Photograph from Carola Lillie Hartley Collection.
CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Some citizens of Opelousas today are descendants of New York orphans who came to Opelousas in the early 1900s. Known as the Orphan Train riders, the first children from New York of different cultural backgrounds arrived in Opelousas on April 5, 1907 and were adopted by area families.
Steven Sebastien (1901-1933) was one of the children on that first train, adopted by Josephine Emma and Aristide Sebastien. He is pictured in this photograph with his sister Agnes Sebastien (later Vidrine) for their First Holy Communion.
Steven Sebastien married Ada Dupre in October of 1930. Unfortunately, Steven has no descendants since his life came to a tragic end when he was shot and killed by Hursey Perrodin while leaving a holiday party in January of 1933.
Perrodin was charged with the murder and went to trial in November of that year. According to testimony at the trial, Perrodin was riding down the road on a horse with Walter Dupre behind him on the animal. They met up with Sebastien and an argument began. Perrodin took out his gun when the argument started and Dupre tried to keep him from shooting. The gun fell to the ground and while it was being recovered, a shot was fired. Perrodin retrieved the gun and shot Sebastien through the heart. He died at the scene.
The trial of Hursey Perrodin went on for some time with Perrodin claiming self-defense. When it was done, the jury found him not guilty. It is interesting to note that family members of Steven Sebastien said after the trial the argument between Sebastien and Perrodin was over a woman. For years following the trial, the Sebastien-Dupre family maintained the verdict was wrong, and not justice for Steven.