Friday, November 8, 2013

The Louisiana Connection, Velma and Moses In the Bullrushes

I remember someone saying a long while ago that the character of Velma from "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" reminded them a great deal of Cousin Daphne the original story teller of the piece "Moses In The Bull Rushes" which Agnes used in her one woman show.  Now everybody knows what a consummate actress Agnes was but I've often wondered when in the world did she every find time to hang around Louisiana and pick up that slow Louisiana drawl.  After all Agnes was a Yankee born and bred, wasn't she?  The answer to that is yes she was but her family tree meanders this country like a gigantic kudzu vine.

Agnes, it turns out, had family in Louisiana.  Real live plantation living family whose names where, Vachel Michael Stevens, Louise Premise Verret and Godfroid Verret.  These folks were planters and lived on enormous plantations prior to the civil war.  They bought and sold enormous numbers of slaves.  They were very, very wealthy people.  Keep in mind that these folks lived before Agnes was born but she may have been aware of the existence of the heirs and she may have had contact with them.  By 1870 their wealth and their vast plantations were gone.  Many moved to New Iberia where they became common farmers.  To date I haven't proved that "cousin Daphne" was a real person but in spirit she is just as the character of Velma Carruthers is.  Somewhere out there in Louisiana are folk related to Agnes Moorehead and I'll bet they don't even know it.

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