Mee Maw and Her Leveque kin

Marie Celeste Leveque Landry, Amanda Leveque, Marie Therese Landry, Germaine Erie Patureau Landry, and Landry child in Lake Charles, Louisiana, circa 1927.

Here is a sweet looking family group photo from my dad’s side of the family.  It was taken around 1930, give or take a couple of years.  I got the photo in 2019 when some cousins met up to share their treasures.  This is one that came from the Secret Collection.  I have shared two other photos that look like they were taken on the same day.  The other photos didn’t have as many people in it. 

My dad’s name was Bob Landry.  At least that’s what most people called him.  But he was also known as Pluto by quite a few people.  His family mostly called him Bobbie or Uncle Bobbie.  He was born in January of 1929.  So it’s possible that the youngest child in this photo could be him.  Or it could be one of his older siblings.  Like me, he had two older brothers and two older sisters when he was born.  I wish these photos had been identified with the date.

My dad’s parents were Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. and Germaine Erie Patureau.  They were known as Rob and Erie.  He was also known as Pappy, and I think that he got that nickname when he was playing semi-professional baseball in the 1910s.  Us grandchildren knew them as Pee Paw and Mee Maw.  Mee Maw is the young mother with her two children in this photo.  Marie is in the middle of the photo and she is the oldest of her children.  Now that I say that, I’m thinking that Marie can’t be older than 3 or 4 and she was born in 1923.  So that would mean that this is not a photo of my dad.  The child in Mee Maw’s lap was probably one of her older sons A.J. or Hubert. 

On the left in this photo is Pee Paw’s mother Marie Celeste Leveque Landry.  These grandchildren are her youngest grandchildren.  In fact her oldest grandchild Manette Landry Bouquet was starting her own equally large family around the same time as her Uncle Rob.  The two families have been close until this day.  So even though they were all the same ages, my dad’s family was from a different generation.  That’s because Rob was Grandma Celeste’s youngest child.

Since I called this post “Mee Maw and Her Leveque Kin,” I have to tell you of their Leveque connection.  Because not only is Grandma Celeste Erie’s mother-in-law, they were also related by blood.  Celeste was the daughter of Josephe Auguste Leveque.  Joseph had a sister named Marie Francoise Leveque.  Francoise was the great great grandmother of Erie.  That would make Erie the first cousin three times removed of Celeste. 

The other person in this photo is also a Leveque.  Her name is Amanda Leveque and she was the daughter of Celeste’s sister Evalina.  So Amanda was Pee Paw’s first cousin and Mee Maw’s second cousin twice removed.  She was born in New Orleans in 1866 and was living there until at least 1910 according to the Census.  Grandma Celeste was living in Lafayette at the time.  So Amanda must have met up with her Aunt Celeste and came to visit some family in Lake Charles.  It looks like they were having a nice visit.  I’m glad they decided to take a few photos to commemorate the visit.

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 11 – The Ones That Didn’t Make it

It’s time to finish up my Acadian to Cajun series that I wrote throughout the year 2020.  I’ve covered all of the lines of my family that came to Louisiana from Acadie.  I’ve learned a lot while writing this series.  Before I started doing the research, I only knew that my family lines had been deported to Maryland and France.  I discovered that other family lines were deported to Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts.  Some other family members had made their way to Ile St. Jean which was under French rule until 1758.  From those places, they made their way to England, France, and St. Domingue (Haiti) before arriving in Louisiana –  if they survived long enough. 

It’s time to talk about the ones that didn’t make it.  Obviously the ones that I descend from that didn’t make it were adults who had children already.  I didn’t talk about all of the family members who were affected by the Grand Derangement in the original installments.  Either I didn’t know about them or I didn’t want to overly complicate the stories at the time.  But they deserve a mention.

Installment 1 was about the extended families of Augustin Landry and Marie Madeleine Babin.

From Installment 1 of my Acadian to Cajun series, I’ve already talked about Pierre Landry.  He was the father of Augustin Landry who brought his family to Louisiana by way of Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  I talked about him in my post about Landry Grandfathers.  Augustin’s wife was Marie Magdelena Babin and her mother was Marguerite Bourg.  I talked about Marguerite in Installment 10.  But I didn’t talk about  Marguerite’s father Alexandre Bourg who was still alive at the time of the Grand Derangement. 

Can you imagine your whole life turning upside down  at the age of 84?  That’s what happened to Alexandre.  He moved to Ile St. Jean sometime in the early 1750s.  He was living with his daughter Anne and her husband Joseph LeBlanc in 1752 in Port Toulouse.  He somehow escaped being Exiled after the fall of Louisbourg in 1758.  He had been a royal notary for many years, so he may have still had some political connections on both the French and English sides of the conflict.  He was 87 years old at the time.  He was 89 years old when he died in 1760 in Richiboucton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Installment 2 covered the family of Antoine Breau and Marguerite Landry. Antoine’s mother Claire Trahan is listed below him. I could find no information about the ancestors of Marguerite Landry.

In Installment 2, I talked about the Charles Breaux family who was Exiled to Port Tobacco, Maryland, in 1755.  Charles died in Port Tobacco sometime around between 1763 and 1765.  His wife Claire Trahan made it to Louisiana where she lived a short while.  Claire’s mother was Marie Helene Pellerin and she was alive in 1755, but she was living in Ile St. Jean which was still under French rule.  She died August 27, 1756, at the age of 87.  She was my 7x great grandmother.

