Alcée Fortier was born on June 5, 1856, in Saint James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Florent-Louis Fortier, and Edwige Aimc. His father and grandfathers were sugar cane planters of French Creole ancestry. The Fortier family had been in the Louisiana territory since the early 17th century. His maternal grandfather was Valcour Aime, who also had a sugar cane plantation in St. James Parish. The families were prominent in the social and political life of the parish and the state.