Carencro is a small city in Lafayette Parish, United States. It is a suburb of the nearby city of Lafayette; the population was 7,526 at the 2010 census, up from 6,120 in 2000. Its name is derived from the Cajun French word for buzzard: the spot where the community was settled was one where large flocks of buzzards roosted in the bald cypress trees; the name means "carrion crow." Carencro is part of the Lafayette Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many senior Carencro natives attest that the town's name originates from before the American Civil War. According to this local legend, Native Americans told Vermilionville settlers that in old times a large number of "carrion crows" had settled around the Vermilion River between Lafayette and Opelousas, Louisiana to feast on a fish die-off. There is a related theory, consistent with the spelling, that the place is named for the carencro tête rouge, a red-headed buzzard referred to by European explorers as early as 1699, described in 1774 by Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz.
Du Pratz described the bird as having a head covered with red flesh. He said the Spanish government protected the birds, "for as they do not use the whole carcass of the buffaloes which kill, those birds eat what they leave, which otherwise, by rotting on the ground, would... infect the air." In a letter written on April 23, 1802, Martin Duralde, a former commandant of the Opelousas post, related the legend as it had come down from an Attakapas Indian. Duralde wrote: "Many years before the discovery of the elephant in the bayou called Carancro an Attakapas savage had informed a man, at present in my service in the capacity of cow-herd that the ancestors of his nation transmitted to their descendants that a beast of enormous size had perished either in this bayou or in one of the two water courses a short distance from it without their being able to indicate the true place, the antiquity of the event having without doubt made them forget it." A late 19th-century account stated. Its fossilized bones were discovered and collected by a French naturalist in the 18th century and shipped to the Jardin des Plantes of Paris, but the ship was wrecked on the way, the bones were lost at sea.
The only relic of the mastodon was a femur or leg bone, kept by an early settler, the first Guilbeau. He used it as a pestle to bruise indigo for processing, a crop cultivated in the Attakapas Indian country; the Indians termed. First called St. Pierre, in the late 19th century, the town was renamed Carencro, after the "carrion crow" legend. Although Carencro's current town center lies well west of the Vermilion River, this legend has permanence within the community; some people think that the name comes from the Spanish carnero, meaning "bone pile." This idea comes from the mastodon legend, the idea that the buzzards left nothing but a pile of white bones after they had picked the mastodon clean. Few European people settled in the Carencro area until the coming of the Acadian refugees in the 18th century; some of the Acadians transported in 1765 to the Attakapas district were given lands along Bayou Carencro, although not in what is now the town of Carencro. At that time and Marin Mouton, Charles Peck, Louis Pierre Arceneaux and others began to establish vacheries in the vicinity.
More cattlemen would follow after 1770, when Spanish Gov. Alejandro O'Reilly decreed that "a grant of 42 arpents in front by 42 in depth could be issued only to those who owned 100 head of tame cattle, some sheep and horses, two slaves to oversee them." In 1769, Juan Kelly and Eduardo Nugent toured the area for the government and reported to O'Reilly that "the inhabitants maintain everything imaginable in the way of livestock, such as cows and sheep." A Frenchman named Lyonnet, visiting in 1793, found thousands of cattle on the Attakapas and Opelousas prairies. Jean and Marin Mouton were among the early settlers on Bayou Carencro. Other early settlers in the Carencro area were Charles Peck, Traveille Bernard, Rosamond Breaux, Ovignar Arceneaux, the Babineaux family. An 1803 census of the Carencro area listed family names including Arceneaux, Benoit, Breaux, Caruthers, Cormier, Guilbeaux, Hébert, Holway, LeBlanc, Melançon, Mouton, Prejean, Roger, St. Julien and Thibodeaux; the first post office in Carencro was established on January 11, 1872, with Auguste Melchior as postmaster.
The telegraph line reached there in 1884. The first telephones were installed by the Teche and Vermilion Telephone Line in 1894; the company was headquartered in New Iberia. According to Roger Baudier's history of the Catholic Church of Louisiana, the Carencro area was first served from Grand Coteau, Louisiana from Vermilionville, from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; the parish of St. Peter was established in 1874 and the archdiocese sent Father Andre Marie Guillot as its first pastor; the church was at first called St. Pierre au Carencro, named for Pierre Cormier, who donated land for the first church. Before a church was established at Carencro, services were held in the Carmouche blacksmith shop. Father Guillot died of yellow fever while was buried in the church cemetery. According to Baudier, " successor was Father J. F Suriray. Trouble with the pa
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