Saturday, July 14, 2012

Surname Saturday- The Saucier Debate

      It is hard to believe a year has gone by since the great Facebook debate over how to pronounce my maiden name. We all went on for days over how to correctly pronounce this old french surname, that even a city in South Mississippi is named for. It became a very heated debate to say the least. People who did not even carry the name were the most argumentatively defensive. It seems the most popular way to say it was So-Sure and most were adamant that they were saying it that way and would not change for anyone. My father and I argued that it was our name after all, and the city was named after an ancestor, so we think we know how to pronounce it. We prefer the correct French pronunciation of So-See-Ay. We will even accept So-shah, or So-shay. When I was a kid you could always tell when a telemarketer was calling because they would ask for Mr. Sauce-e-er please. Like tomato sauce is saucier than another kind of sauce. Eww, I cringed at that. I mean this was one of the oldest names on the Coast and it was being butchered daily. The people of Louisiana have kept more in tradition with the pronunciation of French names and they always pronounce it correctly. 

     Sadly here on the Mississippi Coast we have lost sight of our traditions and our Creole heritage. Growing up in the 70's I always heard my father, who ran a local store, referred to by all respectfully as Mr. So-see-ay. Then we had an influx of military people coming in with all the bases that we have here on the Coast. They could not pronounce the local names of Dedeaux,(De-Dough) Saucier, Gautier, (Go-t-ay or Go-Shay), even our towns of Gulfport and Biloxi (Buh-lux-e) became Golf-port and, By-lox-e. That's all okay, I mean I can't say some names I am not familiar with either, but the problem lies in the fact that we were too lazy to correct them and eventually went on to say things the way they said it. That means those people of the younger generation that were so defensive during the Saucier facebook war, never heard it said the correct way, so had no idea really. Which is sad. 

      Which is why there are those of us out there trying to educate our youth on our rich and fantastic history. After all if you wear the name of Saucier, you should know that you are descended from one of the very first settlers to the Coast, in what was then known as the Louisiana Colony, and now is Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Jean Baptiste Saucier was his name and he came from Canada with D'Iberville in 1699 to the wilderness and marshes of the Coast with an uncertain future. He later married a Casket Girl named Gabrielle Savary, who came from France specifically to marry a colonist. They had a large family who populated the Coast as well as the Illinois and Missouri territories. We should be proud enough of our heritage to preserve it, which includes the French language that they strictly spoke as late as the 1900's. 

     So, try to remember, that when I ask you to kindly say my name correctly, I am not being obstinate. I just wish to hear my name said the way it was meant to be pronounced. After all you want to be called by the right name too!

by the way it's ME-shell!   :)

1 comment:

  1. I love this! I live in central MS and my maiden name is also Saucier and NO-ONE can pronounce it! Let alone my first or middle names Adelle Mignon..