Saturday, March 10, 2012

It's Just Our Nature...

What do this beautiful lady surrounded by dogs and I have in common?... besides the fact that we are both lovers and rescuers of animals?... until this past week, I had never heard of or seen this lady... then, a comment left on one of my posts lead me to her with the information she left for me to get ahold of her... it's truly amazing the power of a blog... and just one comment... this past week, my life has been changed... in so many positive ways... thanks to this lady...

This is the picture that brought her to my blog... it is one I have posted several times when I post stories of my French heritage... my great~uncle Pierre Seraphin Jr. on the left and his brother, my grandfather, Jules Arthur Vicknair, Sr on the right... this lady had done a search on the internet for Jules Arthur Vicknair, Sr and it brought her to one of my posts with this photo... this lady and I share a special bond... of course our mutual love for all of God's precious creatures... but more... you see, she is family... she is my cousin... my cousin that until last week I never even knew I had... I already feel a closeness to this beautiful lady and we have chatted by phone and emails this past week... she was doing research on her family... which is also my family... for her great~grandmother Marie Vicknair is my grandfather Jules Arthur Vicknair's sister... and my great~aunt... my grandfather left Louisiana to work as a chemist at a large sugar plantation in Cuba... then later moved to New Mexico where he met and married my grandmother Vicknair... the rest of the Vicknairs, other than my great~uncle Pierre stayed for the most part in Louisiana... I always knew I had lots of family there, but needed to find out so much more... since my parents and grandparents have all passed away, my research has been long and incomplete... until now... just to clarify things, when I divorced my ex~husband years ago, I took back my maiden name of Vicknair and go by it to this day...

My beautiful cousin's name is Veni Harlan... she is such an incredible lady!... a graphics designer, photographer, writer, conservationist, animal trainer, animal rescuer, artist, designer, collector of vintage treasures... the list goes on and on... her newest venture is her company called Marsh Dog that sells all natural dog treats... (Tessy is sooo excited!)... I wish I had Veni's energy!... she was part of the Louisiana Animal Rescue Team in the Macondo oil spill of 2010, the largest spill in US History... Veni spent countless days with the rescue and cleanup of all of the beautiful shorebirds and wildlife affected by the spill... she rescued and fostered numerous animals and birds of all kinds after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita... many of which were returned to their owners... while others were placed in new homes... she was part of the Black Bear Conservation Coalition helping to save the Louisiana Black Bear... . obviously the love of all God's creatures runs deep in the Vicknair family blood... her parents, grandparents, brothers and sister, cousins... all are involved with rescuing and caring for animals and birds... domestic and wild... I am so proud of my new~found cousin... and want to get to know her so much better... she has graciously sent me photos of my great~grandfather Pierre Seraphin Vicknair Sr. and my great~grandmother Marie Madeleine Vicknair (her great~great grandparents) who I had never seen photos of before, and many other family photos, as well as filling in alot of the missing pieces in my family history... all of my life, my daddy had told me I had a great~aunt in Louisiana that had something to do with a soda pop company... little did I know, my great~aunt Marie, (yes, there are alot of Maries in our family!)... who was Veni's great~grandmother, and her husband were founders of the famous Barqs Root Beer company in New Orleans!... Veni is working on a book about the history of Barqs... the company was sold to Coca~cola in 1995... here is an old photo provided by Veni from her website... can you guess what vintage treasures I will be seeking out at my next estate sale or antiques shop?... you are right, Barqs!...

And the beginning of her story on the history of Barqs... (click to enlarge to read better)...

Merci Veni, for all you have given me... the photos, the family information and stories... the inspiration... but most of all... being a part of my family... our love of animals truly is part of our nature... I have always rescued and helped animals of all kinds... but after meeting Veni, I see there is so much more I can do... and I shall... xoxo...


  1. This is so exciting and so wonderful! I'm very happy for you, Julie Marie!

  2. Oh dear wonderful for you to have found a long lost cousin....and BARQs ROOT BEER to boot.

    I drank tons of this as a kid.


  3. Dear Julie Marie,

    This is one of the reasons that you had to come back for!(with your blog)
    Congratulations with your new familymember!
    What a gift!!
    Now you can see, that good things also happen on the internet and not only al the trouble and pain you had to go true lately.

