Belle Terre Acadie by Anna Kadak Keller

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Anna Kadak Keller
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Belle Terre Acadie

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Book review

The Acadians had a long and arduous journey from their paradise in Nova Scotia (Nouvelle-Écosse) with their expulsion and diaspora by the British. Tossed to the winds like seeds of grass they finally took root settling and finding peace and prosperity in the rich alluvial lands of South Louisiana. Étienne Guédry, who was content in Cobiquid, Nova Scotia, but who was subjected to threat, flight with his wife and two small children to Île Saint-Jean, in 1758 was captured by the British when the last remaining French stronghold at Fortresse de Louisbourg fell. Exiled with them to St. Malo, France were his friends from Cobiquid, Jean-Baptiste Hébert, Pierre Saulnier and family, and Gabriel Melanson with his wife Ysabelle and his teenage sister, Anne.

Étienne mourned the deaths of his wife and children in France. He eventually remarried and his final voyage to la Louisiane (Louisiana) with his second family was by the benevolence of Spain after twenty-seven years of living in abject poverty. In Louisiana his line flourished and prospered. They reclaimed paradise in Nouvelle Acadie. (New Acadia) Like many others he settled his family on Bayou Lafourche, receiving the customary land grant from Spain of about one acre wide and in depth to the marshlands. He was given provisions: seeds, tools, a few livestock, and all needed to begin this new life. He was successful in his"strip farm" and in succeeding generations his descendants became prosperous as their holdings grew with the planting of sugar cane, rice, cattle ranching, and in the twentieth century, the oil industry. They were now called Cadiens. (Cajuns)

This is a story of how the people known as Cajuns became a living monument to human fortitude and the will for survival. From their ancestors through the centuries echoes the cry, "N´oubliez pas!"....We don´t forget!

-A.K. Keller

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