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Rouquette, Adrien Emmanuel

ROUQUETTE, ADRIEN EMMANUEL

Missionary, author; b. New Orleans, La., Feb. 13, 1813; d. New Orleans, July 15, 1887. He spent his boyhood at New Orleans and at St. Tammany Parish among the Choctaw. He attended the Collège d'Orléans, New Orleans, and Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. After receiving instruction from a French schoolmaster named Value, he left to attend the Collège Royal in Nantes, France. On his return to New Orleans he studied law, but his early association with the native peoples and his growing interest in religion led him to other goals. He wanted to become a genuine "American" poet, and also wished to minister spiritually to the Choctaws. On July 2, 1845, he was ordained, becoming the first native priest since Louisiana's cession to the U.S. Rouquette; with his superior's permission, established mission chapels along the bayous in the woodland of St. Tammany Parish. The native peoples named him Chahta-Ima (like a Choctaw) and he became a recognized authority on Choctaw lore and language. Rouquette's books, written principally in French, reflected his personal beliefs while revealing many facets of a developing America. His principal works were: Les Savanes, poésies américaines (1841), Wild Flowers (1848), La Thébaide en Amérique ou Apologie de la vie solitaire et contemplative (1852), La Question Américaine (1855), Catherine Tegahkwitha, the Saint of Caughnawaga (1873), and La Nouvelle Atala (1879).

[d. r. le breton]

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