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New Acadia Project receives $52,000 grant

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A grant of $52,000 will enliven the New Acadia Project, or Project Nouvelle-Acadie, which seeks to unearth the Acadians’ original settlements in Louisiana.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has partnered with the New Acadia Project Steering Committee and non-profit Acadian Heritage and Culture Foundation to discover and study the homesteads and associated unmarked burials of Acadian exiles who arrived in 1765.

The grant, presented by the Coypu Foundation, will be used to purchase remote sensing equipment and will support continuing research.

The new equipment may prove the theory that Joseph Broussard’s descendants are buried close to Loreauville, along the Bayou Teche. Broussard, otherwise known as Beausoleil, led the first group of Acadians to settle in southwest Louisiana and was a leader in the fight against deportation.

Research is being done this semester following excavations that took place over the summer. The project is directed by Dr. Mark Rees, an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at UL Lafayette.

The New Acadia Project aims to pinpoint the locations of the original Acadian homesteads by investigating sites, such as historic cemeteries, chronologically dating artifacts, and determining where artifacts fall in Acadian history, according to Rees.

“The Project combines public archaeology, applied anthropology, and public history in a multidisciplinary, collaborative investigation of 18th-century Acadian settlement in south-central Louisiana,” he said.

This grant brings the total of donations to the project to around $200,000. The New Acadia Project has been underway for six months and will likely continue for three to five more years.