Our Hébert and Blanchard ancestors were driven out of Nova Scotia to France before the Spanish recruited them to sail for Louisiana to help populate the colony. The Duplantises were from Bordeaux and settled in alongside the Acadians.
About 3,000 Acadians who had fled to Ile St. Jean (later, Prince Edward Island) were captured in 1758 and forcibly deported on 13 ships sailing for France. Three of these ships sank, drowning about 700 people. Another 900 died of disease before reaching France.1 Our Hebert and Blanchard ancestors survived the crossing, but the years following were difficult. Though the Acadians considered themselves French, to the French the Acadians were a nuisance and failed to support them. But, eager to populate sprawling Louisiana, the Spanish actively recruited them to return to North America. In 1785, after 25 years of poverty, many of those original exiles crossed the Atlantic again en route to Louisiana. Joining some of them were children who had been born and raised in France.2
They included Pierre-Michel Hebert, a son of exiles who married Isabel Mazerolle, whose father had been deported to England and was later sent to France. They also included Beloni Blanchard, his son Beloni-Jacques and their families. Also among them was Beloni’s brother, Charles, a widower, and his son, Suliac-Francois Blanchard and Suliac’s wife Marie Hebert, a daughter of exiles. They were all sent to settle around Saint-Jacques (later, St. James Parish).3
Also among the many Acadian names represented in the Arceneaux family tree are Bergeron, Bernard, Boudreaux, Bourg, Daigle, Dugas, Gautreaux, Guillot, Landry, Pitri and Trahan.
The Héberts and Blanchards
All Cajun Heberts are descended from Etienne Hebert, who migrated to Acadie around 1620 with his brother. The first Hebert in our family was Marie-Marguerite Hébert, the wife of Pierre’s grandson, also named Pierre.4 Much later, other Heberts married into the family on Alfred Phillip Arceneaux’s mother’s side as well as his father’s side.
All Cajun Blanchards are descended from Jean Blanchard, who settled in Acadie in the late 1640s.5 Blanchard married into both the Arceneaux and Duplantis families.
The Duplantis family were not Acadians, but French settlers.6,7 Their children were Louisiana Creoles, which refers to the American-born children of colonial French and Spanish settlers who arrived prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Socially, however, they were not part of the Creole planter class, which set itself apart from the working-class Acadians. Our Duplantis ancestors appear to have fully adopted the Cajun culture. (The terms also applies to the children of mixed European and African slave heritage and to free, American-born descendants of African or Caribbean slaves.) Our Duplantis ancestors came from Bordeaux and arrived in Louisiana possibly in the 1790s. They were probably recruited by Spain as the Heberts and Blanchards had been. The Spanish settled them in Saint-Jacques, too.
Although our Hebert, Blanchard and Duplantis crossed paths with the Arceneauxs on the Acadian Coast, they joined up to form our line of Arceneauxs in Morgan City when Alfred Phillip Arceneaux and Wilda Duplantis married in 1926.
1. Parks Canada (2014). Acadian Deportation of 1758, http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/pe/amherst/natcul/natcul3.aspx
2. Carl Brasseaux (1991). Scattered to the Wind: Dispersal and Wanderings of the Acadians, 1755-1809.
3. Steven Cormier (2014). Appendices, http://www.acadiansingray.com
4. Denis J. Savard (2000). Dictionnaire généalogique des familles Arsenault.
5. Steven Cormier (2014). Appendices, http://www.acadiansingray.com
7. Stanley LeBlanc (2014). http://www.thecajuns.com and personal communication.