Inducted on November 27, 2019
The daughter of Dr. Arthur Jackson (Dr. Jack) Perrault and Aline Castille, Estelle M. Perrault was born on June 20, 1925 in Opelousas. The Perrault and Castille families were deep rooted in the Opelousas and St. Landry Parish area of Louisiana. Dr. Jack, her father, was a well-respected dentist who also served the community as its mayor for three terms during the 1920s. Her mother Aline was a well-known community educator who taught in Opelousas schools for 28 years. She was also a community volunteer who served the town until her death in 2006 at the age of 101.
After spending her childhood in the town she always called “wonderful,” Estelle graduated from high school and enrolled into the Southwestern Louisiana Institute in Lafayette, LA (now University of Louisiana – Lafayette) where she was nominated as “outstanding freshman” in 1943. She also attended the American Youth Foundation Camp in Michigan. She later attended Tulane University in New Orleans, receiving a Master’s Degree in chemistry from that school.
Estelle taught chemistry at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for thirteen years and introduced chemistry into the nursing program there. She also instituted a course called physical science, which combined chemistry, geology, physics, astronomy and meteorology. She was one of the founding administrators of Louisiana State University at Eunice, LA, where she taught for 11 years, and also served as Vice President of Administration at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. She worked as assistant director for the board of the regional college system in Baton Rouge, LA and taught Louisiana history. From 1984 to 1990, she was principal of Cherry Street Academy in Opelousas.
Besides working as an educator, Estelle was also involved in many clubs and organizations through the years in her hometown and other Louisiana towns. She was a member of Pilot International for 30 years, serving on that club’s international board and became governor of the club’s Louisiana and Mississippi districts.
She served as president of the Opelousas Little Theater for ten years. She served on the original library board and is now the current president of the Opelousas-Eunice Pubic Library board. She served on the board of the Opelousas Museum of Art and the board of the St. Landry Parish Preservation Society. Since 1950, she has been a member of Les Dames d’Etudes, a women’s federated club started in 1945. She also served as chairperson of the Myrtle Grove Cemetery Board for the City of Opelousas.
Estelle received numerous award over the years including the James O. Modisette award for outstanding library trustee in 2012 and Phi Kappa Phi recognition for academic and scholastic excellence. In 2004, Estelle was selected to receive the Citizen of Year Award by the Opelousas-St. Landry Chamber of Commerce.
Starting at an early age, Estelle had an interest in history and genealogy and has traced her family as far back as 225 BC. To share this passion with others, she founded the Imperial St. Landry Genealogical and Historical Society in 1992, and has served as its president since that time. In that role, she is willing to share her knowledge and information with others, helping them on their journey to discover their own family tree.
After a successful career, Estelle Perrault returned to the place of her birth to live out the remainder of her life, working hard to better the town and the parish. She remains active in the community in many ways, still devoted to Opelousas, the place she has always called “home.”