Francois Marcantel Immigrates to America

Okay, so this isn’t strictly speaking a piece about writing and/or books, but I am a Southerner with a legacy of literary compatriots (Faulkner, Welty, O’Connor, Lee (a couple of those), Capote, etc.; and you all have read them–right?), so this puts the topic at hand in the ballpark, more or less.  You see, we folks from the steamy environs of Dixie are nothing if not obsessed with our roots and all the various branches on our family trees, probably because said origins tend to be “lost within the very bogs of time” (to quote Florence King, another Southerner).

At any rate, on the “I am a Marcantel” page on Facebook (trust me, it does exist, closed membership and all that), there’s a Marcantels-in-America/Louisiana discussion that’s been doing the back-and-forth thing for the past few days.  The current topic focuses on whither Marcantels, Italy (Marcontelli?) or France (Marcantel?).

Here’s the story I know about my family, and every word is true.  Honest.

The first Marcantel in the New World was one François Marcantel, a French soldier who in 1752 “volunteered” to relocate to the then-colony of Louisiana as a militiaman-settler.  He came from Chambery in the foothills of the French Alps, at the time the capital of the Duchy of Savoy and now a ski resort.  Clear, clean air.  Snow-topped mountains.  Lush summer meadows.  Four distinct seasons.

I suspect that his arrival in Louisiana went something like this:

Welcome to the subtropics, François.  Let me tell you about your new home.  It features alligator-infested swamps, mosquitoes the size of your thumb, 200% year-round humidity so thick that you can see the air move, abundant wildlife, much of it carnivorous, and two lovely seasons: hot-and-wet and cold-and-wet.  And the good news is that hot-and-wet lasts twice as long as cold-and-wet.

Any questions?

At this point something along the lines of “Oh, merde!” must have belched into François’ head like one of those heavy Louisiana bullfrogs. (And if you don’t know what that word means, you need to Netflix a couple of French movies.  Or just one.)

UPDATED: I’m an inveterate editor and can’t leave anything alone.  Perfectionism is my cross to bear.

2 Responses to Francois Marcantel Immigrates to America

  1. Susan Marcantel Altschuler says:

    How do I join the Marcantel Facebook group.
    Thanks
    Osusana@swbell.net

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