Should her name be Gisele or _____________?
At the bottom of this blog are dozens of suggested names. Select your favorite three (3) and send them to me via Facebook or the comment section of this blog. I’ll pass the results on later.
For nearly a year I’ve been in love with this young Creole girl I’ve named Gisele. She is a character in A Good Place, my sequel to The Wayfaring Stranger. The scene below takes place at a wharf where English Bayou flows into the Calcasieu River. It’s summer 1863.
Mayo Moore, 13 year old son of Joe and Eliza Moore is part of a adventure where a group of Ten Mile men are floating rafts of logs to the sawmills in Charleston. (Lake Charles’ early name)
The rafters have stopped due to the serious illness of one of the men. A traiteur (Cajun healer) has arrived to help, and Mayo and Gisele sit on the wharf.
I felt movement beside me and was surprised as Gisele sat down. She put her feet into the water as she rolled her long dress up to her knees.
I felt the touch of her leg against mine and it gave me a feeling that caused me to forgot how to speak a word.. I knew if I tried to form a sentence, something stupid would come out.
She had the liveliest brown eyes I’d ever seen, and they seemed to pierce right into my soul. If someone were to ask me now—as an old man—when I first fell in love, I’d reply that it was while sitting on a wharf near the Calcasieu River at age thirteen.
“May I practice my English?” Gisele said.
“You can practice whatever you want on me” I felt stupid for saying that, but it made Gisele smile. She had the softest voice, and her accent was captivating. In fact, everything about her was extremely attractive and appealing.
“Your name’s Milo?”
“No, it’s Mayo. Mayo Joseph Moore.”
“What kind of name—is Mayo?”
“It’s an Irish name—it’s the place where my father came from: County Mayo.
“But my name—Mayo—is also from a friend of his who drowned in the Mississippi River near New Orleans.” I was surprised at how much my tongue was loosening.
She seemed interested. “Tell me more.”
Pointing toward Daddy who was standing with the other men, I said, “The sandy-haired one is my father. He came to New Orleans from Ireland and became friends with an Irish family named O’Leary. Their son, Mayo, became his best friend.
“A big flood hit New Orleans and Daddy and Mayo got work where the river levee had busted. An accident happened there, and his friend Mayo drowned. It touched my daddy deeply and led to his leaving the city to come to this part of Louisiana.”
“So your name is… uh, special?”
“Daddy says I’m named after a special man and a special place and need to honor both by the way I live.”
“That’s nice, Mayo.” I liked the way she said my name. I scooted a little closer to her, and was surprised as she quickly did the same.
“What is this place called?”
I mentioned how ironic it was that a place where French-speaking Creoles lived was called English Bayou, but I don’t think she understood me.
Looking around at the swamp and bayou, I said, “Your land is beautiful in a different way.”
“What you mean?”
“I love the pines and thick woods of my home, but yours is nice, too. It is beautiful.”
I couldn’t believe what I said next. “And you are beautiful, Gisele.”
She was too dark to blush. “Merci Beaucoup.”
Switching back to English, she said, “Thank you very much.”
“How’d you learn English?”
“I’ve had some schooling at the convent in Lake Charles. The nuns there helped me with English. One of the nuns, Sister Mary Kay, was Irish. She looked like your father—red hair and skin..
She pointed at my arm. “You don’t look Irish.”
“It’s cause I ain’t. I’m half Irish and half Redbone.”
Should her name be Gisele or ________________. Select your favorite 3 names and send them to me via Facebook or comment section of this blog.
Evangeline, Miriam, Liaay, Elizabeth, Charlen, Tee Maire, Angelle Lula Dixie Amilie
Odellia, Olamae, Milicent, Millie, Maya, Camille, Clothilde (Clo-teel) Rosalie, Margarete Olive, Celeste, Cardillah, Cherie, Selanie, Lucinda, Felecia, Yvone, Ginny Nola Gayle (Nollie) Amelia, Telecia, millie, Eve, Ariel, Lucille, Grace, evan, Marcy, Theresa, Thelma, Nellie, Olia Mae, Chloe, Maggie, Anne Marie, Rachel, Sedonia, Marie Savant, Caroline.
My high school friend Aurora (who lives in Boston) suggested consulting a parish census for that time period.
Mary, Marie, Elizabeth, Catherine, Adele or maybe Angelle. I really like the idea of Elizabeth, though.
Adelaide/Adele, Agata, Aimee, Alexandrine, Angelique, Annette, Antoinette, Apolline, Athalie, Arelia, Babet, Carmelite, Caroline, Catarina, Cecile/Cecilia, Celestine, Charlotte, Clemence, Clementine, Constance, Delia, Delphine, Desiree, Dominique, Elizabeth, Emilie, Estelle, Eugenie, Eulalie, Euprosine, Fanchon, Felicie/Felicite, Francoise, …
Gabriela, Genevieve, Georgina, Elena/Helene, Heloise,
Henriette, Ines, Isabelle, Isadora, Jeanne/Jeanette, Josephine, Julia, Juliette, Justine, Lisette, Louise(a), Magdalene(a), Manon, Manette/Nanette, Marceline, Marguerite, Marie(a), Marianne, Marthe, Martine, Mathilde, Modeste, Monique, Nathalie, Paulina, Pelagie, Perrine, Philomene, Poupon, Sanite, Serafine, Sophie, Suzanne, Rachel, Rosalie, Rosaline, Rose, Rosette, Teres/Thereze, Virgine, Vistoire, Zelime/Zulime.
Mahlia/Malia (french version of Mary), Madeline Adelle (a/k/a Maddie/Maddy or Dell), Theodosia Lapearle (since she hates first name, loves it that her dad calls her Pearl or Jewel),