April 18, 2017 05:56 PM

Student and faculty researchers excavate in 2015 for signs of a lost Acadian burial ground, said to be located around Loreauville.
Photo courtesy Projet Nouvelle Acadie

Anthropologists and archeologists with UL Lafayette are turning to a USA Today network contest for help funding the ongoing search for the original Acadian encampments, said to be obscured by time and legend around Loreauville since the exiles' landing in 1765.

Called Projet Nouvelle Acadie, the UL-led effort, supported by the Acadian Heritage and Culture Foundation, is vying for a top award of $100,000 in grant money via USA Today’s “A Community Thrives” contest.

The hook for the project is the potential discovery of a lost Acadian colony and burial ground along the Bayou Teche. Despite extensive scholarship and romanticization of the Acadian plight, the discovery has eluded researchers and cultural historians. Projet Nouvelle Acadie has been at it for more than three years, according to the video.

“[Discovery of the landing site] would shed all sorts of light on the history of a people who became the Cajuns in South Louisiana,” says UL archeology professor Mark Rees in a video produced for the contest.

Supporters can vote for the Nouvelle Acadian Project via USA Today’s site here. Monies earned would also go toward the purchase of an Acadian Odyssey monument, which project members say would be a tremendous boon to Loreauville’s economy, drawing lovers of Acadian lore and history to the sleepy Iberia Parish town.

“It’s important for the cultural economy in an area that has had relatively little development of cultural tourism for the cultural economy,” adds Rees.

Voters can cast one vote per day until contest’s closing on May 12. Winners will be chosen, from the top 10 vote getters, by a panel of judges.