“There is a price. Charles and his children will pay it. As will their children, and their children, and all children who attempt to profit from anything Charles has built on the corpse of my daughter. This midnight dynasty will fall, as Ophélie fell, and there will be no more. This I promise, on my mother, and on my beloved Ophélie.” – Brigitte Deschanel, 1866
With these words, Brigitte commenced over a century and a half of pain and misery for her descendants. Read below for the timeline of these events.
Charles Deschanel I, and his young wife Brigitte, emigrated from France and purchased a plot of land along the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Their children, Ophélie, Jean (the Deschanel heir), and Fitz, are born within the first few years. Charles names his plantation after Ophélie.
Civil War tears the country apart. Charles shrewdly makes back channel deals with the Union, which saves his property when New Orleans falls early. He is branded a traitor by fellow Southerners, but is one of the few of his peers to emerge not only intact but with even stronger prospects.
Ophélie is brutally murdered by one of the Union soldiers, after months of abuse.
Civil War ends. Both Jean and Fitz fought, and survived. Charles continues his associations with the same Union men who murdered his daughter. This infuriates Brigitte, who plans her revenge.
Brigitte finally gets her revenge when she takes her own life, cementing the Curse against Charles and his descendants. This is witnessed by her son Jean’s wife, Julianne, who writes about it in her diaries. Later, she will convince her daughter Ophelia of the Curse potency.
Later that year, Charles and Brigitte’s son Fitz, along with his wife and son, are killed in a boating accident, presumably the first victims of the Deschanel Curse.
1875 & 1878
Charles II (grandson of Charles I) and Ophelia are born to Jean and Julianne. These are the only two children they will have. Charles II becomes the Deschanel heir.
Julianne dies, leaving all her diaries and recollections of the Curse to her daughter, Ophelia. Ophelia carries these beliefs with her all her life, never marrying.
Charles II and his wife Amelia give birth to three children: John, Jean, and Elizabeth.
A yellow fever epidemic sweeps New Orleans. All three of Charles II and Amelia’s children perish to it. Later that year, Amelia gives birth to a son, August, who will become the Deschanel heir.
Amelia gives birth to her only other surviving child, a daughter, Blanche. Blanche will go on to start the Broussard, Guidry, and Fontenot dynasties. Current descendants refer to Deschanels as either “descendants of August,” or “descendants of Blanche.”
Charles Deschanel I dies.
August, at the age of 20, returns home from boarding school married to a Yankee woman, Eliza Gass, whom he is very much in love with.
1930 & 1931
Charles Deschanel II dies, followed by his father, Jean Deschanel, leaving August as the only surviving heir.
August and Eliza try repeatedly to produce children, resulting in a series of painful stillbirths. Eliza falls ill and dies in 1949. With no heirs, and August coming into middle age, the future of the Deschanel family is uncertain.
Within days of his wife’s death, August marries his deceased wife’s nursemaid, a young Irish woman by the name of Colleen Brady. It was said he married her as an expression of the family’s ill fortunes thus far, and that he “might as well marry the help, in any case.”
In a felicitous twist of fate, August and Colleen go on to conceive ten children, six of whom survive into adulthood: Charles, Augustus, Colleen, Evangeline, Maureen, and Elizabeth.
August Deschanel passes away, leaving his son Charles III as the Deschanel heir.
Ophelia Deschanel passes away at the age of 97, the last of the older generations. She passes on all her notes, and legacy, to August’s daughters.
The sixteen grandchildren of August Deschanel are born. At this point, there have been no major tragedies in many years, and the Curse begins to fade into history.
Children of Charles: Nicolas (1975), Nathalie (’77), Giselle (’78), Lucienne (’79), Adrienne (’80), Anne (’81)
Children of Augustus: Anasofiya (’75)
Children of Colleen: Amelia (’76), Benjamin (’77), Ashley (’78)
Children of Evangeline: Markus (’85), Katja (’87)
Children of Maureen: Olivia (’75), Alain (’80)
Children of Elizabeth: Danielle (’82), Tristan, (’89)
A series of tragedies strike the family. Colleen’s son Benjamin, along with his wife and child, perish in a house fire. Charles Deschanel, his wife, and three of his daughters (Nathalie, Giselle, Lucienne) die in a bayou car accident. Later that year, Elizabeth’s daughter, Danielle, is struck by a car and killed on Christmas.
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