The Acadians – Arrive

How many people of your acquaintance can boast of being an Astronomer, Scientist, Author, General, Administrator, Governor, a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, discoverer of the element Platinum, have a meteorological term named after you, and get kicked out of the place where you were appointed Governor? Introducing Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish Governor of Louisiana.

Antonio de Ulloa
Antonio de Ulloa

At the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, which was part of the larger World War, known as the Seven Years War, the Treaty of Fontainebleau was signed and then later The Treaty of Paris, but the one we will deal with is Fontainebleau. The treaty ceded the French colonies in Louisiana to Spain. The Spanish government could think of no greater, more ultra talented man for the job of governor than their own rock star, Antonio Ulloa.  Antonio arrived in the Port of New Orleans on March 5, 1766. Louisiana was under a French interim government until the Spanish could get someone appointed and equipped for the job of governing the colonies. Well the equipping part was quite lax on their part as we will see a little later in our story. Ulloa had brought with him 75 soldiers, did not raise a Spanish Flag over the Place d’ Arms in New Orleans, and then, taken as an insult to the inhabitants of the city, he decided to reside outside of the city in La Balize. Close to a year later, a Schooner named Virgin, arrived in the Port of New Orleans bearing 211 Acadians from Baltimore Maryland, most of the passengers were the outcast, no good Catholics from Port Tobacco we talked about earlier. Among them, my ancestors, Joseph and Alexandre Landry. Governor Ulloa had decided that a good place to send these colonist was up the Bayou Manchac to the Mississippi River, where they established a fort call St.Gabriel, as a buffer to the British fort called Butte, just up the river approx 5 miles. Here the Acadians were given plots of land, the bare necessities to farm with and a weapon to hunt with. Of course like all good Catholics, one of their first missions was to build a church. But, while they were getting settled in and planning out their community, trouble was already brewing with the new Spanish way of things. Ulloa had announced that he was cracking down on Louisiana’s smuggling operations and he was closing the Mississippi river down to one channel, at the mouth, so that they could security check all vessels. Then to make matters worse for the French merchants, he strictly forbid any trading with the other French Colonies or with France. This was unacceptable to many of the French residents and resentments set in. Remember when i mentioned that Ulloa was really ill equipped to govern successfully? Well, the Commissary that was under the French rule, had to continue as Commissary under Ulloa’s rule as well, because Ulloa didn’t bring in any administrative personnel! The Attorney General was still the same Attorney General that was under the French. So, these two guys got together and started planning to oust old Ulloa out of Louisiana. They had already sent a prominent businessman to France to plead with King Louis to rescind the ceding and take Louisiana back. They got together with other like minded citizens and a plot was hatched which became, The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768. When we continue, the rebellion starts and St. Gabriel becomes a real place!

 

 

 

