Eunice, Louisiana's Prairie Cajun Capital, is a progressive city proud of its Cajun heritage, fine cuisine, and French music. The establishment of a two-year LSU campus in 1967 in the City of Eunice came about through strong community involvement and support. More recently, the town leaders and other community members worked long and hard to make Eunice the site of the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center, part of the National Park Service's Jean Lafitte Historical Park and Preserve. Through community support, the City of Eunice was able to restore an old movie theater built in 1924, now the location of a weekly French radio program that has received international recognition. Known as the Liberty Center for the Performing Arts, the theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been included in the Great American Movie Theatres Preservation Guide.
Eunice was established in 1894 when C.C. Duson sold the first landsites and named the town for his wife, Eunice. About 4,000 people attended the land auction, with the auctioneer standing on a railroad flatcar. Eunice was officially incorporated in 1895.
General Information. Eunice has achieved an international reputation as a town devoted to the preservation of Cajun culture and traditions. The Liberty Theatre and the Jean Lafitte Center attract visitors from throughout the world, but there is also a lot more to see in the area. For more details, including information on restaurants and accommodations, contact the Eunice Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 508, Eunice, LA 70535; or call (337) 457-2565. Eunice has a town web site, with a wide variety of information and features.
The Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center. The center is located at the corner of South Third Street and Park Avenue. A full description is contained on a separate page in the Central Acadiana Gateway.
The Liberty Center for the Performing Arts. The center is located on the corner of South Second Street and Park Avenue (in the same block as the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center). It is the site of a weekly Cajun radio program that attracts big crowds 6-7:30 p.m. every Saturday. A full description is contained on the Jean Lafitte page in the Central Acadiana Gateway.
Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum, established after a lot of hard work by the Cajun French Music Association, is now open. The building is situated adjacent to the Eunice Museum, just a block from the Liberty Theatre. Inside are photographs, biographical information, and memorabilia highlighting the careers of the top Cajun musicians, both living and dead. Open Tuesday-Saturday. Phone (337) 457-6534.
Cajun Prairie Restoration Project. Before the land was cultivated, the Cajun Prairie encompassed some 2.5 million acres, but now the original prairie exists only in a few remnant strips along railroad right-of-ways mainly in Acadia and Jeff Davis parishes. In 1988, two LSU at Eunice biologists began working to restore the prairie after Eunice Mayor Curtis Joubert, with the support of the City Council, leased 10 acres for the project from the Union Pacific Railroad. Dr. Charles Allen, now professor of biology at Northeast Louisiana University, and Dr. Malcolm Vidrine, professor of biology at LSUE, recruited volunteers who collected seeds from remnant strips and planted them at the restoration site. Some nonrare plants were also moved to the site, so that about 200 prairie plants are growing there. The site, which is now a city park located at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Magnolia Street, was added in 1994 to the Natural Areas Registry with the Nature Conservancy.
Cajun French Music Association Cajun Music Festival. This event celebrating Cajun music and culture is held in late spring. The CFMA also sponsors a variety of other events and activities.
LSUE Community Day. The event, which features a wide variety of activities, is held in April. For more information, phone the LSUE Office of Student Activities, (337) 550-1395.
Louisiana Cajun Culture and Music Club. The LCCMC's annual Un Celebration de Cajun is held each June. Proceeds are used for the preservation of the Cajun language, culture, and music.
For schedules of festivals and other activities in Eunice and the rest of St. Landry Parish, go to the Tourist Commission's web site.
Like the rest of Acadiana, Eunice
was hurt economically when the oil industry went into a downward spiral
in the early 1980s. But townspeople worked together to enhance other
assets, especially by promoting cultural tourism through the establishment
of the Jean Lafitte Center and the Liberty Theatre. Today, with a
more diversified base and with the revival of oil-related businesses,
the economy is once again strong. For more information, contact the
Eunice Chamber of Commerce,
P. O. Box 508, Eunice, LA 70535; or call (337) 457-2565.
These pages were established and maintained by David Simpson, who retired from LSUE in 2009.