Since its release in 1847, Longfellow’s epic poem, “Evangeline” has shaped the image of Louisiana Acadians throughout the world. This poetry has had a persuasive influence in defining both Acadian history and identity. It tells a story of loss and separation by expulsion from a homeland deeply seated in community and culture. It tells a story that brought the Acadian people to Louisiana and established the basis for the Cajun culture.
Not unlike the displacement from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and the BP oil spill, that forced the expulsion of thousands of Louisiana residents, the plight of many citizens of Louisiana is similar. The resiliency and devotion of the heroine, Evangeline, associates this eighteenth-century story with the 21st-century exile from these current tragedies. The Acadians real legacy and inheritance of displacement continues, threatening the culture and way of life much like Evangeline and her Acadians.
The images in this series, Evangeline Reflected, owe their genesis to the need for continued awareness of the devastation from disasters and appreciation for the resiliency of the Cajun and Creole families as they face their own modern day exile in America.
Representing the beloved poem through subjective and interpretive imagery honors Longfellow’s poem as well as the people of Louisiana who have embedded its essence into their oral tradition as an illustration of faithfulness, devotion, perseverance, community, and above all, faith.