In 1760 the first settler of the St. Martinville area purchased land along Bayou Teche from the Attakapa Indians. By 1764 a Frenchman had established an indigo plantation. After Spanish occupation in 1769 the settlement became a military post, Poste de Attakapas. St. Martinville's early Acadian settlers were joined by refugees—many with titles—driven from France when the revolution began.
Some of the French supported the new Republic of France and clashed with the Royalists when Spain returned Louisiana to France. More tension arose when Louisiana was bought by the United States. The language, customs and crafts of the French and the French Acadians have survived 2 centuries.
Legends of Evangeline, the character immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem “Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie,” which was published in 1847, are frequently encountered. Longfellow's work of historical fiction—partially set in Louisiana among places like the Atchafalaya Basin and Bayou Teche—describes Evangeline's plight after she is separated from her lover, Gabriel, when the British forced the Acadians from Acadie (now Nova Scotia) in 1755.
St. Martinville citizens feel a deep connection to the tale since Longfellow refers to these nearby areas as well as “the towns of St. Maur and St. Martin” in his text. The tale resonated deeply with readers, and many have since flocked to related areas to take in the views.
The focal point of St. Martinville is the St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church square on Main Street. Next to the church is the 1857 Greek Revival-style Presbytère.
St. Martinville Tourist Information Center 125 S. New Market St. ST. MARTINVILLE, LA 70582. Phone:(337)394-2233