Dastugues came from the south of France, near the Pryrénées, to New
Orleans where my great-grandfather became a butcher and owned the
Dastugue Meat Market on Esplanade where the old Whole Foods used to be.
Pierre Firmin Dastugue married Delphine Brezina Perez, whose father was
from the same region in France and whose mother escaped the Irish
Famine. Their son, Paul, married Regina Morano, whose family hails all
the way back to the beginning of the Louisiana colony. Ancestors of my
grandmother fought in the American Revolution battles at Baton Rouge
and Manchac and in the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans. My
mother was raised in New Orleans but her family traveled the Southern
migration route of Georgia to Alabama to Mississippi and then the
Crescent City. Her family names include Taylor, Smith, Powell,
Drummond, Knight, Hilderbrand and Staehling. If you're wondering why
I'm explaining all this, I'm always looking for answers to puzzling
genealogy questions. If you think we might be related, let me know.
I wrote a book on my family titled "The Dastugue-Morano Family
of Louisiana." Each chapter is a PDF available for download. Please
respect copyright if used in your genealogy. Thanks!
So what's with the accent and how do you pronounce my name? I get asked that a lot.
My father wanted to name me Chèrie, which means dear in French. Since my maiden name — and now my middle name — is Dastugue, it seemed fitting that I would have a French first name to match that mouthful. My father wanted me to be different and, I have to add, he didn't know how to properly spell chèrie, so he spelled my name Cheré, hoping that bug on the end would prompt Americans to say Cher-ee and not Sherry or Cher. Alas, they do just that, not to mention that French people call me Cher-A because that's how it is pronounced in French, with the accent aigu over the last e making it an A sound. However, my name is Cher-ee, regardless. I like my strange little bug and no one can call me Chèr unless they are Cajun.
On a side note, many people have asked why we live in an area of the country prone to hurricanes and below sea level. I doubt anyone visiting a Louisiana book site would doubt our love for this region, but just in case, consider this. My father's family has been in this state since 1719. I am the 9th generation Louisianan. Does that tell you something?