In Installment 3, I talked about the Pierre Breaux family.  Pierre was the brother of Charles Breaux.  Some of his family were also Exiled to Port Tobacco and Pierre died before 1763.  In the meantime his son Honore had been deported to Virginia and was sent on to England and France.  He eventually married Elizabeth LeBlanc.  She was the daughter of Victor LeBlanc and Marie Aucoin.  I talked about the tragic deaths of Marie, her parents, and two of her young children by her second husband Gregoire Maillet.

Installment 3 was about Honore Braud, Elisabeth Le Blanc, and their extended families

But I didn’t tell you anything about Victor LeBlanc’s family.  I doubt that anybody noticed because I was talking about so many people.  The other reason I didn’t write about it was that I wasn’t sure about his family.  When I looked around for information about him, I found different parents than what I had .  My dad had obtained that information from Acadian researcher Bona Arnsenault.  But recently more information was discovered that showed he was from a different family.  I needed time to “Let go of” his previous parents and make the changes. 

His parents were Pierre ‘dit Pinou’ LeBlanc (1685-1769) and Francoise Landry (1693-1767).  I descend from siblings of both of them, so there were no new lines to add to the tree.  Francoise was the sister of Pierre Landry who I mentioned earlier.  Pierre LeBlanc and Francoise Landry were Exiled to Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. They both showed up on a 1757 Census of Acadian Exiles, as well as another one conducted in 1763.  After the Seven Year War was over, many of the Acadian Exiles in Massachusetts decided to return to Canada.   Around May 17, 1767, Pierre and Francoise, along with the family of their daughter Angelique (married to Germaine Dupuis, the first cousin of my ancestor Joseph Dupuis from Installment 9), boarded the schooner Abigail bound for Quebec.  They arrived in Quebec on June 18.  Sadly, Francoise died a few months later on October 3, 1767, in Lavaltrie, Quebec, at the age of 74.  Pierre died on October 22, 1769, in Montreal at the age of 84.

Pierre Paul Hebert’s and Marguerite LeBlanc’s families were discussed in Installment 4.

In Installment 4, we talked about the Hebert family.  They were Exiled to Georgetown, Maryland.  If you’re keeping track, my ancestors were deported to four locations in Maryland:  Upper Marlboro, Port Tobacco, Oxford, and Georgetown.  They seemed comparatively the safest places to be Exiled.  I could be biased since my ancestors survived being deported there.  We descend from survivors of catastrophes through the ages.  Just because a person is a Holocaust survivor doesn’t mean that they had an easy time of it.  And it’s not like they had a choice.

I mentioned in that installment that Marguerite LeBlanc (the wife of Pierre Paul Hebert) was the daughter of Antoine LeBlanc and Marie Babin.  I am a bit more sure of her parentage than back then and have found out more information about them.  To make things perfectly clear, I found out that Antoine LeBlanc and Victor LeBlanc were double first cousins.  That means that his father Antoine was the brother of Pierre ‘dit Pinou’ LeBlanc and his mother Anne Landry was the sister of Francoise Landry.  Antoine LeBlanc (the grandfather of Marguerite) died before the Grand Derangement in 1739 in Grand Pre, Acadie.  His wife Anne Landry (my ancestor) was Exiled to Massachusetts like her sister.  She also died in Quebec in 1767 like her sister.  Anne was 79 years old when she died.  The younger Antoine LeBlanc (father of Marguerite) died in 1744 at less than 40 years of age.  It is believed that his wife Marie Babin (my ancestor) was deported to Virginia, which is very unfortunate.  They were sent on to England where they were treated poorly.  Many of them suffered from smallpox and died.  It looks like Marie was one of those that died in 1756 in that group.

Installment 5 discussed the families of Joseph Bourg and Marie Magdelene Granger.

In Installment 5, I told you about the very tragic story of Magdelene Granger, my 6x great grandmother.  Her first marriage was to Alain Bujol.  They had two children together in Ile St. Jean, but were later deported in 1758 at the fall of Louisbourg.  She was the only survivor of her little family due to the circumstances of being Exiled.  I found out that her father Joseph Granger was alive at the time of the initial deportations in 1755.  I descend from his first wife Anne Richard who died in 1751.  Joseph remarried shortly after that (he was 54 years old) to a Marguerite Gautrot.  They had two sons before the deportations began.  Joseph’s family was deported  to Virginia. (cue the somber music) They were on a ship that arrived in England in June of 1756.  There was no sweet reunion for Joseph and Magdelene.  When she was married in 1760, Joseph is listed as deceased.  She is my inspiration for perseverance! 

Installments 6 and 7 were about the families of the brothers Etienne and Joseph Bugeaud. I descend from both of them.

In Installment 6, Joseph Bujol and Anne LeBlanc were sent into Exile with their family to Oxford, Maryland.  I bet you were relieved to hear that they weren’t sent to Virginia!  This history is so full of tragedies.  Thankfully this little family fared well during their time in Exile.  The family stayed intact and actually grew during their time in Maryland.  This wasn’t true for their extended families.  Anne’s mother Jeanne Bourgeois was Exiled to Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She arrived in December 1755 and it was the last that was heard of her.  Three of her children died in Liverpool, England, in 1756 and another one died in France in 1759.  Jeanne was probably not aware of their deaths since those events happened across the ocean.  We know that she had died before the 1763 Census at the age of about 70.

The story in Installment 7 was about Joseph Bujol’s brother Etienne and his wife Anne Forest.  Anne was another of those with a tragic story.  She lost her first husband during the Exile.  What I didn’t mention in that installment was the fate of her parents Pierre Forest and Madelaine Babin.  They were alive when the Grand Derangement began and they were deported to Weymouth, Massachusetts.  He died within the first year of Exile at the age of 62.  Madelaine shows up on the November 10, 1756, Census in Weymouth as a widow.  There are no records of her after that time.  So she probably died shortly after that before the age of 60.

