From Iota and Rayne to Crowley and Church Point, our parish is home to many noteworthy gems. The rich history in Acadia Parish and the preservation of our historic homes and buildings make our parish one-of-a-kind and stand out among the rest. We have gathered a small list of some of our must-see spots in Acadia. Here is a little history and insight into our favorite spots that you definitely want to visit!
5. The Point-Aux-Loups Springs Ballroom, Iota
Point-Aux-Loups Springs Ballroom was built by the Louisiana Irrigation & Mills Company in the 1930s. It was the main pumping plant for the local Louisiana rice farmers. Inside of the building, there were two large Fairbanks-Morse engines that pumped water at 60,000 gallons per minute out of Bayou des Cannes and into the flumes that carried water 0.25 miles above ground into man-made canals throughout the parish. The Point-Aux-Loups Springs Ballroom is now a full service catering venue for special occasions such as weddings and events with a view of the Bayou des Cannes.
4. Le Vieux Presbytere, Church Point
A new Roman Catholic Parish was established in Church Point in 1883, and with that came their 27-year-old French priest Father Auguste Vincent Eby. A few years later in 1887, they completed construction of the new Catholic Church, but Fr. Eby soon decided to build a presbytere (pastoral residence) on the grounds. The most significant feature of the Le Vieux Presbytere is it’s bousillage walls. Bousillage is a mixture of dried mud, Spanish moss and animal hair, and is also a large contributor of Louisiana’s French Creole architectural heritage. There are not many bousillage homes that are in existence today, and it is one of two remaining in Louisiana that is more than one story high. For more historic information on the home, visit bit.ly/2s7zEjC.
3. The Mervine Kahn, Rayne
In 1884, Mervine Kahn, a French speaking German Jew, was taking a train to Beaumont, Texas for a business trip. Once he stepped off the train in Rayne, he never got back on. Kahn settled in Rayne and began his namesake general store which eventually grew into much more than what he imagined. In its prime, The Mervine Kahn was the largest shopping store between Houston and New Orleans and was known for its quality merchandise for over 100 years. The Kahn family and their store had a great impact on Cajun music in the twentieth century. It is credited to being the first store to sell German diatonic accordions to Cajun musicians. Today, the store has been restored to its original glory and is now called the The Crossing at Mervine Kahn where special events, wedding receptions, parties and meetings are held. For more history on the store and Kahn family, visit www.crossingmk.com/about/history-of-mk.
2. Le Petit Chateau de Luxe, Mermentau
Le Petit Chateau de Luxe (The Small Luxury Castle) sits on 19 acres that has been in the Desormeaux family for more than 150 years. While in France, Mr. Louis Desormeaux found three of his favorite castles and used those designs to create his own in Mermentau. The construction began in 1962 and it’s now a 15,000 square foot castle with 30 rooms including a formal dining room, breakfast room, wine cellar, and a large kitchen and pantry. There is also three functioning fireplaces with hand-carved marble mantels from the 16th century. Le Petit Chateau de Luxe sits along the Mermentau River surrounded by large Evangeline oaks, magnolias, and elm trees. Unfortunately, the castle is only visible from the Mermentau River.
1. The Grand Opera House of the South, Crowley
The Grand Opera House of the South is certainly the crown jewel of Acadia Parish. Built in 1901 from Louisiana cypress, pine and oak, the 33,000 square foot building has been a must-see for residents and tourists alike. There have been many well known men and women to grace the The Grand Opera House stage such as Enrico Caruso, Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, Huey Long and Madame de Vilchez-Bizzet of the Paris Opera. In 1999, Mr. and Mrs. Lazar John “L.J.” Gielen purchased the building in hopes of one day restoring it to its original glory. A mere ten years ago, the Grand Opera House of the South embarked on a $4.5 million renovation and restoration. It is now a state-of-the art performing arts center and event center which now offers a schedule of musical performers such as Marc and Ted Broussard, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, and various theatrical performances. For a schedule of performances, visit www.thegrandoperahouse.org