title Merchants in Vacherie WRITER May Reulet Gravois horse & buggy Rosemary Gravois Haik, Michael Haik Terrel

   In my early days, I remember seeing a merchant coming down the country road with a large pack on his back. He would make stops at houses along the way and attempt to sell some merchandise to the lady folks if they allowed him in. If he came in, he would open his pack on the floor and display his merchandise. I think it was mainly clothing ,and perhaps jewelry.

   Years later, a merchant came in a horse and buggy and he could carry more supplies. He visited every household and he would talk and sell whatever he could.

   Many years later, the merchant had a car or small truck and could carry even more goods to sell. That one, I knew his name. He was Michael Haik and everybody knew him. He had prospered and had opened a merchandise store in Reserve, La. across the river. Descendants of that family moved to New Orleans and one named George Haik become an ophthalmologist. He was well known in New Orleans. Two of his sons followed the same profession.

   I can add more to this story by telling that when I was in Baptist Hospital after having my baby, Rosemary. I met Mrs. George Haik and she had had a baby daughter, too. She would come sit in my room and talk. She was trying to decide if she should if she should name her baby, Suzanne ,because there was already a Suzette in the family.

   She did name her Suzanne, and Suzanne became well known in city politics as city councilwoman and now is state politics by having been elected State Registrar of voters. She is now known as Mrs Suzanne Haik Terrell.

topic salesmen

medicine sales traveling salesmen


   There was another entrepreneur who made his way to sell his merchandise in Vacherie. This one was selling medicine. I remember him standing in our front room telling Mama she should buy a bottle. Mama did not want to buy any, but he persisted and since Mama did not know how to get him out, she bought a bottle. I imagine it was medicine to cure brain tumors as well as ingrowing toenails.

   It so happened that Papa came home earlier than expected and when Mama told him about the persistent salesman, Papa took the bottle and was in hot pursuit. He caught up with him in Molaison, about a mile up the road, made the guy give him back the money but gave him a tongue-lashing and ran him out of Vacherie. It's a wonder he wasn't tarred and feathered. He was lucky at that!

topic salesmen

Bonton, Monsieur Bon temps? (ed.) Aunt Marie


   Then there was another salesman that Aunt Marie delighted talking about. He was the jewelry salesman who was named Monsieur Bonton. He went around selling his supplies of gold jewelry to the lady folks, but months after he was gone, the ladies who had bought the jewelry found out that the jewelry was not "gold" after all, it was brass.

   That man never came back, but his name remained in Aunt Marie's vocabulary and if someone bought gold jewelry somewhere Aunt Marie would ask, "Is this "gold"? or is it "l'or a Monsieur Bonton" ? (gold of Mr. Bonton)