National Geographic : 1966 Mar
Beached ships, broken homes, and miles of debris attest the fury of Hurricane Betsy. Raging across the Gulf last September, Betsy slammed into southeastern Louisi ana with 150-mile-an-hour winds followed by a nine-foot wave. Grand Isle caught the full blast. A restaurant, swept from its founda tions by wind and rushing waters, blocks the island's main highway (above). Mrs. Amy Rhine takes shelter in a ruined building (left). Wall of water moving up the Mis sissippi River lifted the oil tender and its tugboat onto shore (right). The Red Cross erected tents for the homeless; the Coast Guard provided dry clothes and coffee. Dr. Thomas Arceneaux, of the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, researches the saga of his Acadian ancestors as a scholarly hobby, so I consulted him about the origins of this Gallic enclave. "According to historians," he said, "Cajun is a corruption of Acadian. The original Cajuns were peaceable French farmers whose ancestors had lived since 1604 in the French colony of Acadia, in what is now the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia. Nobody knows for sure what Acadia means. One guess is that it's a corruption of Arcadia. Another is that it comes from a Micmac Indian word. In either case, the con notation seems to have been 'place of plenty.' "In 1713 Acadia fell to the British as a prize of war. At first the new rulers urged the French farmers to remain. But in 1755, as war with France raged anew, the British demanded that the Acadians take an unqualified oath of loyalty. When the farmers refused, their homes were burned, and they were scattered among English colonies of the Atlantic seaboard.