The Acadians

When we left our last post, the Lemoyne brothers had firmly established settlements along the gulf coast, in modern day Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The chief among these, the great Port of New Orleans. During the years following the establishment of these forts and villages, our friend Jean Baptiste Lemoyne had been Governor for a combined 30 years. With the growing of these colonies came a great trading business. The Port of New Orleans was a growing busy port and was becoming the envy of the British, who was coveting it more and more. The British started a campaign of capturing, looting and scuttling French merchant ships coming to and from the Port and everywhere else they could find enemy ships for that matter. Once the French and Indian War had begun, of course this practice escalated in the North American theater. At the time of the war’s beginning, the French presence on the North American continent was approximately 60 thousand. By this time the French had developed colonies in the Ohio River valley, building forts along the rivers, the Mississippi and the Ohio. The fort they built at the convergence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela rivers in present day downtown Pittsburgh, Pa, would become a very pivotal asset and be forever a part of American History. A new star would come on to the stage at the fort they named Duquesne. The British colonies, by 1754, were vibrant and wealthy with a population of around 2 million. So, the fantastically outnumbered French colonist had to befriend and enlist as many of the native tribes as possible, thus the English dubbed it the French and Indian war. At the end of the war, the subsequent Peace Treaty was signed and the French agreed, to cede it’s Louisiana colonies to Spain. I must say at this point that, the French and Indian War, was a part of the larger, almost World War, called the Seven Years War and included more than just the fledgling colonies in America. Meanwhile in Acadie, present day Nova Scotia, French colonists, who had been settled there since the early 1600’s, were being systematically deported from their homeland. Though there were many battles between the French and British over the lush and fertile lands of Acadie, by 1755, the British had a stranglehold on the settlements there, and finally decided that the dirty rotten, non-oath taking Catholic scourge should be once and for all dealt with and that they should be permanently removed from the coveted lands. They lured the French inhabitants into local churches and meeting places in Port Royal and Pisiquit, under the guise of a “meeting to discuss political and social issues”. When the Acadians arrived, they were read a proclamation stating that all of their properties and permanent structures were now possessions of the British Monarchy and that they would be deported from these lands immediately. They were put on ships and sent to wherever the British could think of at the moment. Some were sent to France, some to the Canadian Provinces, some to Britain, and like my ancestors, strewn along the Atlantic coast in the thirteen colonies, where they were hated the most. My people, namely Joseph and Alexandre Landry, landed at Port Tobacco, Maryland. There they stayed, listed as prisoners of war, on the original manifests. Alexandre was only 2 years old. Like previously stated, the Acadians were hated in the colonies, due to the hatred of the French among the British, the many skirmishes they had with Acadians in the past, but also more intense, the hatred of Catholics, in the mostly Protestant population. A lot of the Acadians were put into concentration camps, they were forced into slave labor and were basically starved to death in many cases. The local governments would not let the sympathetic, but very small population of English Catholics to help, they were strictly forbidden. So, when the call for colonists came forth from Spain, you can bet, every Acadian who could make the trip signed up. The Spanish, who had taken over the French colonies in Louisiana, were looking for colonists to help them colonize, but more importantly, keep control of the Mississippi river and New Orleans. And who hated the British more than the Spanish? That’s right! The Acadians! And, the Spanish were Catholics!! A marriage made in heaven. So the journey to Louisiana for a lot of Acadians started there and then, along with my own ancestors, Joseph and baby Alexandre. We’ll pick up on their arrival to Louisiana in our next post. Vive la Louisiana!

 

Hermes Trismegistus – Ancient Elvis

hermes When it comes to rock-n-roll and Elvis, most people say “Elvis, you’re the king!” Elvis was Da Man when it came to rock-n-roll in his day. The same could be said for Hermes Trismegistus. He was Da Man when it came to most everything it seems, back in his day. Credited with being the God Thoth, in ancient Egypt, the God Mercury, in ancient Rome, the Prophet Idris in the Quran, The great Hermes of Greek mythology and the list goes on and on. And that is just titles. He was called Trismegistus, which means Hermes the “thrice great”. What? Great times three! Obviously this guy was the MacDaddy of something! On an epithet found at the ancient Temple of Esna, there was inscribed “Thoth the great, the great, the great”. Why was he three times more great than the average great? Some say it’s because he was the master of the three parts of wisdom; Alchemy, Astrology and Theurgy. Others say it’s because he was the greatest Priest, King and Philosopher. Whatever the reason, there’s something really interesting about someone who made that big of an impression on his peers. Maybe it’s all about his accomplishments. He is credited for designing and building the great pyramids of Egypt. He is credited with being able to imprison demons or angels in statues and then able to animate the statues so that they spoke prophecies! In the Quran it is said that he travels to outer space and then returns with Adam the first man, and the Black Stone. This is the stone that is said to have been placed by the Prophet Mohammed into the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The Prophet Mohammed claimed to be a direct descendant of Hermes. Hermes was credited with being able to put spells of protection on things, so that the term Hermetically Sealed was applied to them. But, the greatest thing he is known for is being a master teacher, the Guru of all Guru’s. People would travel from across the globe to sit at the feet of the master and learn his magic and wisdom. Where he came from seems to remain a mystery, we know he was in ancient Egypt at one time, that he was possibly a mentor to the biblical Abraham and that he was also a contemporary to Moses. He was said to have lived some three hundred years and had reincarnated as different historical figures. Along with orally instructing students, Hermes was purported to have written many texts, a lot of them, supposedly destroyed in the sacking and destruction of Alexandria. Some of them survived, such as the Hermetic Corpus, The Emerald Tablets and The Divine Pymander. The most famous of his works which is still in circulation in many books on the subject today is the “Seven Hermetic Principles”. These principles are said to reflect and describe universal laws and how to use force of mind to use them to a students advantage. We’ll look at these principles in our next post. You think Hermes told them old Pharaoh’s they wasn’t nuttin but a hound dog?

