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Unfinished and Incomplete: The Rose of Rochefort

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

This is a romantic mystery, a fish out of water story where the fish grows legs and learns to stand on her own. I envisioned this as a set of 6 connected shorts (25,000 word segments) that tell the story of Evangeline Padgett Jones.

I got the idea drunk on my birthday in New Orleans. I realize there's a lot to unpack in that sentence, but there we are. It was an awesome birthday, running around with the Feral Cows (the group of writer friends I hang out with who are amazing and wonderful) drunk as a poet on payday starting early in the day and carrying on in fine fashion. We went out to the Oaks plantation for a tour.

I'm a sucker for art and architecture. I'm into antique furniture and findings, older and with more history the better. Just who I am. I'm also mixed, so when I was taking the tour, one of the things I noticed while walking through the house was that only half of the story of house was being actively told. Strange way to phrase that sentence, I guess, but as I walked, I became acutely aware that people like me, people of African ancestry, were the heavy background radiation of the location, but our story was relegated to the shacks outside and weren't actively discussed.

I would have been considered mulatto, 'high yellow' even. And the half of the story of the people who lived and worked in the beautiful house and kept the family in that house in the style to which they were accustomed wasn't even told on the tour really, except as footnotes.

All that to say, Drunk Lexie has interesting ideas. Some of those houses stay in families for generations, and as generations pass, those families grow, change, and evolve. And what happens when a black woman inherits the family home in rural Louisiana? The plantation house, the grounds, the whatnot. How does she deal with the history and the baggage that comes with a family legacy of that magnitude?

Add to that, Evangeline must deal with the groundskeeper who worked for her grandmother, whose father had worked for the family for generations, and learn to negotiate the small town politics of being the scion of the town's founding family. Throw in a treasure hunt, two men vying for attentions, a dead body or two, estranged family coming out of the woodwork, an alligator called Hank, and you can see Evie has her hands full. A happy ending is possible, even if she has to drag it kicking and screaming.

(picture credit: Alexis D Craig) - no, really. I shot it and edited it myself. It really is that pink.

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Next up: Untitled #2

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