ST. MARTINVILLE — Many are paying respects to thousands of Acadians who were ordered out of their homes centuries ago.
On this day, July 28, in 1755, the British governor of Acadie, Charles Lawrence, ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Monckton "to send all the French Inhabitants out of the Province." Several gathered today at the Acadian Memorial in St. Martinville.
The Acadian Memorial honors Acadians who came to Louisiana from 1764 to 1785.
Martin Guidry, Board of Directors for the memorial, said roughly 6-10,000 Acadians were deported.
"They were deported from Novia Scotia, and about a third of them ended up in Louisiana. they didn't come directly, they ended up in France or along the eastern sea board of the us." Guidry said.
Guidry says about a third of those who came to call St. Martinville home, died within the first few months because of disease.
"It wasn't the easiest transition to make, but once we got here and got established we have done very well." Guidry explained.
Genealogist Judy Riffel was honored for her work Sunday evening, for helping define the Acadian culture.
"In her research she discovered a new Malaysia list for St. John the Baptist Parish that was unknown, so a lot of people benefited from that because they were able to find ancestors that they knew they had but couldn't find any documentation of it." Guidry said.
Riffel started her research with her mother in the 70's after making an interesting discovery in a a Bicentennial column of a newspaper.
"We saw a name of an ancestor in a newspaper article so we wanted to find out how we were related and then we got bit by the bug." Riffel explained.
Years later she made the hobby into a full time job. She has even written numerous books.