Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The National Library and Archives of Québec

The National Library and Archives of Québec just reopened its doors online at a new location and with extensively expanded material. Start your visit at and wind your way through the collections, archives, digital collections, maps, rare books, sound recordings, ...... all available in three languages - French, English and Spanish.

Genealogy is also well served with 30,000 books, including the Tanguay dictionary and 60,000 documents and archival records of the French Regime in the PISTARD data bank.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Acadian Festival in Madawaska - June 24 - July 2, 2006

The State of Maine’s Largest Cultural Festival.

Events include a re-enactment of the first Acadian Landing in Northern Maine, traditional Acadian supper, entertainment, cultural displays, huge festival Parade, Party du Main Street and many more. The Festival is held each year in conjunction with a huge family reunion, honoring one of the Acadian pioneer families.

The Caron Family will be honored this year
For details and schedules, see

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Annual Acadian Memorial Festival 2006 - March 18th - Saint Martinville, LA

A Museum Festival with Arts, Heritage, History, Music, Cuisine
Saint Martinville, LA
March 18th - 10 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. -

Annual Acadian Memorial Festival 2006 / Theme: 400th Anniversary of L'Ordre du Bon Temps (Order of Good Cheer) Origin of the famous French social eating club started in 1604 at Port Royal, Acadie present day Nova Scotia, Canada.
No Charge, please purchase a festival pin.

The festival is a reunion of all families Acadian and their friends for:
A Reenactment of the Acadians Arrival in Louisiana on the Bayou Teche: Honoring the Broussard and Hebert Acadian family names, adult and save Our History Grant children Theatre; Story Telling, Cultural Activities: Cajun Food Demonstrations , Genealogy, Lectures, Art & Crafts, Acadian Tradition Exhibits and Demonstrations, Wooden Boat Exhibit on the Bayou Teche, and more.

Cajun Music featuring "The Miller Cajun Family Band" and "Moi-J'aime-Ca-Comme-Ca" ( I like it like that ) and more. Please join in the fun and dress in Acadian Costume.

During the Acadian Memorial festival we will pay homage to the founders of the L'Ordre de BonTemps in Acadia, men who prepared feasts for their friends, from the bounty of their new land, in 1606 and for those men in Louisiana who continue the similar tradition of cooking game and fish 400 years later! The Acadian Memorial Festival cooks and demonstrators of Cajun cuisine will be declared honorary chefs of the day! This event will bring forth the Louisiana social eating club of the "L'Ordre de Bon Temps" Nouvelle Acadie, Louisiana's Game & Fish Club. In October, 2006 at the Acadian Memorial Annual Fund Raiser, a reenactment of this historical event will open membership into this historic gourmet club.

For more information call the Acadian Memorial, 337.394.2258 or
Festival Chairman, Ray Trahan - 337. 288.2681

FYI: L'Ordre de Bon Temps
" The Order of the Good Time or (Good Cheer) is the first social club in America, was originally established at Port-Royal, Acadie, present day, Nova Scotia, Canada, by Samuel de Champlain in 1606. The purpose of the club was to provide entertainment and satisfy hearty appetites during the long, harsh Acadian winter. There were 15 gentlemen in the company and each took a turn being host for the day. The host designed his menu on the day's hunt. Generally, the men enjoyed huge moose or caribou roasts as well as smaller game such as beaver, porcupine and rabbits. In fact, moose and beaver's tail were highly regarded for their tenderness and delicate flavors. Waterfowl, ruffled grouse, partridge and other birds were plentiful. Trout, cod and lobsters were speared through the ice for the dinner fare as well.

The men completed to provide the most sumptuous meal for their comrades. If the day's hunt was not as successful as hoped, the host traded with local tribesmen for sufficient fare. Usually, these Micmac Indians joined in the elaborate banquet. That evening, the host wore the Insignia of the Order and Paraded in grandeur to the dinning hall with each comrade carrying a delectable platter of food. Once the meal was enjoyed, the men told stories and sang. A toast with wine completed the evening's events and the Insignia of the Order was passed to the successor. Thus began American's first gourmet's club in Acadia!

