MY ART STORY by

Ramona DeFelice Long

Newark
Delaware

My day—every single day—begins with a Writing Hour. I sit in a specific chair in a specific space, and it is the one hour of the day when words and I are alone, with no agenda or interruptions. Without the Writing Hour, my day and my life would have a hole in it.

I write about my personal legacy: the strong women who came from Acadie, now Nova Scotia, expelled and separated from their families in Le Grand Derangement in the 1750s; I write about the families and new home in La Louisiane, which welcomed the Acadian refugees and allowed them land, seeds, and a mule and a chance to prosper; I write about the Cajun culture when aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution transformed a backwater town called St. Martinville into Le Petit Paris; I write about children punished at school for speaking Cajun French instead of English; I write about pirogues and boucheries and wearing a mantilla to Mass. I write about these topics because the Acadians are renowned for music and food, but their unique language and cultural traditions are endangered. Part of my daily goal as an artist, in my personal Writing Hour, is to keep that legacy alive, because the legacy is mine. My self-imposed project on the Acadians has allowed me to investigate my family ties, to discover stories that would be lost if I did not write them down. It is a duty and a gift at the same time.

My work has been supported by my adopted region in the mid-Atlantic, through artist fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Each of these allowed me space, time, funds, and validation. Without their support, I might not have the dedicated time to do my part in spreading the story of the Acadians and Cajuns to the next group of women and girls who need to know of the Clemences, Rosalies, Paulines, Euphrasies, and Evangelines who came before us.

Ramona DeFelice Long
Newark, DE