My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Saturday, July 16, 2011

SATURDAY'S STRUCTURE - Felicity Plantation, St. James Parrish, Louisiana

Felicity Plantation
Location: Highway 18, Vacherie, Louisiana, in St. James Parrish
[photo courtesy]

Felicite Emma Aime Fortier
Felicite Emma Aime was born February 26, 1823, in St. James Parrish, Louisiana, outside New Orleans. She is descended, as am I, from Michel Fortier (1725-1785) and Perinne Langlois (1734-1804), her great-great-grandparents. Michel and Perinne Fortier are my 6th great-grandparents. Felicite Aime is my 3rd cousin, 4 times removed.

On June 30, 1841, Felicite married Alexander Septime Fortier (b. May 17, 1816). He, too, is descended from Michel Fortier. His father was Louis Edmond Fortier (1784-1849). Edmond was the older brother of Marie Felicite Julie Fortier (1778-1806), Felicite's paternal grandmother. This meant that Francois Gabriel "Valcour" Aime (1797-1867), Septime's wife's father was also his first cousin - and his father-in-law. Septime is my 2nd cousin, 5 times removed. 

Fortier Family Grave
St. Louis Cemetery #3
Felicite and Septime had fourteen children together, celebrating fifty-seven years of marriage before his death on August 13, 1898. Felicite died December 1, 1905. They are buried in the Fortier family grave in St. Louis Cemetery #3 in New Orleans.

This history of Felicity Plantation was found on
"Built in 1846, Felicity Plantation was a wedding gift to Emma Félicité Aime from her father, the fabled Gabriel Valcour Aime. Valcour Aime, born in St. Charles Parish in 1797, was well-connected in New Orleans and in the St. James Parish plantation country along the Mississippi River. In 1819, he married Josephine Roman, sister of Gov. André Bienvenu Roman, also a sugar planter. A.B. Roman led Louisiana from 1831 to 1835 and again from 1839 to 1844. Roman is credited with championing education and prison reform, and was an opponent of secession.
The area where Aime and his family lived was settled mostly by French planters and has been called the Acadian Coast to distinguish it from the downriver German Coast, settled in the 1700s. Valcour Aime was so wealthy that he was sometimes called the Louis XIV of Louisiana. One of the tracts of land that Aime once owned now holds Oak Alley Plantation. Aime bought the property in 1820 and gave it to his wife's brother, Jacques Télésphore Roman, in 1836 in exchange for an aging Roman family home just downriver.
Aime's fortune was at its zenith when his second daughter, Emma Félicité, married Septime Fortier. The planter gave Felicity Plantation to them as a wedding gift, and the Fortiers had 14 children there (although not all lived through childhood.)
The Fortiers continued to live in St. James Parish as indicated in the 1860 census. But by 1870, they had moved to New Orleans, where Septime was in a wholesale grocery business. In 1880, they lived on Bayou Road with four of their children. Septime died in 1898, and at the time of the 1900 census, Félicité and her unmarried daughter Anna were living at 2642 Dumaine St., the home of daughter Nathalie and Nathalie's husband, Camil Brou. Félicité died in 1905. 
The Bank of the Americas acquired part of Felicity Plantation in 1873, and the property changed hands three times before being sold in 1889 to Saturin Waguespack, a descendant of one of the original settlers of the German Coast and the forbearer of the family that still owns Felicity.
In 1907, Waguespack merged Felicity with St. Joseph Plantation (in which he had previously owned a one-third interest, along with two cousins) to form the St. Joseph Planting and Manufacturing Corp. Two family members, now in their 90s, make Felicity their home today. The land they live on still bears sugar cane, just as it did when Valcour Aime ruled the Acadian Coast from Le Petit Versailles."

Felicity Plantation was the setting of the 2005 horror movie The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands and John Hurt. The film focuses on a young hospice nurse who acquires a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants, and the hoodoo rituals and magic that took place there. [from Wikipedia]


  1. Went to the plantation Oak Alley, and saw this house on the way there. During the drive my bf and I debated the house actually being the house in The Skeleton Key. I said yes he said no. We did find out that i was right! :) We drove into the driveway but there were men who were working on the house, saying the family that lived there had died a few months previous. They allowed us to look into the windows and the back of the property, and just watched us be tourists. I appreciate their hospitality to let us look, and the history of this area is amazing.

    1. Very cool! I would have loved that! Does this mean that it's being renovated? Probably, of course, because it would be an amazing tourist attraction. Hope you got 'BEFORE' pictures!

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  2. Hi Susan, I guess we are cousins! I just ran across your blog today, and it is really great - very informative! I love the hi-res picture of Emma Aime Fortier! I am a descendant of Emma and Septime Fortier through Edwin James Berault (de Saint Maurice). My mother had a book with the Fortier genealogy, but I think it went in Katrina (in Long Beach, MS - then she died a few years later). I am rewriting the genealogy from your blog; it is so handy!

    I thought I remembered seeing in my mother's book that there were a few first cousins marrying. So scary! However, there haven't been any major problems, in my line anyway. We have had a lot of neck and thyroid issues, and I've wondered about those cousin-marriages...

    When I found your blog, I was looking for an annual Fortier reunion somewhere in South Louisiana. My mother and aunts attended one year several years ago, and I thought it might be interesting to attend. However, there are Fortier reunions all over, even one in Pennsylvania! Do you have any idea which reunion would be for our Fortiers (maybe descendants of Michel Fortier)? I think the reunion is where my mother purchased the book I mentioned.

  3. If you don't already have a copy of this, it is a very useful guide to the Fortier Family in Louisiana starting with Francois Fortier and then it breaking it down. The book is "The Fortier Family and Allied Families" and it is a very interesting read if you are into genealogy. (it takes a while to load)

  4. They are currently filming the 'Underground Railroad' TV series at Felicite!

  5. Hello everyone, I am taking a trip to NOLA in April for my 30th bday with my best friend. We love this house from The Skeleton Key! And it's like a dream for us to visit it!! I was wondering.. how far away from like the French Quarter area is it (we are renting a car, so we can drive).. and also, do you think they will let us just pull in the driveway and take pix? I don't want to intrude on someone's property. Not sure if people were living there? Or if a show/movie is being done there currently? Or maybe do they offer tours?

  6. Portions of the 2016 production of "Roots" were filmed there. It's where Kunta Kinte married Belle and had daughter Kizzie. Very interesting to see that history is alive and we must all learn from it.