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Birding at Oakley Plantation House during Audubon Pilgrimage 2017, St. Francisville, Louisiana

In March, Oakley Plantation House near St. Francisville was the site of Audubon Pilgrimage events honoring John James Audubon who painted images

Murrell Butler, naturalist and artist, described the birds of the area today. C.C. Lockwood, Louisiana’s famous wetlands photographer, described how he takes world-class photos of wildlife. Dr. Tom Tully, wildlife veterinarian, explained his work and took the class on a birding expedition around Oakley’s grounds. The exciting siting of the day was a Yellow Bellied Sapsucker! Try it, you’ll like it.

 

Juan St. Malo & Cimarrons – Corrections & Additions to New Orleans Advocate article

The New Orleans Advocate newspaper on August 7th, 2016 carried an article about Juan St. Malo, runaway slave in Spanish Colonial Louisiana. The article in the Historically Speaking section referred to him a Jean Saint Malo. In the Spanish judicial records he was known as Juan St. Malo in 1780’s. He had run away from the D’Arensbourg Plantation upriver from New Orleans on the “German Coast” near today’s Hahnville LA. He made his way to Lake Borgne (see map) and rose to be the leader of two villages of runaways, known as “cimarrons”. The villages, Chef Menteur and Ville Gaillarde, numbered together about one hundred villagers. They traded with the slaves behind plantations, sold cypress trees from the swamps to a British sawmill operator, grew crops and gathered the bounty of south Louisiana wetlands.

After a few years Spanish authorities closed in on the cimarrons. Those captured were interrogated and their testimonies are in the Spanish archives (translated into English in the Journals of the Louisiana Historical Society in the 1930’s). They were not plotting an insurrection, merely seeking their own freedom.

Read more of the story of Juan St. Malo, the village and events that led to their capture and punishment on pages 27-28 in my book DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City.

Granddaughter Laura Maxine Fairbanks Interviews The Old Raconteur

This interview took place in the front room of our little shotgun home in the French Quarter.  Laura Maxine Fairbanks, Laura to her friends and Maxie to family receives her middle name from my mother Maxine Peters Norris Juban.

Maxie interviewed me for a StoryCorp.me project.