Opelousas (ŏpəlōˈsəs) [key], city (1990 pop. 18,151), seat of St. Landry parish, S central La.; inc. 1821. Its industries are based chiefly on the agricultural products and livestock of the surrounding region. Oil and gas wells are nearby. Opelousas still retains some of its early French and Spanish flavor, and many antebellum structures remain. It was founded c.1765 by French traders and served (1863) as state capital for a period during the Civil War. James Bowie lived there; his house is a museum.