November 21, 2015


The Acadians (French: Acadiens, IPA: [akadjɛ̃]) are the descendants of the seventeenth-century French colonists who settled in Acadia (located in the Canadian Maritime provinces — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and in the US state of Maine). The settlers whose descendants became Acadians did not all come from the same region in France.

In the Great Expulsion of 1755-1763, mostly during the Seven Years' War, British colonial officers and New England legislators and militia deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region in what could be called an ethnic cleansing . Approximately one third perished. Gradually, some managed to make their way to Louisiana, creating the Cajun population and culture after mixing with others

When the Acadians first arrrived in Louisiana, some put up quick, temporary shelters made of wood and palmetto leaves. The Native Americans had been building such dwellings for years. Built upon a pole frame, palmettos would be uses on the roof (as was straw in France and Acadia). Many also used palmetto for walls until wood could be cut. When they had the time to build a more substantial structure, they often built homes by putting wood vertically into the ground for walls. These 2nd generation Acadian homes (1766-1827) were either poteaux en terre (post in ground) or planche debout (upright planks). The easiest of the two, poteaux en terre, was to cut logs, strip off the bark, and place it in a hole in the ground. The gaps between the logs would be filled with a mud and straw/moss mixture (bousillage). If they had the time and manpower, they might cut planks from the logs and place the planks vertically in the ground (planche debout) to make the walls (again, filling the gaps with bousillage). Roofs were covered with shingles or wood. These homes were built directly on the ground . The Acadians soon learned that to build a wooden home on the ground was not the way to go. The occasional flooding and insect damage was terrible to these kinds of homes. Upon arriving in Louisiana, they noted that Creole homes were often built off the ground. This kept the home from water & insects and helped provide better ventilation. The 3rd generation Acadian home (1790-1850) was built on pillars of wood or brick. It was small, averaging about fifteen by twenty-five feet in size. Many had galleries in front. The chimney - made of bousillage at first, later of brick - was on one end of a one-room home. Two-room homes often had the chimney in-between the rooms. The 4th generation Acadian home (1790-1920) was often larger that previous versions. By the mid-1800s, it was the common type of Acadian house. It has a gallery (porche on the front (and sometimes the back). This served two purposes. It gave them a place to sit to cool off and to socialize. It also allowed for a taller roof to provide room for storage and sleeping quarters. There were stairs to the atttic, usually located on the inside of homes in east Acadiana and outside the homes in west Acadiana. The upstairs sleeping area for the boys was called the garçonniere. The roof was covered with wood shingles at the beginning of this time period, but these were often replaced by corrugated tin roofing later in the 1800s. As the family grew, a separate but connected building was often built to the rear for kitchenspace or a bedroom. The windows had no glass, but were covered by wooden shutters. Some had two rooms side-by-side, with a front door opening up to each. One room was the common family room and kitchen, while the other room was a bedroom for the parents and daughters. As some Acadian families grew in size and wealth, larger homes with multiple rooms would be built.

As the 20th century progressed, most Cajuns began occupying contemporary housing styles, though some still have similar features to the old Acadian homes. Though there are a few 18th century Acadian homes scattered around south Louisiana, they are disappearing. This video of still pics represents only a portion of the snapshots I have collected of old Cajun homes. If you have old pics your are willing to share, please email them to Thanks, Richard DesHotels

July 23, 2015


To symbolize the French origin of the Acadians, a portion of the arms of their mother country, their fleurs de lis, silver on a blue field, is used as part of the flag. To symbolize Spain, the nation which controlled Louisiana at the time of the Acadian migration to Louisiana and under whom they prospered after years of exile, the old arms of Castille, a gold tower on a red field, appears in one section of the flag. The gold star on the white field represents Our Lady of the Assumption, Maris Stella, Patroness of the Acadians. The star also symbolizes the active participation of the Acadians in the American Revolution as soldiers under Galvez. [Marie Louise is descended from Vincent Brault’s eighth child Jean Breau, and she also has lineage from Firmin Breaux who was descended from Vincent’s seventh child Franocis. Marie Louise Braud Gerac grew up in Gonzales. She and her husband Lyle live in The Woodlands, TX.]