Image of Hermes Trismegistus at the Cathedral of Siena in Italy
Image of Hermes Trismegistus at the Cathedral of Siena in Italy

The Le Moyne Brothers – Jean Baptiste

330px-jean-baptiste_le_moyneJean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville was hard pressed to distinguish himself amongst his over-achieving, rock star status brothers. One became the Governor of Montreal, another achieved national recognition for leading French and Indian forces against the British during the Schenectady Massacre in New York’s Mohawk Valley. Other brothers were key in the victories at James Bay and still others joined his brother Pierre and he, on the expeditions to the Louisiana territory and achieved great acts of bravery and acclaim. While living acutely under the shadow of his big brother Pierre, Jean was only seventeen when he joined him for the first Louisiana expedition. Being the Captain’s little brother did have it’s perks. When they first arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi and had encountered the Indians there, Pierre appointed Jean to establish a camp and see to it’s function and security. Jean christened the camp “La Point du Mardi Gras” as the day was March 3rd, Mardi Gras day 1699. Jean had learned well from his father about the importance of learning Indian language and hand signs. He was a vital part of his brother Pierre’s ability the gather information and actually receive help from the natives. A few months later in April, Pierre wants to establish a fort and keep it manned while he returns to France to report all of his findings and re-supply. He builds a fort on the coastline, close to present day Ocean Springs, Mississippi and names it Fort Maurepas. He appoints Sauvolle de la Villantry as Governor of the new colony and Jean as the Lieutenant, second in command. After his brother leaves, Jean decides to make another expedition upriver to explore. He encounters a British ship, commanded by an old foe, someone he had fought against in one of the skirmishes during the Great Lakes battles. They recognize each other and begin a conversation, that ends with Jean convincing his foe that there was a great French Naval presence right around the bend and that out of respect for his foe, he would advise that he should turn around and flee or face certain death if he proceeds. Jean was so convincing, the the ship did turn around and head back up river. The place where this occurred is now called the English Turn. When Pierre heard of this upon his return, he ordered Jean to establish another fort far upriver to keep the British ships far above the mouth. Jean travelled upriver fifty miles and established a fort he named Fort de la Boulaye. When Sauvolle died in 1701, Jean was appointed Governor. This would be the first of four terms Jean would serve as Governor of Louisiana. Jean would spend 30 years in this post, though not consecutively. At this point, there is approximately 180 people in the colony, many were lost due to disease and malnutrition. Some others over the following years would be lost to hurricanes and the large tidal surges that plagued the location. Jean continued to explore the region and came across some higher land where he noticed the land made somewhat of a crescent along the large Lake Pontchartrain. In 1717, Jean wrote the Company and told them of the crescent where he thought his colony would be better protected from the tidal surges and hurricanes. He was granted permission and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, founded the great city of New Orleans on May 7th, 1718, naming it after Philippe II, the Duke of Orleans. Jean started moving supplies in from the other colonies at Biloxi and Mobile. His chief engineer at the time was a man named Le Blond de La Tour. After working with him for a year and not getting the results he wanted, Jean fires La Tour and replaces him with La Tour’s assistant, Adrien De Pauger. De Pauger draws out the eleven by seven block rectangle he calls the Vieux Carre’. We now all know it as, The French Quarter. Jean would later name New Orleans as the new French Capitol, during his third term as governor. It will be some forty to fifty years later when Acadians start arriving in the new colony, we’ll pick up there in our next post!

