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Avoyelles Parish History
The parish is named for the Avoyel Indian tribe.
The parish was established on March 31, 1807.
Marksville became the parish seat. This is where a circuit rider had held court.
Immigrants from Scotland, Belgium, Italy, and Germany in the nineteenth century also settled here, and together established today's towns and villages. Their direct ties to Europe set them apart from the Acadians (Cajuns) of southern Louisiana. At the turn of the 19th century, free people of color of African-French descent settled in Avoyelles. They included refugees from Haiti and the French West Indies, and others. The blending of these three cultures: Native American, European and African, created a distinct
Louisiana Creole culture noted in the local language, food, Catholic religion, and family ties.
Today, the Avoyelles Parish culture is classified as "Cajun" because of the perceived similarities in speech, food, and various folk traditions with southern parishes. But, few families in Avoyelles are of Acadian descent. In the 1800s until the mid 1900s, local Confederate units and local newspaper reports in The Villager always referred to the Avoyelles French families as Creoles, the term then for native-born people of French descent.
Today, the parish is the base of the federally recognized Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe, who have a reservation there which is partially located in Marksville.
Cities and Towns
Bunkie * Cottonport * Evergreen * Hessmer * Mansura *
Marksville * Moreauville * Plaucheville * Simmesport