Mamou is the second largest town in Evangeline Parish. It is located 50 miles south of Alexandria and 50 miles NW of Lafayette on La. State Hwy.13.
There are many stories about the name Mamou. One was the legendary Indian, Chief Mamou. It is certain that this vast Prairie was known as Mamou Prairie as far back as the 1700s and that Anglo-Americans first called it 'Mammouth Prairie' because of its immense size. And when the Frenchmen came the called it 'Mamou' for mammouth.
Evidence indicates that the Mamou Prairie was settled in the early part of the 18th century by French, Spanish and Acadians.
Within this vast stretch of prairie, the town site of Mamou was layed out in 1907 by Curley C. Duson of Eunice. He was president of the Mamou Town site Company which opened an office on the corner of Seventh and Chestnut. Lot auctions were held weekly and lots back then sold for $50. The original village covered one square mile. On January 11,1911 Mamou was incorporated.
Evangeline Parish was created in 1910 and June 20th of that year named Evangeline after the ill fated heroine of Longfellow's poem.
Music and Customs
early part of the 18th century Mamou was settled by French, Spanish and Acadians. There are many Anglo-Saxon and Irish names, but the majority of these families have been absorbed by the French customs and language, that many of them speak only the French language. Mamou retains the French-Acadian and Spanish culture of its pioneer settlers. They are hard working and fun-loving people.
Music and dancing, were and still are the popular social events of the community. In the early days there was the bal de masion(house dances) and these evolved into the Fais do-dos held in the dance halls where large crowds gathered every weekend.
Unique in this area and especially Mamou is the French Acadian music. This is said to reflect the character, hope and aspirations of the French Acadian heritage. The traditional music is played on the accordian and violin with the rhythm being set with the "bastrang" or "les tee faire which is a homemade triangle. The musicians sing old Acadian songs that were handed down from generation to generation.
Cajun Music Festival
Mardi Gras (le Courir de Mardi Gras a Cheval)
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