Les Vieux Temps
The Civilian Conservation Corps was established in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to create jobs for the unemployed Americans during the Great Depression following World War I.
Men, usually farm boys, were paid small salaries but provided with free room and board. They were provided with the tools needed to build campsites, picnic areas, schools, parks and roads. Thousands enrolled in the CCC and as a result a peacetime army was formed to end the great economic depression and at the same time improve our country.
Acadiana was fortunate to have several projects. Most notably was project SP-1 Company No. 277 located in St. Martinville. The project was one of the first in the nation and started on Sept. 20, 1933. Its first major project was the Longfellow-Evangeline State Park, where the camp was located. A famous author, Wilton Ledet, wrote about his experiences while he was a National Park Service student technician in history and had been assigned to Longfellow-Evangeline State Park. He wrote that the recreational area, a picturesque preserve on the banks of historic Bayou Teche, was developed by Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees, supervised jointly by the National Park Service and the Louisiana State Parks Commission, as a rural shrine memorializing the early Acadians. Other area projects were in Krotz Springs (L-61 Co. No. 1481) and Lafayette (D-4 Co. No. 4403).
In addition to improving Longfellow-Evangeline Park, the CCC made improvements to the levee and was involved in helping beautify government buildings, school grounds and tearing down or rebuilding the following schools: Coteau Holmes, Grand Anse, Portage, Huron, Poche Bridge and Calais School buildings. Most school campuses throughout the parish had their yards beautified by the planting of pine and sycamore trees, many of which can still be seen in school yards.
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