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Our Notable Daigles

Joachim Daigle, Isidore Daigle, Louis Daigle, and Prudent Daigle

     These four brothers were the sons of Francois Joachim Daigle and Marie Fortill Dupuy. They were the Great Grandchildren of Francois Marie Daigle and Jeanne Holley and served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Following the Battle of Fort Sumpter, Joachim and Prudent became members of Company H (the Tirailleurs) of the Louisiana 4th Division. Joachim shortly became ill and died upon his return home. Prudent was wounded during the Battle of Shiloh Church. Immediately following this, Louis and Isidore enrolled in the Tirailleurs. Company H continued with involvement in the Battle of Vicksburg, Fort Hudson, Atlanta, Jonesboro, and Nashville. (For further details on Civil War involvement of these brothers see our April 2001 newsletter.) These four brothers are presented as Notable Daigles, not because they achieved outstanding success or somehow altered history, but because they epitomize the sacrifice, courage, steadfast commitment, endurance, and resilence of our ancestors who were caught up in this national tragedy.

Joseph Simon Daigle

     Joseph Simon Daigle was the great grandson of Olivier Daigle. He was the son of Joseph Daigle and Madeleine Gautreau. He moved to Madawaska, Maine in 1785 leading a band of Acadians from St. Anne near New Brunswick. Here he erected the first Acadian Cross on the shores of the St. John River in St. David, Maine; near Madawaska expressing the faith of the Acadian people in God and in the new land. The Acadian Cross is sometimes referred to as "The Landing Site" or the "Cross on the Flats". In any event, the cross is the symbol by which the arrival of the deported settlers is marked. At the foot of the cross, they could kneel and express their faith in the newly acquired land and pray that they could maintain a livelyhood for their families. Every year during the Acadian Festival, events are centered at the cross. In 1980, the descendants of Joseph Simon Daigle held a reunion at which the Cross was replaced.

Theodule and Joseph Daigle

     Theodule and Joseph Daigle, the sons of Joseph Etienne Daigle and Lile Dupre, are of French Canadian descent and are considered to be the founders of Church Point, LA. They were born on the Ave Maria Plantation on the outskirts of Opelousas. The brothers moved to the Plaquemine Brulee area (later named Church Point) in 1843. In about 1848, the Daigle brothers decided to find a chapel for the church property which had been purchased by the Jesuits of Grand Coteau for the sum of $120. They procured a building, had it moved to the church property, and along with the men of the community renovated the building so that it could be used as a church.

     During the War Between the States, Theodule served with Bond's Co., Louisiana Mounted Partisan Rangers. The brothers and their descendants were involved in getting schools for the community and served in many political offices. Both brothers prospered, and were reputed to be hard working, ambitious, and generous with their time and money. Joseph died at the early age of 31 while his brother, Theodule, died Nov. 26, 1907 at the age of 83.

Bern Daigle

     Bernadin Joseph (Bern) Daigle, with his twin brother, Bernard, was born in Fort Kent, Maine on Dec. 11, 1922 to Joseph L. Daigle and M. Leonie Bouthot. In 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy V-5 training program and began his flying career. He earned his gold naval aviator wings and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marines in Sept. 1943. He has many experiences and honors to his credit which include 95 combat missions during WWII flying the Grumman F4-U Corsair, 4 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 16 Air Medals, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon with 3 battle stars, and the Philippine Campaign ribbon with one battle star and many others. After WWII, he was working for an upstart airline, Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) when he was recalled to active duty in 1950 and sent to Korea shortly after the war began. After leaving active duty in 1956, he held various positions in the field of aviation which included the Federal Aviation Administration as an Air Traffic Controller. While with the FAA in Honolulu, Hawaii he was promoted to Colonel, USMCR and commanded a Marine Reserve unit. In 1967 he took a position with Air America in Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam conflict as Director of Civil Aviation to the Laotion government. While in this position he was awarded the "Order of a Million Elephants and White Parasol, Grade of Knight" by the King of Laos. Following the end of the Viet Nam war, he went to work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of the United Nations as an aviation consultant in the Western and South Pacific area. In the late 70's, he became a consultant with Bell Helicopter in Iran before the takeover by Iranian radicals forced his "sudden departure". Bern Daigle died on Dec. 7, 1990 at the age of 67 and was laid to rest at the U.S. National Military Cemetery, Riverside, CA on Dec. 11, 1990.

