Sunday, October 23, 2005

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Disaster Strikes Acadian Museum

Disaster Strikes Acadian Museum (photos)
The Acadian Museum of Erath and its annex on Lake Pigneur was flooded by waters from Hurricane Rita. On Sunday September 25, 2005, the US Marines provided the man power and use of their truck to enter the floodwaters covering town of Erath, the Erath Fire Deptartment , with the help of Erath Mayor George Dupuis, and Erath Chief of Police Steve Peltier (and some good Samaritans), museum directors Warren Perrin, Mary Perrin and Jean Ouellet led an effort that successfully "rescued" the priceless Queen's Royal Proclamation, whereby Queen Elizabeth for the first time in history acknowledged the wrongs done to the Acadian people during the Acadian Deportation in 1755. Along with removing the Proclamation, the rescue effort managed to also save a truck load of museum artifacts, including priceless photographs, clothing, materials and maps from the Acadian Museum of Erath. The artifacts and materials are safely stored in the Lafayette home of Warren and Mary Perrin where they are being dehumidified under the direction of the Louisiana State Archive's, including Director Dr. Florent Hardy and Doug Harrison and UL Art Museum's Joyce Penn. Photographs of the rescue are on the Acadian Museum website. Museum employees and directors are making futher arrangements to continue retriving and preserving the remaining materials which are threathened by exposure to the elements exposure to heat and dampness, both which promote the growth of mold and mildew.. Maintaince Suprivisor of the museum, Ron Miguez, is organizing the effort to remove the water, debris and sediment form the building. Anyone wishing to volunteer with the preservation efforts are asked to call Darylin Barrousse at 337-237-8500.

Monday, October 03, 2005

From Warren Perrin in Erath

Good to hear from you. DL was lucky not to have water in his house; it came within 2 inches. We had major damage in the Acadian Museum--loss about 2000 books and files etc. The French Ambassador to the US came for a visit on Sat. We are seeking donations. There were stories in the Morning Advocate (Sept. 29th "Erath, Delcanbre..") and Sunday's Advertiser (Recusing pieces of Acadian's past) about the US Marines helping us save the most impt. materials. Visit our web site and you will be able to find out more info. to send to your friends and readers. It should be on the site in a day or so.

Warren A. Perrin

Some Rita pictures from SW Louisiana

Josh LeBlanc has pictures of the flooding in Vermilion Parish.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

"In Vermilion Parish, they didn't wait for the cavalry"

Cajuns roll up sleeves, hustle to save their lifeblood.
So, as Hurricane Rita turned homes into swamps, roads into waterways and fences into memories, the cattlemen and rice growers, oil workers and alligator farmers of Vermilion Parish didn't need government to tell them what to do: They launched rescue boats from front yards and high-water trucks to pull their neighbors to safety.

And as the tidal surge receded, they advanced, using airboats, trucks and horses to round up thousands of stranded, loose cows and bulls, fighting to keep the livestock – their livelihood – from plunging off the high road into submerged sidetracks.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Erath by Boot

Flood waters can't dampen the spirits of Erath's own.

DL snuck out the back door

Times of Acadiana reports that D.L. Menard is doing fine.
Hurricane Rita couldn't stop D.L. Menard. Erath's most famous resident, whose face is on the town mural, waited out the storm in Scott. Despite water in his house, Menard was in his usual good spirits the Monday afterwards.

Parish by parish summary - NEWS FROM LOUISIANA

Governor decries 'red tape' in visit of towns hit by Rita

More on Blanco's visit
The Federal Emergency Management Agency was not a topic of polite conversation among local officials.

"My new four-letter word is FEMA," said state Sen. Nick Gautreaux, D-Abbeville, who was traveling with the governor.

Iberia Parish President Will Langlinais said the federal agency had initially not granted a disaster designation for Iberia Parish, where hundreds of homes were flooded, and instead declared a disaster in Iberville Parish, which suffered minimal damage.

"FEMA had us confused with Iberville Parish," said a clearly exasperated Langlinais. "It shouldn't take this long to respond to people in need."

"We need help"

Governor Blanco visits Erath.
LeBlanc and other Erath residents were frustrated by not having Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in town and only a small presence from the American Red Cross. National Guard soldiers dropped food, water and ice in the town, but mostly local volunteers distributed it.

