Category: French baby names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
Come to Mardi Gras! If not for the party, then definitely for the colorful array of baby names.
Mardi Gras–aka Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday—is just around the corner. The day before Ash Wednesday, it precedes the beginning of Lent, and nowhere is it celebrated more wildly than in and around the city of New Orleans where its carnival features street processions with fantastic floats, elaborate costumes and masks and brilliantly colored beads, fabulous food and jubilant jazzy music.
Which provides the raison d’etre for this look at the distinctive names from two endemic ethnic groups of the area: the French-speaking Cajuns, and the Creoles, descended from early French, Spanish, Haitians and others.
Victor Hugo, the nineteenth-century French writer best known for Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was a keen observer of people and society. I’d wager he was something of a name enthusiast, too.
His books contain not just memorably-named characters, but also a lot of comments on names.
If someone has an unusual name, it usually has a back story. For example, Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was named after the first word in the liturgy on the day he was found as an infant.
Hugo’s characters talk about names, their own and others, just like we do in real life. In Notre-Dame, a group of women laugh at Esmeralda’s outlandish name (although they can hardly talk, with names like Amelotte, Colombe, Mahiette and Oudarde). Elsewhere, a man called Félix complains that his name is a lie because he is not happy.
By Abby Sandel
That tracks with the trend reports French baby name site Meilleurs Prenom’s Stephanie Rapoport has filed for Nameberry in recent years. Louis and Louise are in the nation-wide Top Ten for France, and other names, like Lilou and Louna, have been in favor, too.
At first glance, American parents have let this trend pass us by. But when Lu– names are added in, it’s a different story.
So what’s the parent to do who loves this kind of elaborate girls’ name but wants something a lot more rare?
Some of the best choices in this style don’t even make it onto the extended list of American baby names: All the names starred below were given to fewer than five baby girls in the US in the last year counted. And the others were used for only a handful of babies.
Is Cassiopeia or Petronilla too much name for a baby girl (or even a grown-up woman, for that matter)? Maybe, but you can always call her Cassie or Nilla and trust she’ll grow into her august appellation, at least by the time she’s 40.
And if you like super-feminine names for girls, why stick with the safe Gabriellas and Valentinas when there are all these exotic beauties out there?
Thirty rare, feminine names you might consider for your little girl are:
By Abby Sandel
Mardi Gras is tomorrow, and in New Orleans, that means one thing: a parade featuring Rex, King of Carnival. Mardi Gras parades begin days earlier, and every parade organization – called a krewe – has its royalty. But Rex and his Queen, along with their court of Maids, Dukes, and Pages, occupy a special place in the revels.
Rex traces its roots to 1872, and their royals have been drawn from the most prominent of New Orleans families. The men named Rex are accomplished civic leaders; their consorts are chosen from the season’s debutantes.
Over the years, Rex and his court have worn some fascinating names – a mix of old Southern tradition and French influence. Here are some of my favorites, drawn from decades of Mardi Gras’ reigning royals: