On May 15, 2021 the West Baton Rouge Museum will open the exhibition, Evangenalia: Evolution of an Icon. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow never stepped foot in the lands of Acadians. Yet, the heroine of his epic poem titled Evangeline, A Tale of Acadie became embedded in the history and culture of Louisiana and Nova Scotia. Longfellow's poem received international acclaim when published in 1847. The public was fascinated with the story of a young Acadian Maiden separated from her fiancee on her wedding day during the brutal deportation of the French-Speaking people from Acadia and her epic journey to find him. The success of Longfellow's poem launched Evangeline into literary stardom and into the hearts of the Acadian people themselves. Uniting the Acadian people of Nova Scotia and Louisiana, Evangeline's name and image became a symbol of Acadian and Cajun cultural identity.
The exhibition organized by the West Baton Rouge Museum provides a glimpse into Evangelines's evolving status from her inception through today, as a legend and heroine to a brand image and celebrity, and ultimately into a cultural icon. Inspiring writers, artists, musicians and entrepreneurs, Evangeline has appearedin many guises. Along the way, her image morphed from the of a demure Victorian-era maiden into a confident modern woman. This Exhibition includes artworks by Canadian and Louisiana artisits, including Francois Gauget, Remi Belliveau, Melissa Bonin, and George Rodrigue, as well as artifacts and paraphernalia to demonstrate Evangeline's transformation adn her timeless appeal.
For more information about the programs and activities associated with the exhibition call (225) 336-2422 x 200 or visit www.westbatonrougemuseum.com. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10AM to 4:30PM and Sunday 2 to 5PM. The West Baton Rouge Museum is located at 845 N. Jefferson Avenue in Port Allen.