UL hosts 'The Path to a New Acadia' symposium

Researchers from UL Lafayette will gather on Thursday, Oct. 8, at Vermilionville to discuss the history and culture of the Acadians.

Researchers from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and scholars from universities such as Yale and Vanderbilt will gather on Thursday, Oct. 8, to discuss the history and culture of the Acadians.

The symposium will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the Acadian diaspora, or exile, and will go into detail concerning the French Acadians who were driven from Nova Scotia and other Canadian provinces in 1765 by the British during the French and Indian War and eventually settled in southwest Louisiana.

The symposium will explore topics such as the Acadians expulsion, the environment that early settlers inhabited along the banks of the Bayou Teche, and their existence alongside others in the region, including Attakapas Indians.

Barry Ancelet, a retired UL Lafayette professor and renowned Cajun folklorist who will speak at the symposium, along with Dr. Mark Rees, a UL Lafayette professor, anthropologist, and archaeologist, who will discuss “The New Acadia Project,” or “Projet Nouvelle Acadie,” which is his ongoing work to pinpoint an early settlement of Acadians.

Other presentations and sessions include "A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland" by John Mack Faragher, Yale University; "The Acadian Refugees in France" by Jean-François Mouhot, director, Centre Les Courmettes, France; "The Environmental Context: A Brief History of Bayou Teche" by Shane Bernard, author and historian; "The Initial Acadian Settlement: A New Look at its Location in the Attakapas" by Donald J. Arceneaux, Moscow, Idaho/Lafayette, La.; and "Indians, Settlers, and Slaves on a Colonial Frontier: The Acadians among Other Peoples" by Daniel H. Usner Jr., Vanderbilt University.

The symposium is sponsored by the Center for Louisiana Studies, Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, and Bayou Vermilion District. Dr. Michael Martin, director of the Center for Louisiana Studies at UL Lafayette.

“The Path to a New Acadia: A Symposium” will be held on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Vermilionville Performance Center, located at 300 Fisher Road in Lafayette. The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information visit EventBrite.com.