Friday, May 28, 2010

What's in a name?

There are many colorful figures from America's Civil War -- personalities that only Freud could have invented. Many names are forever linked to that epic struggle--Lee, Jackson, Grant, Sherman. No name is so quickly identifiable with the South, however, as the dashing, debonair, distinguished, and devastatingly handsome Beauregard.

Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was born this day in 1818 on a plantation about 20 miles from New Orleans. His Creole heritage gave him an olive complexion, dark eyes and short stature. (The movie, The Hunley, featured Donald Sutherland as Beuregard which is stretching the truth about 18 inches, but it's still a great movie. . . .) This is a name only Charles Dickens could have invented for it virtually drips of Southern-ness and courtly manners. Merely speak the word "Beauregard" and the scent of magnolias fills the air.

The colorful and charismatic "Little Napoleon" had a successful career as a businessman and public servant in his beloved Louisiana following the war. Romania and Egypt begged him to come command their armies, but he declined.

He is entombed in the mausoleum of the Army of Tennessee at Metairie Cemetery. I have paid homage at his grave.

If I could choose a moment of time to experience, I think it would be to have the gallant Beauregard bow and kiss my hand. Let's all toast with a hurricane.

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