Nicole LeBlanc and I first connected by e-mail when she discovered this page
and my blog in the weeks before Congrès mondial acadien 2004. We both
promised to look for the other at the LeBlanc reunion, but the day passed and it
looked like we wouldn't be able to connect. Towards the end of the day, Lucie
LeBlanc Consentino asked if I'd like the ticket she had to the musical
"Evangeline"; she was going to have to leave early without seeing it. I accepted
gratefully. During the intermission, I was standing up and noticed from his
nametag that the man behind me was also from Texas; we started talking and found
out we had a number of friends in common as he had also worked for a diocese in
the state. He went to introduce me to his family, and then his niece
exclaimed: "Bill Cork!" It was Nicole. So we met at last, and I spent the rest
of the evening with her family.
In February 2005 Nicole and her husband went to Poitou, France, and visited
some of the Acadian historical sites in the region.
I'll let her tell the rest.
We had already planned this February trip along the Loire
when I met a French LeBlanc cousine at the closing Mass last summer. When I
saw on the map how close they were to the Loire (they live in Poitiers) we
decided to try to get together.
Her husband took us around some of the Acadian area of Poitou, where some of
the Acadians who had been in the English prisons (like mine) ended up.
Poitou was the area where many of the original Acadian
settlers had come from. We saw some of their houses, one of which (photos)
is a small museum ("La Ferme acadienne"). Though the museum is closed in
winter, he had the keys and let us have a look around. We had a wonderful
dinner with them and their daughter's family.
The other photo is at the edge of the little hamlet of
Martaizé, allegedly the hometown of Francoise Gaudet and Daniel LeBlanc. I
don't think any of the existing buildings date back that far, though. We
also went to the village of La Chaussée, a couple of miles from Martaizé,
where there is a "Maison de l'Acadie" research center (closed) and a very
old church in which folks are supposed to have prayed very hard for their
family members who were leaving for Acadie.
[Next] is another Acadian house
on "La Ligne Acadienne", the long straight road where they resettled on the
land of the Marquis de Pérusse des Cars in Poitou...all the houses were the
same size, with standardized windows, etc, to facilitate cooperative
construction. They are also all set back from the road the same amount. The
smaller section on the left (as you look at the front of the house) is not
... [A] closeup of the wall
construction of mud and twigs. That is the corner of the original wall where
it meets the addition (right hand side of the picture) at the back of the
...[T]he tiny church I mentioned
in La Chaussée. As best we could determine the part in front dates back to
the time that the Acadians first went to North America (or earlier) but
obviously the bell tower is a lot newer.