Since I arrived in Louisiana more than a decade ago, I have been fascinated by the tale of Evangeline. Some people say it is pure legend and fiction, others say it is rooted in truth. It has many variations, but the most well-known version is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “Evangeline – A Tale of Acadie.” The story goes that back in Nova Scotia, Evangeline and Gabriel were two young Acadians in love. On their wedding day, they were torn apart and forced from Canada. Evangeline spent years searching for Gabriel, wandering the countryside. Eventually she joined the Sisters of Mercy in Philadelphia. In her elder years, she did find Gabriel on his death bed. He died in her arms. She praised God, and then she died herself.
The tragedy and romanticism of this tale always appealed to me, and I have been searching myself for a way to tell this story through my photography. Recently, a friend, Kristina Britt, and I were location scouting. She took me to this place with huge cypress trees covered in Spanish moss, enormous palm plants, and oaks. We knew we had found the place where we could retell Evangeline’s story.
Setting to work, I created a gown from about 30 yards of tulle, findings, and lace. After a few days of working on it, re-working it, adding to and taking away from, I had a finished product for our model to don.
On a cold Friday morning, we set out into the woods – Kristina, model Alex, and I – to put some life into Evangeline’s story.
The images and short film below are the result.
Baton Rouge Photographer. Jennifer Esneault is a portrait photographer serving Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. To book, call (225) 939-5781.