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GMA Dave Trips: Louisiana African-American Heritage Trail

Three Stops Here in Acadiana
Posted at 4:30 AM, Feb 03, 2023

The Louisiana African American Heritage Trail includes museums, state historic sites, churches, universities and more. Three of those are right here in Acadiana.

Louisiana has created a trail that features the cultural heritage and contributions of African Americans to our state. Established in 2008, it has expanded to nearly 40 sites today.

A few years back, Dave Trips featured one of the original trail stops, the Longfellow Evangeline Historic Site in St. Martinville. The park is the oldest of the state park facilities. Creole Plantation owner, Pierre Olivier Duclozel de Vezin built Maison Olivier.

Maison Olivier-Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site

It's a perfect example of a raised Creole cottage with Caribbean and French influence. The building is the only raised Creole cottage west of the Mississippi River. You'll step back in time and see what life was like for a Creole plantation owner.

Next you can head to Opelousas and visit the Creole Heritage Folklife Center. Rebecca Henry, a Creole folklorist, has spent much of her life collecting personal items in order for you to experience life of her parents and grandparents.

Rebecca Henry-Creole Heritage Folklife Center

Henry is originally from Leonville and is the daughter of a sharecropper. She shares the stories of how her family may not have been blessed with money, but she tells me the land gave them what they needed, whether it be food or medicine.

Step back in time at the Creole Heritage Folklife Center and see what life was like in rural St. Landry Parish in the early 20th century.

Her family was full of love and anything else they needed came from their small community. Enjoy her stories, her artwork, and immerse yourself in the rural St. Landry Creole culture.

Staying in Opelousas, visit Le Vieux Village. It's a Creole Village based on the time that St. Landry Parish was founded. One of the oldest Creole homes is there and includes a country store and a doctor's office from the 1800s.

Le Vieux Village in Opelousas

For those of you with an interest in the civil rights movement, the J.S. Clark Memorial Walkway pays tribute to teachers and students at what was the Black high school before desegregation.

J.S. Clark Memorial Walkway at Le Vieux Village in Opelousas

It was funded by the school's alumni association. True pioneers from the school include an Olympic gold medalist, a hero, an athlete taken way too soon, and a beloved coach.