Friday, September 30, 2005

"Man bites hurricane"

Michael Graham at "Jewish World Review" writes of differences between Katrina and Rita aftermath, and between folks in SE Louisiana and those in SW. Not sure I would agree entirely, but there are some striking differences in the ways people have responded.

Other comments on the piece here. - Marshfield Mariner - Arts & Lifestyle

Winslow House symposium tells Acadians' story
The Province of Massachusetts Bay led the charge to remove the Acadians from what was now known as Nova Scotia (New Scotland) in 1755.

The Patriot Ledger at

Exiled: 250 years after Acadian 'derangement'; Symposium to explore 1755 deportation.
Winslow remains a controversial figure. Schmidt says his diaries suggest that he didn't relish the project, and did what he could to keep families and hamlets on the same ships, despite frenzied boarding.

Faragher sees a different man in the journal entries - an ambitious officer who wanted to impress the British high command in London, in hopes of securing a prestigious wartime appointment. He says Winslow also acted as an informal real-estate broker for land-hungry Yankees.

‘‘He does express some discomfort, but he was enthusiastic about that assignment,'' Faragher said. ‘‘He was one of the perpetrators.''

Expulsion of Acadians examined - The Boston Globe

Expulsion of Acadians examined - General Winslow played key role.
In recognition of the 250th anniversary of the expulsion of the French Acadians from Nova Scotia, the Isaac Winslow House, at 634 Careswell St., Marshfield, is hosting a daylong symposium Saturday titled ''Beyond Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline: The Acadian Odyssey and the Role of New England." Eight historians who have studied various aspects of the Acadians and their expulsion will take part in the symposium.

Damage at Erath Acadian Museum News - Vermilion mops up after flooding 09/29/05:
A block over at the Acadian Museum, founder Warren Perrin pulled out stacks of Cajun history books, maps and stacks of files with names like 'Truman Visits Abbeville Photographs,' 'Vermilion Parish Railroads,' and 'Thibodeaux Family Genealogy.'

All were stacked in a heap behind the museum, destined for the trash. Perrin said everything within 15 inches of the floor was soaked.

'They weren't letting anyone in on Sunday, but we managed to get in with the help of the Marines,' Perrin said. 'They gave us an hour. We got a truckload of the rarest items.'
Perrin said he trudged through about 6 inches of mud and grabbed most of the Acadian textiles held by the museum 'and as many of the original maps that we could carry.'

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

In Rita's Path

In Rita's Path -- photos at LA Times.


Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Erath.

Hurricane photos from SW Louisiana

Hurricane photos from throughout SW Louisiana.

A watery search in Cajun country

Worldandnation: A watery search in Cajun country

'Whole communities are gone' in Louisiana

'Whole communities are gone' in Louisiana--including mention of Erath.

Townspeople survive - but not the towns

Townspeople survive - but not the towns

Rebuilding after Rita

Globe and Mail on the commitment to rebuild in SW Louisiana. One feature, Holly Beach (the "Cajun Riviera") has been wiped out: "Holly Beach is no longer there. The only structure left there is the water tower. Holly Beach is now just a sand flat." -- New Orleans And Houston (NOAH) Employment and Relocation Aid for Musicians Displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Zachary Richard on Katrina

Zachary Richard - Monthly Report - 2005, on devastation caused by Katrina.

Mud invades homes in Delcambre, Erath

Mud invades homes in Delcambre, Erath. Erath was the location of the LeBlanc Reunion during the 1999 Congres Mondial Acadien.

"Washing away the Cajun culture"? Washing away the Cajun culture. Too pessimistic. If Acadians survived Le Grand Derangement, those in Louisiana will survive a hurricane. This is hardly the first.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Madawaska Acadians

Acadians in Maine, Louisiana renew bond.

September 5, 1755

Today is the 250th anniversary of the expulsion of the Acadians--Le Grand Derangement. On this day John Winslow addressed the men of Grand-Pre, locked in the church of St. Charles-des-Mines:
Gentlemen, - I have received from his Excellency, Governor Lawrence, the King's Commission which I have in my hand, and by whose orders you are conveyed together, to Manifest to you His Majesty's final resolution to the French inhabitants of this his Province of Nova Scotia, who for almost half a century have had more Indulgence Granted them than any of his Subjects in any part of his Dominions. What use you have made of them you yourself Best Know.

