Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Le Monde Creole Tour

Yesterday we did a walking tour of the French Quarters and thought that we were done with the city. But upon returning home, however, we discovered that we could learn more about the Duparc-Locoul family by taking the Le Monde Creole Tour in the old French Quarter.We returned to that area of the city today and learned a great deal more about the Creole history of New Orleans. I am afraid that in my last posting I presented a rather simplistic view of who the Creole is. Our tour guide today put it rather succinctly when he said that they were native born people but of foreign parentage. The French who came to this country intermingled with the native Americans, West Africans, and Latin Americans. Laura Locoul was the fourth generation of her family who came from France, and was a Creole. Her family's plantation afforded the family a great deal of wealth. It was a working sugarcane plantation nine months out of the year. From December to March the family lived in New Orleans in the homes they owned there. On our tour we saw a couple of the homes, one of which is now the Oliver House Hotel.  Elizabeth Duparc, Laura's grandmother, spent her retirement years in that building, pictured below.
 In St.Louis Cemetery Number One our guide showed us the burial tomb of the Duprec-Locoul family. However, Laura Locoul was buried in St.Louis, next to her husband at the Gore grave site in Bellefontaine Cemetery. There was also another fascinating tomb which our guide showed us, the grave site of Voodoo Queen-Marie Laveau. After Elvis Presley she has the most visited tomb in the nation, as well as the most gifted. At her grave site is the best gifts which can be given to a voodoo queen; money,tobacco and alcohol. A couple of days ago there was also a dead snake there, according to our guide.
 What was also great about this tour was that we got a peek into some private courtyards. The one pictured below is my favorite.
We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. By getting a glimpse into the lives of five generations of Laura's family we got a good picture of the history of New Orleans, from the years of the wealthy sugar planters and slave owners, to that of the Civil War Confederates, to the first Jazz musicians. We even visited a 19th century pharmacy which still has on its shelves voodoo potions.

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