Located on Hwy. 10, between Melville and Hwy. 71, the Village of Palmetto was renamed after the plentiful plants that grow in the area when its previous name had already been used at another town along the Texas & Pacific Railroad. Before a new sign could be made for the train depot, fronds of a palmetto plant were nailed to the building to distinguish it.
The T & P Railroad brought prosperity and commerce to the town, and the spirit of early Palmetto is still felt through the community’s general store, which has been open since the 1930s.
Now, the sleepy town heralds a mindset of small-town values and guided growth with a desire to preserve the historical, cultural, and natural heritage of the area. A tranquil bike path follows the railroad shaded by trees lining the village’s main street.
The location was originally called the Petite Prairie after the bayou that flows through it. From 1874-1897 the Catholic community in the area was served by a priest who came from the nearby steamboat town of Washington, but in 1897 the Josephite Fathers assumed responsibility for ministry in the area and henceforth the place was named Lebeau after its first pastor, Father Oscar Pierre Lebeau, SSJ.
This quiet stretch of Highway 71 boasts a restaurant/grocery store, Stelly’s Restaurant, and is the hometown of zydeco legend “Rockin'” Sidney Simien. He’s not the only one of zydeco fame to hail from this unsuspecting town. Stephen Rideau or “Step” Rideau as he is widely known is also a Lebeau native, growing up surrounded by Creole and zydeco culture.
The first Saturday of July, thousands head to this town for its Annual Zydeco Festival, a fundraiser for the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.