Alcee Fortier, St. James Parish, Louisiana (Jan 2000)
Submitted by Mike Miller

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Alcee Fortier, author and educator, was born in St. James parish, La., June
5, 1856.  The Fortier family is an ancient one, and has a distinguished
record in Louisiana.  The ancestor of the subject of this sketch came to
Louisiana about the year 1740.  He was one of the signers of the famous
petition of the merchants of New Orleans protesting against the transfer of
the colony to Spain.  His son, Michel Fortier, was a member of the first
city council of New Orleans with Etienne de Bore' as mayor, and took part
as colonel and aide-de-camp of Governor Claiborne in the battle of New
Orleans.  His son, Edmond Fortier, the grandfather of Professor Fortier,
was a wealthy sugar planter, and married the daughter of Alexandre La
Branche, one of the signers of the constitution of 1812, and father of
Octave La Branche, speaker of the Louisiana house of representatives, and
of Alcée La Branche, speaker of the house, member of congress and
ambassador to the republic of Texas.  Florent Fortier, the father of
Professor Fortier, was a sugar planter.  He received an excellent classical
education in France, and was a man of considerable literary attainments,
being the author of some very graceful poems in French.  He superintended
with the greatest care the education of his children.  His wife, Edwige
Aime, was the daughter of Valcour Aime, so well known for his philanthropy
and success as a sugar planter, and was the niece of Gov. A. B. Roman.
Alcee Fortier, having completed the course in the classical school of A. V.
Romain in New Orleans, entered the University of Virginia.  He was
prevented by serious illness from completing his course in that
institution.  He next read law for two years with Judge St. M. Berault, but
in the meantime his father having lost his large fortune, he was forced to
begin earning his living, and for some time worked as a clerk, always
continuing his studies, however, under able instructors.  We next find him
teaching French in the city high school; then he appears as teacher in, and
later as principal of the preparatory department of the University of
Louisiana.  In 1880 he was elected professor of French in the university of
Louisiana, and was re-elected when that institution became the Tulane
university of Louisiana.  This position he still holds.  Professor
Fortier's whole career has been characterized by an untiring energy and
devotion to the work he has had in hand.  He has unswervingly labored to
encourage and promote the cultivation of the French language and literature
in his native state.  His purpose and his achievement has been the
improvement of methods and the elevation of the standard to that of true
scholarship in the study of French, and we find him active in every
enterprise leading to that end.  His own scholarship in at the same time
broad and thorough, including protracted research in English, Spanish,
Italian, German, and the classical languages and literatures.  He has
followed an extensive course of study in romance philology in its various
departments.  He is president of "l'Athenee Louisinais," and is a prominent
member and officer in the New Orleans Academy of Sciences, the American
Folklore society, the American Dialect society, and the Modern Language
association of America.  He was appointed in 1888 a member of the Louisiana
state board of education for the First Congressional district.  His
contributions to literature have been numerous and various in character.
Among them may be named "The Importance of Labor and the Necessity of
Education, " a prize essay before "l'Athenee Louisianais;" "The French
Language in Louisiana and the Negro-French Dialect;" "The French Literature
of Louisiana;" "Bits of Louisiana Folk. lore;" "The Acadians of Louisiana
and Their Dialect;" "The Yalinos of Louisiana and Their Dialect," papers
read before the Modern Language association of America, and various
articles appearing in the pages of "Modern Language Notes;" "Journal of
American Folklore," and in other journals.  He has also published the
following books: "Sept Grands Auteurs du XIX e Siecle;" annotated editions
of de Vigny's "Le Cachet Rouge," of Corneille's "Polyeucte" and of
Moliere's "Lee Femmes Savantes;" also several lectures in French and in
English, among which may be mentioned: "Le Chateau de Chambord," "Le Vieux
Francais et la Litterature du Moyen Age," "Les Conquetes des Normands,"
"Rousseau and the Emile."  He is now writing a history of French literature
to be published both in English and in French.  Professor Fortier's
researches in Acadian and other dialects in Louisiana have opened an
exceedingly attractive field for linguistic study.  His very active and
successful work along this line has earned him a national reputation, and
has rendered his name well known to European scholars.  He is the author
also of a graceful French novelette: "Gabriel d' Ennerich, Histoire d' an
Cadet de Famiile an XVIII e Siecle,"  As a lecturer, Professor Fortier's
reputation is rapidly extending itself.  Besides numerous lectures on a
variety of subjects in New Orleans before various bodies, he has delivered
several courses upon French literature at the Monteagle assembly in
Tennessee, and he has by invitation, delivered two lectures in Nashville on
the history and literature of Louisiana.  He has also ably attacked and
controverted Mr. Cable's statements in regard to society and manners among
the creoles of Louisiana.  He has also contributed very interesting
articles for this work.  Professor Fortier married in 1881 Miss Marie
Landuze and has four children living--two boys and two girls.
Biographical and Historical Memoires of Louisiana, (vol. 1), pp. 420-421.
Published by the Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1892.

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