Did You Know Calcasieu Means Crying Eagle?
Have you ever wondered where some of the names we use in our area came from? Most of us have grown up in Southwest Louisiana and have either never questioned it or can't remember our Louisiana history.
I know I have heard the story of Calcasieu before, but I'm not sure if it really sunk in. I do know many of the names around here are from the Native American culture. For instance, the story of Natchitoches and Nacogdoches. These two names came from two brothers of a Caddo American chief. They lived on the banks of the Sabine River, and their father banished them to take up settlements in different locations. Which is why we now have these two cities in Texas and Louisiana. Of course, Texas tells the tale very differently than Louisiana. While this story have been passed down for generations, it is supposedly a tall tale, just don't tell Natchitoches that.
Calcasieu has an interesting history, as well. Many people have tried and failed, much to our amusement, at pronouncing our parish's name. The name Calcasieu actually comes from the word Quelqueshue, which translates into Crying Eagle. This was the Native American term for the Rio Hondo river that passed through Lake Charles, later renamed Quelqueshue. In 1781, a French couple named Martin and Dela Marion LeBleu decided to take up residency in what we know as LeBleu Settlement.
Charles Sallier, one of our area's first settlers, married the Leblue's daughter, Catherine, and they built their home on the beach, which is now Lake Charles. In 1860, it was rightfully named Charleston or Charles Town, in Sallier's honor.
Now for a pop quiz! How many of you can pronounce Tangipahoa or Tchefuncte correctly?