Last night was my River City Guild meeting. Connie E did a great program by talking about the origin of names of some of our favorite blocks. Since this is Independence Day month she chose blocks that had names from American history.
Dolly Madison, Martha Washington, Clay's Choice, Burgoyne Surrounded, Lemoyne Star. I had no idea that a Lemoyne Star had ties to Louisiana! It looked like the stars on the French uniform of that time.
The Lemoyne Star is the lower right block.
I couldn't get it to flip upright but the blocks are pretty easy to see sideways. Most of them are flexible.
Back to Lemoyne. Let's see if you knew this.
He was a four time governor of Louisiana Territory, born in Montreal, Quebec. He is who we know as Bienville. With his brother, Iberville, he led the expedition to establish the colony of Louisiana. they were two of 17 children, oh my!
Half the parishes in Louisiana are named after either Bienville or Iberville. And all cities have streets named after them!
He discovered the Chandeleur Islands, Ship Island and Cat Island and got all the way up the Mississippi River to what is now Baton Rouge. (You know I live here!) We have hiked a number of these places with the Louisiana Hiking Club. There is a place along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans called English Turn. It was at that place that encountered the English and turned them back in favor of France. Remember his brother Iberville was a fearsome privateer and often raided the English Colonies and trading posts.
They found the Mississippi river after getting blown off course by a hurricane in 1699 in March. so don't let them tell you that global warming is making hurricanes come earlier!
English Turn, yes. While padding up the Mississippi River with his exploration group of 2 canoes, TWO canoes, he encountered a 12 gun British corvette. He pretended to be the scouting group for the 44 gun flagship Pelican commanded by the fearsome Iberville anchored just upriver. Bienville ordered the English to turn and leave. They did!
He also established the city of Mobile in Alabama and also established the fort that later became Natchez, MS and built the colony on the crescent in the river known as New Orleans. His house is now known as The Custom House which still stands. He had plans drawn up for an 11 by 7 block area known as, get this, The French Quarter! That was in 1721.
As governor of Louisiana in 1704 he brought 24 young women from France to Louisiana. They kept their possessions in a trunk called a casquette. They became known as the Casket Girls. They lived in his house under the care of His cousin Madame Langlois (lang-wah). They eventually married French soldiers. A lot of the "old" families proudly trace their lineages back to these soldiers and their Casket Girls! This is important because these girls were not recruited from the poorhouses or prisons of France, but from the churches and convents. They were chosen for their virtue!
I am guessing they were schooled in the fine arts of embroidery and sewing and made this block in their quilts.
Bienville also established the Charity Hospital system. Louisiana has been unique in the nation for its system of Charity Hospitals which are located throughout the state. These hospitals would treat anyone for free. It also served to train the doctors who graduated from local medical schools at Tulane. Dillard and Loyola Universities and LSU. My father obviously spent part of his childhood at what they called Big Charity in New Orleans. It was Big Charity because the other facilities around the state were smaller and more rural.
One time my Aunt Edith rolled over my 9 year old father's arm with her bike. He was her younger brother and you know, girls always beat up their younger brothers. He got up, got on the bus, rode to Big Charity and got his cast put on. He got back on the bus and rode home, presenting himself to my poor grandmother coming home from work. She was a single mother of three wild children! Needless to say, she was not happy!
I certainly knew the history of Bienville and his bro Iberville. But I did not know the Lemoyne Star was named after Bienville! I just didn't associate the two.
And now you know!