Vermilionville to remember Broussards

Descendants of the famed Acadian resistance fighter Joseph “Beausoleil” Broussard are planning a family reunion Saturday at Vermilionville and the park’s rededication of the historical plantation home of Broussard’s son, Amand.

Charissa Helluin, Vermilionville’s curator, said La Maison Broussard is the jewel or bijou of Vermilionville.

The six-room plantation home sits toward the back of the living history museum and folk life park and is staged to offer visitors a glimpse of what life may have been like for Broussard, who built a successful cattle ranch south of Loreauville along the Bayou Teche.

The house was part of Broussard’s cattle ranch, which would have been self-sufficient with a separate kitchen built away from the home, two barns, a potato shed, a school house, a cotton mill and press, a stone mill, and a blacksmith shop, Helluin said.

When he died at 64, Broussard’s estate was worth $65,000, Helluin said.

The house was acquired by Vermilionville in 1989, Helluin said, and moved to the park in 1990.

Broussard’s ranch was the site of an early Acadian archaeological study led by University of Louisiana at Lafayette associate professor Mark Rees.

The dig unearthed artifacts from the original home and on Saturday, Rees will discuss what can be learned from the objects.

“We worked with Dr. Rees to purchase items for the house that closely match the artifacts,” Helluin said.

Some examples include “featherware” platters edged with feathered, painted details and pottery pieces.

The public is invited to the celebration which begins at 10 a.m. and continues until 1 p.m. Visitors will also have an opportunity to trace their ancestry with help from Acadian Museum researchers.

Broussard descendants also will have a chance to learn more about their history, said Cheryl Broussard Perret, a descendant of Joseph Broussard and his son, Francois.

Her family’s association now meets annually, and the events feature guest speakers or some other presentation for its membership to learn more about Broussard or Acadian history, Perret said.

She said she hopes Saturday’s event draws those curious about their Acadian ancestry.

“I’m hoping it’s an opportunity to meet some new cousins,” she said.

Amand Broussard was the youngest of 10 sons of Joseph Broussard, who organized a resistance against the British to prevent the expulsion of Acadians from Nova Scotia in the mid-18th century.

Amand was a 1-year-old when his family was expelled from their homeland in 1755. His father died in 1765, the same year his family arrived in Louisiana.

“He spent his entire childhood being moved around,” Helluin said.

That search for a place to call home could have rooted in him the determination to build a successful life and large estate for his own family, she said.

At the age of 16, Amand registered his own cattle brand and the rest is history.

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Editor’s note: This article was modified on Friday, May 10, 2013 to correct the year that Joseph “Beausoleil” Broussard’s family arrived in Louisiana.