Joseph and Etienne’s extended family was not Exiled during the initial deportations of 1756.  They had several younger brothers and sisters who moved to Ile St. Jean with their parents Joseph Bujol and Josette Landry.  They were there by the time of the Census of 1752.  So while Joseph the younger and Etienne were Exiled with their families in 1755, other family members were able to stay at Ile St. Jean until 1758.  It was at this point that Joseph the elder died.  Either he died prior to the deportation or as a result of it.  He was 59 years old.  Josette and some of her children fled north with the help of a son-in-law who was part of the Acadian militia.  They surrendered to the British and were held in Nova Scotia until the end of the Seven Year War.  They made their way to Quebec and settled there.  Josette eventually died on June 8, 1778, in Bonaventure, Quebec, at the age of 77.  She did not see her sons Joseph and Etienne during the last 22 years of her life.

So that’s it.  I previously covered the extended families of the ancestors I discussed in Installments 8, 9, and 10.  I don’t think I’ll ever think of the Grand Derangement or even Acadie in the same way ever again.  Hopefully I’ll always be aware of the difficulties my ancestors had to endure in order for me to be able to call myself a Cajun.  Even though those I mentioned in this post didn’t survive the Exile to make it to Louisiana, I will still consider them honorary Cajuns!  I think of it as a title of respect and they definitely deserve it.

For other installments of the “From Acadian to Cajun” series, click on the following links:

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 1 – Landry/Babin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 2 – Breau/Trahan

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 3 – Braud/LeBlanc/Gauterot/Aucoin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 4 – Hebert/Melanson

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 5 – Bourg/Granger

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 6 – Bujol/LeBlanc

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 7 – Foret/Bujol

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 8 – Hernandez/Babin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 9 – Dupuis/Dugas

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 10 – Bourg/Babin/Landry

Marie Celeste in Color

I posted a story a while back about a family photo of my mom’s family.  It was a black and white photo that she had hand tinted.  I talked about a group on Facebook that provides coloring services for free for black and white photos.  Some of them are really good, but I’m not really much a fan of it.

Then there’s the site that I’ve been using a lot to enhance photos.  I’ve shared some of them already.  They also have a coloring feature for the photos, but I don’t usually like the results from that either.  It never really looks realistic or flattering.  I’ve been enhancing a lot of my old photos lately, and occasionally I’ll try the coloring feature just to see what it might look like.

Marie Celeste Leveque circa 1868 (colorized)

When I tried it on this photo on my dad’s maternal grandmother Marie Celeste Leveque Landry, I was pretty excited.  I really liked the colors that it provided.  The shading was a little too severe, but I knew I could fix that.  So that’s what I did.  I think it really brings the photo to life.  What do you think?

I posted the black and white version of the photo of Grandma Celeste almost five years ago.  It is the photo that is on her headstone at her grave in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  But this photo was taken long before then.  It was taken some time around 1868.

I figure it was probably taken around then based on her age in the photo and the fact that she married Simon Alcide Joseph Landry on November 24, 1868, at the age of 21.  The photo looks like an engagement or wedding photo, but I’m not sure if that was done back then.  It’s a nice photo that shows what she looked like back then.  I thought I would give some other details about her life at the time as well.

The best thing to show some detail about her life is the 1870 Census of West Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  This is the first Census after the Civil War and things were decidedly different for Celeste and her family.  The families in the South were having to figure out a new way of doing things.  They were no longer able to use enslaved individuals to do their hard work for their benefit.  And rightfully so!

1870 Census showing Celeste and Alcide’s household in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana

So in 1870 Alcide is shown as a farmer on his piece of land valued at $1000 and Celeste is ‘Keeping house.’  They are also the new parents of 5-month-old Carmelite.  That would be Marie Marguerite Carmelite Landry, who would later be called Lily.

Directly below their household is listed the household of Celeste’s first cousin Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol Landry.  She was married to Alcide’s brother Trasimond.  Trasimond and Belite were married on November 30, 1867, and they had two children in 1870.  Their oldest daughter Therese was my great grandmother, but she was only two years old at this time.  They also have a 6-month-old daughter named Catherine.  She would be known as Kate.  Also in the household is 75-year-old Narcisse Landry, the father of Trasimond and Alcide.

Like I said, Celeste and Belite were first cousins.  Actually their mothers were sisters with the Landry maiden name.  Their grandfather was Joseph Emanuel Landry, the half-brother of Narcisse.  This means that Celeste and Belite’s children were 1st cousins through their fathers, 2nd cousins through their mothers, and half second cousins since their parents were related.

So it should be no surprise that little Therese’s daughter Erie would later marry Celeste and Alcide’s youngest son Rob and they would become my grandmother and grandfather.  Even though they were also our first cousin three times removed and second cousin once removed, we just called them Mee Maw and Pee Paw.

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 6 – Bujol/LeBlanc

My ancestors Joseph Bujol (Bugeaud) and Anne LeBlanc were among the Acadian Exiles who made their way to Louisiana. These names are on a Memorial Wall in St. Martinville, Louisiana.

Here we are again, looking at another installment of the stories of my Acadian ancestors who were sent into Exile and eventually ended up in Louisiana.  This time we will be looking at the experience of Joseph Bujol and his wife Anne LeBlanc.  We haven’t looked at any of my ancestors with the last name of Bujol yet.  Last time we did look at a Bujol who was married to one of my ancestors, but sadly he died during the turmoil of the Exile. 

