Chatah-Ima – Like a Chocktaw – Louisiana’s bard

Adrien Emmanuel Rouquette, an ecclesiastic of the Roman Catholic Church, was of European and American parentage; his father, Dominique Rouquette, was French, and his mother, Louise Cousin, was a native of Louisiana. He was born in New Orleans, and received his education in France, at the Royal College of Nantes; studied for the bar but relinquished it for the Church, becoming affiliated with the Catholic seminary at New Orleans. He was known for writing poetry and prose in French and English. He was a missionary who worked among the Choctaw Indians, who gave him the name Chahta-Ima. Obituary in the Times-Democrat, July 16, 1887.
– Tulane Special Collections.

He attended Translyvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky at 10 years old around 1824. His father having died when he was at the tender age of five. Other Louisiana politicians, like Soloman W. Downs, also attended Translyvania University. Downs graduated in 1823, a year prior to Rouquette’s entrance.

From 1844 to 1859 Rouquette was assigned to St. Louis Cathedral. After fourteen years in New Orleans, he become a missionary to the Chocktaw on Bayou Lacombe. Some websites indicate that this was a sudden change.

The following excerpt was taken from a Word Doc of the title Wild Flowers, available from the Centenary College of Louisiana. 


O beata solitude,
O sola beatitudo!

My graceful sisters, list to me;
I come to crave for sympathy;
No flow’ry wreaths I ask of ye;

I ask no laurels ever-green;
Ambitious never have I been:
A smile is all I hope to win!

Ye know me well, ye sisters mild:
Of pensive mood, and strangely wild;
As bashful as an Indian child,

I turn away from crowds with fright;
I dread all public praise or light;
In solitude I most delight….

My graceful sisters, list to me;
A smile is all I ask of ye:
Grant but that smile, and blest I’ll be!

Bayou-Lacombe, May 28, 1848

Wild Flowers



See also Creole City LSU – In Old Creole Days and The Grandissimes, Cable portrays decadent characters in a romanticized New Orleans setting and hints at the racial impurity of the white Creole population of the city. This last point inspired a furious backlash from several prominent Creoles, the most stinging of which is Adrien Rouquette’s A Critical Dialogue Between Aboo and Caboo on a New Book, or A Grandissime AscensionRouquette’s satirical critique of The Grandissimes, written as an overheard dialogue between two ghosts on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain, mocks Cable’s attempt to imitate the various accents of New Orleans in his dialogue and takes issue with the fact that Cable’s works “were given as novels and taken for history.”

Rouquette’s mysterious burial


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
This entry was posted in Cousin, Creole, New Orleans, oak Chocktaw, Rouquette, University of Transylvania. Bookmark the permalink.

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