Book Review: The True Story of the Acadians

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The True Story of the Acadians
By Dudley J. Le Blanc.
A reprint by M.M. Le Blanc .
BizEntine Press. August 2016. 271 pages.

Recently, I visited and marveled at the rugged coastline and forested beauty of Acadia National Park. Located in the northeastern region of the native state of our well-regarded Mr. Eastman, in Maine, Acadia National Park is where the rays of the rising morning sun, in the winter months, first reach the United States, striking the peak and a few shivering souls atop Mt. Cadillac.

The word ‘Acadia’ sparked a memory of a poem I had read in elementary school, “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poet eulogized the young Acadian woman Evangeline’s loss and lifelong search for her love Gabriel. The poem memorializes the actual events of the forced banishment of Acadian peoples by the English to their southern New England colonies.

Not that many miles away and to the east and north of Acadia National Park, is the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. There is Acadia.

In 1927, Senator Dudley J. Le Blanc, a Louisiana native and congressman, and decades-long student of Acadian history, authored The True Story of the Acadians, which must surely be the definitive account of the historic Acadians. His grand daughter M.M. Le Blanc has preserved here his original and second publication, but added some material of her own: a table of contents, some new appendices, a bibliography, and tables of names of Acadians imprisoned at Grand Pré in 1755.

In 1713, France, via a peace treaty, ceded Acadia to England. Henceforth, the Acadians were under the jurisdiction of Great Britain, after which they suffered hardships and eventual displacement from their homes and lands. Their Catholic religion was outlawed, and their colonial presence was unwelcome. True Story conveys in great detail the earliest years of Acadian settlement, the years of deportation and the years afterward, and lengthy details of the people themselves. There is history of the culture, the language, and their religion.

Mr. Le Blanc told the story with sympathetic care and great detail. He transcribed a document with the names of immigrants who left France in 1636 for Acadia; some early censuses; Acadians who participated in the Revolutionary War; numerous places where you can read lists of names in various situations.

But, there is one major flaw: there is no index. A researcher will need to turn every page to look for names. Fortunately, the story is interesting enough that reading through the pages is not a chore.

Except that, formatting could have been better. Reading and comprehension are slow going, as each page is text-heavy with little white space.

But overall, for the Acadian researcher, I think this book would provide plenty of excellent resource material.

The True Story of the Acadians by Dudley J. Le Blanc is available from the publisher at http://bit.ly/2yf5i4H and from Amazon at: http://amzn.to/2ih5YM0.

7 Comments

Being one of the descendants (courtesy of DNA), some Acadians were expelled to Quebec’s Kamouraska and further inland as well as to Louisiana.

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“Coozan” Dudley LeBlanc was, indeed, a character. Although his book has some value, it is typical of books of that era–repeating a lot of myth without much substantiation. Readers would be better served by tracking down Carl Brasseaux’s Scattered to the Wind (University of Southwest Louisiana Press, 1991) as a basic introduction. For a more detailed and scholarly approach, try Carl Brasseaux, The Founding of New Acadia (LSU Press, 1997) and John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme (WW Norton, 2005).
Descendants of Louisiana Acadians might be interested in University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s Project Nouvelle-Acadie, an archaeological survey of the Bayou Teche region in an attempt to identify the earliest Acadian settlements in that region. The Facebook page updates are great!

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Dudley LeBlanc was better known for being the proprietor and promoter of the patent medicine Hadacol.

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Senator Dudley LeBlanc was a very important person in Acadian society 50 years ago. He used no references in his book because at the time oral history was the main source of transmission of our biblical past. Acadia was the Garden of Eden, and the deportation was assimilated with the deportation of the Hebrews.
“Couzin Dud” used humour with great dexterity. Visiting him in Baton Rouge in 1967, I told him that I was living in French Guyana where blacks were the elite and whites were at the bottom. So there I was passe-a-noir, but now in Louisiana I was passe-a-blanc , although my name is not LeBlanc. (Like every Acadian, however, my parents had a lot of LeBlanc in their ancestry). We exchanged good jokes.

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Not available on Amazon.

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Thank you Eastman for the link “http://bit.ly/2yf5i4H” – the service I received for a change to my order was outstanding! The price for the book was also the lowest I found. I recommend this outfit, and would not hesitate to order from them again. They even offer additional information on my Leblanc. Great link!, excellent customer service.

Lyne G

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The Acadian Village Museum in Caraquet, in the northeast corner of New Brunswick, was very interesting. And the surrounding area of the Province is gorgeous and still home to a many Acadian people.

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