We have also looked at an ancestor with the LeBlanc last name previously.  Elizabeth LeBlanc was married to Honore Breaux, and her father Victor was Anne’s second cousin through the Acadian founder Daniel LeBlanc.  There are seven paths from Daniel down to me.  I won’t go over all of that, but I will say that I descend from Daniel’s children Rene, Andre, and Anthony.

But let’s get back to our main subjects.  Joseph Bujol was born in Pisiquit, Acadie, in 1723.  His father was also named Joseph and his mother was Josette Landry.  They lived in a place called  the Village de Abraham Landry.  Abraham Landry was the father of Josette and the grandfather of Joseph the younger.  We have definitely talked about the Landry name in previous posts.

Anne Leblanc’s baptism record

Anne LeBlanc was born February 6, 1732, in Grand Pre, Acadie.  She was the youngest of the nine recorded children of Jean LeBlanc and Jeanne Bourgeois.  They lived in St. Charles aux Mines, Acadie.  Like many young women who are married, she was married in her hometown to a somewhat older husband Joseph Bujol in 1750.  Her father had died in 1747, so she was not given away by her father as many brides are. 

Within a year of their marriage, they had their first child – a daughter that they named Marguerite.  In 1753 they had son by the name of Augustin.  Then in 1755 they had their most important child – a daughter that they named Perpetua (or Perpetue).  I think she’s special because she is my 4X great grandmother.  She was also the last of my ancestors to be born in Acadie.  It was that same year that the Grand Derangement began.

This was the time that the English forced the residents of Acadie from their homes and Exiled them to various places.  Most of their homes and churches were burned, along with many records within them.  They were sent off with not much more than the clothes on their backs.  Many of them died in the process due to shipwrecks, diseases, and malnourishment.

On October 27, 1755, Joseph and Anne, with their three children, were loaded onto the ship “The Ranger” and torn from their homeland.  On November 29th they reached the shores of Annapolis, Maryland.  They did not disembark at that point, because they ended up continuing on to Oxford, Maryland.  This is where they would spend their next 12 years of Exile.

I can’t imagine going through this Great Upheaval like they did with an infant daughter and two other young children.  The danger and uncertainty of it all must have been terrifying.  Their outcome was better than others I have written about.  Other ancestors who had recently been married and with young children didn’t fare so well.  Some of them lost their first spouse and others lost children.  (Another sober nod goes to Magdelene from my last installment.)

They weren’t spared all grief, though.  Anne LeBlanc lost four siblings in the first few years of the Exile.  After recently enduring the death of a second sister, I can’t imagine losing four in such a short time.   I don’t see that Joseph lost any siblings at this point, but his father did die in 1758.  I know many of his siblings ended up in Quebec, so he likely never saw them again. 

The 1763 Census for Oxford, Maryland, of the Acadians in Exile.

Their life continued in Oxford.  If you look at the July 1763 Census from Oxford, Maryland, the sixth household listed begins with Joseph Bigeos.  That’s our Joseph Bujol.   Anne is listed after him, as are their children Marguerite, Augustine, and Perpetue.  And there’s one more.  They had a little girl that they named Anne in 1757 while in Oxford.

That little girl Anne Bujol would later marry a little boy that is listed on this same page.  The third household listed starts with his parents Joseph and Marie Josette (Bourg) Landry and continues on to the son named Joseph.  He would be known as Joseph “dit bel Homme” Landry and he would marry Anne Bujol in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.  They would have over a dozen children and eventually die in Donaldsonville.  There is a huge monument/tomb in the Catholic Cemetery there.  Everyone always asks me if I descend from that well-known Landry.  I say, “No, but we are related.”  When I try to explain how I’m related, their eyes glaze over.  Except for the ones that really do descend from him.  I know some of them.

Joseph Bujol and Anne LeBlanc would have one more child while in Oxford.  Marie Madeline was supposedly born in 1762, yet she didn’t show up in the 1763 Census.  Perhaps the Census was negligent.  It’s been known to happen.  She was not their last child, but their stay in Oxford was coming to an end.  Like the other Acadians I have talked about, they heard about opportunities in Louisiana and decided to take their chances.  In late June of 1766, they joined over 200 other Acadian Exiles and boarded an English chartered ship that departed from Baltimore.

The ship did not head directly to Louisiana.  It reached Belize in September 1766 after making a stop in Cap Francais.  They then continued on to New Orleans.  These new arrivals had not been given permission to emigrate to the now Spanish-owned territory, yet the Spanish authorities were expecting more immigrants.  Because the Exiles “…had arrived in misery and were in great need, they were helped immediately…”  This group was sent to the Acadian Coast and given small lots of land.

In 1769 they were living in the Pointe Coupee area with their family.  The listing is as follows:   #74 Joseph BUJEUX, 46; Anne LEBLANC, wife, 36; Augustin, son, 16; Joseph, son, 3 months;  Margueritte, daughter, 18;  Perpetue, daughter, 14;  Anne, daughter, 12;  Marie, daughter, 8;  Joseph LANDRY, uncle, 65. 