On August 17, 1767, about fifty Acadian families -- more than two hundred people -- landed at Fort St. Gabriel on Bayou Manchac and the Mississippi River. On August 18th, they began dividing the lands given them by Antonio de Ulloa, first Spanish Governor of Louisiana. Wandering for years after being exiled from their homes in Acadia, these families settled in, built homes, worked their land, and became our Acadian ancestors. Hear about the deportation of the Acadians, the Acadian landing in St. Gabriel, the Spanish land grants, and the building and establishment of the old St. Gabriel Church as local historian, John A. Hebert, speaks about the Acadians of St Gabriel on Tuesday, August 4th, at 6:30 p.m. in Gonzales. For more information or to register, call the library at 647-3955.

July 21, 2015

This year, we celebrate the 250th anniversary of a significant event in the history of America and of Louisiana. The year was 1765. To the great surprise of the French officers in charge of the colony of La Louisiane, a ship arrived at the port of New Orleans carrying nearly 200 French-speaking, Roman Catholic men, women and children. They were exiles from a place called Acadie, the present-day maritime provinces of Canada: Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. They called themselves Acadians, and they were looking for a home./ For the better part of a decade, most of the men on this ship had been resistance fighters. They had waged a guerilla campaign against the British Empire. The latter, with overwhelming military power, was engaged in the forced ethnic cleansing of the Acadians from the lands first settled by their ancestors in 1604. (Yes, the Acadians predate the Pilgrims.) Thousands of Acadians perished. In Acadian history, this struggle is known as Le Grand Derangement, The Great Upheaval.

April 21, 2015

“Coton jaune — Acadian Brown Cotton: A Love Story.”

Hand-woven blankets preserve Cajun culture

Cheré Coen| Special to The Advocate

April 20, 2015

Art projects are sometimes like puzzle pieces, waiting for someone to see the big picture and put the puzzle together.

Such was the case of Sharon Gordon Donnan, of Los Angeles, and Suzanne Chaillot Breaux, of Lafayette, when they discovered a hand-woven Acadian blanket made from brown cotton in a Washington antique store and ended up creating a documentary on Acadian weaving titled “Coton jaune — Acadian Brown Cotton: A Love Story.”

Cinema on the Bayou Film Society will present the film at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at Vermilionville, in recognition of the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first Acadians in Louisiana.

April 11, 2015





1050. LaBauve, Eloise Elizabeth, born 08 Mar 1919, died 20 Dec 1997, Section WC, Block Q, Lot 8, Quadrant E, "Eloise Elizabeth LaBauve / March 8, 1919 / December 20, 1997

1051. LaBauve, Florence Mae, born 12 May 1916, died 22 Oct 1986, Section WC, Block Q, Lot 8, Quadrant E, "Florence Mae LaBauve / May 12, 1916 / October 22, 1986 / / WAC W W II"

1052. LaBauve, Irene Elise, born 08 Sep 1888, died 20 Aug 1985, Section WC, Block Q, Lot 8, Quadrant E, "Irene Elise LaBauve / September 8, 1888 / August 20, 1985"

1053. LaBauve, Mary Lucille. [See Mary Lucille LaBauve Frederick.]

1054. LaBauve, Raphael J., born 1898, died 1962, Section WC, Block Q, Lot 8, Quadrant E, "Raphael J. / LaBauve  1962

February 27, 2015

Acadians’ arrival in Louisiana 250 years ago Commemorated


An event commemorating the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana from Canada drew an overflow crowd to a room at the Old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter on Saturday.

It’s a saga that began in 1765, when a boatload of 200 Acadians who had been kicked out of Canada arrived at New Orleans, led by Joseph Beausoleil Broussard. The exact date of their arrival is unknown, but their presence is confirmed by records of the baptism of the first child of that group on Feb. 19, 1765.

The 250th anniversary ceremony was such a popular draw that even representatives of the French and Canadian consul-generals’ offices couldn’t get in at first because the room was filled to capacity with about 200 people.

Others who wanted to attend waited outside the room on the Mint’s third floor, watching a video feed of the proceedings.

