Bayou Bounty in Loreauville Louisiana
Iberia Parish became a haven for exiled Acadians from Nova Scotia beginning in 1788, but not until after the Battle of New Orleans would a substantial number of Americans begin settling on its rich soil. Eventually, some of them came together in what is now Loreauville.
In its early life, Loreauville was known as Picouville, named for a family called Picou. In 1871, the town changed its name to honor Ozaire Loreau, a community supporter who had contributed property for a Catholic church and cemetery. Industrial growth took off with the completion in 1899 of a bridge across Bayou Teche. A few years later, the first locally owned automobile is said to have arrived. Loreauville was incorporated in 1910, when its population stood at 291. Early town fathers included Adrien Gonsoulin and his son-in-law, John Walet. Gonsoulin built the area's first railroad to provide transportation for his sugar cane from the plantation to the mill. Walet owned a store, a cotton gin and considerable property.
Once called "Prairie au Large" for its gentle hills nurtured by Bayou Teche, the area around Loreauville remains a fertile growing place for sugar cane. People here have lived off the rich earth but at times have had to be wary of Mother Nature. In 1927, as Loreauville stood in the path of a heavy ice- and snow-melt from the north, the town had to be evacuated. Water found its way into the Old Red River channel, overflowed the lakes and completely inundated Iberia Parish, later becoming known as the Great Flood of 1927. When the waters receded, people cleaned up and returned to their way of life. Gradually, new industries such as oil, lumber and boat-building buoyed the economy. Today, Loreauville is home to three large boat-builders.