|Founded||June, 30, 1886|
|Named for||The Acadians|
|• Total||657 sq mi (1,700 km2)|
|• Land||655 sq mi (1,700 km2)|
|• Water||2.3 sq mi (6 km2) 0.4%|
|• Density||88/sq mi (34/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Acadia Parish (French: Paroisse de l'Acadie) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. At the 2020 U.S. census, the population was 57,576. The parish seat is Crowley. The parish was founded from parts of St. Landry Parish in 1886, and later an election was held to determine the parish seat, ending when Crowley beat Rayne and Prairie Hayes. Acadia Parish is included in the Lafayette metropolitan statistical area.
The name of the parish is derived from the former French colony of Acadia in Canada (which consisted of the modern provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and much of Maine), many of whose French-speaking inhabitants were deported to France and then migrated to Louisiana in the Great Upheaval (see Cajuns).
The parish itself was formed from the southwestern portion of St. Landry Parish. On Wednesday May 19, 1886, a bill was introduced in the house entitled "An act to create the parish of Nicholls, and to provide for the organization thereof." The title was later changed to read: "An act to create the parish of Acadia." Father Joseph Anthonioz, the first pastor of the Catholic Church at Rayne, is credited with having suggested the name, Acadia Parish. The bill passed the house on June 11, the senate on June 28, and was approved by Governor Samuel D. McEnery on June 30. On October 6, an election was held to affirm the creation of the parish, with 2,516 votes for and 1,521 votes against the creation. The population of the new parish was from 10,000 to 12,000. Acadia Parish population in 1890 was 13,231.
After a close election held on March 1, 1887, Crowley was chosen as the parish seat, gathering 698 votes to Rayne's and Prairie Hayes' 560 and 519, respectively. The election also determined the first officers in the parish: Elridge W. Lyons, first sheriff of Acadia, and R. T. Clark, first clerk of court. The first courthouse was therefore constructed in Crowley and completed on June 30, 1888, and continued to be used until May 1, 1902, when it was destroyed to make way for the second building.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 657 square miles (1,700 km2), of which 655 sq mi (1,700 km2) are land and 2.3 sq mi (6.0 km2) (0.4%) are covered by water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Black or African American (non-Hispanic)||9,946||17.27%|
|Hispanic or Latino||1,641||2.85%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 57,576 people, 22,236 households, and 15,519 families residing in the parish. At the 2010 United States census, 61,773 people were residing in the parish, and 58,861 people at the 2000 United States census. In 2019, the American Community Survey estimated 62,045 people lived in the parish.
According to the 2019 American Community Survey, the racial and ethnic makeup of the parish was 77.4% non-Hispanic white, 17.4% Black and African American, 0.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Asian alone, 0.3% some other race, 2.8% two or more races, and 2.6% Hispanic and Latin American of any race. In 2010, 79.5% were White American, 18.1% Black and African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.6% some other race, and 1.3% of two or more races; 1.7% were Hispanic or Latin American of any race.
Among the population in 2019, 73.8% were aged 18 and older, and 14.9% aged 65 and older; 7.0% were aged 5 and under. The median age was 36.7, and 27.4% were of French heritage; 9.3% were German, 4.2% English, 4.1% Irish, 0.5% sub-Saharan African, 0.4% Scottish, 0.1% Norwegian, and 0.1% Polish in ancestry. Among the population in 2010, 43.7% were of French, French Canadian or Cajun, 10.8% American, and 8.0% German ancestry. Approximately 10% of the parish spoke a language other than English at home.
There were 22,236 households spread among 26,435 housing units. There was a home-ownership rate of 71.1% with an average of 3.31 people per household; an estimated 32% of the population living in the parish were never married, and 26.2% of households had children under the age of 18 living in them. The median gross rent was $662, and the median household value was $118,000. The median monthly cost with a mortgage was $1,083, and $312 without a mortgage.
An estimated 1,120 businesses operated in the parish, and the median household income was $43,396; the mean income was $61,465. The parish had a 52.6% employment rate, and 24.2% of the total population lived at or below the poverty line in 2019.
Many festivals and cultural celebrations are held annually in Acadia Parish, including the International Rice Festival in Crowley, Frog Festival in Rayne, and Buggy Festival in Church Point. Cajun food and music, both specialties of the local population, feature prominently in these festivals.
Several communities in Acadia Parish celebrate the tradition of Courir de Mardi Gras. Disguised with masks and costumes, Cajuns travel through their rural neighborhoods, making merry while begging for gumbo ingredients. The gumbo is the centerpiece of a communal supper and dance.
Acadia Parish is served by Acadia Parish Schools.
Acadia Parish is also served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette with five schools:
Additionally, Acadia Parish is served by one unaffiliated private school:
Acadia Parish is served by two institutions of higher education:
Acadia Parish Library operates branches in the parish.
C Company 3-156TH Infantry Battalion resides in Crowley, Louisiana. As part of the 256th IBCT, this unit deployed to Iraq twice, 2004-5 and 2010.
Historically, along with the rest of Louisiana, Acadia Parish strongly supported the Democratic Party, with support waning throughout the latter half of the 20th century. Following Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election bid, Acadia Parish has voted exclusively for Republican candidates at the presidential level.
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