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Josephine Roman Aime
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Birth: Feb., 1797
Death: Feb., 1856

wife of Valcour AIME ("The Louis XIV of Louisiana"), sister of the gov. of Louisiana (Gov. Andre Bienvenu ROMAN).


HIGH LIFE ON THE ACADIAN COAST
August 06, 2005, by Stephanie Bruno

When "The Skeleton Key" opens in movie theaters Friday, New Orleanians will recognize some familiar places…The most haunting scenes in the psychological thriller, though, take place upriver in St. James Parish on River Road at Felicity Plantation. Whatever intrigue the film has to offer, the story of Felicity is just as compelling.
Built in 1846, Felicty Plantation was a wedding gift to Emma Félicité Aime from her father, the fabled Gabriel Valcour Aime. Valcour Aime, born in St. Charles Parish in 1797, was well-connected in New Orleans and in the St. James Parish plantation country along the Mississippi River. In 1819, he married JOSEPHINE ROMAN, sister of Gov. André Bienvenu Roman, also a sugar planter. A.B. Roman led Louisiana from 1831 to 1835 and again from 1839 to 1844. Roman is credited with championing education and prison reform, and was an opponent of secession.
The area where Aime and his family lived was settled mostly by French planters and has been called the Acadian Coast to distinguish it from the downriver German Coast, settled in the 1700s.
Valcour Aime was so wealthy that he was sometimes called the Louis XIV of Louisiana. Besides trading in real estate and raising sugar cane, he was an amateur scientist who experimented with techniques for refining sugar. He is credited with perfecting the vacuum pan method and was one of the only planters who refined sugar directly from cane juice on site. His innovative technique gave him a competitive edge and made him the richest man in Louisiana, with an estate valued in the millions.
One of the tracts of land that Aime once owned now holds Oak Alley Plantation. Aime bought the property in 1820 and gave it to his wife's brother, Jacques Télésphore Roman, in 1836 in exchange for an aging Roman family home just downriver. J.T. Roman and his wife built a handsome home on the new tract they acquired and called it "Beausejours." Eventually, however, its "allée" of oaks -- planted by an even earlier owner -- earned the plantation the name Oak Alley.
Aime's diary indicates that he enjoyed competing with his brother-in-law. One account reports that Aime's diary read, "My cane is higher than Jacques' " and, "my oranges are much tastier than his." Perhaps motivated by the desire to outdo him, Aime either improved and expanded the old Roman home or built a new one. The result was a spectacular estate known as "Le Petit Versailles," completed in 1844.
Le Petit Versailles was the most refined and sophisticated of all plantations, distinguished by elaborate gardens that seemed as well suited to the king's court in France as to a plantation on the Mississippi River. The house was a typical double-galleried building with columns, but had wings on each end that enclosed a rear courtyard. Its gardens were extensive and its hothouses filled with plants, fruits, vegetables and flowers from around the world, all grown for consumption by Aime, his family and their guests. The grounds were managed by gardeners hired away from Versailles. An informal zoo included kangaroos. One passage from "Social Life in Old New Orleans" noted a hill covered entirely in violets. Research by historian Buddy Stall indicates that after future French king Louis Philippe was lavishly entertained by Aime, the two men tossed into the river the gold plates on which they had dined.
Aime's fortune was at its zenith when his second daughter, Emma Félicité, married Septime Fortier. The planter gave Felicity Plantation to them as a wedding gift, and the Fortiers had 14 children there (although not all lived through childhood.)
In the early 1850s, they hired Frenchman Elisée Reclus as a live-in tutor. Reclus is described as "the foremost geographer of his epoch and a major figure in the history of anarchist political theory." The tutor chronicled his years at Felicity in a memoir called "Fragment d'un voyage à la Nouvelle Orléans." Scholars of his work believe his years with the Aime-Fortier family were important in the development of his theories as it exposed him to "the cruel inhumanity of slavery." He reportedly left Louisiana because of it, writing that he "could not continue to earn money by tutoring the children of slave holders and thus steal from the Negroes who have truly earned through their sweat and blood the money that I put in my pocket."
In 1854, Félicité's brother Gabriel died of yellow fever at Le Petit Versailles. The death of his only son crushed the spirit of Valcour Aime, who wrote in his diary, "Let him who wishes continue. My time is finished." Aime suffered more heartbreak when his wife died in 1856 and his youngest daughter died in 1858. It's reported that Aime, in despair, moved into a small cottage on the grounds, spending much of his time praying in a chapel there. Though his fortunes were declining, he donated valuable assets to the Marist fathers in 1861, enabling them to re-open Jefferson College (now Manresa in Convent), which had burned and closed 20 years before. When Aime died in 1867, his business and property were in disarray. The property was soon sold to pay debts. Le Petit Versailles burned in 1920, and today the only vestige of Aime's estate is a historical marker at the side of the road.
The Fortiers continued to live in St. James Parish as indicated in the 1860 census. But by 1870, they had moved to New Orleans, where Septime was in a wholesale grocery business. In 1880, they lived on Bayou Road with four of their children. Septime died in 1898, and at the time of the 1900 census, Félicité and her unmarried daughter Anna were living at 2642 Dumaine St., the home of daughter Nathalie and Nathalie's husband, Camil Brou. Félicité died in 1905.
The Bank of the Americas acquired part of Felicity Plantation in 1873, and the property changed hands three times before being sold in 1889 to Saturin Waguespack, a descendant of one of the original settlers of the German Coast and the forbearer of the family that still owns Felicity.
In 1907, Waguespack merged Felicity with St. Joseph Plantation... Two family members, now in their 90s, make Felicity their home today. The land they live on still bears sugar cane, just as it did when Valcour Aime ruled the Acadian Coast from Le Petit Versailles.2
Felicity Address: Louisiana 18 in Vacherie, LA
Built: 1846 Type: Center hall plantation home Style: Greek Revival
Features: 2½ stories with attic dormers. Box columns extending from the ground to the parapet. Gallery at ground and second level on front and rear. Wood balustrade at second level. Central door on each floor with sidelights and transom.
 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Valcour Aime (1798 - 1867)
 
 Children:
  Félicité Emma Aime Fortier (1823 - 1905)*
  Gabriel Aime (1826 - 1854)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Saint Louis Cemetery Number 3
New Orleans
Orleans Parish
Louisiana, USA
 
Created by: Ray Cannata
Record added: Nov 03, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31109078
Josephine <i>Roman</i> Aime
Added by: ET
 
Josephine <i>Roman</i> Aime
Added by: Ray Cannata
 
Josephine <i>Roman</i> Aime
Added by: Ray Cannata
 
 
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- Darlene T.
 Added: Feb. 9, 2012
My cousin who lived such a beautiful life for a time on this earth, and endured much heartache also..Reposez-vous dans les bras de notre Sauveur mon cousin Doux cher je un jour vous rencontrer dans le ciel ..
- Colette B Merchant
 Added: Oct. 24, 2011
Que les anges te garder dans ton sommeil.
- B.B. Daniels
 Added: Jan. 4, 2011
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