Members of the Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association were happily settling in to their annual pot-luck dinner last week, hungrily eyeing the mouth watering selections of meats, casseroles, salads and desserts, when three mysterious strangers burst into the room at the Old Courthouse Building..
One was obviously a priest, though his cassock was quite old fashioned. Another wore an ancient red coat and a straw hat and the third was clad in a heavy white coat with a tricorn hat. NGHA President Billie Gibson (who was in on the plot) gave them permission to address the group, while the members ate.
The men introduced themselves and the audience learned that they were Father Jean Delvaux, Natchitoches Spanish Commandant Louis DeBlanc and none other than Colonial Gov. Baron Carondolet himself.
In no time Delvaux and DeBlanc were arguing like two school boys, with the governor fighting a losing battle in trying to keep the peace. In between the spats, the men — each from his own viewpoint — explained to the group what had happened when Delvaux led a “mini-revolt” against DeBlanc here in 1795. Folks were beaten, DeBlanc’s house was attacked and other nefarious actions took place.
I wrote about the incident in a column last fall, but these three men, whether alighting from some time machine or what, I don’t know, took it upon themselves to try to persuade the NGHA members that his viewpoint was the correct one.
Delvaux stopped at nothing in trying to humiliate DeBlanc during the discussion. At one point DeBlanc was about to explain how friends of his were attacked after leaving a party at his house but he got distracted by the memory of a young French girl named Marie, with whom he had danced at the soiree. Dellvaux embarrassed DeBlanc by grabbing his sleeve and openly asking him if he needed to go to confession, in connection with any thing that may have happened with the lovely Marie.
“Unhand me, you scoundrel,” was DeBlanc’s response. “I wouldn’t confess my least sin to you.”
In the end, Delvaux was exiled from the Louisiana colony and Carondelet transferred DeBlanc to St. Martinville in the Bayou Teche country.
Well, okay, all right. Those guys didn’t hop out of any time machine to make their case to the NGHA members. Yeah, yeah. It was me and my friends Dustin Fuqua and Tommy Adkins. I was DeBlanc, an actual ancestor of mine, Dusty was the priest and Tommy was the governor.
All three of us are avid Louisiana history buffs and we had loads of fun putting on the skit. We had even had time to meet for a quick beer at the Pub before we went to the Old Courthouse That would have been apt because Delvaux was known to be a lover of liquid refreshment, often going down to the river front near what’s now Front Street, chugging brandy and singing French revolutionary songs with his gang, called Les Revenants,, or the Ghosts.
I want to announce publicly that I am awarding Dusty a new theatrical award named a “Louie,” in honor of the Natchitoches founder Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, for the best performance by an actor at a pot-luck dinner of the NGHA. His animated portrayal of the priest kept the audience laughing.
I told him he should be proud. It’s a rare honor. After all, has such a great actor as Tom Hanks, for example, ever won a Louie? Of course not. And I don’t expect he ever will, either.