Work was completed in 1970 on the Official Emblem of the International Acadian Festival. The emblem is the product of the Creative Printing Department of the Plaquemine POST, and is printed in three colors, red, blue and gold, on a white background. The dominant element of the emblem is the matee cross which is the symbol of the religious heritage of the Acadians; it appears in royal blue on the finished art. Fixed firmly on the cross is a screened outline of the State of Louisiana, where thousands of Acadians found homes and hope following their exile from Nova Scotia; it is printed in bright gold. Affixed to Louisiana is a shield with the likeness of a three-turreted castle, symbol of Spain, which owned Louisiana at the time of the Acadians' arrival; and, next to this symbol is a Fleur-de-lis, emblem of France, native country of the Acadians. The symbols for Spain and France are printed in gold with a white background, or outline. The emblem includes the wording "International Acadian Festival" and this wording, along with the finer print at the bottom left of the cross explaining the reason for the Festival, is printed in blue with the word "Festival" and the decorative border around the copy block printed in red. The emblem has been faithfully used since 1970 in promoting and giving identity to the Festival.
IN THE CITY OF PLAQUEMINE is humbly dedicated to the thousands of French people, who, evicted from their lands and homes, stripped of their earthly possesions, and repped cruely from the arms of their loved ones - husband from wife, sister from brother, friend from friend and lover from the beloved, through much effort and hardship made their way by the thousands to the fertile lands of Louisiana where they found the promise of new hopes and new loves. During the long years of suffering and almost unbearable hardship these people stood strong and tall, determined, with the help of Almighty God to love their loves dedicated to their nation and their God.
The City of Plaquemine and all of Louisiana is much richer because these brave and gallant people came this way. PRAISE BE GOD!
In 1969, Gary J. Hebert had an inspiration for words and music to celebrate the Festival and Evangeline's journey through Plaquemine and this is a fine representation of Evangeline as performed by Medric Smith.
In early 1969 the membership of Plaquemine Council 970, Knights of Columbus, decided that some events should be instituted in Plaquemine to bring some measure of publicity to our city and instill pride in our citizens just as other fairs, festivals and shows have done for other cities throughout Louisiana. At the same time it was felt that such and undertaking should have purpose and a direct link to the community it represented. The idea was put forth that since many of the residents of the area were directly descended from the Acadians who were exiled form Nova Scotia, that any event held of this type should attempt to preserve and enhance this heritage.
It was quickly brought to the attention of the festival committee that legend has it that Emmeline LaBiche (Evangeline) traveled through Plaquemine on the waters of Bayou Plaquemine on her journey to the Teche Country in search of her lover Louis Arceneaux (Gabriel). As the story goes, she and her Indian guide spent the night on the banks of the bayou in what is now the City of Plaquemine. Thus, the basis of the festival was formed.
The first festival was held during the Thanksgiving holidays of 1969 and was named the "Cajun Festival." In keeping with the reason and basis of the festival, the queen was named "Evangeline" and arrived by canoe on the waters of Bayou Plaquemine. Activities included a parade, games and rides, a Cajun cooking contest and a cochon-de-lait. The first festival was so well received that it was decided to continue the event each year.
In 1970 the site of the festival was moved to a permanent location just South of the city on Highway 1 and the name changed to "International Acadian Festival."
This site was outgrown and the Festival was moved again in 2005 to the C. M. "Mike" Zito Multi-Purpose Center located four miles west of the city on Highway 75. The format of the festival changed and improved, but the premise of the festival remained the same.
The festival features something for everyone to enjoy. To prove our point, a motto of the festival is "Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler." And if you don't know what that means, ask a Cajun and he'll tell you with a smile, "Let the Good Times Roll."