Daily World, Opelousas, LA – April 6, 1998
When the Cormiers meet in St. Landry Parish on April 18 to plan their reunion in conjunction with the CONGRÈS MONDIAL ACADIEN – LOUISIANE 1999, they will be taking a step back into a sad moment of their history.
After gathering at the Opelousas Public Library, 249 E. Grolee St., to plan for the future, they will go to Washington in search of a mass grave of their kin in an old cemetery there.
This morning, Ronald Cormier of New Iberia, contact for the La Famille Cormier Inc., said he was still not certain of the location but had been told the grave site was in an unkempt condition. “I believe they possibly died of yellow fever.” he said.
The Cormiers have a long tradition in St. Landry Parish, he said. Michel Cormier, one of the region’s first settlers, pioncered agriculture and eventually owned large tracts of land in the Grand Coteau area,
Like many of the original Acadians, Cormiers were widely dispersed along both sides of the Atlantic in the years following the Great Upheaval beginning in September of 1755. For instance, there is still a French-speaking settlement near Edinburgh, Scotland, where Cormiers have been instrumental in keeping alive a lively Celtic genre of music for more than 200 years.
Ronald Cormier notes that music has been particularly important to his family over the centuries here in Louisiane, too, the clan producing several noted performers. A Celtic music band based in the Canadian
province of British Columbia and led by a Cormier recently won national honors for that musical category, as reported by the Public Broadcasting System recently.