Carola Lillie Hartley

© Flavia Alaya


Louisiana native Carola Lillie Hartley has written many published works, including books on Opelousas and Louisiana history. She has spent over 40 years in community development and historic preservation, discovering and celebrating cities in states from Louisiana to Kentucky to New Jersey, yet Opelousas still holds her heart. She’s presented programs at local, state, regional, and national conferences, written history articles for her hometown newspaper, and is now the publisher of the St. Landry Now online newspaper.





Noon to 1:00 p.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 4
Louisiana Towns and Parishes: Opelousas, Plaquemine, Cameron Parish, and West Baton Rouge Parish
with Tom Acosta, Carola Lillie Harley, Stella Carline Tanoos, Andrew Edward Tingler, and moderator Katie Parry

1:15 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Booksellers
Book Signing


Opelousas, one of Louisiana's oldest European settlements, takes its name from the Opelousas tribe, who roamed the area for years before the first French explorers arrived.

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the community was called Opelousas Church until it was officially incorporated as a town in 1821. Known for its hospitality, music, cuisine, and cultural diversity, Opelousas prospered during antebellum times, survived the Civil War, and suffered through the period of Reconstruction. In the late 1870s, the town again began to flourish with an increasing population and a great number of new businesses. The coming of the railroad in the 1880s led to more economic development, and Opelousas grew to be one of the most progressive towns in the state by the turn of the 20th century. In the 21st century, Opelousas is again seeing a revival of its past glory and continues to be the seat of Imperial St. Landry Parish, a title it has held for over 200 years.

Carola Lillie Hartley, a native of Opelousas, has worked for the city as tourism director and in 1993 became the first Opelousas Main Street director. A community activist and local historian for over 50 years, she has written numerous books and articles about Opelousas, including a weekly column titled Parlons Opelousas for the Daily World newspaper, part of the USA network.


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