Brain Health – The Pineal Gland – The Seat of the soul?

thirdeye1Last week we talked about the functions of the Pineal gland and it’s production of Melatonin. This week we’ll look at the mystical side of the gland and it’s allure to many spiritually minded people. The Third Eye, The Eye of Horus, The Brow Chakra. Rene Descartes, who was a 17th century philosopher and said to be the father of modern philosophy, referred to this little gland as the “principle seat of the soul”. That is quite an array of accolades for sure, but, what is it all about? The Third Eye is said to be our link to the universe, to the spiritual world, to other dimensions. Practitioners of Hinduism and other occultisms go through great pains and trouble to be able to “open” their Third Eye. They say that they are able to see past what we can see with our physical eyes and actually communicate with spirit guides and other beings who lay beyond the veil. Intriguing? You Bet! The interest in this Third Eye business goes back for thousands of years. The Egyptians, who along with other hieroglyphs, depicted the Pineal gland in their writings calling it the “Eye of Horus”.eye-of-horus Wow! There might be something to this, right? Hindu’s profess powers, using their open third eyes, of being able to actually read anything written down in front of them while blindfolded. So, the Third Eye not only benefits them in the spirit world but also here in the physical world. They also profess the power of transportation, using Third Eye powers to actually transport a physical object from one place to another. We have all heard of people who can actually see other places in their minds, quite accurately, called “remote viewing”. Edgar Cayce was said to be able to access something he called the “Akashic Records” and actually be able to read them, through the same type of Third Eye powers. Ok, so how do we get in on this action? It all starts with meditation. There are a myriad of videos and articles on different techniques to “open” your third eye. All of them start with meditation, maybe using some type of music or chant. There are some who suggest “thumping” your head in certain areas in order to “awaken” the gland. For those of us over fifty with calcified glands, it is suggested that we move to a more plant based diet to aid in the process, and also drink un-fluorinated water and use un-fluorinated toothpaste. I don’t imagine the ancient Egyptians had any fluoride issues, so they must have easily slipped off into the netherworld, at will. One thing they did have, was a Guru. Yep, a bonafide wizard of great powers and wisdom, known throughout the ancient world as the holder of great wisdom. Next post I’ll introduce you to the great Hermes Trismegistus!

Pierre Le Moyne – Continued

The expedition arrived at Mobile Bay on Jan 30, 1699. Fortunately they were able to escape the bad fortunes of La Salle’s previously failed expedition, and had all three ships and passengers in tow. Like most sailors and ship captains of the day, historical adventures and folklore permeated the everyday conversations of Pierre and his men. One of the tales that they were most interested in was of course, the adventures of Hernando De Soto. Hernando was the first one to actually document the discovery of the great river and his crossing of it 150 years earlier. De Soto also met his end on the river and was buried in it. La Salle was also the fresh topic of the day and his description of the mouth as a “palisade”. Pierre would later discover that these tiers of rock that La Salle described were actually mud and the building blocks of the delta. While exploring Mobile Bay, Pierre spots the Mobile river and quickly decides this is not the Mississippi. They continue to follow the coast, taking soundings along the way and documenting everything they can. They run across and Island close to the coast and explore it. Here they find the bones of about 60 men scattered in the sand on one end. They determine by the artifacts found with the bones that these were probably indigenous Indians slaughtered in battle. They name it Massacre Island. We know it today as Deer Island. Pierre decides to anchor right off of an island that has nice deep water around it and is protecting him from the wind and weather at the time. This island is modern day Ship Island, right off the coast of Mississippi. He sends his brother out in a Felucca, which is a small sail boat, to do some exploring and report back. Pierre also has a couple of boats that he calls Biscayans. These boats, from what I can find out about them, were somewhat like a whaling boat. An open boat that could hold probably 25 men and some supplies. After a few days of exploring, Pierre and his brother Jean, spot some smoke coming from Massacre Island and a party of Indians in canoes, making for land from the island. They try to catch up to them but the Indians flee. They did leave there on the beach an old man, who was too sick to run, so the brothers try to talk to him in sign language and gave him some food and water. Pierre sends Jean into the woods to either bring the Indians back or capture one. Jean returns with a woman that he captured about 3 miles from the beach. From the woman they learn where the Indians are camped. They are camped along a mighty river they call the “Malbanchya”. Pierre gives the woman some tobacco to give to the men as a peace offering. The men return to retrieve the old man, who wound up dying there on the beach that morning. The Indians sing the “Calumet of Peace”. A Calumet is a symbol of peace, normally a pipe of some sort. Pierre is convinced that this river they call the Malbanchya is the Mississippi. These Indians they were befriending were from the Bilocchy, Pascagoula and Moctoby tribes. They also had settlements along the Pascagoula river. Pascagoula is Choctaw for “bread people”. Pierre wants to ingratiate himself to these people in order to get more information about the Great River. He invites them out to his ships, where he shows them great wonders and the firing of cannons. The Indians agree to take him up the great river. He travels up the river to a place where a village is set up. At the village he sees a great red pole that has animal skulls and hides attached to it. Here was the place where modern day Baton Rouge would be built. Named after the “red stick” that was sited there. Baton, which is French for stick and Rouge which is French for red. Here he meets the members of the Houmas and Bayou Goula Indians who are camped together in the village. From the logs Pierre kept on the ship he describes a very grisly scene here. He says that a plague of small pox had killed a lot of the tribe and that they put the bodies on platforms all around the village. Here is an excerpt from the original log: The smallpox, which they still had in the village had killed about 1/4 of the people. They place the bodies of the dead on platforms around their village, quite close…raised 7 feet above…This stinks badly and attracts many buzzards to the neighborhood. These Indians are the most beggardly I have yet seen, having no conveniences in their huts. After this, Pierre sends his brother and most of his men back to the ships, while he and a few of the Indian guides explore an alternate route he was told about at the village. This “alternate route” would open up the gulf coast to later expeditions as it establishes a link from upriver, to the coast. This route was through what Pierre named Bayou Manchac, through what he named Lake Maurepas and into what he named Lake Pontchartrain. This route will be key when we talk about the arrival of the Acadians later in our story…..until next post, Au Revoir!