I’ll leave it like that; with the family making a new home in Louisiana and welcoming a new baby boy.  You might as well go ahead and call them Cajuns.

family tree showing the path to ancestors discussed in this blog post

Follow the red Louisiana icons to find Joseph Bujol & Anne LeBlanc

For other installments of this series of blog posts, click on the following links:

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 1 – Landry/Babin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 2 – Breau/Trahan

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 3 – Braud/LeBlanc/Gauterot/Aucoin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 4 – Hebert/Melanson

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 5 – Bourg/Granger

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 7 – Foret/Bujol

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 8 – Hernandez/Babin

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 9 – Dupuis/Dugas

From Acadian to Cajun: Part 10 – Bourg/Babin/Landry

Bobby Landry at Landry Memorial in 1943

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. was the young 8th grade student in the middle of the photo (the taller one). He was known as Bobby back then. This was at Landry Memorial High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

One of my Leveque cousins made a Facebook post yesterday about Landry Memorial High School in Lake Charles.  It inspired me to write my blog about Landry Memorial today, because that’s where my dad and his brothers went to school back in the day.  I remember looking through my dad’s old report cards when I was a kid and wondered about the Landry name associated with the school.  I never really bothered to ask about it back then.  My main concern were the bad grades that my dad made.  He explained them to me by saying that he only studied for enough to pass the class.  That really didn’t help explain it to me.

Nov. 1943, p. 3

But later I found out the history of the school and the connection to the family.  When I was in high school, our family sang at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Lake Charles.  On Friday nights I remember there being many students from St. Louis High School that would come to listen to us sing and play for them.  Or maybe they just came for the pizza.  In college I went to St. Louis to participate in various meetings and retreats.

During that time I didn’t realize that St. Louis High had once been Landry Memorial.  I probably wasn’t paying attention when my dad likely told us that he went to school there.  To me, St. Louis was just another high school in Lake Charles.  But I found out differently later on.

My dad was an 8th grade student at Landry Memorial in 1943.  In the first photo, he is the center student in the middle row.  If you read the information in the second photo (Nov. 1943, p. 3) at the bottom of the first column, they describe my dad.  “Bobby is small but is full of fight.  I am sure that he will turn out to be as good as his brother was, who played center for the Tigers in 1941.”  The brother they were talking about was my Uncle Hubert, who was a few years older than my dad.  I don’t know if their prediction turned out accurately.  All I ever heard about were his musical undertakings.

Nov. 1943, p. 1

But the first page of that old 1943 paper is interesting as well.  It talks about the death of Mrs. J. A. Landry.  She was born Wylie Eugenia Stanton in 1868.  My dad and his siblings called her “Aunt Wylie.”  She used to send her limousine to pick up my dad’s family on Sundays to bring them to church.  It left an impression.  She died on Nov. 1, 1943.

The school talked about her death because she had been instrumental in developing it.  In 1925 she purchased the old Baptist Orphanage on Seventh Street and had it remodeled to operate as a Catholic school for boys.  The school was dedicated as Landry Memorial High School on December 15, 1927, in memory of her late husband who had died in 1923.

In the school newspaper it mentions that J. A. Landry was associated with the Perkins-Miller Lumber Company.  That is true, but he did much more than that.  He was one of the main driving forces in getting modern utilities developed in Lake Charles.  He ran an ice company called J. A. Landry & Co.  Later he had the Lake Charles Ice, Light, and Water Works Company and Lake Charles Railway, Light and Waterworks Co.  He was a forward thinking entrepreneur.  I suppose that’s why his wife dedicated the school in his name.

He was born Joseph Alfred Landry, Jr. to Joseph Alfred Landry and Marie Aloysia Leveque.  He and my grandparents (Pee Paw and Mee Maw) almost have identical family trees.  There seemed to be quite a few Landry and Leveque connections back then.  They were all related to one another in various ways.  The closest connection was that Pee Paw was J. A. Landry’s half first cousin through their Leveque mothers.  

My great grandmother Celeste Leveque Landry was a half-sister to Aloysia Leveque Landry (their mothers were Landry sisters) and Aloysia’s full brother Justinian.  Justinian was the great grandfather of that Leveque cousin I mentioned at the beginning.

Like I said, he was talking about Landry Memorial High School, too.  It’s a family thing.

Grandma Celeste and Her Niece

A few weeks ago I thought about writing a post about the name Celeste.  I think it is a very nice name – heavenly, in fact.  It also has been a common name in the family.  I realized that when I added a few more family members with that name recently.  Then I came across this photo today and I thought I’d do a bit of an edit to get rid of some scratches and spots.

Amanda Leveque with her aunt Celeste.

So here is a photo of Marie Celeste Leveque Landry, who was my paternal grandfather’s mother.  Grandma Celeste’s youngest child was named Robert Joseph Landry.  He would later become a Sr. when he and my grandmother named my father Robert Joseph Landry, Jr., their third son.  I was the third son of a third son, but I wasn’t a III.  That distinction goes to my oldest brother Rob.

In this photo, she is the older woman on the right with white hair.  She was in her mid 80s in this photo, which was taken around 1932 or 1933.  The other woman was her niece Amanda Leveque.  Amanda was the daughter of Celeste’s older sister Marie Evelina Leveque Leveque.  Celeste had two older 3/4 sisters (they had the same father and their mothers were Landry sisters), but Evelina was her older full sister.  I wrote Leveque twice intentionally for her, because she married her Leveque first cousin.  That Leveque family line lived in New Orleans.  Amanda would have been in her mid 60s at the time of this photo.

Now to get to the part about that Celeste name.  Our Celeste had a brother named J. A. Leveque, Jr.  He had two children named Joseph Mark and Lucy.  Joseph had a daughter in 1895 that he named after his sister and his aunt, probably a favorite aunt.  He named his daughter Marie Lucie Celeste Leveque.  She went by the name Lucie and that was the name I had for her until recently.  I found out about her full name from a DNA match who was named after her great grandmother.  So the name Celeste is still present in that line.

