St. Landry Clarion

St. Landry Parish

The St. Landry Clarion was founded in 1890 in Opelousas, an important town on the so-called “Cajun Prairie” of south-central Louisiana. Established in 1720 as a French trading post, Opelousas developed into a regional cattle and farming center. A railroad line constructed in 1880 stimulated agricultural activity. Lumber also became an important local industry with the founding of the St. Landry Lumber Company in 1888. By 1910, the town’s population had grown to about 4,000. With boosterism typical of the time, the St. Landry Clarion asserted in 1908 that Opelousas “has taken a new lease on life… Progress is written all over town.”

Published under the motto “Here shall the press the people’s rights maintain, unawed by influence and unbribed by gain,” the Clarion was originally a four-page weekly. Democratic in politics, it opposed the Louisiana Lottery, a revenue-raising scheme widely regarded as a corrupting influence on state government. It also supported the Farmers’ Alliance and published the proceedings of the local farmers’ union. Edited for many years by Raymond Breaux, the paper’s reporting was a mix of local, national, and international news. For a brief period in the 1890s, one page was printed in French. In the early 1900s, the Clarion’s fiction section was reduced in favor of increased local reporting on topics such as the south Louisiana oil and gas boom and immigration to the region; at the same time, the paper was expanded to eight pages. Reporting on other topics included the Good Roads movement, the effect of World War I on local life, and news from nearby Grand Coteau, site of the Academy of the Sacred Heart, a well-known Catholic girls’ school.

In 1921, the St. Landry Clarion was consolidated with the Star-Progress to form the Clarion-Progress.