Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Eve bonfires - a legacy tradition

Joyeux Noel

are a legacy handed down from generations in Louisiana since the 1700s. On Christmas Eve bonfires will be lit along the Mississippi River levees above New Orleans. The special Christmas Eve tradition is the bonfires in the River Parishes of St. James, St. John and St. Charles. The area known as the German Coast.

Today the occasion is said to light the way for Papa Noel on the River. On Christmas Eve the hundreds of bon fires are lit at the same time, lighting miles of the river road levee. From Gramercy to Lutcher the people in the area begin weeks ahead to build the twenty foot tall wooden pyramids to be lit during the Christmas celebration.

The first French and German colonist who came to settle in the area brought with them traditions from their homelands.

The Christmas Eve bonfires still burned in certain parts of France and Germany. The Christmas Yule, known in France as "La Buche de Noel", is also believed to be a remnant of the ancient winter solstice fires.
At most of the large plantations along the river, the fires were built. After the Christmas bonfires, the children recieved gift on New Years eve. Usually the gifts were fruits and nuts.
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Convience at the PRIVY and lacing up the corset!

It is practically impossible to lace up a corset without help. As you can see, it’s a chore.Once over the bodice, this laces up in the back.

Did you realize that the pantaloons have a slit for when one has to use the privy? It’s so convenient not having to pull these down every time one uses the privy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Myterious facts and legends of Haunted New Orelans

Marie Laveau's tomb

Marie Laveau

Devoted followers are still mystified and leave offerings at her tomb! The New Orleans’ Voodoo Queen practiced and embraced the forbidden culture until she died in 1881.

VOODOO was practiced by the slaves and the free blacks in New Orleans during the rein of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. She could lure followers to do deeds or commit crimes. Tales of terror and wonder are connected to her.

Did she hold a supernatural power? Was it the concoctions of drugs that made Voodoo a reckoning force?
Women and men sought the trinkets and gris-gris potions that could bring changes, love, and even revenge. Death could be held in check by the use of "zombie" drugs. Voodoo is powerful. It is still practiced in the Caribbean islands, the south and in New Orleans.

Even though entombed, Marie and her daughter still reign over the shadowy world of New Orleans Voodoo. Markings and crosses have been drawn on their tombs. Offering of coins, herbs, bones, flowers and an assortment of tokens are left…for good luck and blessings of the Voodoo Queen.

Is Marie's former home at 1020 St. Ann Street haunted ? Claims have been made of sightings of the ghostly spirit of Marie.
Her spirit is much a part of New Orleans today!

LEAVE A COMMENT to be entered in "Haunted New Orleans" contest to win a basket of Louisiana treats.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


East Sussex County
The county of East Sussex borders the English Channel. A medieval fortress, abbey and castles are situated near and along the restless coastal waters.

In 1264 King Henry III sparked the Barons’ War. He was captured during the battle at Lewes Castle by the Barons, who were led by his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort.

After the death of Edward the Confessor, William, 7th Duke of Normandy, fought two other self appointed Kings in order to at last rule England. One of the riches religious foundations in England, Battle Abbey, was constructed by monks to commemorate the soldiers who died in battle on that land. Henry VIII later gave the abbey and some surrounding land to Sir Browne.

The ruin of Pevensey Castle is the remains of a medieval fortress built for defense purposes. Later during Napoleon’s reign, the castle had been remodeled and reconstructed to use once again for defense. Napoleon never invaded Britain.

The much criticized Brighton Pavilion originally began as a modest villa built for George III's oldest son. In 1811 when the Prince became Regent he commissioned John Nash to turn it into an oriental show place. Two years after he became King George IV, the exotic building was completed in 1822. The residence became the scene of lavish parties. The ton enjoyed entertainment in the elaborate Banqueting Hall.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