But it is also present in the descendants of Grandma Celeste.  I’ve mentioned before that she helped her son Sebastien to care for her granddaughter Manette when Manette’s mother died.  To honor her grandmother before she died in 1934, Manette named one of her daughters Celeste Marie Bouquet.  She was born in 1928 and went by the nickname Tessie.  Tessie in turn gave one of her daughters the middle name of Celeste.  That daughter did the same for her own daughter.

There may be more with the name in the Bouquet family, but I do know there is at least one in the Landry family.  By that I mean the Robert J. Landry, Sr. family.  My cousin Doug gave his daughter Adele the middle name of Celeste.  There also happens to be a Celeste in the Patureau line.  I doubt that she was named for our Celeste, but that’s who I think of when I see the name.  Actually Celeste was named after her grandmother Clarice Celeste Bruneteau Landry, who was alive when her namesake was born.  Though the name Celeste hasn’t been with the Landry and Leveque lines as long as the Leobon name has been in the Patureau line (250 years), it has been around a respectable 225 years.

How do you spell respect?

Landry Household June 25, 1900

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today.  I knew that it was time for a Landry post, but nothing really stood out for me.  Then I came across an old photo of Marie Celeste Leveque Landry that I had dated to around 1900.  I cleaned up the photo a bit and then wondered just what life was like for Grandma Celeste back then.  Of course she wasn’t a grandma just yet.  Or was she?  I guess it was time to explore a little.

1900 Census of the Landry family in Westlake, Louisiana.  The next household is Samuel and Zoe (Marson) Leveque.  Samuel was Celeste’s half brother.  Zoe was a 2nd cousin to both Celeste and Samuel.

So I looked at the 1900 Census, which is where the first photo comes from.  It gives lots of basic information like name, age, sex, relationship to head of household, and marital status.  This year was good because it asked for the month and date of birth in addition to the standard age category.  You just have to assume that the Census taker got it right when he asked all of the questions.  Most of the time they get it right.

But sometimes it is wrong.  So how can you ever be sure?  It’s not always obvious.  There is an obvious discrepancy in this one.  According to the information that I have collected, Celeste and her husband Alcide (my great grandfather Simon Alcide Joseph Landry) were married in November of 1868.  That would mean that they were married for 31 years as of June of 1900.  On their anniversary that year, it would be 32 years.  The information on the Census shows Alcide as being married for 34 years, while Celeste had only been married for 30 years.

How can that be?  I suppose you could say the average of the two is pretty accurate, but that’s not the way it’s supposed to work.  Maybe there were two years in there that were really rough and it seemed like four years to him, while she would rather not think of them!

Speaking of bad years, there must have been a few of them.  The census shows that Celeste gave birth to ten children and only six of them are still living.  Those were tough times for families, particularly for the mothers.  I have the names of the four children that died, starting with their firstborn child Marie Marguerite Carmelite “Lily” (named after her two grandmothers).  She was born in 1870 in Brusly, Louisiana, and died in 1889 in Westlake.  I’m not exactly sure when the family moved from Brusly to Westlake.  They were in Brusly at least until 1880 because they showed up in the 1880 Census there.  They were in western Louisiana at least by 1889, because Lily was buried in Lake Charles.

The next one born was Joseph E(lie) in Jan. 1872.  He shows up in the 1900 Census, but would only live until 1913.  He would be another child mourned by Celeste.  Then came Sebastien J. who was born in Oct. 1874.  I’ll tell you more about him later.  The next name I have is Joseph A(lcide) who was born in Feb. 1877.  Dad knew him as Uncle Joe.

Next is Louis (Joseph) who was born in Jan. 1879.  If you look at the Census, there is a ten year gap before the next child Mary is listed.  There were three children that were born and died during that period.  A son named Sam was born at the same time as Louis, but he did not survive long.  They gave birth to another son three years later and also named him Sam.  There was also a son named Alcide.  I’m not sure about Sam and Alcide, but they must have died before 1900.  They are not on the list of names, but they do account for the rest of the children that did not survive.  It’s a shame that most of the 1890 Census was destroyed, because it could possibly have provided some more information about their lives.

You would think that they would give up trying at that point.  But fortunately for me, they didn’t.  They had Mary in Feb. 1889 and finally they had Robert J(oseph) in Jan. 1893.  He would later come to be known as my Pee Paw.  And Celeste was 45 years old when she gave birth to him.  That is what you would call a strong constitution!  She needed it to get through all of those births and deaths.  Mary would die in 1909, so only four of her ten children were living when she passed away.

Marie Celeste Leveque Landry circa 1900.

So in 1900, this is what Celeste looked like.  In 1900 she would be caring for her six children who were from age 7 to 28.  She also had her 79 year old mother living in the household.  Besides being “Mrs. Joseph A. Leveque”, she was born Marguerite Baselite Landry.  Another interesting point is that Alcide and his mother-in-law Basalite were half first cousins.  They had the same paternal grandfather Joseph Ignatius Landry.  How cool is that?

And who else was in the house?  If you read the Census, you will see that it was a niece (of Alcide) named Manette.  Which would mean that she was a 23-year-old girl cousin to all of those 20something year old Landry boys.  I’m sure you can guess where all of this led!

Of course some of you knew this from the start, because you descend from Manette and her Landry cousin of choice Sebastien.  Manette and Sebastien would be married later that year.  They had a daughter named Manette in 1904.  Sadly, Manette the mother died a few days later.  So Celeste pretty much took over the role of mother for little Manette, and Manette was like a younger sister to my grandfather.

