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This book is dedicated to all of our French ancestors of Louisiana—the ones discovered and the ones that remain hidden from us. These brave men and women brought their families to an unwelcoming place where they daily had to challenge themselves and the conditions surrounding them in order to create a better world for their posterity than the one they inherited.

I have discovered that the entire cast of characters were real people full of hopes and dreams and fears and feelings. They were given an unwritten script and were compelled to perform on a stage not of their own making.

Involved throughout our family history, though mostly forgotten, they unknowingly left an indelible imprint of their remarkable journey upon all of us that I believe will remain forever.

My hope is that in some small way, this book will allow them to breathe again, express themselves to us, and perhaps come alive, if only for a moment . . . just one more time!

These ancestors clearly prepared the way for the only current living relative of this bygone era, my dad, Thomas Sherman Dinette. He is the one more responsible for this writing than anybody else. He knew many of these people personally or heard about them throughout his lifetime from other family members. He lived through much of the time and brought these resourceful and interesting people to life to me as much as he could. My dad made his own indelible mark on our family history. He lived an incredible and unusual life that I have attempted to capture here in some small way. He created the legacy we all in the family now enjoy. This book is dedicated to him also, and to the unusual nature of the life he led. None of this writing would have been possible without him.

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