Thursday, October 21, 2010

Acadian Deportation - Québec History 10

Youtube Video on the Acadian Deportation - Québec History 10

The Acadians ( "Acadien" in French ) are the descendants of the French who settled in l'Acadie (Acadia) located in the Canadian Maritime provinces now known as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and what is now the US state of Maine. Acadian culture, a unique blend of French and native Mi'kmaq is very distinct, like no other. l'Acadie was founded in a region geographically separate from Quebec, Québecers and Acadians have different culture. But during the deportation many refugees fled to Québec and today almost all Québecers can say they have an Acadian ancestor. In Le Grand Derangement of 1755-1763, mostly during the Seven Years' War, British colonial officers, New England legislators and militia forcefully deported more than 14,000 Acadians from the maritime region.

Many later settled in Louisiana, where they became known as Cajuns. University of Maine at Fort Kent history professor Roger Paradis said that this was a clear case of ethnic cleansing and genocide because, an attempt was made to make French Acadians disappear by scattering them throughout the 13 colonies. It was unnecessarily cruel in the sense that ships were overloaded, which resulted in disease, death, and the sinking of vessels. Families were broken up and the Acadians were sent to an alien and unfriendly land of exile. It is miraculous that the culture and nation survived! Vive les Acadiens!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Who are your people? Where do they come from? What language do the speak? (how do you respond)

In response to Creole (French Creoles with ties to Louisiana)'s Facebook status on "Who are your people? Where do they come from? What language do the speak? (how do you respond)...

Pierre LaVerdure - siege of LaRochelle 1627 fled to England and came to l'Acadie in 1657 with Sir Thomas Temple; his son Pierre Mellanson dit LaVerdure - founded Grand-Pré, l'Acadie in 1680; his grandson Alexandre Miquoin Melanson and family were deported by the British from l'Acadie in late October 1755 on the "Elizabeth or Leopard" to Maryland. He and his family were listed on Snow Hill, MD census of "French Neutrals in MD" on July 7, 1763; his widow Osite Hebert and son Paul Melanson, age 4, (Listed on the "Acadian Memorial Wall of Names" - family #22) and were given a land grant in St. Jacques de Cabhannocer (St. James - 1st Acadian Coast) in 1766; Paul's son Gilbert Melançon moved to Bayou Lafourche in 1819 - current family land is 1/2 a mile from where he settled and we've been here or close ever since. Family spoke only French until 1920, then 2 generations of English as dictated by the LA school system until 1968 and now we are reclaiming our French language roots  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I carry our blood in my veins, mes cousins Acadiens.

Our families were scattered in 1755 and many of us ended up settling a "New" Acadia in South Louisiana instead of going back home to l'Acadie. Today I looked at the records of my family who were deported from Grand-Pre and held as "prisoners" for 7 years in Maryland.

This Census was transcribed by Joan Harman
Submitted to the USGenWeb Census Project
Copyright (c) 2005 by Joan Harman

The 1763 census counted each person in an Acadian household.  
These Neutral French were deported by the British to the Colonies in 1755 .

L'humble Requete des habitants Neutres de L'acadie détenus dans la province de Maryland   
Envoyé par vos très humbles Serviteurs les habitants Neutre de L’acadie
Ce 7 Juillet 1763 

Etat des gens nutrals acadiens qui sont a Senouville 
(note: underlined struck thru on repro - Joan)  
A Snowville, En Maryland.

+  Alexandre melanson, osite melanson son epouse, jean melanson, magdeleine melanson, jacque melanson, joseph melanson, etienne melanson, paul melanson  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8

That brought my spirit back home today. I carry our blood in my veins, mes cousins Acadiens.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Le Grand Réveil Acadien / The Great Acadian Awakening

An early invitation to join a very important gathering & celebration! Oct 7- 16, 2011

:: Grand Réveil Acadien -   
Great Acadian Awakening

We have awakened a renewed spirit of our Cajun people and now invite everyone, including our international families and cousins, to support us in our efforts to preserve our at-risk culture! Vive l’Acadie!!

:: Louisiane-Acadie, aiming to fulfill the mission to mobilize all Acadians to participate in the continued expression of our native French language and culture, announces "Grand Réveil Acadien / Great Acadian Awakening”, a one week gathering of Acadians from around the world.

As the Louisiana gulf coast, where many Acadians settled, dwindles, the Cajuns are forced to move further north to English-speaking communities. Consequently, as the older generation of Acadians passes away, our French language and many Cajun traditions risk being lost forever. We cannot allow this to happen! 

