Acadians Who Found Refuge in Louisiana, February 1764-early 1800s




According to the Acadian Memorial at St. Martinville, Louisiana, Pierre Lagrèze was Acadian.  He came to Louisiana from Halifax via Cap-Français, St.-Domingue, in February 1765 with the Broussard dit Beausoleil party.  Pierre died at Attakapas, where the Broussard party had settled, only a few months after he arrived in the colony, probably a victim of the epidemic that killed dozens of his fellow Teche valley Acadians.  He must have been a notable member of the Broussard party because he appears on the list of Acadians who exchanged Canadian card money in New Orleans two months after they reached New Orleans. 

Moreover, fellow Attakapas Acadian Jean-Baptiste Semer mentions one La Greze, probably Pierre, in an April 1766 letter to his father in France.  The young Acadian writes:  "I will tell you then my very dear father that I arrived here in the month of February 1765 with 202 Acadian persons, including Joseph Brossard, called Beauplaisir (sic), and all of his family, La Greze, and Catalan, all coming from Halifax and having passed by the Cape [Français]."  Why would young Semer mention La Greze if he was not an important member of the party? 

 He likely was the Sr. Lagrèze counted among the 1,003 Acadians at Restigouche, at the head of the Baie des Chaleurs, in August 1760, on the eve of the fight there.  One suspects that he was a French officer or official and that if he was an Acadian, he was an honorary one. 


During the late antebellum period, two Foreign-French brothers named Lagreze or Lagresse settled on upper Bayou Lafourche, where they married Acadian sisters:

Jean-Baptiste, son of Antoine Lagreze and Françoise Pascal of the Department of Lot, France, married Célestine, daughter of Acadian Simone Maximilien LeBlanc, at the Paincourtville church, Assumption Parish, in August 1853.  Jean-Baptiste died near Paincourtville the following October; he was only 29 years old. 

Louis, Jean-Baptiste's brother, married Amelina, another daughter of Simon Maximilien LeBlanc, at the Paincourtville church, Assumption Parish, in July 1857.  Their son Louis Désiré was born near Paincourtville in September 1862. 


Evidently Pierre Lagrèze was not married when he came to Louisiana, so his branch of this family did not take root in the Bayou State.  Two brothers with a similar-sounding surname settled on upper Bayou Lafourche during the late antebellum period, but they were Foreign French, not Acadian.  They did, however, marry Acadian LeBlanc sisters, so that branch of the family has Acadian "blood." 

The family's name also is spelled Lagrese, Lagresse, La Greze.  [See also Book Ten]

Sources: BRDR, vols. 8, 9; <>; Hébert, D., Southwest LA Records, vol. 1-A; Mouhot, ed., "Letter by Jean-Baptiste Semer," 223-24, source of quotation; "Ristigouche, 24 Oct 1760."

Settlement Abbreviations 
(present-day civil parishes that existed in 1861 are in parenthesis; hyperlinks on the abbreviations take you to brief histories of each settlement):




Lafourche (Lafourche, Terrebonne)


Pointe Coupée




Natchitoches (Natchitoches)

SB San Bernardo (St. Bernard)


Attakapas (St. Martin, St. Mary, Lafayette, Vermilion)


San Luìs de Natchez (Concordia)


St.-Gabriel d'Iberville (Iberville)


Bayou des Écores (East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana)


New Orleans (Orleans)


St.-Jacques de Cabanocé (St. James)


Baton Rouge (East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge)


Opelousas (St. Landry, Calcasieu)

For a chronology of Acadian Arrivals in Louisiana, 1764-early 1800s, see Appendix.

The hyperlink attached to an individual's name is connected to a list of Acadian immigrants for a particular settlement and provides a different perspective on the refugee's place in family and community. 

Name Arrived Settled Profile
Pierre LAGRÈZE 01 Feb 1765 Atk b. France? Canada?; on list of 1,003 Acadians at Restigouche, Aug 1760, called Sr. LAGRÈZE, with no one else; probably captured by the British at Restigouche, early 1760s, & held as a POW in NS; arrived LA Feb 1765 with party from Halifax via St.-Domingue led by Joseph BROUSSARD dit Beausoleil; on list of Acadians who exchanged card money in New Orleans, Apr 1765, called Pierre LAGRÉSE; died Attakapas 31 Jul 1765, buried the next day


01.  Wall of Names, 19, calls him Pierre LAGRESSE. 

I have found this family in neither Arsenault, Généalogie, nor White, DGFA-1, so I must assume that the researchers at the Acadian Memorial have found an Acadian origin for Pierre LAGRESSE that eludes me.  His burial record in Hebert, D., Southwest LA Records, 1-A:465 (SM Ch.: v.1, p.9; SM Ch.: Slave Funeral Register v.1, #10), does not give his first name, only his surname, LAGRESSE; one record says he died on 1 Aug & was buried 31 Jul, the other vice-versa.  Unfortunately, Fr. Jean-François de CIVRAY, the priest ministering to the Acadians at Attakapas at the time, did not record Pierre's parents' names or give his age at the time of his death. 

Since Pierre appears on the list of Acadians who exchanged card money in New Orleans in Apr 1765, he probably was a man of means & likely in his middle age or even elderly.  Fellow Attakapas Acadian Jean-Baptiste SEMER mentions one LA GREZE, probably Pierre, in an Apr1766 letter to his father in France, which only emphasizes Pierre's stature among the Attakapas Acadians.  Why else would SEMER have mentioned him if he was not a significant member of the party?  See Mouhot, ed., "Letter by Jean-Baptiste Semer," 223.

A notation at the bottom of <>, written by genealogist/historian/web host Stanley LeBlanc, reads:  "Pierre LAGRÉSE was initially interpreted as Pierre LÉGÈRE.  Stephen A. White thought that it was Pierre LAGRÉVE; however, Roger Rozendal's research indicates that it was Pierre LAGRÉSE."  Was Pierre some kind of official?  Perhaps he was a French or Canadian officier capturerd at Restigouche in 1760, held in NS as a POW, &, for some reason, accompanied the BROUSSARDs to LA rather than return to France. 

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Copyright (c) 2007-16  Steven A. Cormier