“Aux Natchitoches”, a song from the 18th century

Richard and Roch

In 1714, Fort St-Jean-Baptiste de Natchitoches was established by French Canadian explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis (1676-1744). Natchitoches was part of Louisiana, a large tract of land in southern North America named in honour of King Louis XIV of France. The outpost was near a village of the Natchitoches indiginous people, after whom the fort and later the city were named. Early settlers were French Catholic immigrants and creoles (ethnic French people born in the colony). Natchitoches was founded on the Red River for trade with Spanish-controlled Mexico. These political divisions predated the formation of the United States – the original 13 colonies were only incorporated into the United States after the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The various ethnic participants in Louisiana led to many wonderful tangents in cuisine and music

Alrick Huebener

France had controlled the Louisiana territory from 1682 unti it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon, the First Consul of the French Republic, regained ownership of Louisiana in exchange for Tuscany as part of a broader effort to re-establish a French colonial empire in North America. However, France’s failure to suppress a revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to consider selling Louisiana to the United States. The acquisition of Louisiana was a long-term goal of President Thomas Jefferson, who was especially eager to gain control of the crucial port of New Orleans. U.S. representatives quickly agreed to purchase the entire territory of Louisiana and Jefferson persuaded Congress to ratify and fund the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Downtown Natchitoches today showing the brick streets

The City of Natchitoches was incorporated on February 5, 1819, after Louisiana had become a state in 1812. It is the oldest permanent settlement in the land acquired by the Louisiana Purchase. Today, Natchitoches is a beautifully maintained historic site for tourism in the entire area.

Ed et Bee Deshotels

Ed and Bee Deshotels

The song “Aux Natchitoches” dates back to the early 18th century. It speaks of two languishing lovers, separated according to Catholic dogma where the man never works on Sundays but works the other six days of the week. The song was recorded by a number of Cajun artists but I heard it on a recording by Elby “Bee” Deshotels (1920-1988), who sang it a cappella (without accompaniment). Bee Deshotels often performed in the Ville Platte and Mamou area of Louisiana with his identical twin brother Ed (1920-2003), a fiddler.

As always, I must mention the extraordinary devotion that Roch and Alrick bring to the projects on this site.

Richard Séguin – voice, mandolin
Alrick Huebener – upright bass
Roch Tassé – percussion

To hear the song, click on the title below.

Aux Natchitoches

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Ajouter un mot

You must be logged in to post a comment.