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The Opelousas patriot. [volume] : (Opelousas, Parish of St. Landry, La.) 1855-1863
Alternative Titles:
  • Patriote des Opelousas Mar. 3, 1855-Feb. 23, 1856, <May 25, 1861-Mar. 28, 1863>
Place of publication:
Opelousas, Parish of St. Landry, La.
Geographic coverage:
  • Opelousas, Saint Landry, Louisiana  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
[Albert Dejean, Cyrus Thompson, Alf. Livingston]
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1863?
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 3, 1855)-
  • English
  • French
  • Louisiana--Opelousas.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01208500
  • Opelousas (La.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Crandall: 5234.
  • Editor: E.D. Estilette, <1863>.
  • In English and French.
sn 86079076
Preceding Titles:
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The Opelousas patriot. [volume] March 3, 1855 , Image 1


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The Opelousas Patriot

Opelousas, Louisiana, the seat of St. Landry Parish, was established in 1720 as a French trading post. By the middle of the 19th century, it had developed into a cattle trading center and market town of regional importance. In 1862, it served briefly as Louisiana's capital after the state legislature abandoned the strategically more vulnerable city of Baton Rouge. Opelousas, too, was abandoned the following spring when Federal troops advanced toward the town.

The Opelousas Patriot was founded in 1855 by Albert Dejean, Cyrus Thompson, and Alfred Livingston. It was published weekly in four pages, two in English and two in French. Although the Patriot initially claimed to be neutral in politics and refuted accusations that it was an American (or Know Nothing) Party paper, it soon came out in support of the party, which sought to limit the political influence of Irish and German Catholic immigrants. Initially unpopular in heavily Catholic Louisiana, support increased in 1855 when Charles Derbigny, son of a former governor and member of an established French Catholic, Creole family, received the Know Nothings' gubernatorial nomination.

The Patriot's focus through about 1857 was American Party politics, but it also carried general foreign and domestic news as well as essays, poetry, and fiction, including serialized French novels. In the years leading up to the Civil War, it contained articles on topics such as abolition, slavery in the territories, and the influence of free blacks. Dejean and Thompson ended their connection with the paper after the election of 1856. Later publishers and editors included Charles Ealer, Charles Potier, Rodolphe Chachere, Samuel Nolley, Onezime Guidry, and Edmond Ducré Estilette, a graduate of Yale.

At present, no issues of the Patriot are known to exist from February 1860 to May 1861; according to a biographical sketch of Estilette, it was at that time "an independent organ, but favoring what was known as the Cooperative Party." The few issues that survive from the Civil War document troop movements and unrest in St. Landry Parish. After the Federal occupation of Opelousas in 1863, Estilette fell into disfavor with Union commanders, who shut the Patriot down.

Provided by: Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge, LA