Original Names for Louisiana Towns
Are you a Lafayette resident? What about Thibodeaux? Did you know that when these towns were known by a different name when they were founded? It's no secret that Louisiana has a rich history unlike any other. One of the most interesting parts, according to OnlyInYourState.com, is that the town you currently reside in was likely known by a much different name when it was first founded.
You may already be familiar with this name as it is now know as the beautiful town of Lafayette. Jean Mouton founded Lafayette in 1821 as Vermillionville and the name was changed in 1884 after General Marquis de Lafayette. Did you know that it also came with a nickname? That's right, the town of Lafayette was also known as "America's favorite fighting frenchman."
2. La Chapelle
La Chapelle (The Chapel) was founded in 1843. There aren't many specifics on the renaming of the town except that it changed to "Abbville" then "Abbeville" since its founding.
3. Town of Wharton
This is one name I wouldn't have guessed. The Town of Wharton was founded by John Wharton Collins in 1813. According to OnlyInYourState, there are may theories as to why the name of the town was changed to Covington. One suggests the name coming from a General in the War of 1812 named Leonard Covington.
4. Shreve Town
The town is the result of a task asked of the Shreve Town Company in 1836. OnlyInYourState explains that they were asked to develop "a town at the juncture of the Red River and Texas Trail." The town was given the name "Shreve Town" after Captain Henry Miller Shreve. The name change to Shreveport happened in 1839.
Did you know that Lake Charles is really British? Okay so that's not true, but the town was founded in 1861 as "Charleston." (I wonder if they spoke with British accents...) OnlyInYourState stated that apparently no one liked that name so in 1867 it was renamed Lake Charles.
This is probably one of the most interesting story out of the bunch. The town was originally referred to as "Tigre Island" after an "unknown cat" was spotted in the area by the U.S. land surveyors. A sugar cane plantation was started by a Kentucky planter and surgeon named Walter Brashear creating "the first permanent settlement known as the town of Brashear." The final name change occurred after the Atchafalaya Bay was dredged by Charles Morgan. In his honor, the town is what we now know to be Morgan City.
7. Fort Miro
I think this one is a fairly well known story like Lafayette. The city of Fort Miro was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. Are you familiar with the steam-powered paddle-wheel (I call them the big red steamy spinning things in the water)? History lesson: James Monroe, the 5th president of the United States, was the first president to hitch a ride on one of these bad boys. He is also credited with taking part in negotiating the passage of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It is said that this lead to the renaming of the town as Monroe.
Did I miss any? Now look, I know that we have some interesting names for our South Louisiana towns, but we would likely need censoring and auto correct would have a field day.
Sometimes we take for granted the beauty of our incredible state and how far we have come through the years. There are good stories and there are bad, but sometimes its fun to stop and read up on the small bits of Louisiana's history that we may not have known.