Author: Rita Ross E-mail: [email protected] Department: Canadian Studies Program Institution: UC Berkeley Title: Evangeline, Acadians, and Tourists Abstract: In the Canadian Maritimes, and to a lesser extent in Louisiana, one is surrounded by Evangeline's name and image. Until recently there was a regional newspaper by that name in New Brunswick; in Nova Scotia one can visit the Evangeline Trail and the Evangeline Mall; in Prince Edward Island the Evangeline Credit Union and even the Evangeline Funeral Parlour. The park at Grand-Pré, with its statues of Evangeline and Longfellow, is paralleled in Louisiana by the park and statue at St. Martinville. Although her status today is problematic, Evangeline has served, and in some ways still does, as a model for Acadian identity within the group as well as a symbolic link between Acadians and Cajuns. Most importantly for the purposes of this conference she functions as a representation of Acadians to outsiders, especially tourists. In this paper I will briefly look at the construction of a legendary Acadian heroine on the basis of a fictional poem, and also at the phenomenon of Evangeline tourism. The park sites in Nova Scotia and Louisiana, the souvenirs that are widely available, and the “Evangeline” and “Gabriel” figures that appear at Acadian celebrations, played by Acadian teenagers, have added layers to the original story told by Longfellow. Ev now exists in an imaginary cultural realm created from a complex mixture of literature, history, folklore and nationalistic yearnings. The actual geographical spaces associated with her are also to a greater or lesser degree imaginary, but they are now inextricably linked with her name and attract tourists to this day. Author Bio (English): Rita Ross is an anthropologist and folklorist who has spent many years looking at the impact of the fictional character Evangeline on the cultural heritage of the Acadians. She is at present the Assistant Director of the Canadian Studies Program at UC Berkeley. Author Bio (French): Rita Ross est anthropologue et folkloriste qui a passé de nombreuses années à la recherche sur l'impact de l'Évangéline, personnage de fiction, sur le patrimoine culturel des Acadiens des provinces maritimes canadiennes. Elle est actuellement le directeur adjoint du programme d'études canadiennes à l'UC Berkeley.