The Part of Duty I am now upon is what though Necessary is Very Disagreeable to my natural make and temper, as I Know it Must be Grievous to you who are of the Same Speciea.

But it is not my business to annimadvert, but to obey Such orders as I receive, and therefore without Hesitation Shall Deliver you his Majesty's orders and Instructions, Vist:

That your Land & Tennements, Cattle of all Kinds and Livestocks of all Sorts are forfeited to the Crown with all other your effects Savings your money and Household Goods, and you yourselves to be removed form this Province.

Thus it is Preremtorily his Majesty's orders That the whole French Inhabitants of these Districts be removed, and I am Through his Majesty's Goodness Directed to allow you Liberty to Carry of your money and Household Goods as Many as you Can without Discommoding the Vessels you Go in. I shall do Every thing in my Power that all those Goods be Secured to you and that you are Not Molested in Carrying of them of, and also that whole Family Shall go in the Same Vessel, and make this remove, which I am Sensable must give you a great Deal of Trouble, as Easey as his Majesty’s Service will admit, and hope that in what Ever part of the world you may Fall you may be Faithful Subjects, a Peasable & Happy People.

I Must also Inform you That it is his Majesty’s Pleasure that you remain in Security under the Inspection and Direction of the Troops that I have the Honr. to Command.

It was the uprooting and attempt to destroy a people. They weren't a large people at the time--perhaps 10,000 or so were deported (fewer than the number of people on cots in the Astrodome today). But that doesn't matter. This was the result of a policy, created in Halifax and Boston, to systematically eradicate a population. From Grand-Pre, Piziquid, Cobequid, Annapolis Royal, Beaubassin, and other villages the exiles were marched, their homes in flame, their animals crying for them; families ripped apart; scattered to the winds.

Most of my ancestors were in the Beaubassin area, and fled to Ile-St-Jean (Prince Edward Island) or up the Peticodiac River to Mirimichi. Those on Ile-St-Jean were eventually rounded up. Some of those who fled north made it to Quebec; others, after starving through the winter, made their way south and were captured. Some were deported to France; some of these died on the way, the rest died in France of disease. Some were imprisoned in what is best described as a concentration camp at the former Ft. Beausejour.

But they survived. They returned to the Beaubassin area, to Cheticamp and to the Peticodiac. Some of their cousins went from France to Santo Domingo, and then, courtesy of the Spanish king, to La Louisiane. They survived all that the cruelty of man could devise, and flourished, and retained a sense of national identity.

The resilience of humanity to disaster--a good thing to remember today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Iles de la Madeleine

Unwired & unwind--Cape Cod paper looks at the Iles de la Madeleine. Photo caption refers to the "Arcadian Flag."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Katrina bearing down on Louisiana

Storm could be Category 5 before coming ashore. New Orleans officials say, "Get out!" Update: Katrina upgrades to Category 5--New Orleans orders immediate mandatory evacuation of the entire city.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bias against Franco-Americans in New England remains

Franco-American dialogue. Bowdoin College webpage said of Portland, Maine: "Unpopular suburbs include Old Orchard Beach, unless you are a dirty French Canadian." The administration is embarrassed. Another story.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A review of "Grand-Pre" musical

'Grand Pre' makes us all proud. The critic makes one major gaffe:
Set in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia, in 1755, the play centers on the Romeo and Juliet-like relationship between a young Anglo-Saxon girl (Ashley Lopez) and her Acadian boyfriend (John Oliver).
Sorry, Ray--you got that reversed. She's Acadian, his father is an Englishman married to an Acadian. Otherwise, a good review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Were they reading this blog?

Evangeline's trials becoming a tale of two movies 08/22/05 -- looks at the travails of Joe Castille, whose take-off, "Evangeline: A True Love Story," is delayed, and the hopes of Joe Reed, who wants to film a story of the deportation, with the myth of Evangeline less important.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Louisiana native to shoot film based on 'Evangeline'

Another story of someone who wants to film Evangeline. So did another fellow, who said his movie was going to be out in September 2005.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And from Acadiana ...

