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Madame Josephine Gary
Photo by Turner Browne
The Acadian Brown Cotton, “Coton jaune” documentary explores the history of natural brown cotton in
Southwest Louisiana and examines its origins and use among the people of Acadiana.
Spinning and weaving were an integral part of daily life in rural Louisiana through the end of the 19th century.
Homespun cotton thread was regularly woven into bedding and clothing on large two harness floor looms.
By the early 20th century, commercially woven fabric had become a staple and the labor-intensive spinning and weaving a part of the past. The single exception was the weaving of traditional blankets as dowry for Cajun brides.
Oral tradition informs us that a total of 10 were the accepted number of blankets each daughter received. These blankets, made with love and care by her mother, were referred to as "l’amour de maman." Both long staple white cotton and shorter staple natural brown cotton were used. Indigo dyed cotton was also incorporated into the patterns and designs as well as torn rags of varying colors.