March 6, 1935
Louisiana Acadians May Visit Land of Forebears
P. F. Lawson suggests that Pilgrimage To Nova Scotia of Descendants Of Grand Pre Acadians Be Made During Coming Summer.
Editor The Register: -
To one who is equally familiar with the "Land of Evangeline" in Nova Scotia and the "Land of Evangeline" in Louisiana comes an appreciation of the wonderful system of highways by which these two regions are now connected. There comes also the idea that promoters of tourist travel into Nova Scotia might well devote their attention to the possibilities afforded by the modern highway systems to Louisiana Acadians to visit the land from which their forebears were expelled.
Safely kept in Nova Scotia records are the names of the families from the Grand Pre country who set sail in a fleet of twelve transports out of the Basin of Minas on October 29, 1755. The fleet was convoyed by His Majesty's ships "Nightingale," "Snow," "Halifax" and "Warren." The course of the exiles was directed southward. They were landed at various points on the shores of Maryland, Virginias, the Carolinas and Georgia. The reception they received from the English was by no means cordial. They learned that farther south were colonies speaking their own French language. Only legendary history tells of their migration into Louisiana.
The Nova Scotians who will read the record of the names of the exiles will find the Broussards, the Blanchettes, the Landrys, the Heberts, the Jacquets, and scores of other family names now so familiar in Louisiana's "Land of Evangeline," one of the most beautiful regions on the American continent. And numbers of these Louisiana families have written records dating back to the days of their ancestors in Nova Scotia.
There is a desire in the hearts of hundreds of the descendants of the exiles to visit the spot where "Gabriel wooed and won Evangeline." The most of them have automobiles. Many of them can well afford a few weeks vacation. There has been no organized effort to persuade them to make the northward trip. A special booklet with highway routing and tourist instructions together with pictorial literature could be used very effectively. I am convinced that whoever is directing Nova Scotia's campaign to secure an increasing number of tourists would be well advised to look further into the possibilities I have merely suggested.
This letter is prompted by a booklet I have just received from the Middleton Board of Trade. It tells of the "Old Home and Reunion Celebrations" that will be held during 1935 in eastern Annapolis County. It shows the right spirit. While it appeals to all former residents to come back to the homeland for a visit it also offers full co-operation in the regular tourist business. I am sure the Middleton Board of Trade would be delighted to cooperate in making pleasant the visits of Acadian descendants from Louisiana who would wish to visit not only Grand Pre but to go further westward to Digby, Meteghan and the other places where live the descendants of those Acadians who managed to escape the exile.
If my personal acquaintance in the parishes of Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin and Acadia in Louisiana coupled with my familiarity with Grand Pre, Gaspereaux, Wolfville and all of Nova Scotia's attractions would be helpful in the promotion of Nova Scotia's tourist interests my services would be freely and cheerfully given.
P. F. Lawson
255 Forest St.