I haven't posted on Louisiana lately, but this one is a bit close to home. As a result of my current commute, I just finished the book 12 Years a Slave and reviewed the additional research. First, I loved the story. I hate hearing about what happened to Solomon Northup, but love knowing he survived and made it back into the arms of his family and friends.
This post isn't about the book, but rather the part of Louisiana I've visited often since I was a small child. My grandparents and many generations back are from this area and Marksville (historically known for the ancient mounds) was the big town in this very rural part of Louisiana. I spent many summer vacations and weekends "in the country" visiting my beloved grandparents and was surprised to find that the setting of this book was mostly in Avoyelles Parish.
I struggled to figure out where this all took place and at first thought it must be around Pineville, but that is in Rapides Parish. Then the map helped me realize it was in the area of Bunkie - another small town in Avoyelles parish. Throughout the book, I heard so many "American" names, rather that the French names that are common in the region (Napoleon's soldiers settled the area). Hopefully, a bit of research will help me answer my questions.
By the end of the book, I was so proud of Marksville and the fact that they moved quickly to secure Mr. Solomon Northup. They recognized the risk to his life and acted quickly - demonstrating leadership and their true passion for what was the right thing to do.
I wasn't around during slavery, but did experience integration both "in the country" and in New Orleans. There were complex dynamics at play and I didn't always like what I saw, but do appreciate the progress (a bit slow at times) that has been made.