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.