Mattress Mack's $1 million March Madness bet still alive in Louisiana

Local author to explore Acadian, Canary Islander heritage in book discussion

Staff Report

Louisiana is home to Cajun descendants of the Le Grand Dérangement, Great Britain’s 1755 exile of French-speaking Acadians from Nova Scotia. In the late 18th century, Islenõs from the Canary Islands, a small archipelago off the coast of Morocco, also found themselves far from home in search of a new life. The histories and unions between the Acadians and Canary Islanders are key to many families’ ethnic heritage in Louisiana.

Local author, historian and genealogist Chad LeBlanc will explore this history in a discussion of his historical fiction, The Roots of the Bayou: Acadians and Isleños on Bayou Lafourche. His book looks back to his ancestors, Acadian Joseph Ursin LeBlanc and Isleño (or Canary Islander) Andres Gonzales Perera, to craft a story featuring characters inspired by real-life people uncovered during his research.

LeBlanc, who is president of the Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana, said when he started researching, there were a handful of people in the area who knew about the Isleños’ history here or all the stops in England and France – and even Ireland – the Acadians went through before settling in Louisiana. He hopes to raise awareness about this shared history through his new book. Along the way, you will learn the history of these two cultures and the vastly different circumstances that brought them together.

LeBlanc's presentation will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Ascension Parish Library in Gonzales. A book signing will follow the presentation. Registration is required. Call (225) 647-3955 to attend.