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Voices of the EnslavedLove, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana$
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Sophie White

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469654041

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469654041.001.0001

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“It’s Only from God That We Ask Forgiveness”

“It’s Only from God That We Ask Forgiveness”


(p.48) Chapter 2 “It’s Only from God That We Ask Forgiveness”
Voices of the Enslaved

Sophie White

University of North Carolina Press

This analysis focuses on Louison, an enslaved woman belonging to the Ursuline convent in New Orleans, who testified as victim of a violent aggression in 1752. She was stabbed during an incident that escalated when a soldier demanded that she and her companions launder his soiled handkerchief. The depositions in this case laid bare the role of the Company of the Indies and Catholic orders as slaveholders, but also reveals the importance to the enslaved of family and kin relations, as seen when her husband, the convent-hospital’s enslaved apothecary and surgeon’s aide, came to her succor. In her testimony we hear Louison insistently communicating her response to a violent act of aggression, making full use of the opportunities available to her to speak: first, in her religion-inflected words to the soldier during their encounter and, second, in her subsequent retelling of the event to court officials.

Keywords:   New Orleans, Slave narratives, Company of the Indies, Catholicism, Religious beliefs, Material culture, Slave medicine, Ursuline, Soldiers, Colonial America

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