PIRACY is crimes of robbery committed on the high seas by the Captain and crew. Life often became boring for pirates after long days and nights at sea as they searched for ships to prey upon and plunder. Fighting was common. Pirates lived by a strict code and divided the pillaged loot.Talk like a
PIRATE DAY is celebrated in September.
Auast, me hearties! It’s a pirates life for me and me rascals, scoundrels and
knaves. Yo ho, drink up me ‘earties.
Avast ye - stop and check this outAll hand hoay! - all hands on deckBlimey! - exhortation of surprise.
Heave Ho - give it some muscle and push itHornswaggle - cheat out of money or belongings.
Old Salt - an experienced sailor
Savvy? - do you understand and agree?
Scuttle - to sink a shipSeadog - old pirate or sailor
Quarter Master is about as valuable as a captain and usually took over a captured ship until it was disposed.Boatswain inspected the ship, sails and riggings.
Carpenter repaired leaks.
Mates took care of the ships sales, ropes, rigging and mooring of the ship.
Riggers released the rigging and furl the sails.
Swabbies mopped the deck and kept it clean.
Sailing Master handled the navigation and direction of the course the ship takes.
A gentleman pirate of the early 18th century.Why would an Englishman born into wealth in Barbados, educated, married and a respected plantation owner turn to piracy? Stede Bonnet bought a ship, named it the Revenge and rigged it with 10 guns. He and his paid crew set sail for the American east coast plundering ships. He met up with Edward Teach, Blackbeard, and they sailed together capturing merchant ships along the east coast. North Carolina Governor, Charles Eden offered Bonnet clemency from the King of England if he would become a privateer against Spanish ships. Bonnet changed his name to an alias, Captain Thomas, and his ship name to Royal James. He was tempted to continue his piracy plundering ways in July and was captured and hung along with many of his men in November 1718.
KNOT terminology
Hitch, attach a rope to an object.
Stopper knot keeps the rope from slipping through a hole.
Butterfly knot is used when you need a single loop.
Triple Crown knot is a double loop.
A knot is set by tightening.
Join two ropes with a full carrick bend.
Anchor is to bend and attach rope to a ring.
Schooner - a fast ship with a shallow draft, capable of up to 11 knots, could carry up to 75 crew and mounted 8 cannon and 4 swivel guns.
Sloop - another fast ship, capable of up to 11 knots, could carry up to 75 crew and mounted 14 cannon.
Brig - a two masted ship, square rigged on both masts, in the 18th century similar t as a Brigantine.
Brigantine - the choice of many pirate crews, able to mount 10 cannons.
Pictures from the past show captains wearing a tricorn hat, long coat with big cuffs, and knee breeches with buckle shoes. In port a gentleman captain might wear more colorful attire, brocades and damask.
18th century trousers were loose fitting above the ankle.
The common sailor would have worn a shorter coat called a fearnought and linen breeches or trousers. To be practical they wore a scarf on the head, a small knitted cap, or a small brimmed hat. At sea they went barefooted to be seaworthy on deck and to get a grip climbing ropes. Shoes were simple leather, some laced instead of with a buckle. Neck cloth and kerchiefs were fashionable for seamen.
"Blimey! Don't forget me gold earring."
A colorful sash around the waist might get in the way of duties of seaman.
Heave ho! What port wench wouldn't find pleasure in untying a sash from around a capn's waist?
Pirates maintained their own weaponry. They brought on board with them swords, knives, muskets, flintlock pistols. Axes and tools used in maintenance of the ship were a versatile weapon. The ships belaying pins kept in pin rails holes could be easily grabbed for defense during an attack. Small hand held round cast iron grenades filled with explosive powder could be set off with a fuse and thrown at the enemy.
Pirates roamed the treacherous seas to find wealth from ships they overtook. They faced penalty of death if caught. Privateers in the 16th to 19th centuries, were commissioned with Letter of Marque from a country’s government to seize and rob enemy merchant ships. Many pirates were given clemency to come to the aid of a country as a privateer.

Connie Rachal

Monday, September 8, 2008

BRITAIN'S Leeds County and Castles

KENT is a county in Southeast England. Today it borders Greater London, the River Thames, the North Sea, the Straits of Dover and the English Channel. Through the years the borders changed. The fortress and ports of Kent have been coveted by England for centuries. The coast has been a base for war ships. France, twenty one miles across the Straight, can be seen in fine clear weather from the White Cliffs of Dover.

1817– 1827 The notorious Aldington Gang smuggled stolen goods along the coastline. They brought goods in and out of the country crossing the sea to France.

Leeds Castle, Knole Castle, Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral are located in Kent County.

Leeds Castle has been a retreat for medieval queens of England. The castle is on an Island in the middle of a lake. Henry VIII turned it from a fortress into a royal palace.

Knole Castle is a magnificent splendor. The sprawling castle has 7 courtyards, 52 staircases and 365 rooms.

Dover Castle, a massive fortification, was used to guard the English Channel from the French and other enemies. The castle had 17 towers and many of them were chopped off during the Napoleonic Wars to provide artillery platforms, but the French did not invade the castle.

Canterbury Cathedral has been a scene for many royal events in history for over the past one thousand fourteen hundred years. It is the final resting place for Henry IV, his wife Joan of Navarre and Edward, the Black Prince.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


If you like pirates, you'll enjoy reading
In schemes of greed and deceit, Claret is blackmailed and forced to leave France. On a treacherous voyage she is recued by a renegade pirate, Andreas.
This Historical Romance is Set in New Orleans.

Available July 1st.
Wings e press