The village of Saint-Louis-de-Kent, founded by Joseph Babineau in 1797, is located in southeastern New Brunswick along the Acadian Coastal Drive. Often simply called Saint-Louis, the village lies on the Kouchibouguacis River near the main entrance to Kouchibouguac National Park.
Saint-Louis is known as the “Cradle of the Acadian Flag”. This site, at the corner of Principale Street (Route 134) and Côté Nord Road, marks the location of the first church and presbytery in Saint-Louis-de-Kent. The well-maintained grounds feature monuments that highlight the site’s historical value, particularly its connection to Msgr. Marcel-François Richard and Acadia. Msgr. Richard, a prominent Acadian nationalist and defender of Acadian rights in the 19th century, was instrumental in preserving and promoting the French language and Acadian culture throughout the region.
Born in Saint-Louis-de-Kent in 1847 (died in 1915), Msgr. Richard attended the village school before leaving to further his studies. He returned in 1870 as curate and became parish priest the following year. He oversaw the construction of numerous churches, convents, presbyteries, a monastery, and around fifty schools. While living in Saint-Louis-de-Kent, he participated in the Acadian National Conventions.
At the first convention in Memramcook in 1881, he proposed August 15 as National Acadian Day. At the second convention in Miscouche in 1884, he introduced the current Acadian flag, which was sewn by Marie Babineau, a woman from Saint-Louis-de-Kent. At the same convention, he proposed Ave Maris Stella as the Acadian national anthem. In September 2005, Msgr. Richard was designated a national historic person.
The Grotto and Calvary, located in the heart of Saint-Louis-de-Kent on the hillside along the south bank of the Kouchibouguacis River, serve as a pilgrimage and gathering site. Since 1878 and 1882 respectively, the Grotto and Calvary have been places of pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the Acadians. Annual events, such as Corpus Christi in June, the Feast of St. Anne on July 26, and the Feast of the Assumption on August 15, often involve processions or masses near the Grotto. The site features monuments, original statues, and stone walls, and was chosen for the raising of the Acadian flag during the first Acadian World Congress in 1994.
Another historic attraction is the Former Railway Station, built around 1885. The station served Saint-Louis-de-Kent from 1885 to 1900, with the Kent Northern Railway connecting the village to Richibucto. Many of the building’s original indoor and outdoor features have been preserved.
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