Family Reunion Forum
2009 DeLavallade Family Reunion
In Response To: Completing a Family Circle ()
Our DeLavallade Reunion at New Orleans - Aug 7-9;
Day 1 schedule of events took place that evening at the ‘Rock n Bowl’ where everyone attending greeted each other, bowled, tried their body parts at hula hoops, took pictures, and enjoyed a fabulous buffet.
Day 2 of the Family Reunion was a breath-taking day; we started with a trip to the Plantation where we were confronted with a first hand personal look at how ones history can be distorted.
If we had not known, better we probably would have believed what the tour guide was telling us about one of the sons of the house who supposedly had a six-year love affair with a young mulatto, the daughter of the cook at the plantation who bore him two daughters. The truth of the matter as I know it... is this son was disowned by his father because he would not stop seeing the girl and that the father sent the girl and her daughters to an orphanage/convent in New Orleans. The son followed her to New Orleans helping her locate an apartment a short distance from where he was living in a house owned by his mother. Yes, part of the story is probably correct but there is much more to what was going on at the plantation.
One of the greeters was telling me that the young man and the girl ran off together, married, and moved to a large Midwestern city. In my research and that of a Cousin, we have not found any evidence of these events taking place. Which I politely informed her of our findings; the girl by then a young lady did leave New Orleans some time after 1910, (she is listed in the 1910 census at New Orleans) but before 1918 in Chicago, Cook County where she died.
One of the older cousins on the tour relayed a story to a few of us that Great Grandma had told her when she was a child growing up. This story (not a direct quote) was about how the owner of the plantation sent Great Great-Grandma's husband off to fight in the Civil War where he may have been one of the troop’s flute players. This owner forced him to go because he had to get him off the plantation you see he had taken a liking to his mulatto wife and wanted her for himself. This unnamed person could possibly have been our Great Great-Grandfather but was never heard from again; instead, our Great Grandma born in 1867 father is reported to be the former owner of her mother and siblings as listed on her death certificate and in the Sacrament Book of the Archdiocese of Baton Rouge.
An Uncle once told me that a relative was force to fight in the Civil War; he supposedly ran away from his unit and was never heard from again. So, what our Cousin heard as a child from Great-Grandma and what this Uncle told me are very similar drawing one to conclude that they both were/are referring to the same incident and person. Neither had a name for the person and in our Uncle’s family lore he did not know or have the exact relationship... Without a name, we may never know, unless we can match the stories to hard documentation. Any way as the tour was ending in one of the bedrooms the guide was explaining and demonstrating a bed warming pan when I guess I just lost it because as she wrapped up her spill words fell from my lips to the affect “that was when they weren't using our ancestors as a bed warmer.” I proceeded to tell our family members that I was going to tell it like it was and the way I know it... I did this by repeating the story our Cousin had just told me earlier in the tour. Needless to say this did end the guides tour, I guess it was just a little too much for her to handle, you see one of my brothers had earlier corrected her when she continued to use the word slave(s) ... it is his belief as well as mine and others in our family that the correct terminology in most cases is ENslaved.
The rest of our time at the plantation was spent walking the grounds, getting something to eat, visiting the plantation gift shop and museum where there were storyboards... again the whole truth I believe was not told in regards to our family.
There is still much research to do regarding this branch of our family especially with the revelations; Great Great-Grandma may have been at this Plantation earlier than first thought. Or is it possible that she was still at the other Plantation and it was her husband who (forced to join the Civil War) was the one at this Plantation...???
“Until the lion writes his own story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter"
The rest of the Reunion was just as fantastic and fulfilling as the greet and bowl night and our trip to the plantation, cousins seeing cousins at the banquet that had not seen each other in 40-50 years, some meeting for the first time. Attending Sunday morning service in the temporary sanctuary at the historical Mount Zion United Methodist Church, the lifelong church of our grandmother and two aunts (all deceased) was emotional... my tears would not stop falling, these were not tears of sadness nor joy but I believe they were tears of the spirit for their spirits were heavily felt.
What a wonderful reunion it was... spending time with one hundred and thirteen relatives thirty-one of them children, grand, great-grand, and great-great-grandchildren of two sisters who migrated to California fifty-five to sixty-five years ago including twenty-eight that traveled from that state.