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council - Annual Meeting and Seminar - April 22, 2006

Annual Meeting and Seminar
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The Conference Center at Marlborough, Massachusetts

General Information:
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, and water will be available in the lobby all day at no charge. A coatroom is provided just beside the Auditorium. Vendors selling books and materials of genealogical interest will be open from about 8:00am to 3:30pm.
Questions: contact
Sharon Sergeant,
Program Chair,

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

La Souillonne - A book by Franco-American writer Norman Beaupré

La Souillonne, monologue sur scène (2006)
Just released by Llumina Press

It is a dramatic monologue by an elderly woman who lives alone and who pours out her heart as to her life experiences. A former mill worker, she knows what hard work is like and also what transpired in those mills. She tells of the traumatic loss of the only man she ever loved and of the sad love affair of one of her friends. All in all, this woman has had a very hard life. Scorned by her pastor and the entire neighborhood she has managed to put together a whole litany of her views on the things she knows best.

Beaupré claims that this woman is the amalgamation of all the marginalized, abused, and scorned women that he has met over the course of the years. She is the Franco-American version of La Sagouine by the Acadian author, Antonine Maillet. And like Maillet's play, La Souillonne is written in the dialect of her region. The play is one long monologue on fourteen themes such as, les amouracheries du moulin, la boisson, les histouères du Christ, and la canne de boutons.

The book is written in French and is available from Llumina Press or from
For other books by Norman Beaupre, visit his website at

Thursday, March 02, 2006

One More Thing - A one-act play by Michel Parent - March-April, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 7:00 p.m.
Lewiston-Auburn College
Admission is free

Thursday, March 30, 7:00 p.m.
The McArthur Library
North Dam Mill in Biddeford
Admission is free

April 21-23 (Fri 7:30, Sat. 7:30, Sun 2:00)
Waterville Opera House - Studio Theater
93 Main St., Waterville
Admission: $12, Students & Seniors $10
Call 873-7000 for Tickets

For directions to these events, see

Below is a review by Steve Feeney from the Maine Sunday Telegram. (from the April, '05 show at the Theater Project in Brunswick, Maine).

Maine Sunday Telegram (Portland Press Herald)
April 10, 2005

Play Evokes Franco Mill Worker's Angst

You might feel compelled to phone your child, parent or some other loved one for reassurance after seeing actor/author Michael Parent's one-man play, "One More Thing." Such is the power of the slice of life depicted.

In just over an hour Friday night, Parent poignantly established the familial world of a retired Franco-American millworker in all its complicated connections and disconnections.

Though much of the piece, set in 1989, is historically specific to immigrants from Quebec, the themes of adaptation and change are in many ways universal. Issues of ethnicity and change have, of course, made up a large part of what America is all about. Parent does an excellent job of sketching some of the major issues within the context of his character's reflections.

Where there might have been a temptation to say too much, Parent wisely allows the audience to fill in some of the blanks, thereby letting the piece breathe.

Mostly seated in an easy chair and using a remote to flip an imaginary TV to either a Bruins or Red Sox game, the white-bearded actor achieves credibility as a 67-year-old widower alone with his thoughts. When not cursing in French at developments on the silent TV, he outlines his family history to the audience.

A portrait of his beloved, departed wife hangs over his shoulder and he occasionally turns to address the visage that holds great power for him, both in terms of love and admonition.

From a family of millworkers, some disabled and then abandoned by owners who have shut down the mills, the old man describes his pride and frustration with his children's life choices. Parent is very good at evincing how his character tries to find connections between his difficult but colorful past and a world, embodied in his kids, that may have little respect for, or understanding of, the old ways.

He recounts stories of uncles who worked two shifts and fathers (his) who were too severe with their children. The dangers of drink are suggested and stubbornness also gets its due.

Parent often uses song or bits and pieces of songs, in French, to evoke the hardy, poetic aspect of Franco-American culture and the way it has been kept alive.

When he finally connects, through a phone call, with the faraway son he has fretted about, the fact that the son still speaks a little French for him seems like the affirmation the old fellow had awaited. The closing blackout, though a little abrupt, holds hope for a generation that has entered a new stage in an evolving sense of identity.

The piece, directed by David Kaye, will also be performed May 14 at the South Portland Library and at the McArthur Library in Biddeford June 16.

Steve Feeney is a free-lance writer who lives in Portland.

Michael Parent
95 Congress St., Apt. 2
Portland, ME. 04101