Fontaine Martin – obit 93, lawyer, genealogist died Sunday, December 2, 2007.
Genealogy Meeting from:
Art and genealogy will come together Saturday when Dr. John Doucet, a writer, historian and scientist, will share some of his poetry based on historical themes and genealogical research.
Doucet will be the featured speaker at this month’s meeting of the Imperial St. Landry Genealogical and Historical Society, which will be held at 10 a.m. in the conference room of Doctors’ Hospital in Opelousas. The meeting is free and open to the public.
Society President Estelle Perrault said the society doesn’t usually meet this time of year because of the holidays but is making an exception in this case.
“We have never before met in December, but this was a time his very busy schedule allowed him to visit us and we jumped at the opportunity,” said Perrault, who called Doucet a renaissance man.
She said Doucet, in addition to his work as a professor of genetics and director of the University Honors Program at Nicholls State University, is author of 13 plays and has been awarded the Louisiana Native Voices and Visions Playwriting Award and the Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting.
“He has published over 100 poems worldwide. His historical works includes The Cheniere Caminada Story, as well as the editorship ofLafourche Country IIand the forthcoming Lafourche Country IIIcollections,” Perrault said.
Doucet said his new book of poetry, Highway One Revisited, will be published in the spring and he will be happy to take order at the meeting.
While this meeting will focus on Doucet’s poetry, he is primarily known for his groundbreaking work designed to find the causes of many inherited diseases by using Acadian DNA.
Acadians are unique in that they can all be traced to a group of 300 people who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1607. Until about World War II, they lived in relative isolation, rarely marrying outside their own group.
The Acadians have one other important attribute. As good Catholics, they have a detailed 400-year history of church records listing every marriage and birth.
Doucet said, as a group, Acadians are no more prone to disease than anyone else. What makes them special is this documented genealogy.
“Genealogy is crucially important in our work. This allows us to learn more about diseases and their cures by following them in specific families,” Doucet said.
While Doucet has spoken about this work with the local genealogy group several times before, this week his talk will focus one of his other talents, particularly his poetry.
“A lot of my poetry is based on historical topics, some on genealogical investigations into my own family. I thought that would be a good fit for this group,” Doucet said.