She was a teacher at a time when most women could only aspire to be domestic servants in their own homes.
And she was herself a homemaker, and a mother whose children would go on to be professional people, accomplished people – but who could all still speak French and whose roots were deep in St. Martin Parish.
Agnes Angelle graduated from Cecilia High 1924. She and her sister, Edith, and cousin Bienville Angelle commuted the 40 miles, round trip, to Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now University of Louisiana at Lafayette) where she studied to become a teacher. A story she liked to tell as she grew older and people pressed her on the trivia of her time, was how the canvas top of Bienville’s Model T would leak in a common South Louisiana downpour, and that she and Edith would have to pop open umbrellas inside the car.
After they graduated, she and Edith had to commute to Beauregard Elementary, in nearby Nina, by horse and buggy.
She had to quit teaching school when she married. It was a rule back then. She had children and began raising them, but slipped back into the classroom as a substitute when the youngest started school. By the mid-1950s, she was back full time. She went on to become a principal.
Her own mother, the former Agnes Guidry, was a remarkable person in her own right. She insisted, back in the early 19th century when the Americains began to swarm into Louisiana after oil, on speaking nothing but French. She kept her culture pure and she passed it on.
Because of Agnes, the culture, the traditions, and the rural family values are being passed on to others in this very needy day.