So, I’ve mentioned before how playing Choice of Vampires has led me to become quite interested in the history of colonial and antebellum New Orleans. In my free time, I have been reading many books and academic papers exploring life during the Crescent City’s first 150 years. One thing led to another, and I found myself browsing through colonial baptism records that were kept at St. Louis Cathedral and later scanned to be uploaded in online archives.
Apparently I have too much time on my hands, because that inspired me to “replicate” an entry for Zéphyrine’s baptism! Written and signed by the Antonio de Sedella himself! (Renowned Spanish friar who was the leading religious authority of the city at the time)
Everything here is based directly off of real entries written down for the baptisms of free children of color. (They were often penned by Sedella, in fact!) It is in Spanish, but I’ll also provide a translation. Notes will be in brackets. Despite the Francophone populace in colonial Louisiana, Spanish was the administrative language during the colony’s years under Spanish control and was likewise the language Antonio de Sedella wrote in.
Honestly just creating this gave me a well-needed boost of serotonin. I hope y’all find it at least pleasing to look at.
CEFERINA [Zéphyrine] CHAIGNEAU
Freeborn and legitimate-born parda [sic]
Twenty-ninth day of January of this year one thousand seven hundred ninety-five; I, Fr. Antonio de Sedella, Capuchin Friar, Priest of the Tabernacle of the Holy Cathedral of the city of New Orleans, baptized and put the holy oils on a free girl of color who was born on the twenty-sixth day of this month, legitimate daughter of Gerónimo [Jérôme] Chaigneau, free quadroon [sic], and of Apolonia [Apolline] Laferrière, free mulatta [sic]; I have exercised the sacred ceremonies and prayers for this girl who received the name CEFERINA [Zéphyrine] CHAIGNEAU; her godparents are Mr. Pedro Augusto [Pierre-Auguste] Robiquet, and her maternal grandmother Celestina [Céleste], a free black woman, who will serve as her spiritual parents. Confirmed by #
Fr. Antonio de Sedella
Click here for the original Spanish
Parda libre y legitima
Día veinte y nueve de Enero este año de mil setecientos noventa y cinco; Yo Fr. Antonio de Sedella, Religioso Capuchino, Cura del Sagrario de la Santa Yglesia Cathedral de la ciudad del Nuevo Orleans, bautice y puse los santos oleos a una niña de color libre que nacio el dia veinte y seis de este presente mes, hija legitima de Gerónimo Chaigneau, cuarterón libre, y de Apolonia Laferrière, mulata libre; en la qual niña exerci las Sacras Ceremonias y preces, y la puse por nombre CEFERINA CHAIGNEAU; fueron sus padrinos Don Pedro Augusto Robiquet, y su abuela maternal Celestina, negra libre, a quienes adverti el parentesco espirituel; y para que conste, lo firme #
Fr. Antonio de Sedella