A bit of Opelousas History: Since the first newspaper made its appearance in Opelousas, the town had several others. In fact, so many newspapers opened and closed in Opelousas in its over two centuries of existence that it had a nickname. Opelousas was called the Graveyard of Newspapers.
The first newspaper in Opelousas was the Opelousas Gazette established by September 1827, and some say even as early as 1819. It operated until about 1852. The newspaper office was located on Court Street, with J. Keays as the first publisher, and Charles Thieneman as an editor. Thieneman also served as the Clerk of the Opelousas Board of Police. For many years, the Opelousas Gazette was the official journal of that governing body, printing all the Laws and Ordinances passed by the Board.
By 1837, George W. Addison was editor of the Gazette and later formed a partnership with Eugène Isidore (E. I.) Guégnon. Addison & Guégnon were the publishers until 1840 when Guégnon moved from Opelousas. Joel H. Sandoz joined Addison as publisher in 1843. During that year one of the printers of the paper was Bryant Hutchins, just 13 years old at that time. Hutchins worked there until 1849 when he left to work at another Opelousas paper. Addison & Sandoz continued to publish the Gazette until George Addison’s death in 1852.
Following Addison’s death, the Gazette was discontinued, and Sandoz began publishing the Opelousas Courier in December of 1852. On Friday, February 11, 1853, all the remaining property of the Opelousas Gazette was sold at public auction including the newspaper office building on Court Street and all the equipment.
The featured image above shows the Opelousas Gazette that was published on September 29, 1849.