The charter granted by the governor for a proclamation of incorporation called for a governing body composed of a mayor and three aldermen. The council was allowed to employ officers.
Members of the first council were Adophe Dugas as mayor, Arnold Bougeau, Arance Bacon and Simeon Vidrine as aldermen. Euclide Landreneau was named treasurer while Avey McCauley was marshall and tax collector. Simon B. Tate served as the town's first clerk. They met for the first time in February 1911 and the population of the town was approximately 250.
The first ordinance adopted by the new officials prohibited the carrying of concealed weapons by any person within the corporate city limits of the town. This included pistols, bowie knives, and any other dangerous weapons.
In 1911, the town officials purchased a lot for the purpose of erecting a city jail. A committee was appointed to meet with the parish school board in Ville Platte to discuss and set up ways and means by which the town could assist in the erection of a public school building in Mamou.
There are several stories about how the Town of Mamou got its name. One was from a legendary Indian, Chief Mamou. It is certain that the vast prairie was known as Mamou Prairie as far back as the 1700's. The Anglo-Americans first called it "Mammoth Prairie" [it was Mammouth in the article, which is in error because of its size. When the Frenchmen came, they called it "Mamou," short for "Mammoth."
There was strong competition between Mamou and Ville Platte for the parish seat. The result was the location of the parish seat in Ville Platte.
According to Robert Gahn Sr.'s book the The Opelousas Country, in 1909 the Southern Pacific Railroad built a branch line from Eunice to Mamou, making Mamou it terminal.
In the early 1900's, several enterprising young black men settled in Mamou. Joseph Celestine and son-in-law Arthur Thomas, and Mark Frank played an important role in education and business in the black community there.
Most of the black settlers worked on farms as laborers and share croppers.
Zan Matthew had the first dance hall in the black community, located where Zion Travelers Church is now.
In 1912, Mamou acquired its first bank; Evangeline Bank and Trust Company of Ville Platte. In 1914, a second bank, Farmer's Bank of Mamou was established where American Security Bank is now located. The bank was absorbed in 1924 by Evangeline Bank. In the early 1950's, Guaranty Bank of Mamou was established as a home-owned bank. Citizen's Bank opened a branch office in Mamou in 1977 and American Security opened its branch in 1983.
Mamou obtained telephone service in 1910 from the Louisiana Telephone Service. Telegraph service was extended from Ville Platte to Mamou in 1911 after the Rock Island Railroad was built in 1911.
According to Mr. Revon Reed, the first school was built in 1911 and Victor Dupuis was the first principal. The two-room frame building was located in a curve off Hwy. 13 near Reddell. It was for students through the 11th grade. Pupils in the first grade ranged from 6-16 years old. The school met the requirements for state high school approval in 1916.
Mr. Revon Reed taught school in Mamou for over 20 years. His uncle, Dominick Reed, also taught school there. Dominick was one of the first graduates from the school. Ella Mae Boutte was another.
In 1924 Mamou High School and Elementary School were built. F.V. Launey was the first principal at the new school. He later became superintendent of the parish. Robert Gahn Sr. was then appointed principal in 1925 until his retirement in 1958.
The high school principals over the years included: Victor Dupuis (1914-15), F.V. Launey (1915-25), Robert Gahn Sr. (1925-58), Dan LaHaye (1958-71), Robert Dogia (1972-84) and Denny Guillory (1984-present).
In the early 1920's Mamou began to grow as it contained such businesses as doctors, a dentist, an attorney, a rice mill, hardware stores, drugstores, general merchandise stores, a car dealership, implement dealer, two railroads, two banks and a large warehouse extending to each railroad. The population then is believed to have been 603.
In 1921, The Evangeline True Democrat, the first newspaper in the town, was published in Mamou. Felix Pierrotti was editor of the publication. The newspaper in the small town was used to boost the town and its area in competition with the Ville Platte newspaper, the first in the parish.
Waterworks were acquired in 1922 and electricity in 1926. Gas was piped to the town in 1938.
When the depression came in the 1930's it wiped out everything.
In the 1950's a new growth came about. A bank was reorganized, a new Catholic Church was built, along with several other churches, a hospital was built, three drugstores, two rice mills, a large rice dryer and elevators, and various other stores as well.
Mayors during the first 50 years (1911-51) were Euclide Landreneau, James Hamilton Seiley, Dixie Tate, O.L. Fuselier, Simeo Vidrine, George Piersall, Y.E. Stagg, Phillip LaHaye, Frank Savoy Sr., White Fusilier, J.C. Duplechin, Simon Tate, Davis Bertrand, Charles Landreneau, Oxeme Fontenot, and J.S. Guillory.
Calvin Landreneau was mayor of the town from 1962-69. He was succeeded by Dr. B.J. Manuel in 1970. Manuel remained mayor until 1980 and was succeeded by Frank Peter Savoy III (1981-85). Clayton McGee served as mayor form 1985-86. Warren Pierrotti, who is presently serving as mayor, took over the duties in 1987.
First Justices of the Peace were Neville "June" Guillory, John Reed and Edovic Rougeau.
Two doctors served the vast prairie in the early days: Dr. T.A. Guillory and Dr. E.D. Conway. Dr. Frank Savoy Sr. began practicing in Mamou in 1920.
The third oldest Catholic Church in the parish is located in Mamou. Father August Viel was appointed pastor of St. Ann's Church in 1914. A new Catholic Church and rectory were built in the 50's.
There were always social events in the town. In the early days there were bal de maison (house dances). These evolved into Fais do-dos and were held at local dance halls. Today the Town of Mamou is well known for its Music Festival in June. The music festival, which began in 1974, sponsored by the Cajun Music Festival Association.
The annual Mardi Gras celebration is called le Courir de Mardi Gras a Cheval (The Mardi Gras Run on Horseback). Men and boys ride horseback or in wagons into the countryside for miles collecting chickens and rice for the evening gumbo. The Mardi Gras in the area dates back to before the Civil War. It wasn't held for many years, but was reorganized in 1953 by Paul Tate, Sr.
Several years ago Mamou was designated as the "Cajun Music Capital of the World." The town is also nationally known for its famous "Fred's Lounge."
A city park in the town was also developed in the early 1950's.
Mamou's second news paper, The Mamou Acadian Press was established in 1955 and is still serving as the town's newspaper today under the editorship of Miss Candace Riley. Other employees as the weekly publication are Leisa Deshotel as advertising representative and Gwen Landreneau as receptionist. The Mamou Acadian Press began as a bilingual newspaper under the editorship of Revon Reed. Mike Deshotels was publisher. The paper ran a number of French columns with the English interpretation as well. Although no longer bilingual, the newspaper remains an integral part of the community.
The Mamou Acadian Press Plus, an advertising supplement to The Mamou Acadian Press began publication in November 1988 and is delivered to residents in central Evangeline Parish.
Mamou - Cajun Music Capital