of the same plain dark brown wool as Simons suit, but she has some pretense to
fashion in her adaptation of the popular new pointed front bodice. Her
accessories include a white linen cap, collar, and cuffs. She also wears black
cotton stockings and leather shoes with buckles.
The working dress of 18th and very early 19th century women consisted of a
cotton or linen bedgown, a petticoat, and an apron. The bedgown was usually a
loose wrapping piece worn over a wool or linen petticoat and secured around the
waist by the apron. In this case, the slightly more genteel application (and
better finances) allowed for the addition of the cuffs and collar as well as the
pretty embroidery across the bottom of the apron.
In 1847, the famed American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote an epic poem
called Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie which was set around the Acadian
diaspora. In it, the young woman Evangeline Bellefontaine searched for her lost
love Gabriel Lajeunesse, with whom she has lost contact during the great
upheaval of the British expulsion. Evangeline spends years searching for him and
only as an old woman working as a Sister of Mercy among the poor in Philadelphia
does she finally find him. Though some disliked his use of dactylic hexameter,
Evangeline was widely read and became Longfellow's most famous poem during
his lifetime (though other works including Hiawatha are better known today) and
was internationally known, becoming a favorite of King Leopold I of Belgium.
Though Longfellow was generally unfamiliar with both Cajuns and Louisiana, his
poem was quickly adopted as part of the culture: a Louisiana parish is named
after Evangeline, as well as other locations, and Lafayette, Louisiana has a
house which supposedly belonged to the real-life Gabriel.
Our two lovers were luckier than Evangeline and Gabriel; they apparently met at
Cabanoce in Louisiana in 1765 and were wed there on March 31, 1766. Madeleine
was the daughter of Cabanoce pioneer Jean-Baptiste Cormier. Cabanoce/St.-Jacques
in St. James Parish was one of the first Acadian communities in
Another interesting (if sadder) true story of Acadians is that of Rose LeBlanc.
She was the daughter of Rene LeBlanc and Anne Terriot and born in Acadia in
Canada. Her family all came to Louisiana when she was a child. When she was 29,
her husband Raphael Broussard died. She had been staying at the Ursuline convent
where he was being nursed and decided to take to the novitiate. She was received
as a coadjutrix Sister on March 31, 1766 and received the religious habit on
April 29, 1766, taking the name Sister Ste. Monique. Other members of the order
praised her as not only very useful and skillful, but also of a gay disposition,
pleasant and kind to all concerned. Unfortunately, she died on February 6, 1773
of smallpox when only 38 years old.