The journey for the author began in 1960 when he, a Houston native married and moved to Maurice. As for many who have found themselves transplanted into Vermilion Parish it was the beginning of a love story with the area.
“I started reading the Meridional looking for different types of medicines that were advertised,” Dupuy stated.
A bottle collector, he was always on the look out for unique designs. Through the newspaper and other sources, several different people were brought to his attention from a historical perspective and that started a 38 year trek to learn, collect and compile information about the interesting historical characters that specifically made up the history of Abbeville.
Over the years, the Abbeville Meridional served as a vital source to his research and he spent many hours at the UL library looking at microfilm and taking notes by hand.
In addition to the newspaper accounts, Dupuy was allowed to view and take notes on two personal diaries of local residents. His home boasts two full file cabinets with these notes today which eventually became the book.
Many of the people and places are known to life-long residents of the area, but are presented in a unique voice, one of an informal introduction that could only come from Dupuy.
While under the management of Publisher Mike Hebert, Dupuy started writing historical submissions for the Meridional.
“I didn’t even stop to think if that was a good thing or a bad thing at the time. I wasn’t sure how they would be accepted,” he said.
The articles were published for a great length of time and Dupuy said one of his greatest pleasures has been when a stranger would walk up to him on the street and tell him how much they liked his articles.
“I’m so happy that the articles that appeared in the Meridional were so well received because they started the writing process.”
Naturally all of the topics in the book are of interest to Dupuy, but he said that the unique founding of Abbeville by a priest was one of his favorites. He also recounted a story about two men, one a sheriff and one a State Representative in the late 1900s who served together in the Civil War and were good friends that ended up in a dual on the streets of Abbeville. It was a true tale of anger flares, harsh words and the eventual death of one of the men.
Historic photos accompany the many tales that shaped the land.
Dupuy likes to equate Abbeville in the early days to that of a western town.
“There were wooden sidewalks, dirt streets and every house had to have a fence around it because of the cattle drives.”
He said he often wonders what brought all of these diverse and very colorful people here of all places.
Besides history, Ken is an avid pool player and his team is going to compete soon in Las Vegas.
The publication was printed by the Vermilion Parish Historical Society and is available at the Abbeville Alliance Center, the Depot, at Gary Theall’s office and online.
The volume can be purchased at the price of $40.00 with additional cost for shipping if it is ordered off of the internet.
Gary Theall of the Vermilion Parish Historical Society said, “It is a beautiful book that anyone with a connection to Abbeville should be proud to own. Ken details the early history of Abbeville from its beginning and dispels many myths along the way.”
The Vermilion Historical Society Website is http://www.vermilionhistorical.com