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narrative accounts of our family history


  1. Austin
  2. Blereau
  3. Cawood
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  5. Fortner
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Genealogical research will turn up more than you expected as you will see in Who's Your Mama? Are You Catholic? And Can You Make a Roux? by Denise Hall

Life Long Resident of Gravette Passes Away -- the obituary for Joseph Shelton Austin (12 January 1858 - 20 July 1940)

Links to information about Doctor John Hall, the son-in-law of William Shakespeare



A Short History of the Blereaus in the USA

I thought I would start researching the Blereau line first because it is such an uncommon name in the United States. I love a challenge. What I have to start with isn't much. Around 1851, Paul Blereau, as a teenager, immigrated to the US. He was a cook on a ship destined for Mobile, Alabama. From there he settled in Orleans Parish. From my father I know that he married Josephine Priez on January 5, 1870 and they had 5 children, Delphine, Alice, August, Paul C. and Edmund. We know that Paul died at age 48 of hemoptysis TB or lung cancer. On my own I unearthed that by 1890 Josephine was a widow living at the same address as August. They lived at 182 Anthony Street (located on the west side of Anthony Street between N. Derbigney and N. Roman). August's occupation in 1891 is listed as bartender at H. Esparbe' in New Orleans. Paul C. Blereau married Annie Zimmer. My father told me that at one time Paul C. drove a Dixie Beer truck in New Orleans. Later he owned a grocery store with his wife Annie. They had the store in the front of the building and they lived in the back. Paul C. And Annie had a son Robert Blereau. They may have had other children but I am unaware of their names. Robert was my grandfather. He married Ella Mae Keller and they had 2 children, Ronald Ignatius Paul (my father) and Robert Paul Blereau. History has it that Robert worked multiple jobs during his lifetime. During World War II he worked in the Delta Shipyard. At one point he owned a grocery store with Ella Mae called Bob Blereau's Food Mart at Iberville and Broad in New Orleans. (Near 1946?). He left the grocery business before Schwegmann's Supermarket went on the dominate the area. Old Blereau's Food Mart was most recently a front end alignment shop. The Blereau family lived in the back of this building when it was a grocery store.

The next place the family lived was 3300 Canal Street. They owned and rented out 17 apartments. Notes suggest that this address was across the street from Sacred Heart on Canal Street. There is now a Walgreens on the spot that housed the Blereau family. Robert and Ella Mae built their dream house on St. Bernard Avenue in 1948 and a smaller home (white house on Aviators Street) next door housed Annie and Paul. Robert also worked at the Sheriff's Department in New Orleans in the criminal department (12 hours on and 24 hours off). Here he contracted TB from the inmates. The drug treatments he received weakened his immune system and he developed aplastic anemia. Robert's son Ronald married Grace Marie Lavergne on August 31, 1969. In September,1970, Ron, Grace and their first daughter Denise Marie (that's me) moved into this white house on Aviators street. They lived there for 5 years paying only $55/month! Robert died in 1978 on Valentine's day of an ear infection. The brick home on St. Bernard Ave. was sold in the 1980s after Ella Mae had a stroke. Ella Mae moved to Baton Rouge to live with Ron and Grace, their other two children, Paul Michael and Laura Marie and Denise. Ella Mae died in May 1987. Ron and Grace are since divorced but they both still live in Baton Rouge. Denise is a dietitian in Tallahassee, FL, Laura is an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY and Paul is an actuarial assistant in Dallas, TX. Last anyone heard midgets were living in the white house. (Seriously, it was a small house).

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