From October 7 to October 16, 2011, the entire Acadiana Region will open its doors to welcome family and friends, who want to celebrate and assist in helping preserve the Acadian/Cajun culture, customs, traditions and history of the first North American settlers, the Acadians. The "Grand Réveil Acadien / Great Acadian Awakening” will be held the week before Festival Acadiens et Créoles and will close with a huge celebration of renewal on the last day of the Festival.

After engaging a group of young adult Cajuns (Les Jeunes Cadiens) to represent the Louisiana Acadians at the 2009 World Acadian Congress, an awakening of their heritage became evident. "The spirited Acadians of the Acadian Peninsula of New Brunswick , hosts of the 2009 Congress, more particularly the “Grand Rassemblement Jeunesse”, sparked a renaissance and awakening of our younger generation's pride and interest in preserving their Cajun ancestor's native French language and culture,” states Louisiane-Acadie President Ray Trahan.

The Acadians left France in the early 1600s to colonize “Acadie,” present - day Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada. Years after the Deportation of 1755, over 3,000 Acadians arrived and settled in south Louisiana bringing with them the French language and rich French-Acadian customs. These settlers, now called "Cajuns," are estimated to number over 600,000. 

When Cajun parents/grandparents pass away, material possessions from those loved ones are dearly preserved to remember and honor them. "There is no better way to honor and remember our loved ones, than to keep and to live their native French language and culture,” says Trahan.

The importance of keeping this momentum cannot be lost. It is time to invite the world, especially those of Acadian descent, to join us, in Louisiana, and continue the fight to keep this culture alive!

For more information: please contact Ray Trahan at (337) 288 – 2681 or visit and

“Grand Réveil Acadien/Great Acadian Awakening” Mission: 

To awaken the population of Louisiana and the world, primarily those of Acadian descent, and in particular our youth, to the realization that, while we have made positive strides, the people of Louisiana are losing their French language, culture, and coastal land, and to seek support, partnerships, solutions and concerted plans of action through these large gatherings.

Executive Board Members:                      
President Ray Trahan
Vice-President Elaine Clement
Secretary Peggy Matt
Treasury Loubert Trahan
Philippe Gustin
Brenda Trahan
Valerie Broussard
Lucius Fontentot
Associate Members Sharon Alfred
Angie Istre
Information will be forthcoming as plans are finalized. The web sites, mentioned above, for Louisiane-Acadie are currently being developed and should be accessible shortly.

:: Sponsored by a grant from the State of Louisiana and the Lafayette Consolidated Government

Friday, October 8, 2010

The prison ships leave La Baie Française while people watch from Le Cap Enragé

:: On this day, October 8, 1755, the brutal deportation of the Acadien people, "Le Grand Dèrangement" was well under way for the 2nd day...

Le Cap Enragé  aka Cape Enrage, was the dramatic observation point for Le Grand Dèrangement where they watched the ships leave La Baie Française.. now called the Bay of Fundy. That historical point marked the beginning of the exile that scattered the refugees & forced many down to Louisiana.
After ten years of writing and performing primarily in English, following the first Acadian World Congress of 1994, *Acadie(a)n-Cajun artist-activist Zachary Richard began to write again in French in earnest. One day while walking with his friend Denis Richard, Zachary discovered Le Cap Enragé in what is now New Brunswick, Canada, formerly l'Acadie. Returning to the hotel, no doubt overcome with emotion, envisioning what happened so many years ago, they composed the song that evening. 

Highly evocative Richard taps into it, deeply touching the collective Acadien-Cajun heart & soul with this beautiful song!

:: We post this here today in remembrance of our families and fellow Acadiens who were either imprisoned or forced to board the ships and leave l'Acadie, their American homeland. This was one of the first examples of state sponsored ethnic cleansing in North America. We honor our ancestors today and for the entire, sacred month of October. Vive l'Acadie! Vive Le Grand Réveil !!

~ E. Aucoin Gaudet

• Acadien with an 'en' is the French spelling of Acadian. As with many of our names, 'Acadian' with the 'an' ending, is the anglicized version of the original French. We prefer the French spelling! Nous préférons l'orthographe d'origine française! Bien sûr!

Cap Enragé Lyrics

(En français)
Cap Enragé

Le vent m’arrache la peau,
Il fouette les flancs et glace l’âme de mon bateau,
Amarré à la barre, j’entends ta voix, j’entends tes mots,
Chaque fois que le tonnerre me frappe de son echo.

Au large du Cap Enragé,
Au large de tous ce que j’ai perdu, tout ce que j’ai sauvé
Peut-être que je suis allé beaucoup trop loin pour empêcher,
Mon pauvre bateau de prendre l’eau et de couler.

Montre moi l’étoile pour me guider,
Prend le vent dans tes bras pour le calmer.
Je t’ai aimé, je t’ai aimé,
Jamais autant aimer, qu’au large du Cap Enragé.