Since Pee Paw was the youngest of all of his siblings and he died before I was born, I never met any of them.  But I do remember Manette.  “Little” Manette was an older woman celebrating her 50 year wedding anniversary with Bibb Bouquet in 1974.  A link to that long ago household of 1900.

The Ancient Family Plot

Van Landry taking selfie with great great great grandfather Amedee Bujol at St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery in Brusly, Louisiana.

Most of my posts are about photos of my ancestors, which is somewhat limiting because photography hasn’t been around very long, genealogically speaking.  I don’t have any photos of my great great great grandparents.  I have photos of most of my great great grandparents.  The only set of great great grandparents that I don’t have photos of happen to also be my great great great grandparents.

The couple in question are Narcisse Landry and his wife Marie Carmelite Hebert Landry.  They were Pee Paw’s (my paternal grandfather) grandparents and Mee Maw’s (my paternal grandmother) great grandparents.  There, that makes everything clear.

Since I don’t have photos of the individual, sometimes I’ll take selfies with their headstone.  Isn’t that sweet?  Or is it morbid?  Either way, I do it.  I have one of myself with Martha Ann Cook Keys and now I have one with Amedee Bujol.

I took this photo almost two weeks ago.  It was a Sunday afternoon and I was thinking to myself, “I want to take a picture of myself with dead people!”  No, not really.  I had a few spare hours and thought I’d take a quick hop across the Mighty Mississip to check out the Brusly cemetery.  I knew that we had some ancestors buried out there and it was a nice overcast day.  Cemeteries are downright miserable in the summer.  Out in the burning heat and there are usually no trees for shade.

Graves of several family members are located in this small area of the cemetery.

But on a day like that, it is perfect for ‘digging up bones’ as my mom liked to call it.  It took me maybe 15 minutes to get from my house to the spot that I parked in that you see in this photo.  I just pulled in a little ways into the graveyard and got out of my car to start looking.

It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for.  I actually couldn’t have parked any closer.  The main person I was looking for was 1) Marie Francoise Leveque Bujol, my 4th great grandmother.  Francoise was the mother of 2)Amedee from the selfie and he was the father of Amelie ‘Belite’ Bujol who married Trasimond Landry.  They were the parents of Marie Therese Landry Patureau, who was Mee Maw’s mother that died in 1909.

I had seen photos of Francoise’s headstone, so I knew what to look for.  The marker has the writing “Veuve Sylvester Bujol” which means the widow of Sylvester Bujol.  I didn’t see his headstone, but I know that he died in 1824.  With her death given as 1875, that means she had been a widow for over 50 years when she died.

Her son Amedee’s wife Anna Adele Landry also outlived her husband.  She was known as the Veuve Bujol as well and is referred as such in the book about Trasimond Landry called “The Tirailleurs.”  Her grave is not at this cemetery.  (2020 Update – I found the death notice for Anna Adele Bujo, so now I know that she outlived her husband by almost 42 years.  It states that she was buried in this cemetery, yet I haven’t been able to find it.)

It is rumored that Trasimond is buried at this cemetery.  There is a headstone for his mother 3) Marie Carmelite Hebert Landry.  She was the wife of Narcisse Landry.  The rumor also states that Narcisse could be buried here as well.  The rumor comes from family members who have been searching for those graves.  When you look at Marie Carmelite’s grave, you can see plenty of real estate around it.  It is thought that Narcisse and Trasimond are buried on either side of her.

Marie Carmelite and Narcisse are my great great grandparents because they are the father of Simon Alcide Landry.  He moved to the western part of the state in the mid to late 1880s with his family and he was buried in Lake Charles.

And though Narcisse may not have been buried in the St. John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, we know for sure that some of his brothers were.  I found two of their graves.

The most important brother that I found was Narcisse’s half brother 5) Emmanuel Landry.  The reason I claim his importance is because I also descend from Emmanuel.  He was the father of the Anna Adele that I mentioned earlier.  Not only that, he was the father of Clarissa Doralise and Marguerite ‘Baselite’ Landry, the two wives of my great great grandfather Joseph August Leveque (also buried in Lake Charles).

His wife 4) Celeste Bruneteau Landry’s headstone is at this cemetery as well.  As you can see from the photos, they are large concrete graves that are above the ground.  Sitting on top of Celeste’s grave was a broken marker for Valerien Landry.  His grave must be nearby.  He was another brother of Narcisse Landry.  I don’t descend from him.  Imagine that.

So I descend from Narcisse through two of his sons.  Then I descend from his half brother Emmanuel through two daughters.  Through these connections, I am my own double half 5th cousin once removed.  And that’s not all.  I descend through Narcisse’s brother Onezime through his daughter Marie Emma Landry, the wife of the Patureau immigrant Pierre Ferdinand.  They are the progenitors for all of the Patureaus in southern Louisiana that I know of.

J. H. Amedee Bujol died June 28, 1857, in his 42nd year. He was full of honor, esteemed, loyal, always sincere. He was always a good son, a good husband, and a good father. (roughly translated)

So the people in these graves are part of the great entanglements in my family tree.  I can’t really complain about any of that, because if any of that would have been different, I wouldn’t be here.  And neither would a lot of you reading this.

It’s always interesting to me to see the final resting place of some of my people.  Even though it is a place for the dead, I know that many of my family lived and breathed at this same location.  Mourning their loved ones who came before them.  The cycle continues.

I thought I’d put the family tree for my paternal grandmother on here since all of the graves I found are in her tree.  I also thought I’d add the numbers that are associated with the graves pictured in the second photo on this post.

