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Terror on the High Seas

A cache by BAMBOOZLE Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 06/04/2019
1.5 out of 5
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Size: Size: virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:





This Virtual Cache will take you to a location of two monuments that relate to the sinking of the French ocean liner Bourgogne.

At GZ :

Family matriarch Alice Aldige', daughter Amelie Borde and granddaughter Amy Borde died in the sinking of the steamship La Bourgogne in the Atlantic Ocean on July 4, 1989. The crew of the steamship acted in murdous fashion, especially towards the women and children passengers by throwing them overboard, out of liferafts, and cutting life lines to the life boats. The event shocked and outraged the entire world and was the inspiration for the maritime law "women and children first" in order to insure such a tragedy from happening again. It is to the Aldige womens' memory that the statue above the Aldige tomb features two women in grief, holding on to one other at the bow of a boat. This is one of the more notorious monuments at Metarie Cemetery, photographed often. However, the monument does not name the women who perished. They were lost at sea and not buried in New Orleans.

SS La Bourgogne was a French ocean liner, which sank in a collision July 1898, with the loss of 549 lives. At the time this sinking was infamous, because only 13% of the passengers survived, while 48% of the crew did. In 1886 she set a new record for the fastest Atlantic crossing by a postal steamer.

On 4 July 1898 shortly before five in the morning La Bourgogne collided with the British sailing ship Cromatryshire about 60 nautical miles (69 mi; 110 km) south of Sable Island near Nova Scotia during a dense fog. The ship was apparently traveling at full speed despite visibility later estimated at approximately 20 yards.

Captain Oscar Henderson of Cromartyshire was sailing sounding his fog horn and heard a ship's whistle but was unable to determine its direction. His ship collided with La Bourgogne about midships on the starboard side while most passengers were asleep in their compartments. The liner's compartments adjacent to the collision point filled immediately, starboard side lifeboats were damaged and the ship took a sharp list to starboard making launching of port side lifeboats difficult. As the ship started to list and the stern went under, an undisciplined rush for lifeboats began. La Bourgogne sank just over half an hour after the collision. The Cromartyshire survived the collision, but her crew mistook the La Bourgogne's whistle and signal rockets for an offer of assistance, and they did not realize what was happening until the whistle fell silent.

Around 5:30 am, the fog thinned out, and the crew of the Cromartyshire spotted and began rescuing survivors from La Bourgogne.

At the time, La Bourgogne was carrying 506 passengers and 220 crew, of whom 549 were lost, including Turkish wrestler Yusef Ismail, the American instructor/sculptor Emil H. Wertz, French artist Leon Porteau, American painter De Scott Evans, an Armenian Orthodox priest, Rev. Stepan Der Stepanian, his wife and three children, wife and daughter of John Forrest Dillon, the wife and child of George Deslions, and three members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Of the 173 survivors, fewer than 70 were passengers, with only one woman rescued out of approximately 300 on board. All children perished. Almost all first class passengers died in the disaster, with survivors largely limited to steerage passengers and sailors. According to survivor accounts, the ship's officers remained at their posts after the collision, with all officers except for the purser failing to survive.

Following the disaster sensational reports circulated that the crew had refused to aid passengers in the water, to the point of stabbing them or hitting them with oars. Surviving crew members required police protection upon their arrival in New York and the French government covered the tragedy up.

Much of the above is derived from Wikipedia of which I am a member.

Rising magnificently above the surrounding above ground vaults, the Langles Cenotaph’s inscribed words are strangely cryptic: “Angele Marie Langles, 105 La. 39”.Missing is the date of her birth, June 4, 1864, in New Orleans to Jean Langles and his wife, Pauline Costa Langles. Also missing is the date of her death when she was lost at sea with 550 other souls aboard the French steamer La Bourgogne. The tragedy occurred on the early morning of July 4, 1898, when the steamer collided with the Britishiron sailing ship, Cromartyshire, in a dense fog off the Newfoundland Banks.Another fact not mentioned on the cenotaph’s inscription was that Angele’s mother, Pauline Costa Langles, also died that fateful morning. She and her only child had divided their time between their native New Orleans and residences in Paris and Pau, France. She was 52 and robust, while her daughter was 35 and frail. Both had extensive real estate holdings in the Crescent City. In June of the same year, mother and daughter each executed simple, valid, reciprocal olographic wills. Harry H. Hall, prominent New Orleans attorney, was named executor of the testator’s estate in each of these lengthy wills.The monument also failed to mention that the sinking of the ship was a catastrophe without honor or chivalry. The crew threw women and children into the sea to save their own lives. 163 or 164 persons aboard La Bourgogne were rescued, of which 120 were members of the steamer’s crew who had sacrificed women, children and other passengers to watery graves.The collision naturally brought about extensive litigation in England, France and the United States. Apart from fault issues concerning the disaster, there were unusual factors concerning who died first (mother or daughter). A lengthy legal dispute over this principal question was eventually decided by the Louisiana Supreme Court. Who died first or did they die simultaneously? Substantial subordinate questions had important legal consequences.Under Article 936 et seq. of the Louisiana Civil Code (in identical terms to the corresponding articles of France’s Code Napoleon), the court’s decision was that the daughter (although frail) was presumed to have outlived the robust mother because of the daughter’s youth.Mr. Hall was thus mandated by the Supreme Court (entered April 23, 1900) to erect a monument to Angele’s memory at a cost of $3,000. But the puzzled executor wasn’t sure what to have inscribed on the base of the obelisk. Date of birth and death wouldn’t tell the whole story, so he had the legal reference to the case (“105 La. 39”) engraved upon the towering monument so all could learn the circumstances concerning this interesting bit of New Orleans history.

In a cemetery with hundreds of sculptures none are as moving as the Angel/Souls pleading upward from the sinking ship at GZ.

To receive credit for this virtual post a picture of yourself with the monument at GZ and also at the obelisk to the near north east. Instead of a picture including yourself you may include a geocaching symbol, even one drawn on paper.

Virtual Rewards 2.0 - 2019/2020

This Virtual Cache is part of a limited release of Virtuals created between June 4, 2019 and June 4, 2020. Only 4,000 cache owners were given the opportunity to hide a Virtual Cache. Learn more about Virtual Rewards 2.0 on the Geocaching Blog.

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