Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site
Stand at a cultural crossroads in Louisiana’s first state historic site.
It’s not often that a poem can awaken the public to the history of an entire culture, but "Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie" has done just that. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous fictional tale tells of an Acadian woman named Evangeline, who was separated from her beloved Gabriel during the Acadians’ expulsion from Nova Scotia (circa 1755). The poem’s popularity taught Americans about the people known today as Cajuns, who moved to Louisiana from Canada over 200 years ago and made an indelible imprint on Louisiana.
Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site honors the story of Evangeline and the author who made her famous. The main attraction here is Maison Olivier, a Creole plantation built around 1815 that once grew indigo, cotton and sugar. Sitting on the banks of Bayou Teche in the town of St. Martinville, Maison Olivier features a mix of French, Creole and Caribbean architectural influences that were typical of the early 1800s.
Enjoy sweeping views of the Bayou Teche and the surrounding landscape from the long veranda that stretches across the second floor of the big house. The blacksmith shop and visitor center, which contains an outstanding museum, are nearby, and walking down the path towards the bayou you’ll find the Acadian farmstead that includes a kitchen and barn. All are open for group tours that can be arranged at the visitor center.
While in St. Martinville, see the Acadian Memorial, which honors those who settled in the area after being exiled from Canada in the mid-18th century. Nearby Avery Island is home to the TABASCO hot sauce factory and the nature preserve known as Jungle Gardens. And in Lafayette, visit Acadian Village, featuring authentic Acadian homes from the 19th century.
Entrance fee: $4 per person; free for seniors age 62 and older, and children age 3 and under.