A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey…
But a woman of strength has faith that it is in the journey that she will become strong.
Geneva Leona Mercadel, who claims former Mayor Sidney Bartholemy as kin, is what downtowners would call a “Creole’s Creole.” Born in to one of those large families with longtime roots in the Seventh Ward, Geneva Mercadel is part of that fascinating cross stitch that makes up the colorful patchwork bordered by Esplanade Ave, Elysian Fields, Broad St. and N. Rampart.
Historically the Mercadels were well respected artisans and craftsmen, prominent in construction and the building trades. Some of her cousins are still in the business. Her great grandfather, she tells, hailed from Champagne in France. He was a shoemaker who had migrated to New York, but upon finding the cold weather not to his liking, kept traveling until he arrived in New Orleans. Another branch of her family came to Louisiana from Italy, where they had been in the hotel business. And her mother’s people—the Mathieus were of African, French, German, and Italian heritage. A great grandmother –Santa Marina–was African and Choctaw. Some say it is from the mixing of all these bloodlines that our main character inherited her grace, strength and exotic beauty. A honey caramel colored complexion; intense, expressive violet eyes; and an amazing resilience are Gee’s outstanding characteristics.