Indians in the area probably originally included the Pascagoulas, Caddoans of the Northern hill country and Avoyel Indians from the prairie to the east. Avoyel Indians were referred to as "little Taensas" by Iberville, and the two were of the same linguistic tribe. With the coming of the Europeans, Indians in the area around the rapids were pushed westward and replaced by the other Indians pushed from points further east. Finally, only clusters of Indians in small villages stayed around the curves of the Bayou Boeuf and along Indian Creek or in the vicinity of Glenmora until they too moved out of the area sometime during the early years of the nineteenth century.

Swanton, an authority on the subject wrote about the Pascagoulas in the only one of the bits of history to be found regarding these first Louisiana inhabitants:

In 1795 the Baron de Carondelet desired that the Pascagoula should be assembled, elect a chief and form a new village on Catahoula Bayou, but instead they determined to move to Bayou Boeuf and settled on the Choctaw land there the same year. Land was granted them by a body of Choctaw who had been the first to make this bayou their home. Just below them were the Bilowx, who had preceded them by a year or two. Early in the nineteenth century the Pascagoula and Biloxi sold their lands to Miller and Fulton two of the early settlers of Rapides Parish and the sale was confirmed May 4, 1805. The Pascagoula signers were the chiefs, Big Bread, LaCulotte, Ajadonah, Cosauh Ningo, and Big Head. At that time the two tribes and the Choctaw near them numbered 'not less than 500 souls'.
Sibley, writing at about this time but basing his statements on information gathered prior to 1798, has this to say of them:
Pascagoulas live in a small village on Red River, about 60 miles below Natchitoches; are emigrants from Pascagola river in west Florida; 25 men of them only remaining; speak Mobilian, but have a language peculiar to themselves; most of them speak and understand French. They raise good crops of corn and garden vegetables; have cattle horses and poultry plenty. Their horses are much like (those of) the poorer kind of French inhabitants on the river and (they) appear to live about as well.

Missionaries came sporadically among the Indians of Rapides as early as the late seventeenth century, during the eighteenth century from time to time, and converted enough to Catholicism that a small chapel built for them may well have been the first public construction at the site as early as 1723.

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