|Louis XIV, The Sun King|
Strong, healthy settlers willing to work were critical for the survival of the colony. Requests were repeatedly sent to France for hardworking people. Girls were requested with the hope that men, particularly the coureurs-de-bois, would marry and settle down. In September 1704, approximately 27 girls arrived in Louisiana from Paris and Rochefort aboard the Pelican. In February 1728, another boatload of virtuous girls arrived, ready for marriage. Each was provided with a little trunk (cassette) of clothing, thus earning them the nickname, "The Cassette Girls".
French Colonial Foods
Perhaps one of the best colonial food accounts came from Sister Marie Madeleine Hachard, an Ursuline nun who arrived in 1727 with 10 other nuns from Rouen, France.
She wrote to her father upon arrival, “We eat meat, fish, peas, and wild beans and many fruits and vegetables, like pineapples, which are the most excellent of fruit, watermelons, sweet potatoes, apples, which are very much like the russets of France, figs, pecans, cashew nuts, which when eaten stick in the throat, and “giranmons,” a kind of pumpkin. Even so there are a thousand other fruits which have not yet come to my knowledge.“…we live on wild beef, deer, swans, geese and wild turkeys, rabbits, chickens, ducks, teals, pheasants, partridges, quail and other fowl and game of different kinds. The rivers are teeming with enormous fish, especially the brill, which is an excellent fish, rays, carps, salmon and an infinity of other fish which are unknown in France. Milk chocolate and coffee are much used here. A lady of this country gave us a goodly supply and we take some every day…We are getting remarkably used to the wild food of this country. We eat a bread which is half rice and half wheat…Rice cooked in milk is very common and we eat it often along with sagamite, which is made from Indian corn that has been ground in a mortar and then boiled in water with butter or bacon fat. Everyone in Louisiana considers this an excellent dish.”
“Regarding the fruits of the country, there are many that we do not care for but the peaches and figs are very excellent and abundant. We are sent so many of them from the nearby plantations that we make them into preserves and jelly. Blackberry jelly is particularly good. Reverend Father de Beaubois has the finest garden in the city. It is full of orange trees which bear as beautiful and as sweet an orange as those of Cape Francis. He gave us about 300 sour ones which we preserved. Thanks to God, we have never yet lacked anything.”
The Petticoat Insurrection
|Macque Choux Corn|
The End of the French Colonial Period
Unfortunately, by the end of the 1750s, France was spending a tremendous amount of money on the colony with precious little in return. With an unprosperous New World colony and mounting troubles at home, France abandoned colonial Louisiana. With the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau in 1762, Spain possessed colonial Louisiana and the Spanish colonial era of Louisiana history began.