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Strange True Stories of Louisiana
on August 31, 2000
Seven unusual, true stories set in Louisiana comprise the reissue of George Washington Cable's STRANGE TRUE STORIES OF LOUISIANA. First published in 1888, these stories are a gold mine of cultural lore and historical facts. As interesting as the stories themselves are the accounts of how Cable acquired them.
"The Young Aunt with White Hair" is set in Spanish occupied Louisiana in 1782 and describes the horrors experienced by a young woman on the long journey to New Orleans from Germany: robbed by sailors on the ship; an Indian attack near the mouth of the Mississippi River, during which her husband and baby are brutally murdered; being held captive by Indians and told she was to be the chief's dinner. Her ordeal was so great that her hair turned snow white in a matter of hours, and she never recovered from the experience.
Humor and suspense make "The Two Sisters" just plain fun to read. Two teenage girls- one a tomboy and one a demure, sweet lady- undertake a dangerous trek across the Atchafalaya swamp to North Louisiana in 1795. It's not only a good story, but the details of clothing, places and people are priceless. "Plaquemine was composed of a church, two stores, as many drinking-shops, and about fifty cabins, one of which was the courthouse. Here lived a multitude of Catalans, Acadians, Negros and Indians. ..It was at Plaquemine that we bade adieu to the old Mississippi.."
The story if "Alix de Morainville" reads like a fairy tale: the birth-deformed baby farmed out to a peasant family; the arranged marriage that turns out to be a love match; the convent stay; the marriage of dear friend Madelaine to Count Louis de la Houssaye and the couple's departure for the Louisiana colony; presentation to Queen Marie Antoinette; Aleix's grand wedding at Notre Dame Cathedral; the onset of the French Revolution; widowhood; rescue; and flight first to England and then to Louisiana.
The other stories are "Salome Muller, The White Slave," "The Haunted House in Royal Street," "Attalie Brouillard," and "War Diary of a Union Woman in the South."