 

 

Brain Health – Food and Mysticism

We talked a little about how some foods affect our Circadian rhythm and sleep patterns in our last post. This is very true, and for those of us who have sleep issues, this may be your path to sawing a forest full of logs! We all have a hormone in our bodies that controls our sleep cycles, seasonal cycles and Circadian rhythms, called Melatonin. This hormone is secreted by one of our endocrine glands, called the Pineal gland. The Pineal gland is a little pea sized gland situated in a small groove between the two hemispheres of our brain, where the thalamus join. It is shaped like a pine cone, thus the name “pineal”. The weird thing about this little gland, is that it is made up of the same rod and cone shaped cells as our eyes and has the same fluid that is found in our eye. How weird is that? It is referred to as the “third eye” in mystic circles and as the “eye of Horus” in ancient Egypt.pineal-gland Several studies have been conducted on this weird little gland and some of them are interesting indeed. All vertebrates, except one or two on the planet, have this gland. When studying lab rats, some researchers found that when void of all light, rats preferred to drink alcohol over water. When their glands were removed, it had the opposite effect. In some humans with dysfunctional Pineal glands, a craving for alcohol was also noted. What a weird connection eh? Maybe that’s why bars always have such dim lighting? The study also found that people who worked nights, stayed up late and didn’t get outside in the sunlight much, overtaxed their Pineal glands, and exhibited signs of menstrual cycle irregularities, sore breasts and increased alcohol consumption. Some studies linked stress, intake of refined sugars and epinephrine as causes of Pineal dysfunction. One of the things that inhibit Pineal function, is calcification of the gland itself. Scientists have found that most humans over fifty have calcified Pineal glands. There are varying degrees of explanations why this happens, some say its from the intake of fluoride. Our drinking water, fluoride toothpaste, dental rinses, and from other environmental exposures to fluoride containing chemicals. Some say its because many people live most of their lives in artificial light, and their gland overtaxes and then atrophies from non use, being photo-sensitive and not being exposed to natural sunlight. Whatever the case may be, you don’t hear of any products out there being advertised as Pineal gland supportive or any aids for Pineal health. I guess Americans are more interested in a cat’s urinary tract health or whether their dog is getting pure meat in their gourmet dining routines. So, the takeaway from this should be that we all should get more sunshine and eat foods that promote Pineal health. Foods that are high in Lecithin help to produce more melatonin, Soy being the most Lecithin rich. The same old list shows up again as foods that are good for us, vegetables, legumes, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, Cauliflower and leafy greens. Dairy products such as milk and cheese are also foods rich in Lecithin. We’ll explore the mystic side to this gland in our next post……i’m going to go outside and eat some cheese in the sunshine!!

