Abbeville (ăˈbēvĭl) [key], city (1990 pop. 11,187), seat of Vermilion parish, S La., on the Vermilion River, with access to the Intracoastal Waterway; inc. 1850. It is a trade and processing center for a region of rice and sugarcane fields. There is fishing for crawfish, alligator, and crab, as well as varied manufacturing. In Cajun country, Abbeville was settled (1843) by descendants of Acadians from Nova Scotia and was laid out like a French town. It grew around the Roman Catholic church (1845) and preserves much of the early atmosphere in its historic district. There is an Acadian history museum. The city and surrounding region suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005.