Sunday, February 16, 2014

Abbeville, Louisiana: Broussard

Yesterday, one of my cultural interpreters and I - let's call him Landry - entered an Abbeville shop that had just opened (more on the shop later), and we met the vivacious Gail.

We started talking about Cajun surnames and I noted how there seemed to be a fairly small stock of same, and Gail went and got the Abbeville phone book, and gave it to me.

Her husband, Billy, said that Broussard was the most common Cajun surname.

Sure enough, there are more than three pages of Broussards in Vermilion Parish, which has a population of 58,700. There are ~ 79 Broussards listed in each column of the phone book, for nine columns, totaling 711 Broussards.

This means that one in 82 Vermilion Parish residents is a Broussard. And really, that's not right because the phone book only counts adults.

Furthermore, 26% of Vermilion Parish residents are under age 18, so I'm going to throw out a wild ass guess and say that one out of every 70 Vermilion Parish residents is a Broussard.

You  may be surprised to learn there are: 
  • 10 Paul Broussards
  • 3 Pervis Broussards (and a Perfay)
  • 5 Pressleys (or Presley) Broussards
  • 3 Shane Broussards

And this is only Vermilion Parish. Acadiana encompasses 22 parishes.

According to this source:
By the time of the first census in 1671, there were 47 Acadian surnames (that left descendants).  Many of today's Acadian-Cajuns go back to these families.  These earliest Acadian settlers to leave descendants are in the following table.

The prolific Broussards appeared in the 1686 census.

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