“From Acadie to Louisiana in 1765 — the Birth of Cajun Culture 250 Years Ago” featured readings from documents and letters from the time of the arrival of the first Cajuns in Louisiana, Cajun music and dance, and talks by such scholars of Louisiana culture as Barry Ancelet, of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Warren and Mary Perrin, of the Acadian Museum in Erath.

Mary Perrin said there’s a common misconception that “the entire population of Acadian exiles came to Louisiana.”

Mary Perrin, who co-authored “Acadie Then and Now” with her husband, said about a third of those who were exiled died of diseases or exposure or in shipwrecks. The two-thirds who survived “ended up strewn all along the margins of both the Old and New Worlds.”

She called the expulsion of the Acadians “a purposeful attempt to destroy the Acadian people by dispersing them across a sizable wedge of the earth,” even as far as the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina, 7,000 miles from their Nova Scotia homeland.

Mary Perrin quoted historian John Mack Faragher, who called the exile of the Acadians “the only episode of European state-sponsored ethnic cleansing against a European people in North American history.”

But the scheme to stamp out the Acadians “failed utterly,” she said.

Beausoleil, as he is known, was the leader of that first group of Acadians to reach Louisiana. He had taken part in a revolt against the British leaders in Canada and eventually negotiated a deal for the group to safely leave the area.
The British were happy to see them go, Warren Perrin said.

The arrival of the Acadians in New Orleans after a stop in what is now Haiti was “a transplantation of a culture that refused to bow down to the most powerful force on earth, the British government,” he said.

Warren Perrin was instrumental in securing a statement from Queen Elizabeth in 2003 declaring that the deportation of the Acadians was done contrary to British law.

“She established forever a day of remembrance of the suffering of these ancestors who fought and suffered so hard to make sure that this culture would not die,” he said.

Ancelet, an author and a professor of Creole folklore, said willingness to improvise is what helped Acadians survive and thrive in their new homeland.

Pointing to the Dauterive Compact, in which a group of Acadian settlers agreed to tend cattle for their owner, Ancelet said the Acadians probably didn’t know anything about cattle but agreed to do the job anyway.

He said Cajuns continued to do the same thing in later years as they went to work in the oilfields and the seafood industry with little to no experience.

The Acadians’ new surroundings in Louisiana were challenging, Ancelet said. They had moved to an area much warmer than the place they had lived in and had to put up with mosquitoes, heat, heavy rains and “prehistoric reptiles” — meaning alligators.

“Don’t think for one minute it was easy for them,” Ancelet said.

Co-sponsors of the event included the National Park Service; the Louisiana State Museum, which operates the Old Mint; CODOFIL; and the French American Chamber of Commerce.

Students from a French immersion charter school, Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans, sang during the ceremony, and Cajun musician Bruce Daigrepont, who once led a musical group named after Beausoleil, also performed. Performance artist Suzanne Leger and dancers in period costume by Renaissance Cadienne also took part.


As the Acadians were being deported during the period 1755 through 1765, they were determined to protect their families, to survive this difficult journey, to continue their Catholic faith and to keep their Acadian identity.  They lost everything during the deportations except for the scant few things they could bring onto the overcrowded ships.  As they disembarked along at ports along the eastern seaboard of the United States, among Atlantic ports in France and in England coastal towns, they had start their lives anew – having lost essentially all their possessions.   Some drowned as their ships sank; and others died of illness on board the ships – both forever sharing the sea as their final resting place.  Most that survived the wretched deportation voyages died poor and were buried in pauper graves – with at most a small wooden marker atop their grave.
A few Acadian deportees prospered later in life and could afford a stone marker as their memorial; however, most of these stones suffered from the weather over the years and became so worn that their inscriptions are no longer legible.  Vandals destroyed others.  The gravestones of a few Acadian deportees have survived the almost 200 years since they died and are still legible today.
For many years I have sought these in cemeteries across North America.  These tombstones mark the graves of Acadians who were born in Acadia before being deported or who were born in Acadia prior to 1764 and remained in Acadia successfully avoiding deportation.  Here are the few I have found.

by Marty Guidry