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Louisiana Place Names

Popular, Unusual, and Forgotten Stories of Towns, Cities, Plantations, Bayous, and Even Some Cemeteries

368 pages / 7.00 x 10.00 inches / 1 map

ebook available

Louisiana Studies

  Hardcover / 9780807147382 / October 2012

From Aansel to Zwolle, with Mamou in between, researcher Clare D’Artois Leeper offers an alphabet of Louisiana place names, both past and present. Leeper includes 893 entries that reveal a distinct view of the state’s history. Her unique blend of documented fact and traditional wisdom results in an entertaining guide to Louisiana’s place name lore.

Leeper considers the origins of each place as well as each name, drawing attention to the individuals who transformed Louisiana from an uninhabited wilderness into a populated state. Not surprising for a region that has existed under ten flags, Louisiana’s place names reflect a mixture of several languages and point to other locales across the country and around the world. Even the state’s name, Leeper points out, combines the French Louis and the Spanish iana, meaning “belonging to” Louis XIV. Name origins trace back to geography, flora, fauna, religion, weather, people, and occasionally, a flood, a favorite book, or a popular local dish.
Leeper conducted numerous interviews, visited courthouses, museums, and libraries, and more recently made use of the Geographic Names Information System to create this fascinating combination of fact and personal interpretation.

Clare D’Artois Leeper (1932–2012) wrote the newspaper column “Louisiana Places: Those Strange Sounding Names” from 1960 to 1979, and again from 2004 to 2006. Born in Shreveport, she spent most of her life in Baton Rouge, named for the “red stick” that marked the hunting boundaries of the Bayougoulas and the Houmas.

Praise for Louisiana Place Names

“A valuable reference book that contains a significant amount of Louisiana history. . . . Leeper’s willingness to accomplish [this] task will enrich the study of Louisiana for years.”—Louisiana History

“Clare D’Artois Leeper’s Louisiana Place Names brings to life the incredible diversity of the state’s heritage and culture. You’ll discover places named by people with straightforward approaches and some with quirky senses of humor. This book is researched with a great deal of thought and care.”—Cynthia V. Campbell, author of Explorer’s Guide Louisiana 

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