The Abbeville Cultural and Historical Alliance (L’Alliance Culturelle et Historique d’Abbeville) is a joint effort of four community service organizations in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, namely, the Vermilion Arts Council, the Acadian Center, the Vermilion Historical Society, and the Giant Omelette Celebration (Confrrie d’Abbeville de l’Omelette Gante). These organizations have banded together to share expenses to maintain a Museum and Art Gallery for displaying works of art, genealogy of the Acadians, historical documents, photographs, and artifacts, and exhibits from international omelette celebrations.
The Vermilion Arts Council is responsible for the Art Gallery portion of the Alliance Center. It sponsors continually changing displays of original artworks, mostly by local artists. The Council also sponsors art lessons and workshops for children, and hosts the Carousel of Arts each year, featuring live displays and performances celebrating the music, art, food, history, and culture of Vermilion Parish.
The painting at left is by noted local artist, John Bergeron. The subject is the old Veranda Hotel, which stood for more than 70 years on the corner where the Abbeville City Hall now stands.
The Acadian Center maintains the portion of the Museum that features displays of artworks and other mementos chronicling the saga of Le Grand Drangement, the expulsion of Acadian families from Nova Scotia in 1755, many of whom later settled in Louisiana.
The painting at left is by Canadian artist Claude Picard, and depicts the embarkation of the Acadians as they are being deported from Nova Scotia.
The Vermilion Historical Society maintains the portion of the Museum that exhibits photographs, documents, and historic artifacts from the unique and fascinating history of Vermilion Parish. The most valuable artifact on display at the Alliance Center is the “Morgan Effigy,” shown at left, a carved deer antler found in a Native American mound in Pecan Island, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, dating from about A.D. 900. It is a death figure, with ribs and vertebrae showing, and is regarded by archaeologists as one of the finest examples of Native American art from the Coles Creek period.
The Vermilion Historical Society website provides a wealth of information on the history of Vermilion Parish. It hosts an extensive collection of old photographs, essays, biographies, maps, and documents. The website also offers for sale the Society’s two extensive history books of the history of Vermilion Parish, and its miniature reproductions of some of Abbeville’s beautiful historic buildings.
The Giant Omelette Celebration is part of a sisterhood of cities around the world that celebrate the omelette annuallyBessires, France; Frjus, France; Dumbea, New Caladonia; Granby, Quebec; Malmdy, Belgium; and Abbeville, Louisiana. Abbeville’s Giant Omelette Celebration is part of a truly international festival.
According to legend, when Napolon and his army were traveling through the south of France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessires. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper that was such a culinary delight that he ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day.