The Le Moyne Brothers – Pierre

pierre_le_moyne_diberville_1661-1706
Pierre Le Moyne

Pierre was born to a virtual dynasty of overachievers and domineering men, who literally helped shape the North American continent, as we know it. His father, Charles Le Moyne, immigrated from Dieppe, France to what was known at the time as New France. Basically the beginning of what we know today as Montreal, Canada. Charles worked with Jesuit Priests, who scoured the unexplored wilderness in canoes and on foot. He  learned how to speak the Indian languages of the indigenous tribes throughout the Huron territories. Charles went on to distinguish himself in many Indian skirmishes and battles. He was awarded lands, money, and titles of nobility. He married a girl named Catherine whose family was in the fur trading business, so, Charles got in the Fur business.  He and his brother also created a way to transport these furs and goods by acquiring ships to sail them to proper ports for merchandising. Charles and Catherine had eleven sons and two daughters. His third born son, Pierre was born in July, 1661, in Fort Ville-Marie.(Montreal) With his father being associated with the Jesuit order, Pierre was educated in the Sulpician school, established there almost from its beginning. Like a good Catholic father, Charles encouraged all of his sons to become priests, but, born with that wanderlust ridden blood, none of them did, and almost all of them became soldiers. Pierre was no exception and at age twelve after receiving his First Communion, decided to become a cabin-boy on his uncles ship. He went on to get involved in the fur trade business where he learned to travel by canoe and defend himself against the occasional Indian attack. A few years later he took a job as a quartermaster on one of his fathers ships. Like his father, Pierre distinguished himself in many battles against the Indians, and more importantly to the nobility, the English. The Hudson’s Bay company was founded in 1670 by the English, and they slowly encroached upon French territories diverting furs away from Quebec. The Compagnie du Nord was founded to compete with the English on the bay. Pierre and two of his brothers were called upon to help drive the British from the bay area. They successfully led a campaign that captured three forts and left the English with hardly a footprint in the area. Pierre then went to France to lobby for Compagnie and was awarded a ship to help combat the English encroachment. Pierre had great success and fought several naval battles establishing himself as quite the Naval Commander. When Pontchartrain needed someone to lead a successful mission to find and secure the mouth of the Mississippi, he turned to none other than France’s new naval hero, Pierre Le Moyne. Pierre was summoned to France and another expedition was planned and outfitted. Pierre was assigned three ships, The Badine, The Marin and a warship named The Francois. Everything they would need to establish a fort was loaded on the ships, men to build the forts, livestock and building materials. They also loaded several longboats, canoes, Biscayans and feluccas. Pierre also loaded on, his ace in the hole……his little brother Jean. The expedition leaves for the gulf coast, in our next post!

