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a teen from Tacoma, Washington

Diary: Year of 1789

Part 4

August 20, 1789
Freniere Plantation, New Orleans

Marc, Amber, and my mother have finally arrived today from Paris. It is wonderful to see them again! The rooms we prepared for them in our Garden District town house were furnished with all the comforts of our old home in Paris. Everything is almost exactly as I remember it -- the same style book shelves are in the libraries and by the fireplaces; the same flower prints on the bed covers; the same shaped mirrors in the bedrooms; and even the same types of dishes in the dining rooms. In the halls, oil lanterns placed here and there are of the same type I remember in Paris.

They all doubt that there will be very much left of their home in Paris, when the riots are over. I say riots, but I fear it may be the start of a revolution. I have to thank God that none of my family has been harmed by this yet. I have some second cousins scattered around in different villages in the Auvergue, but that area consists of only small farming villages, where the people don't much care about politics -- if they're left alone by it. I hope that I'm wrong about this being a revolution, but whenever I have a feeling this strong about something, I'm never wrong.

September 26, 1789
Freniere Plantation, New Orleans

The slaves have begun to harvest the cotton. They'll be done by the first full week of October or perhaps even a little earlier. The cotton wasn't maturing very fast this year for some reason, which is disturbing to Louis and Father. I don't see why it should upset them so. I guess it's just the fear that the soil is turning bad and that the problem will persist through next year, or be worse.

The month since the rest of the family has arrived has gone by very quickly. They've been writing me letters saying that though the rooms are beautiful, they are having trouble settling in to them. It is good to see Mother and Father so happy. How they have missed each other! But we are all on edge, worried about the future. Mother and Marc, especially, are still disturbed about what's happening in Paris, as am I. There is still a slight chance that events could calm down, but we all fear that nothing will ever be the same, one way or another.

October 10, 1789
Freniere Plantation, New Orleans

Mother has started to develop a rather bad cough. She insists that it is nothing, and that it is just the damp fall air of the city getting to her. (She never admits when there is something wrong even if it is becoming very bothersome.) We'll call for the doctor if it looks like it's starting to become worse. She doesn't look very well -- so pale! -- but she refuses to allow anyone to examine her. We shall have to see what happens.

October 23, 1789
Freniere Plantation, New Orleans

Mother's cough is worsening at an alarming rate. We called for Dr. Lareau today. He said it is probably the influenza, but he cautioned it may develop into pneumonia, if she doesn't take care of herself. I planned to stay with her for a few days to see if she was getting better. But Amber and Marc insisted they could take care of her, and I shouldn't risk becoming ill myself, with a child in the house. They also assured me that they'd inform me immediately of any change in her condition.

November 22, 1789
Freniere Plantation, New Orleans

We sold the cotton -- finally! I'm not very good with the financial or business affairs, but I was told by Louis that the demand for cotton is not as great as it has been the last few years, due to the growing number of cotton plantations. He also said that because of that, we didn't make quite as much money this year.

More and more of the residents of New Orleans (including us) are starting to consume large quantities of spicy foods. The Bayou people (up north of us a ways) eat Cajun foods. I've eaten their unusual combination of spices in fish and some types of stews. They are extremely delicious. I don't think it would be a bad idea to grow hot jalapeño peppers, the basic ingredient for the Cajun foods. We could make a lot of money for this popular, but hard to find commodity. The only draw-back is that we're equipped to grow cotton and not peppers. The slaves might complain a little (if they ever got the chance) when their fingers are burned by the hot pepper oils. We must make money, however, to take care of all of them. Perhaps by being the first big plantation to grow hot peppers, we just might be successful. And how we could use the money!

First of all, with the extra money we could locate and purchase Alile for Ashon. I still am grieved their family has been broken up. Ashon loves her so -- as strongly as Louis loves me, I am sure. But Louis tells me Ashon is a broken man -- that he still pines for his wife Alile, and that he goes through his days quietly and subdued. All because he has been separated from his wife. Such treatment is inhuman, and I do not like being a part of it. But with less money this year, what can we do? We are barely able to keep all of them and our property intact. Life is such a gamble! We all suffer.

I don't know if my idea will work -- to grow the peppers next year. I must discuss it with Louis and then if he thinks it would be a possibility, we will suggest it to my Father and discuss it with him. Oh, I pray it will be a feasible proposal.

***Editor's Note: Lindsey has almost completed another installment and hopes to have it ready in a few weeks.***

© 1998 by Cayuse Press