store for the small Mermentau area and everyone did business here unless they wanted to
go all the way to Crowley or Jennings for trade.
Ascension Catholic Church
Also in Donaldsonville the newly unearthed Fort Butler..A civil war historic site.
More Louisiana History and information will be coming very soon..check back.