Louisiana Place Names
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.