Women from across the community banded together to form The Women of Breaux Bridge, specifically to honor Scholastique and to see that she is properly remembered for her contributions to the community.
Beginning in 1995, the women solicited contributions at $100 per donor and the name of each woman was inscribed on a bronze plaque that is at the back of the statue. There are more than 300 names on that list.
Scholastique was married to Agricole Breaux, whose father, Firmin, built the first foot bridge across Bayou Teche in 1799. In 1817, Agricole rebuilt it to accommodate horses and wagons.
Nonetheless, when he died in 1828, Scholastique, then only 32 years old, was left in dire straits. Like many of the people of the time, she was “land rich and money poor.” There were five children to rear.
To remedy the situation, she had a Plan de la Ville du Pont des Breaux drawn up and proceeded to sell lots from the land that she had inherited from Agricole. The detailed drawing included streets, a school building, plots for homes and businesses, and, of course, the bridge.
Lafayette sculptor Celia Soper was commissoned to create the life-sized statue of Scholastique. She didn’t know until she began research looking for hints of what Scholastique might have looked like – there were no photos or other images to go by – that she herself was a great-great-grandaughter of the founder. She created the likeness from a composite of her own family members, particularly using her own daughter – Scholastique’s great-great-great-grandaughter – as a model.
At the time of the unveiling an editorial by Bob Hamm in the Lafayette Advertiser suggested that the real woman Scholastique should be regarded as a symbol equally as powerful as the fictional Acadian heroine Evangeline, created by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
“Longfellow’s Evangeline will always be a symbol of the heartbreak and suffering that was part of the Acadian expulsion from Nova Scotia,” he wrote. “Now, however, we have been given an Acadian heroine whose life symbolizes not the pain and suffering but the incredible fortitude and resilience of the Acadians. Scholastique Breaux possessed qualities with which the poet did not endow Evangeline. In this remarkable woman were those characteristics of the Acadians that allowed them not only to endure the hardships of the brutal expulsion, but also to prevail in a strange and often hostile land.”