By: Dale Drake
Two hundred fifty years ago Acadian refugees from Nova Scotia settled in Louisiana, bringing their weaving traditions with them. Over the next 150 years they wove cotonnade fabrics for clothing and bedding, and by the end of the nineteenth century they were making quilts from the scraps. Twenty four of these quilts from private and public collections were studied in this project, which the author grouped by piecing format and textile type: Acadian format or block format, constructed of either clothing- style or household textile-style cotonnades. Traditional Acadian values of self-sufficiency, frugality, cultural conservatism and family loyalty are evident in the quilts. They are important cultural artifacts, documenting the wide variety of fabrics the weavers created as they cared for their families, and preserving that weaving tradition and those cultural values in a new form.