    Enjoy Life!

    Sanne from the Netherlands.

  4. What a wonderful story, Julie Marie! Truly one of the marvels of blogland--being able to find and connect with family long lost--or never known! What a blessing for both of you!

    Loved reading your history (of course you know I would!)...that's so interesting about Barqs! That will be fun for you to be on the hunt for!

    Wishing you the most wonderful weekend, dear friend!


  5. Oh that is awesome . I am so happy for you both and so much in common ! Have a great day !

  6. I am just amazed sometimes at the power of blogging. I am speecehless and happy beyond words for you. I hope to hear much more of your being reunited with Veni! {I hope I got that right...your font can be a bit hard to read}. Please keep us updated on what is going on with the two of you! It is SO exciting, my friend!


  7. Oh, Julie Marie, I am so happy for you to have found your cousin. She has truly supplied some "missing pieces" to your wonderful family history. I can tell the two of you are kindred spirits! Thank you for your kind friendship, sweet one! Vicki

  8. Wow sweets...this is just incredible. I have goosies! Oh my gosh! It IS a small, small world! Isn't it?

    I loved reading this story...amazing!

    Maybe WE are related? Would that be something? I know my GGGrandfather was 100% French and I would love to hunt down more about it.

    In my dreams we are sisters!


  9. That is so wonderful. Interesting that she managed to find your blog.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  10. How wonderful to meet your cousin and to share so much! A beautiful family!!

  11. How amazing is this story Julie Marie? What a blessing to you to find her!!!
    hugs from here...

  12. Hi Julie Marie~
    What a wonderful story. That photo of Veni with the dogs is great. Love it. I have seen Barq's bottles here and there. In antique shops I believe. I'll keep my eyes more open from now on. So happy for you. Love this story.
    xoxo Amy

  13. How absolutely wonderful that blogging brought you to know another family member. I am so excited for you. Have fun getting to know each other!

  14. Hi Julie Marie -Wow, your post gave me the chills I am so excited for you!!! How awesome, Both of you have so much in common !!I have always admired your love and caring of animals and nature-- Such a neat story about the Barqs Rootbeer now part or your familys history! too cool,She has such a pretty name too, love your photos - Have a wonderful week!!! Sincerely, Jonny

  15. Thats amazing~ Congrats on finding such an inspirational woman!

  16. Wow Julie, this is so fantastic. Sometimes we wait until we are the oldest generation left before we decide to think about our heritage and then it's so late to find out things. This is wonderful for both of you.

  17. Oh Julie Marie,
    What exciting news my dear friend. It is just amazing how you two found eachother...I ♥ Blogland. Hope you are doing well. Sending you a great big hug and sending Tessy tons of doggie kisses.

    Much love,

  18. What a wonderful post/story Julie Marie!!
    Veni sounds just like you sharing a love and respect for all animals ♥ How wonderful that she was part of the Louisiana Animal Rescue Team. Our local Animal Shelter homed many Louisiana dogs too! Marsh dog sounds wonderful and I wish your cousin much success xo

  19. Hi Julie, WOW what a wonderful story and the finding of your cousin. What an incredible blessing for you and all that you two girls have in common. Veni sounds just like you in so many ways. You truly are family.
    I bet you are excited beyond the moon. I am so happy you found each other through blogland.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful blessing in your life.
    Hugs and Kisses for Tessy too.
    Love to you, Celestina Marie

  20. So wonderful Julie, to not only find a kindred spirit, but then to know you are really related. Blessings to your new friendship and relationship! xoxo, Happy St. Patty's Day!!

  21. This is so special. I love that you found each other. Meant to be. Hugs to you both!

  22. THIS IS FANTASTIC. What a wonderful connection. Is your cousin a blood Harlan because Harlan is one of MY FAMILY NAMES. My grandmother was Abigail Harlan Baker Lovejoy named after her great grand (I think).

    Grimy Hands Girls' Club is for fun for people (girls) who love to dig in the earth. I don't have any rules, but I do send out special gifts to members who win my drawings.

    Sending a fond hug,