Grand Coteau is a town in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,040 at the 2000 census. Grand Coteau is on Interstate 49 south of Opelousas and is part of the Opelousas–Eunice Micropolitan Statistical Area. The town is a center for local farming. , the mayor is Virginia Pierre.
The first known land grant by the colonial Louisiana government was in 1776 in the area referred to as Buzzard Prairie. In the early 19th century, Buzzard Prairie served as a stopping point for travelers between Washington, Louisiana and St. Martinville, Louisiana. The thriving community had two bakeries, a cobbler, millinery, and blacksmith shop, a post office, 6 bars and 9 brothels.
In 1821, Mrs. Charles Smith, widow of a wealthy planter in Opelousas, donated land, a two-story building, and funds to pay for the travel expenses of two nuns from St. Charles, Missouri. The two nuns of the Religious of the Sacred Heart founded a convent and a school that became the Academy of the Sacred Heart.
On October 3, 1863, the Campaign of the Teche was commenced. The Ninety-ninth infantry regiment of Illinois was in several skirmishes, and a detachment of the regiment, Captain A. C. Mathews commanding, was engaged in the Battle of Grand Coteau. On November 9, they moved on to New Orleans. Although thousands of Union troops were encamped in the fields surrounding the Academy during the Civil War, the school was not touched.
The Jesuits arrived in 1837 when St. Charles College was built. The settlement that grew up around the schools was called St. Charles Town before it was changed to Grand Coteau. Grand Coteau is derived from the French meaning "great hill".
In the 19th century the population of Grand Coteau grew with Afro-Americans, Free people of color, Acadian, Creole French, Irish, and German immigrants. The town retains examples of Victorian architecture from its mid-19th century boom.