This post today will talk about more of the process for Justine, and some more about those relatives!
First I’m going to start with cousin Ralph Chesse. He was not just a Creole, but an artist of great talent. He is also another direct descendent of Justine, the mother of a large part of this family tree. He was her great grandson ( I may have that screwed up but I don’t think so).
Here is a link to a site that deals in his work, I’ve met one of his art dealers and he was a very nice man, committed to his work and his artists. Disclaimer, I’m not 100% sure that the link and the man I met, are the same.
There is a whole lot of important information that has been expertly compressed into one regular sized web page.
Here’s more of Ralph’s work and more of his history. http://chesseartsltd.com/
Ralph Chesse was a pleasant surprise. He is deceased, he died in 1990, but his work speaks to the man, in many ways. He was also a WPA artist, with a mural at the Coit Tower in Sand Francisco.
I was so surprised to find out that my family was instrumental in the founding of New Orleans, as well as fighting in the Battle of New Orleans against the British. It was the last attempt of the British to retake the colonies; many free men of color fought in that battle, a point they made sure that President Lincoln knew when they sent that petition for civil rights to him.
My Nanan, my great grand’mere, is listed as “Black” on her birth records in the city of New Orleans. Let me tell you! There has been some serious denial regarding this particular bit o’ history!
I get my information from government records, whilst some of my relatives are totally not good with this. I will say, I do have a gift for researching records and topics; knowing how to cross reference is a talent, much like art.
I get it, I do. At my age, I understand why my granddad did not tell me the whole story. He told me I wasn’t all white and had some black (his words) in me, but he sure left a lot out. He was part Native and that had been a problem for him; he also saw the crap one of my schoolmates and a neighbor had to deal with, as a mixed race. She was called some pretty bad names and treated pretty badly. She was a lot nicer than me; my fists were fast and unpredictable. I do understand why granddad was cagey about it.
I also get that to be able to pass was to be able to sit at the lunch counter; it was access to privileges and to status that is automatically afforded to those of us of the very light persuasion, whether we realize that or not. So I understand the upset. I won’t pander to it, though. I have been looking at the records, at pictures from very long ago, and we Creoles have, to me, some distinctive features; our face shape, our cheekbones, with skin running the gamut from my fish belly white to rather dark.
It has been a rabbit hole for me. A good one, but still a rabbit hole.
So, onto Justine!
Here are images of the fiberglassing:
; This is the fiberglass over the resin soaked canvas, like making a canvas canoe. The plastic wrap, in the third picture, causes the fiberglass to cure quickly.
At this point, I’ve just done the dress; her neck, head and hands come later.
More on that next post.