Vermilion Parish is overflowing with culture, music, history and all-around Cajun flavor. Visit one of the many museums in the area, take in some local Cajun sounds and participate in one of the many exciting annual events of Vermilion Parish. As is the motto of many Louisianans, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” (Let the good times roll)!
Abbeville Cultural & Historical Alliance, a collaboration of four local community service organizations, operates the Alliance Center’s Museum & Art Gallery, which is lined with various works of art, photographs, artifacts and historical information. The Gueydan Museum and the Kaplan Museum are exceptional attractions for those interested in learning about local history. The Acadian Museum in Erath is another fantastic historical site that celebrates Acadian heritage and the Cajun people that call Louisiana home. Adjacent to the museum is the Museum Cafe, a popular gathering spot for locals and host to the Living Legends program. Visitors can also take a trip to Sam Guarino’s Blacksmith Shop Museum in Abbeville, where they can catch a glimpse into the life of a blacksmith in the early 1900s.
Live Cajun music and local culture is enjoyed at the Museum Cafe, along with Le Bayou Legendaire (Richard Sale Barn) in Abbeville, Touchet’s in Maurice and many others. For those who love theatre, make sure not to miss an Abbey Players production. The Abbey Players invite patrons to enjoy three to four high-quality, main stage theatrical productions each year, as well as a summertime children’s production. The theatre is located within the renovated Reaux Lumber Company building in Abbeville, which has been the troupe’s home since the early 1980s.
No mention of Vermilion Parish, or the rest of Louisiana for that matter, would be complete without highlighting the exciting events happening throughout the year. Abbeville is home to one of the most unique festivals, the Giant Omelet Celebration, which is comprised of music, arts and crafts, Cajun food, an antique car show and the cooking of the over 5,000 egg omelet in downtown Abbeville.
Erath’s Fourth of July Celebration is a major draw for residents and visitors, as is the Delcambre Shrimp Festival. The popular event celebrates the community’s strong shrimp industry with plenty of activities, live entertainment and food,°© taking place the third full weekend in August each year.
The Louisiana Cattle Festival, held in October in Downtown Abbeville, is a much-anticipated, three-day event filled with entertainment, food and fine arts and crafts. The Queen’s Pageant, cooking contest, Cattle Livestock Show and parade are among the various festivities happening at the well-attended event.
To culminate the year, be sure to take in the Annual Les Lumieres de Village, which showcases innumerous lights throughout Downtown Abbeville, along with the Annual Abbeville Christmas Stroll, featuring holiday shopping, entertainment and food. Additional events worth noting include the Daylily Festival, Krewe Chic-a-la-pie Mardi Gras parade, Louisiana Cajun Food Fest and Gueydan Duck Festival.
Vermilion Parish Library
After several tries, the citizens of Vermilion Parish officially passed a $1 million tax that resulted in the permanent establishment of the Abbeville-based Vermilion Parish Library in February 1942. Over the ensuing years, branches sprang up in Kaplan, Gueydan, Maurice, Erath, Delcambre and the Mobile Library (bookmobile) was instituted in order to serve various destinations throughout the parish.
The library system has experienced much growth since its formation more than 65 years ago and today holds a collection of more than 60,220 volumes and 2,158 magazine and newspaper subscriptions. New to the library, citizens can now check out eBooks to read on their mobile devices. In addition, the branches offer a wealth of books on tape and CD, videos, DVDs and playa ways, which are books available for play on an MP3 player. The system also offers copy and faxing services, free wireless Internet, VCR and DVD players and access to a number of online databases. For groups who need a place to meet, the libraries in Abbeville, Kaplan and Erath offer the use of meeting rooms, which are accessible both during and after hours.
Video conferencing equipment has been provided to the Vermilion Parish Library via a grant from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital TeleMedicine Program. The library is now able to offer Vermilion Parish medical programs, virtual field trips for students and educational training opportunities for the business community.
Aside from the facilities and amenities of the library, patrons of all ages take advantage of a calendar year of excellent programming, including summer reading programs, story hours and book clubs among many others. For more information on the Vermilion Parish Library and its branches, visit the new informational library web site at www.vermilion.lib.la.us.
Visitors spending more than one day in the area can choose from a number of local lodging facilities. Several hotels and motels are available for visitors in need of a range of modern conveniences, such as business centers, outdoor pools and fitness centers. Abbeville is home to the Best Western Abbeville Inn, Executive Inn Express, Magnuson Hotel, Sunbelt Lodge, Vermilion Motel and Budget Inn & Suites, all of which offer great service and clean, comfortable guest rooms. Plus, the parish offers charming bed and breakfast inns. Apartment A Bed and Breakfast, The Ducote-Williams House, Bayou Rose Bed and Breakfast Cottage and The Caldwell House in Abbeville are great choices for those looking for a bit more privacy during their stay. Contact information for these referred hotels; motels and bed and breakfast inns can be found by visiting the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce’s online Business Directory at www.vermilionchamber.org.