Day of Acadians -- focus on paintings of Mary Anne de Boisblanc at the Acadian Memorial.

"Acadians celebrate culture"

New Brunswick report on Acadian Day celebrations.

Monday, August 15, 2005

First Day Cover

Canada Post - New Press Releases

Picture of the new Canadian stamp remembering the deportation, which depicts the 1930 commemorative Grand-Pre stamp superimposed on the Acadian flag.

Canada Post issues Acadian stamp

Canada Post issues Acadian stamp

Dumb laws

We enjoyed a day at Vermilionville yesterday. We learned about one of Louisiana's dumber laws: at living history museums such as Vermilionville, where costumed interpreters prepare food in authentic fashion, they are not permitted to share it with visitors, nor are they permitted to eat it themselves, neither are they permitted to feed it to the animals. They are required to dispose of it as garbage.

Deportation cross unveiled in Dieppe

From July 28: Odyssee Monument Unveiled in Dieppe; another story.

Thoughts on Le Grand Derangement

Yesterday we went to see Cody Daigle's musical "Grand-Pre," at the National Park Service's Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette. It was well done musically and technically; Daigle is a solid playwright and director. He wrote the play quickly, and proof-readers missed some details that I found distracting. One of the main characters, "The Soldier" (ably performed by the multi-talented Daigle) is called that by others and refers to himself as a former soldier--but then he says he was a Lieutenant in the British Navy. Sailors are not soldiers. Then he goes "to the Port" to chat with ordinary sailors to see if he can get some gossip (as if a former officer in the British Navy would be chatting up ordinary sailors and accepted by them as one of their own).

This "Soldier" has a teenage son with a bit of wander-lust who each day is found "at the port" watching ships come and go. His father gets advance word of the expulsion, and on the night of September 4 "the Boy" sneaks aboard one of the ships in "the port" and stows away to live the life of a sailor. A bustling port in Grand-Pre? Has Daigle ever been there?

Something else struck me watching that play. Why is it so many people focus on the tragedy of the act of expulsion rather than the survival of the people? Why don't we tell more the stories of those who resisted? Why don't we tell the stories of those who were the pioneers to reestablish life in New Brunswick and Louisiana? I want my kids to know of the heroism of Beausoleil Broussard and the strength of Firmin LeBlanc, not of moping folks who get swept up in history and are always victims, never masters of their destiny.

Even tellings of Hawthorne's "Evangeline" tale often miss one of Hawthorne's key points, that Evangeline had to get on with life, stop moping about her own loss and start giving herself for others in a new life of dedication--only then did she find herself in the place where she was reunited with Gabriel.

This is the 250th anniversary of Le Grand Derangement--and yes, that was a horrific tragedy in our history. But we lived through it! Our ancestors survived, and rebuilt their lives, and preserved their faith and their heritage. That's what we need to remember. That's what we have celebrated three successive times at the Congres Mondial Acadien.

Sounds of Acadie ... has links to Acadian radio stations in the Maritimes. My favorites are Radio Beausejour and Radio Clare (they're the ones I've listened to while in Acadie). Celebrate La Fête Nationale de l'Acadie by tuning in.

"Come celebrate l'Acadie" "Acadians make loud, proud noise as they mark Aug. 15 national holiday."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

CBC Nova Scotia - Young Acadians seek break from the past

Report of symposium in Moncton on "Acadie and Modernity."

Winslow House hosts program on expulsion

Winslow House in Marshfield, MA:
" The Acadian Odyssey and New England's Role," Saturday, Oct. 1. Registration is 9:30 - 10 a.m. Program from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. $30 (Members); $35 (Non-Members) Lunch included. To reserve, call 781- 837-5753. In 1755, British forces headed by Gen. John Winslow took part in the forced removal of the French farmers from the land they had renamed Nova Scotia. The "Grand Derangement," as it was known, resulted in the dispersal of the Acadians to the British colonies along the east coast, the Caribbean, Britain, and back to France. Their plight was made famous in Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline-but how accurate was this portrayal? What was the role played by New Englanders in this episode and what became of the Acadians? In observance of the campaign's 250th anniversary, examine the events that led to the extradition of these peoples and the aftereffects, both in Canada and in New England, and what role Mass. residents such as Gen. Winslow played in this saga.
See also

