Author tells story of Acadians
Worried that many descendants of the Acadians have become disconnected with their heritage, author Ollie Porche Voelker searched for a way to bring their story to a modern audience.
Her new historical fiction novel “Home at Last: An Acadian Journey,” published by Inspiring Voices, offers readers a glimpse into the history of the Acadian people while telling a story about the power of a family’s bonds.
Voelker and her husband, Bill, lived in Franklin for two years between 1963 and 1965 when he was managing editor of the Banner-Tribune under Bob Angers. They left the area when he was offered a job at the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. She also has relatives in Franklin.
The concept of her story is likely to engage historical fiction readers, while interesting the Acadians and their descendants.
At 11 years old, Pierre, along with his family, is deported by the British with thousands of other Acadians from Nova Scotia in 1755. They are of French origin and loyal to France, but they want to remain neutral and live in peace. About 900 people are sent to Maryland where they survive through 11 years of hardship, hunger and discrimination. But many of them eventually make their way to Louisiana, a Spanish colony with a growing French population.
An excerpt: “Until about five years ago,” continued Grand-père, “every few years the governor asked Acadians to sign an oath, a promise, that we would be loyal to the king of England. We refused because we didn’t want to fight for either country. But we were always told that if we signed, we would never have to fight against the French, and we could continue to worship God as Catholics. We were also told if we didn’t sign the oath, we would have to leave Acadie. So we agreed to the oath.”
The author says, “I want them to learn more about the history of the Acadians, and take pride in their heritage — the courage, goodness and faith of these people who refused to give up despite their sufferings and hardships.”