Sur le Cap Enragé,
Elle guette avec les yeux abandonnés,
Envoyer une prière avec une voile déséspérée.
Si seulement je pouvais te faire comprendre la vérité.

(In english)

Cape Enrage

The wind tears my skin,
It whips the flanks and freezes the soul of my ship.
Tied to the tiller, I hear your voice, I hear your words
Each time that the thunder strikes me with its echo.

Offshore at Cape Enrage
Offshore from all that I have lost, all that I have saved.
Maybe I went too far to stop
My poor boat from taking water and sinking.

Chorus :
Show me the star to guide me,
Take the wind in your arms to calm it.
I have loved you, I have loved you,
But never loved you as much as offshore at
Cape Enrage.

On Cape Enrage,
She watches with abandoned eyes.
Sending a prayer on desperate sails,
If only I could make you understand the truth.

  ~ Zachary Richard, Denis Richard

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October 7th and 8th mark the beginning of the Acadian Deportation from their homeland

 October 7th and 8th mark the loading of Acadians on the first  2 ships and the beginning of "Le Grand Derangement". It was on the 7th and 8th, Oct 1755 that the British troops received the orders to load the ships leaving the Acadian's goods and belongings on the shores of l'Acadie. Many of these belongings were shockingly found 6 years later by the English Settlers of Nova Scotia sitting where the Acadians had left them while being dragged onto the ships.

It has been determined that members of my family from Grand-Pre were on either the "Elizabeth" or the "Leonard". Jean Dominigue Melanson, age 74 and his son Alexandre Miquoin Melanson along with Marie Osite Hebert Melanson and their children. In 1763 Alexandre and family were found in the French Neutrals section of Snow Hill Maryland: Alexandre Melanson, Osite Melanson, His wife and Jean Melanson, Melanson Magdelaine, Jacque Melanson, Joseph Melanson, Etienne Melanson, Paul Melanson ..................... 8. When the family arrived in the 1st Acadian Coast, St. Jacques de Cabanocey (St. James Parish - Convent, Louisiana) in 1766 Osite Hebert was listed as "widow of Alexandre Melanson" so Alexandre either died in Maryland or during the voyage to Louisiana, or quite possibly, right after arriving in Louisiana.

From "The Lion and the Lily" - Peter Landry -

"The Elizabeth and the Leynord were cleared and made ready to receive the first families from Grand Pré. Notices had gone out to the selected families to bring themselves and what of their personal possessions they could carry to the embarkation point. They were to meet on the 7th, but rainy weather delayed the embarkation of these first two vessels to the 8th.

In the meantime the news that it was now to really happen, that they were to be put on vessels and sent away from their lands, swarmed from family to family. The men, too, were to get the news from the family members who came aboard the prison ships as they had been allowed to do right along. A certain group of young men, about 24 of them, in the confusion of a rain storm, on the 7th, managed to make good an escape. According to an account given by Winslow, they had gotten away from two of the "prison ships" by disguising themselves as women. (It was a regular daily event for Acadian women to go back and forth to the vessels with baskets of food for their menfolk.) They got ashore and were on the loose for a number of days. Winslow was to launch an immediate investigation: he wanted to know how these men got loose. He was to determine that the escape took place mainly through the instigation of one Francis Hebert, "either the contriver or a better." Hebert, I believe, was one of the prisoners aboard the Leynord, presumably, one of the two vessels from which the young men had made their escape. Winslow was to pull Francis Hebert off the vessel together with "his effects shipt." Winslow then ordered that he should be brought to his (Hebert's) house, there, at Grand Pré. Herbert was then ordered to put all of his goods inside of his house. He then was made to stand there in front of his house, together, presumably, with a gathered crowd so that they might all witness the next event. The house was torched by the English together with all of Hebert's "effects." Then Winslow made pronouncement for all the spectators to hear, if "these men did not surrender themselves in two days, I should serve all their friends in the same manner."

So, it was, that the loading of the Acadian families started on October 8th, 1755. The Elizabeth and the Leynord were the first to be loaded and were to receive 80 families from the Grand Pré region. The Acadians embarked, as Winslow was to describe in his journal, "very sullenly and unwillingly, the women in great distress carrying off their children in their arms. Others carrying their decrepit parents in their carts and all their goods. Moving in great confusion and it appears as a scene of woe and distress."

"The Lion and the Lily" - Peter Landry

Monday, October 4, 2010


Beautiful Video and song about Evangeline. From Youtube on this video:

One of the most beautiful songs ever written.

This particular version performed by Marie-Jo Thério, Evangéline is a French-Canadian song that celebrates the legendary woman of the same name and her incredible story. Whether or not you have Acadian blood, I hope this song inspires you.