This historic photo was taken 100 years ago today. It shows a Bastille Day celebration on the grounds of the Avoyelles Courthouse on July 14, 1912.
Note the French Tri-color flag at left, and the American Flag at right. The Courthouse in the back was build in the 1890s and replaced in 1927 by the present day courthouse in Marksville.
Many of the men in the photo were natives of France, who migrated to Avoyelles in the 1800s. Others were descendants of French immigrants who came earlier to Louisiana. Proud of their heritage, a group of men gathered annually on the courthouse square to celerbate Bastille Day every July 14th.
The date July 14, 1912 can be seen written in two places on the photo.
Appropriately, one hundred years later, this photo was presented at another Bastille Day gathering, this time in Ville Platte which included several Avoyelles residents.
The Avoyelles group were among those who signed a resolution asking Sen. Eric LaFleur to sponsor a resolution to recognize the French Creoles of a five parish area: Avoyelles, Evangeline, Pointe Coupee, Natchitoches and St. Landry.
Three of the those parishes, Avoyelles, Natchitoches and Pt. Coupee, are predominently Creole French, not Cajun French.
The Creoles are an older group of direct French immigrants who came in the 1700s. In Avoyelles, they were mostly pure French Creoles.
In 1971, the Louisiana legislature erred by naming Avoyelles as part of the Acadiana Triangle. The parishes in this triangle were previously called the French Triangle, wth Acadians to the South and Creoles in the north. "Our Creole identity has been hijacked by our Cajun cousins.", said John LaFleur who is spearheading the movement.
Those from Avoyelles in attendance today were:
Naomi Barnhart of the Juneau family
Aloysia Coco DuCote
Glenn and Joe Goudeau
Carlos Mayeux, Jr.
Sitting bear Mayeux and family
From Pt. Coupee were historians and Creole promoters Brian and Mary Costello, and Julie and Felix Lee.