Father Jules Daigle

     The French language was once so dominant in Louisiana that official state documents were published in French and English. In 1898, the State Constitution provided that "the French language may be taught in those parishes and localities where the French language predominates". But in 1921, the Louisiana Constitution prohibited the teaching of French in public schools. Children were spanked for merely uttering French words on the school grounds. In the 1970's a newfound appreciation of our state's French heritage emerged. Monsignor Jules O. Daigle helped foster the revival by publishing a Cajun French dictionary. He followed up with another book titled "Cajun Self-Taught", and embarked on another writing project, only not having the last works published.

     Jules Daigle, born December 4, 1900,  is the son of Oscar Daigle and Eliza Landry and the 6th of 17 children. Father Daigle spent the first 2 years of his career in Baltimore, Md. and the final four he studied in Rome. He boasted that all of his professors went on to become Cardinals. Father Jules Daigle, who was ordained at the Vatican in 1926, returned to Louisiana where his sermons in Cajun French drew overflow crowds. After 48 years as a priest, he retired in 1974 and began a writing career. By 1984, using his own money, he published his 600 page dictionary which immediately became a best seller and supported many charities. His influence has spawned successful education programs teaching French to South Louisiana's children and adults even after his death on January 2, 1998.

General Oneil J. Daigle

     O. J. Daigle was born in Donaldsonville, La. on July 10, 1922, the son of Eva Corteges and Oneil James Daigle, Sr. After involvement in WWII, he reentered Louisiana State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1950. In 1943 he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant but quickly rose through the ranks becoming a 1st lieutenant in 1945 and a captain the following year. His National Guard service began in 1948 when he was named commander of the 769th Battalion until 1950. In 1951 he as promoted to the rank of Major and in 1955 became a Lieutenant Colonel. O.J. became a full colonel in 1962, Brigadier General in 1968 and the Assistant Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard before becoming Adjutang General in 1972 and promoted the same day to Major General. General Daigle is the 1st Adjutant General to represent the French culture of South Louisiana.

     Among his honors were the Legion of Merit, the WWII Victory Medal, the American Campaign medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Louisiana Longevity Medal with 2 fleur-de-lis, the Louisiana War Cross, the Louisiana Emergency Service Medal with five fleur-de-lis, the Louisiana Cross of Merit, and the Louisiana Distinguished Service Medal. His name is listed in the U.S. Infantry Hall of Fame and in 1998 was inducted LSU's Hall of Honor.  He was also inducted into the National Guard Hall of Fame on April 24, 2003.

     While attaining high military rank he also progressed in the business world as founder and President of Daigle Pontiac-Buick Co. in Gonzales, La. in 1955.

Gary Daigle and Steve Daigle

     Gary and Steve Daigle have made their mark at a very young age in the field of music. Gary Daigle is a much sought after liturgist, producer and performer in the field of liturgical music. His first compositions were collaborations with the Damons, a very popular singing group of the Catholic Church. This was followed by collective compositions and recordings with many of the leaders in the liturgical music world. His name is seen throughout the "Glory and Praise Hymnal" as composer of many of the songs used in Catholic worship today. He has served as Director and Minister of music and Liturgy in Illinois, Arizona, and California before returning to his home town of Gonzales, LA where he manages his home recording studio specializing in liturgical music while continuing his demand as clinician throughout the country.

     Steve Daigle has left his musical mark in the Opera World by having served as part of the artistic staff for more than 150 lyric theater productions along with over 400 performances as a stage manager. As a singer he has performed major rolls in many major opera productions. He received his Bachelor of Vocal Education and Performance Degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and the Master of Music Degree in Opera Stage Directing from Florida State University. He has numerous directing credits with the Ohio Light Opera Company, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory, Louisiana State University, Florida State Opera, South Georgia Opera, Columbia Theater Players, and Kent State Opera Workshop. His most recent success was in producing an acclaimed performance of Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" at Eastman School of Music where he is currently serving as Dramatic Director of the Opera Theater Program.