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Where is Acadiana?

Acadiana is the name given to the traditional twenty-two parish Cajun homeland, which in 1971 the Louisiana state legislature officially recognized for its unique Cajun and Acadian heritage (per House Concurrent Resolution No. 496).  Despite the frequent association of Cajuns with swamplands, Acadiana actually consists mainly of prairies, marshes, and wooded river (or bayou) lands.  The term Acadiana was coined by accident around 1963, when KATC-TV 3 in Lafayette, owned by the Acadian Television Corporation, received an invoice bearing a typographical error: someone had mistakenly added the letter "a" to the end of Acadian, forming Acadiana.  Noting the error, the station’s manager found the new word catchy (particularly as it seemed to combine the words Acadian and Louisiana).  KATC began using the new word to describe the region covered by its broadcast signal.  The word soon took on a life of its own, and came to describe most of south Louisiana.  As evidence of its popularity, a survey of a recent phone directory covering forty-seven communities in south-central Acadiana shows that over two hundred fifty businesses use the word in their titles.  Acadiana often is mistakenly applied only to Lafayette Parish and several neighboring parishes, usually Acadia, Iberia, St. Landry, St. Martin, and Vermilion parishes, and sometimes also Evangeline and St. Mary; this eight-parish area, however, is actually the "Cajun Heartland, USA" district, which makes up only about a third of the entire Acadiana region.

Sources: Ancelet et al., Cajun Country; Dormon, People Called Cajuns; Dunning, "‘Cajun Heartland, USA’"; "Steno's Error," Acadiana [KATC newsletter].

1. Calcasieu, 2. Cameron, 3. Jefferson Davis, 4. Evangeline, 5. Acadia, 6. Vermilion, 7. Avoyelles, 8. St. Landry,
9. Lafayette, 10. Pointe Coupee, 11. St. Martin, 12. Iberia, 13. St. Mary, 14. W. Baton Rouge, 15. Iberville,
16. Assumption, 17. Acension, 18. St. James, 19. Lafourche, 20. Terrebonne, 21. St. John the Baptist, 22. St. Charles


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