The Cassette Girls and Bienville LeMoyne



at the French Colony of Mobile

The year is 1704 and there is great excitement in the French Royal Colony at Fort Louis de la Mobile. The good ship Pelican has arrived in Mobile Bay, bringing most precious cargo -- beauteous young ladies who are prospective wives for the Marines stationed at the fort, upriver from the bay. Chaperoned by nuns, the girls have brought their belongings in small cases called "cassettes" and thus are known as The Cassette Girls; they are also called The Pelican Girls, so-called for the ship that brought them to the colony.

Note: a group of young ladies went a few years later to New Orleans; they were also known as the Cassette Girls. A fanciful version of their story may be seen in the charming opertta "Naughty Marietta"

The governor of the colony Bienville LeMoyne (of the great French-Canadian exploring family) greets the Cassette Girls and bids them welcome to the New World. You might even think of the Girls as explorers themselves; think of how brave they were to seek new homes and husbands from complete strangers in the Wilderness. Bienville arranged their transport for he is desirous that the men in the budding colony settle down with good French wives and raise good French families. The king, the great Louis XIII has seen to it that proper young ladies were chosen from those who applied.

Within a very short time, all the Cassette Girls are happily married and the First Families of Moblie are begun.


Notes4U: The fort was soon abandoned due to flood conditions and built on a much improved site; the new fort was named Fort Condé and was ready for occupancy in 1711. Today you may visit a partial reconstruction of this second fort; you may view reenactments of fort life and experience the excitement of the firing of the cannons by men dressed in uniforms of the early 18th century Marines. I have done such a thing and it is most impressive and quite LOUD!! The fort now called Fort Condé-Charlotte is the Visitors' Center for the city of Mobile, Alabama. And here is some wonderful news-- deep in the river wilds of south Alabama, archeologists have discovered the site of the original Fort Louis de la Mobile!

Illustrations and stories by Carol Middleton 1998, 1999, 2000 ©.
Look as much as you like but please respect the copyright and do not take them.

Your comments are welcome. Please send them to me Carol Middleton

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