Every year thousands of tourists visit St. Martinville, Louisiana, not far from Lafayette. They come in to steep in Cajun culture, to hear French spoken on the street, and to visit the town’s several museums, but most of all they come to visit the places associated with Evangeline. There is an Evangeline state park, there the Evangeline Oak, and, in the town’s graveyard next to the Catholic church, there is Evangeline’s tomb, topped with a bronze metal statue of her likeness.
Evangeline first captured the attention of the nation in 1847, when Henry Wadsworth Longfellow told her tale in his epic poem. The story starts in 1755, in Acadia, or modern-day Nova Scotia. Longfellow describes Evangeline as “a maiden of seventeen summers, black were her eyes as the berry that grows on the thorn by the way-side. Black, yet how softly they gleamed beneath the brown shade of her tresses.” She is also modest and kind. Her true love and fiancé is Gabriel, son of blacksmith. The couple are separated during “Le Grand Derangement”, when British authorities expelled thousands of French speaking Catholic citizens in one of North America’s lesser known acts of ethnic cleansing…read more on Perceptive Travel