Brain Health – Expand it

Did you ever hear the proposition that we only use 10 percent of our brains? That theory has floated around for as long as I can remember. Of course, now, with modern technology, MRI’s, Pet scans and a myriad of other tests and technology, we know that this is false. We use most of our brain, most of the time. But, there is a new theory out there, and here comes our old 10 percent figure……we only use 10 percent of our DNA. Yep, that’s right, now the new theory of record is that 90 percent of our DNA is “junk” DNA. Why is it always 10 percent that we use? Is this a conspiracy that has been fostered by our old friend Dewey to keep people using decimals or the old musical theory that less is more? Back when we believed that we were only using 10 percent of our brains, there were many who started searching for ways to expand our usage. Some looked to the ancients, who used natural chemicals, such as Ayahuasca, Psilocybin mushrooms and Peyote. Others thought to expand on natures ideas and create synthetic hallucinogens like LSD, Ecstasy and methamphetamine. It would have been great if one person somewhere, using any of these things, could have come out of their self-induced euphoria and said “eureka! I’ve found it”. The “it” being, unlocking the full potential of this fantastic computer we call our brain. Then we could have a world full of Einsteins, battling it out over using this new found power for good or evil. Well, as far as I know, that never happened, or if it did, it is a deeply guarded secret. I have always been fascinated by the concept of mind expansion. I guess everyone secretly harbors a desire for some kind of a “leg up” or magic formula that will fuel their success or fame. Coming from a background in Information Technology, I always notice parallels in computer characteristics and human characteristics. I have read that anytime we experience something new, our mind does expand a little in order to record the new experience and data. If that is truly the case,  we can start giving ourselves upgrades then, right? For example, if you have a friend named Jane and you haven’t talked to her in a long time, by calling her and getting updated on all things Jane, then you have just upgraded your file on Jane from 1.0 to 1.1 right? Using this logic, we can keep ourselves updated on all things we do know. Now, how about things we don’t know. The only way we can do this, is to expose ourselves to new experiences and new people on a consistent basis, read, watch, observe. If you are doing the same things everyday, taking the same route to work, talking to the same people, watching the same TV programs, going to bed at the same time, then you are certainly not expanding much at all. So, mix things up every now and then. Eat something different. There are some who say that food is information. Certainly there are foods that we know are good for brain health. Some foods can have a profound effect on our sleep patterns and circadian rhythm. We’ll talk more about that in our next post! Bon Appetit!!

The Acadians – It Begins

Can you imagine paddling down the mighty Mississippi in a canoe? This huge, current ridden, flood prone river, that runs from nearly Canada to the Gulf of Mexico? That gets miles wide at some points? And can you imagine doing it, dodging arrows and spears being flung at you by people along the bank who have never seen anything like you before? Introducing Rene-Robert Cavelier sieur de La Salle.Cavelier_de_la_salleThis guy would be the envy of any modern day Indiana Jones wannabe by far. He and his crew of brave, fighting Frenchmen, explored the Great Lakes Regions, the Illinois and Mississippi rivers (and some of their tributaries) and had the dubious distinction of claiming all of these areas for their mother country of France and naming it, Louisiana, after King Louis XIV .  The suffix -ana- is actually a latin term which means pertaining to or belonging to, so, we have Louisi-ana meaning, pertaining or belonging to Louis. When La Salle returned to France and told the King of his explorations, the King thought that a return trip should be undertaken.  He proclaimed that a fort and a colony would be setup there to secure the entrance of the river.  This task he assigned, to none other, than our old friend La Salle. All provisions and crews were loaded onto 4 ships, along with 300 colonists. La Salle was on his way back to Louisiana to fulfill the Kings orders, but, alas, La Salle never made it back to Louisiana. It was said of Rene-Robert, that he was a man of sharp tongue and sometimes overwhelming arrogance. This would actually aid in his demise, as on the return trip, bad navigation got them off course, a ship was lost to Pirates, another sank in Matagorda Bay and still another, ran aground there and was looted by the local natives. Obviously, they landed far west of their intended destination. They wound up near the Brazos River in Texas. La Salle tried to establish a colony there along the Garcitas Creek, and built a fort he named Fort Saint Louis. Running out of provisions, added to being lost, and I’m sure having the incessant mouth-running of an arrogant aristocrat, was more than the crew could take, and sadly, on March 19th, 1687, Rene-Robert Cavelier sieur de La Salle was murdered by his own men, while on a search mission east, to find the river. The expedition was over, some of the men returned to France, some stayed to establish a colony, but, unfortunately, those who stayed, were ultimately kidnapped or slaughtered by local tribes. But, a King wants, what a King wants. Louis turns to his Navy Secretary, Louis Phelypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain. The secretary then appoints this task to the Le Moyne brothers. We came to know them as Pierre Le Moyne sieur de Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne sieur de Bienville. I remember studying about these two guys in Louisiana History class back in the eighth grade. It seems like back then, the emphasis was always put on the titles of Iberville or Bienville. In fact I remember talking about them like they were from 2 different families. This was wrong, as the names of Bienville and Iberville are just titles that were given to aristocratic families who owned feudal lands. As a matter of fact, Jean Baptiste, actually inherited his title sieur d’Bienville from a brother who died prematurely. So, titles put aside, they were just Pierre and Jean Le Moyne. We’ll talk more about these guys in the next post!