a LAFAYETTE PARISH article
Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, January 27, 1998
The town of Broussard, south of Lafayette, was named in honor of its first settler, Valsin Broussard, who donated land for the church and for the railroad depot.
Other early settlers were Marcel Melançon, Jean-Baptiste Malagarie, Martial Billeaud, and J.G. St. Julien. Around 1879, Valsin Broussard commissioned a surveyor, F.J. Roask, to lay out the town.
In 1884, the town was incorporated as Broussard, but, six years later, the charter was permitted to lapse owing to popular dissatisfaction with the mayor-council form of government. The town was not reincorporated until 1906, when a new form of government was instituted.
In 1891, William Henry Perrin described Broussard as "the shipping point for a large section of the country, and the center of the Côte Gelée Hills section."
He said, "It is beautifully and attractively laid out, with broad streets, and lots are worth from thirty-five to fifty dollars. The depot grounds are shaded by handsome live-oaks, and are ample for all purposes. There are several general stores in Broussard, as extensive and complete as ordinarily found in country towns. The leading business men are Ray & Son, Ed. St. Julien, F.B. Grevanberg (sic), and Ulysses Bernard. It is furnished with a town hall, drug store, wheelwright shop, lumber yard, and the usual businesses to be found in a live, wide-awake business town. There is also a cotton gin in the town, and three others within a mile."
Perrin listed planters of the area including Valsin Broussard, J.G. St. Julien, Martial Billeaud, A.A Lobbe (sic), Albert Landry, B.C. Landry, Joseph Girouard, Thérence Girouard, Demas Bernard, "and others."
"The people around Broussard are universally prosperous and content," Perrin reported. "They not only make their crops of cotton and abundant supplies of corn, but they reap no small profit from eggs, chickens and turkeys, and other produce of that character. They are industrious, thrifty and happy, and well do they deserve it."
According to Roger Baudier's history of the Catholic Church in Louisiana, Sacred Heart Church was established at Broussard in 1883. But the church and rectory burned at the end of 1885, and Sacred Heart became a mission. It was revived in 1904 as an independent church parish.
"A $20,000 new school building was erected in 1911, for the educational establishment in the care of the Sisters of Divine Providence", according to Baudier's account.
When Broussard was founded, there was no post office in the town. Mail was received from a stage coach that traveled between New Iberia and Lafayette. A post office was established in Broussard in 1887 with J.B. Malagarie as postmaster.
The first public school in Broussard was opened in 1884 in a two-room building furnished by the Farmer's Alliance. A new school was built in 1916 and it was enlarged in 1930.
According to a 1910 report by the Southern Pacific Railroad on Lafayette Parish, "(Broussard) is by far the most promising town in the Parish after Lafayette. Since about three years, Broussard has enjoyed marked prosperity and in consequence has grown right along. It is situated in a rich agricultural section, it enjoys all the concomitants of a good market center."
Much of Broussard's wealth "as built upon Sugar and cotton grown in the area.
The Billeaud Sugar Mill built in 1893 was one of the primary sugar factories in the parish and the Broussard Cotton Oil Co. mill built in Broussard in 1907 was identified in the Southern Pacific brochure as "positively the finest in the State."
According to the SP brochure, the cotton oil mill was "built entirely of brick, cement\ and iron" with a capacity of 60 tons of seed daily.
This article is copyrighted © by the Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser and is used with permission. This web site was originated through a grant awarded to Carencro High School (Joel Hilbun/Bobbi Marino, Grant Administrators) by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from the Louisiana Quality Education Support Fund - 8(g).