MORE LOUISIANA FAQ
Did you know that Highway 190 between Baton Rouge and Opelousas came about because of the efforts of one Opelousas woman?
Opelousas had many prominent citizens throughout its long history. Most of those documented were men. However, in the early 1900s and until the end of the 1940s decade, a local woman is credited as making a real difference in the community, the state and the nation. Her name was Susan Evangeline Walker Anding. And she was a marvel!
The oldest of six children, born in Opelousas, Louisiana on March 16, 1878, Susan was the daughter of Samuel R. Walker and Mary Elizabeth Boagni. Although her early records indicate her middle name as originally “Eliza,” she later changed it to “Evangeline,” the name of the fictional Acadian woman created by William Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem Evangeline published in 1847. Having no Acadian ancestors, Susan’s only connection to the Acadians was the circumstance of her birth. Born in South Louisiana she became very much a part of the Acadian Culture. Although she had no Acadian blood relatives, she was very proud of her middle name and the place of her birth, and devoted years of her life to the promotion of the Acadian Culture.
Susan married Allen Astor Anding and by 1900 the couple settled in a house on Union Street in Opelousas. There they raised five daughters and one son: Mamie (born in 1901), Eleanor (born in 1903), Susie (born in 1906), Constance (born in 1907), Pearl (born in 1909) and Allen (born in 1910).
Susan’s father, Samuel Walker, was a well respected notary public in Opelousas and from an early age, Susan became aware of civic affairs in the community. She was immediately involved in working for the betterment of Opelousas and in her early years was active in the church, school, civic, and social clubs of the time. Following her marriage to A. A. Anding she became more involved in affairs of the town. Her husband was a member of the Opelousas Progressive League and she became a charter member of the Opelousas Civic League when it was organized in March of 1907. She immediately began to work hard for her community and her state. Opelousas residents knew if they wanted something done in town, they could call on Susan.
She spearheaded many projects including the creation of the Louisiana Blood Bank, the state park in St. Martinville, and the Good Roads movement, which helped to develop the highway system not just in Louisiana, but around the United States. Read more about this marvel of a woman in the book Opelousas Tales.
Susan Evangeline Walker Anding (around the turn of the 20th Century)
Photo from the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center Susan Walker Anding Collection.