Family tree showing my grandmother’s ancestors. Once correction – I have since found that her maternal great grandmother Anna Adele Landry died on Mar. 13, 1899.

Celeste and the Cistern

Marie Celest Leveque Landry

Grandma Celeste visiting Lake Charles in the late 1920s.

Here is another photo that I got from the AJ Collection.  It is from around the late 1920s and was taken in Lake Charles.  That is my dad’s paternal grandmother. (Van’s dad is Bob, Bob’s dad is Rob, Rob’s mom is this woman.)  Her name was Marie Celeste Leveque Landry and she lived her whole life in Louisiana.  Let me give you some background facts about her.

Celeste was born in 1847 in Brusly, Louisiana.  Her parents were Joseph Auguste Leveque and Marie Basalite Landry Leveque.  She was the 2nd of 9 children by her father’s second wife.  Since the first wife was her mother’s sister, the children from that union were Celeste’s half siblings and half cousins – 3/4 siblings.

When she was born, the family owned a plantation in the Brusly area where they had 60 individuals enslaved and forced to work for them.  Since she was born in 1847, her whole childhood would have been in that environment.  And when the Civil War came along, many of her siblings and cousins fought for the Confederacy.  Would she have considered her childhood happy?  I wonder.

She married one of those cousins that fought in the Civil War.  She married Simon Alcide Joseph Landry on November 24, 1868, in West Baton Rouge Parish.  They had ten children together including my grandfather Robert Joseph Landry who was born in 1893.  That means that Celeste was 47 years old when she gave birth to him!  That’s pretty old.

But it’s not as old as she was when this photo was taken.  She was around 80 years old at the time of this photo.  Yet she still has a little vanity left.  Why do I say this?  Because you can see that she has taken her glasses off for the photo and is holding them in her hand.  Trying to look her best for the photo.  I can just imagine a conversation with her about this photo:

Grandma Celeste asks me, “Why are you putting that old photo on the Facebook?  I look so old in it.  You could at least remove that bump on my neck with all your fancy gadgetry.”

I tell her, “I already removed a possible bump on your cheek.  I want it to look as good as it can, but I also want it to reflect what you actually looked like then without too many changes.  I posted a photo that showed you when you were young and pretty.  Now I’m showing one of when you were older and more dignified.”

“Hmmph!” she snorts, “Old and decrepit is more like it.  At least I’m not wearing my bed clothes like you’ve done to other family members!  I wouldn’t mind if you fixed my blouse to make it straight across the bottom.”

“Like I said,” I patiently explain to her, “I like to keep it as real as possible.”

“You and your ‘really real’ shenanigans,” she says with exasperation, “If only you would treat your ancestors as well as that darned sock monkey of yours!  Now I’m making an edit of the photo myself.  There.”

“Hey,” I say as I notice her smile is gone from the photo,  “You put a scowl on your face!”

She just scowls at me and disappears with a shake of her head.

Eenie Meenie Mee Maw Mo

Mrs. Robert J. Landry Jr. and mother-in-law

Germaine Erie Patureau Landry, little Landry children, and Marie Celeste Leveque Landry circa 1930.

Here is a photo that I got from uncle A. J. last month.  I think it is from the earlier 1930s.  The person with the child in her lap is my paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  When I got those photos from A. J., I realized there were more photos of my dad’s siblings when they were children than I had ever known.  I had seen a few of them ever since I was a youngster.  I remember seeing some of my dad when he was just a toddler wearing a dress and thinking that was strange.  Other people in my generation must have thought the same thing, because nowadays most people dress their children to match their gender.

After I got home with the photos and scanned them all, I shared a few previews with some of my cousins.  This always leads to them sharing some of their photos as well.  Yet more childhood photos of those Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. family members!  We are going to have to get together and study these photos thoroughly, because they are not all dated and labeled.  Like this one.  No names, years, or locations.  I’m sure none of you neglect to label your photos, especially after I have encouraged you to label them.  (On a side note – I could have sworn that I labeled every photo that went into my photo albums.  But I would have been lying!  I thought I did, but several times I have gone to one photo album or another and looked on the back of a photo to find a date.  And I found nothing.  Well, not nothing.  I did put the frame number from the roll of film that I took.  But what good is that if I don’t know when it was taken???  I digress.)

So this photo is of my wonderful Mee Maw who definitely knew who she was holding in this photo!  But she’s not talking.  I don’t think it’s Marie, since there is an older child showing in the photo.  Maybe it is A. J. and that is Marie sticking her foot into the photo.  Of course it could be Hubert, Germaine, Bobbie (my dad, Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.), or Wana.  They were all born pretty close in age to one another.  It couldn’t have been the younger ones, because of who else is in the photo.

On the far right of the photo is Mee Maw’s mother-in-law (and double half 2nd cousin once removed) Marie Celeste Leveque Landry who died February 10, 1934.  Though she lived in Lake Charles from about 1890 to 1925, she was living in Lafayette with uncle Seb in 1930 (according to the census;  She was buried in Lake Charles.)  But I’m sure she had to come visit her little darlings in Lake Charles.  I’m sure she knew their names as well.

But we don’t.  For me, I like to think that it was my daddy.  It looks like some of the photos I’ve seen of him at that age.  But my cousin Shirley might think that it looks like her dad.  Tricia would say that it was definitely Wana.  Daphne will pull out her copy of the same photo and will show that it was labeled as Germaine.  Whichever one it was, it was a Landry child being cared for by their loving mother.  And that represents all of her children.

I still say it’s Bobbie.  (And that cool stroller was his as well!)

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