Scholastique Picou Breaux founded our wonderful city when she was just 33 years old. A determined Acadian woman, Scholastique drew up Plan de la Ville Du Pont des Breaux, the plan for the Village of Breaux Bridge, a plan which included land for a school and a church, a diagram of streets, and a detailed map of the area, including her late husband’s bridge. She then proceeded to sell lots, resulting in Breaux Bridge’s founding date of August 5, 1829.
Scholastique was born Scholastique Melanie Picou on July 25, 1796. She married young, had five children, then at the age of 32 became a widow. It is assumed that financial troubles motivated her to begin developing the Village of Breaux Bridge, for once she had a plan, she could then sell lots. After founding Breaux Bridge, Scholastique remarried and became the mother of two more children.
Erecting the statue of Scholastique that embellishes City Parc was a labor of love and an example of community spirit. A multigenerational and multiracial group of women from all walks of life came together to form The Women of Breaux Bridge, a group whose sole purpose was to honor Scholastique as the founder of our city. They solicited donors at $100 per donor. In exchange for the donation, the name of a woman was placed on the bronze plaque located Scholastique Picou Breauxon the wall behind the statue. Some women contributed to have their names on the wall, but other contributors listed female ancestors, daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, granddaughters, and maids. After over three hundred donors came forth, the Women of Breaux Bridge commissioned Celia Guilbeau Soper with sculpting a life-size bronze statue of Scholastique.
Celia, who had ancestors from Breaux Bridge, had been chosen because of her artistic abilities, but once she started researching her subject’s family tree she made an amazing discovery, her grandmother’s name. Celia soon realized that she was Scholastique’s great great granddaughter! And Celia’s connection to Scholastique does not end there. She also happens to share the birth date of July 25th with her great great grandmother.
Since no pictures of Scholastique emerged during the research, Celia’s daughter, Scholastique’s great great great granddaughter, became the model for the statue. With help from Breaux Bridge resident and Acadian textiles expert Audrey Bernard, it was determined that Scholastique wore what was common for her time, a handwoven skirt, chemise and shawl.
Our bronze Scholastique stands surveying her beloved community, with worn boots perched upon a log and the plan the developed grasped in her hand.
An editorial by Bob Hamm in The Daily Advertiser suggested that Scholastique was a symbol of life in Louisiana after the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia. An excerpt from the editorial reads:
“Longfellow’s Evangeline will always be a symbol of the heartbreak and suffering that was part of the Acadian expulsion form Nova Scotia. Now, however, we have been given an Acadian heroine whose life symbolizes, not the pain and suffering, but the incredible fortitude and resilience of the Acadians. Scholastique Breaux possessed qualities with which the poet did not endow Evangeline. In this remarkable woman were those characteristics of the Acadians that allowed them not only to endure the hardships of the brutal expulsion, but also to prevail in a strange and often hostile land.
The story of Scholastique Breaux speaks of the unflagging determination and indomitable courage of the Acadians. . . Scholastique symbolizes the Acadians of Louisiana, . . .”