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Grand-Pre, the musical

New musical about Acadian exile will premiere in Lafayette, commissioned by the Acadian Cultural Center of the National Park Service.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Acadian Club Documentary

The Acadian Club Documentary--filmed during the 2004 Congres Mondial Acadien by Jeff deViller.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Events in Louisiana

I just received the newsletter of the Acadian Memorial, with news of the following events.

August 15, celebration of La Fette Nationale de L'Acadie in St. Martinville. Starts at 10:00, concludes with mass in French at St. Martin of Tours parish at 6:00.

August 27, Acadian Heritage Family Day at the Rayne Civic Center, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., sponsored by the Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian, Inc. Ends with mass at 4:00.

Acadian History in Louisiana schools

8th grade social studies curriculum for Louisiana schools; Acadian history section begins on page 53.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Irish Elk on Acadian anniversary

Irish Elk toasts his Uncle Aubin Arsenault, first Acadian premier of a Canadian province (PEI).

Beaubassin a national site

Beaubassin a national site

A little family history

From New Brunswick to New England: The Story of an Acadian Family's Loss of Identity, by William J. Cork.

My review of Faragher

Faragher, John Mack. A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland. Reviewed by William J. Cork.

Acadian expulsion remembered in Boston

July 28 ceremony in Boston featured talk by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino.

Official 250th anniversary commemoration webpage

Commémoration du 250e anniversaire du Grand Dérangement.

Acadian memorial moved

Acadian memorial cross at Grand-Pre moved--this article says for historic purposes, but I wonder if it was really just for the convenience of the railroad.

In Macleans

Celebrations to commemorate 400 years since French settlers arrived in N.S..

Acadian Monument Unveiled on Halifax Waterfront

Acadian Monument Unveiled on Halifax Waterfront on July 28. | Acadians mark anniversary of mass deportation

CTV on Thursday events at Grand-Pre.

Commemorating the Great Upheaval

Commentary from the Boston Globe.

A culture devastated

Halifax Herald on the expulsion.

Beaubassin designated as national historic site of Canada

Beaubassin designated as national historic site of Canada.

Canadian government commemorates the expulsion

The Government of Canada commemorates the expulsion of the Acadians on July 28 at Grand-Pre.

250th Anniversary of Le Grand Derangement

2005 is the 250th Anniversary of Le Grand Derangement. There will be special events on August 15 and in September at the Acadian Memorial in Lafayette and at Grand-Pré.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A visit to Lafayette

I was in Lafayette for a conference of Catholic college students the weekend before last and found myself being asked to give a talk on Acadian history--with ten minutes advance warning. It seems the organizers wanted to take the kids to St. Martinville, but hadn't been able to find a guide. Well, I found a thing or two to talk about, including my experiences at the 1999 and 2004 CMAs. Together we went to the Acadian Memorial, where I found they had reinstituted the admission fee, which hadn't been in effect the last time I was present.

I asked the lady at the desk whether she might be able to waive it for this group of students, and she didn't feel she had the authority to do so. A few of the students went ahead and paid, and while we were looking around, she called up another staff member who was at the visitor center across the street, who encouraged her by all means to give the group a break. She tracked me down and passed on the message, and I related it to the rest of the group. I went across later to chat with the lady, a Mrs. Melanson, and to thank her.

It was a wonderful and generous gesture, and it made the students very happy.

Even more significant, the priests and sisters who were spiritual directors for the weekend told me later that a lot of the students found this side trip -- which became for them a real pilgrimage -- one of the highlights of the weekend. There were many Cajuns in the group who didn't know a thing about our history!

America's forgotten atrocity

Andrew O'Hehir reviews John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from Their American Homeland, in; see also letters responding to it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Acadian Ancestral Home Newsletter

Be sure to check out the Acadian Ancestral Home Newsletter, edited by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino. It was on hiatus for awhile, but is now back in action. I'm one of the writers.

Friday, January 28, 2005