Le Vieux Village Heritage Park & Museum

April 11, 2021

Le Vieux Village du Poste des Opélousas, Est. 1988

One of Louisiana’s oldest cities, Opelousas is a cultural gumbo, with a long history of ethnic diversity.

Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans inhabited the area. The city takes its name from the Opelousa Indians, a small band of the historic Attakapa Tribe. 

French and Spanish governments both governed the area at one time.  French settlers began arriving in the early 1700s. Many brought enslaved Africans slaves with them. German colonists soon made their way here and Spanish settlers arrived in the 1770s.  In the late part of the 18th century, Irish, Italian, Scottish and other immigrants settled here.

Beginning in 1765, one of the most influential cultural groups arrived in the Opelousas area. The French-speaking Acadians were exiled from Canada by the British. Equally important to these diverse populations were the Créoles (derived from the Spanish word “criollo” -- a child born in the colony). In early word usage, Créoles were the descendants of the early French and Spanish colonists of Louisiana. 

French for “the old village,” Le Vieux Village features a collection of historic buildings from Opelousas and surrounding areas of St. Landry Parish.  While Le Vieux Village was established in 1988, the buildings range in date from the late-1700s to the mid-1900s. They represent history, culture and architecture that are authentic to Opelousas.  From a rare, Creole-style home once owned by an enslaved person, to an early medical doctor’s office, to a general store and a former train depot which houses the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum, the village offers a glimpse into Opelousas’ historic past.  

Le Vieux Village du Poste des Opélousas, établi en 1998

L’une des plus anciennes villes de la Louisiane, Opélousas est caractérisée par un gombo culturel composé d’une longue histoire de diversité ethnique. 

Il y a des siècles, la région était habitée par des Amérindiens. La ville prend son nom des Opélousas, une petite bande de la tribu des Attakapas.

Les gouvernements de la France et de l’Espagne administèrent la région à tour de rôle. Des colons français commencèrent à arriver au début des années 1700, dont plusieurs amenèrent des Africains esclavisés. Peu après, des colons allemands s’installèrent dans la région, suivis des Espagnols dans les années 1770. Vers la fin du 18e siècle, d’autres groupes d’immigrants irlandais, italiens, écossais et d’origines diverses et variées les rejoignirent.

Dès 1765, l’un des groupes les plus influents arriva aux Opélousas : les Acadiens francophones qui avaient été exilés du Canada par les Britanniques. Les Créoles aussi apportèrent une importante contribution à cette diversité. À l’époque, les Créoles étaient tout simplement les descendants des premiers colons français et espagnols en Louisiane. 

Le Vieux Village est composé d’une collection de bâtiments historiques provenant des Opélousas et des régions environnantes de la Paroisse St-Landry. Bien que le Vieux Village ait été reconstitué en 1988, les bâtiments datent de la fin du 18e siècle jusqu’au milieu du 20e siècle. Ils témoignent de l’histoire, de la culture et de l’architecture uniques aux Opélousas. D’un rare exemple d’une maison créole ayant appartenu à une personne esclavisée à un ancien cabinet de médecin, d’un magasin général à une ancienne gare ferroviaire qui abrite le Louisiana Orphan Train Museum, le village représente aujourd’hui un portail vers le passé historique des Opélousas. 

Click map for larger view

Le Vieux Village Heritage Park & Museum is located at the eastern entrance of historic Opelousas, Louisiana.

Le Vieux Village is French for ‘the old village.’  At the village you will find a collection of historic buildings that offer a glimpse of early rural life in St. Landry Parish.

Some of the historic buildings at the village include the Venus House, which is one of the oldest Creole homes west of the Mississippi River. The house features handmade wooden nails and bousillage, which is a mixture of mud and moss used as insulation in early Louisiana home construction. 

Other historic buildings include a general store dating back to the late 1800s, doctor’s office from the early 19th Century and a two-room rural schoolhouse built in 1911 and a restored train depot which is home to the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum.

The Orphan Train Museum tells the story of Orphan Train Riders who came to Louisiana from New York from 1873 to 1929 by train to be adopted.

The village also includes the Opelousas Tourist Information Center. 

Le Vieux Village, French for the Old Village, is a collection of buildings from Opelousas and St. Landry Parish dating from the 1700s to the early 20th century.

Among the many historic buildings, the village includes one of the oldest Creole homes west of the Mississippi River, a 19th century doctor’s office and country store, and a school house from 1911. The village is also home to the Louisiana Orphan Train Museum.

French for “the old village,” Le Vieux Village is a collection of restored historic structures from Opelousas and from the surrounding areas. The village depicts the unique and diverse historical and cultural heritage that is Opelousas. Although the village showcases structures from the mid-1700s to the mid-1900s, Opelousas is interwoven into the development of Louisiana at a much earlier date. Opelousas was founded in 1720, making it the third oldest city in Louisiana. Take a step back in time at Le Vieux Village and relive history!

For free guided tours and more information, call 800-424-5442.

This “must see attraction” offers visitors a glimpse of early rural life. Among the many historic buildings, the village includes one of the oldest Creole homes west of the Mississippi, a 19th century doctor’s office and country store, and a schoolhouse from 1911.

Last modified: September 26, 2022

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