October 24, 2011


There is an unusual oral tradition Acadians have used to define their ancestry back to the very beginnings of the colony. In some areas, it is still in use today. The unbroken chain, both paternal and maternal, allows the listener to know from what family and what area of Acadia the speaker is describing. In one string, I can be transported from 2011 New England, to the Village of Memramcook, New Brunswick after Le Grand Dérangement, to Needham, Massachusetts during the exile, to a mid-1600s farm on the north side of the Rivière Dauphin near Port Royal, Acadia.

Between each first name is the French word “à” which in English translates as “to”.
Rob à Norma à Alda à Placide à Amable à Israël à Simon à Jacques à François à Jacques à Daniel LeBlanc. This one-from-the-other linguistic tradition can be applied to any of my Acadian lines, but not without looking at my notes first. I was surprised the first time I actually heard it in practice. My cousin was speaking with a distant relative of ours at a funeral. He is the son of Thadée LeBlanc and Domithilde Boucher.

I had never met the man before, but within moments he knew how we are related. And it still amazes me today.


October 14, 2011


Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie is an epic poem published in 1847 by the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem follows an Acadian girl named Evangeline and her search for her lost love Gabriel, set during the time of the Expulsion of the Acadians.

The idea for the poem came from Longfellow's friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Longfellow used dactylic hexameter reminiscent of Greek and Latin classics, though the choice was criticized. It was published in 1847 and became Longfellow's most famous work in his lifetime. It remains one of his most popular and enduring works.

The poem had a powerful effect in defining both Acadian history and identity in the nineteenth and twentieth century. More recent scholarship has revealed the historical errors in the poem and the complexity of the Expulsion and those involved, which the poem ignores.[1]


October 11, 2011


Librarians from the Special Collections area of the East Bank Regional Library who are familiar with genealogy research will be present to explain the library's resources.

The purpose of the fair is to encourage people to become interested in tracking their ancestral lineage, including:
*        To acquaint library customers with local genealogy organizations and how they can help people who are trying to research their ancestry;
*        To demonstrate the databases available to help patrons discover ancestors;
*        To demonstrate other resources available at the library - including books and microfilm - that can help customers locate ancestors.

The genealogy fair is held in conjunction with National Family History Month, established in 2003 and recognized by the United States Senate that year. In doing so, the senate was encouraging Americans to set aside time for family history research and education. When President George W. Bush signed the proclamation in support of Family History Month, he said, "Lessons in family lineage are often lessons in courage, endurance, and love. While tracing our roots can be challenging, the rewards can be great - affirming our pride in our history and keeping us mindful of the sacrifices of our forebears."

For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, manager of adult programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or mailto:wcsmith@jefferson.lib.la.us

October 02, 2011


The 25th anniversary edition of “Belizaire the Cajun” will have its Lake Charles debut at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, 204 W. Sallier.

Filmmaker Glen Pitre will introduce the film. After the screening, Pitre and re-release producer Michelle Benoit, a native of Lake Charles, will host a question-answer session with the audience.

The screening is part of the Great Acadian Awakening, which features a variety of activities on Oct. 11 at the Civic Center.

Admission is free but seating is limited for the screening; your name must be on the list to enter. Reserve a seat by calling the museum at 439-3797.

“Belizaire the Cajun” is set in pre-Civil War Acadiana where a wily herb doctor must save a life, defeat murderous vigilantes, win a woman’s heart, and escape the gallows in what Variety called “one of the looniest hanging scenes ever committed to film.”

The movie was shot at Acadian Village in Lafayette, Evangeline Park in St. Martinville, south of Abbeville and other spots around Acadiana.