Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness De Pontalba by Christina Vella

By Christina Vella

Opposed to a richly woven ancient heritage of 2 centuries and bright societies, Christina Vella unfolds the compelling tale of the marital alliance among the Almonester and Pontalba households of Louisiana. Born into wealth in New Orleans in 1795, Micaela Almonester was once married into distress in France 16 years later. Intimate Enemies offers the fantastic precise account of this resilient woman’s life—and the 3 males who most influenced its path: her father, Andrés, an illustrious New Orleans builder in whose footsteps she ultimately with nice contrast; her partner's father, Xavier, who for greater than 20 years attempted to spoil her marriage and grab keep an eye on of her fortune, finally capturing Micaela in violent depression; and her husband, Célestin, whom, regardless of all, she compassionately supported till her dying. tailored as an opera in 2003 via the hot Orleans Opera, Intimate Enemies has captured the mind's eye and admiration of readers in all places.

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Throughout the colonial period, during the rise and fall of indigo and tobacco, money grew on trees: lumber employed three thousand workers in 1793 in mills along the Mississippi River. Lumber exports—boards, shingles, boxes, casks for sugar, pitch, tar, and construction materials—were exchanged for Caribbean slaves. But the sanctioned trading of all commodities, whether lumber, tobacco, or slaves, was only the tip of the mast. The colonists wanted legal trade to continue with the French islands in great part because it made possible an enormous volume of illegal trade with the English and Americans.

I can recall when our position in this colony was ever so critical55 Pontalba wrote to his wife a year after Pointe Coupee, "when we used to go to bed only if armed to the teeth. Often then, I would go to sleep with the most sinister thoughts creeping into mind, taking heed of the dreadful calamities of Saint Domingue, and of the germs of insurrection only too widespread among our own slaves. 5542 Pontalba5s wife must have had her own sinister fears; when she was a young girl, her father had been murdered by one of his slaves.

St. Maxent owned fifty dozen napkins with matching tablecloths, and thirty dozen more napkins of damask, enough to accommodate any fastidious army of invasion that he might be obliged to feed. At his death St. Maxent left one hundred dozen pieces of china, porcelain and crystal, and three thousand bottles of wines and liquors. "77 It is easy to see why New Orleanians cherished their dances and spared no extravagance on them. Without these parties, the town would have been a dull place indeed, offering only the mildest pastimes.

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