Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba by Christina VellaIntimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba by Christina Vella

Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de Pontalba

byChristina Vella

Hardcover | January 8, 1997

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Vella recounts the life story of the Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, born into wealth in New Orleans in 1795 and married into lifelong misery 15 years later. Set against a background of yellow fever epidemics that raged in New Orleans and the Paris Commune uprising events in Paris, this biography provides intriguing insight into 19th century ideas about power, class, money, marriage, and love. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Christina Vella was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 14, 1942. She received a bachelor's degree in history from Louisiana State University in 1965, a master's degree in history from the University of New Orleans in 1971, and a doctorate in modern European and American history from Tulane University in 1990. She taught history at...
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Title:Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of the Baroness de PontalbaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:464 pages, 9.23 × 6.26 × 1.37 inPublished:January 8, 1997Publisher:Louisiana State University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0807121444

ISBN - 13:9780807121443

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Born into wealth in New Orleans in 1795 and married into misery fifteen years later, the Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba led a life ripe for novelization. Intimate Enemies, however, is the spellbinding true account of this resilient woman's life - and the three men who most affected its course. Immediately upon marrying Celestin de Pontalba, Micaela was removed to his family's estate in France. For twenty years her father-in-law attempted to drive her to abandon Celestin; by law he could then seize control of her fortune. He tried dozens of strategies, including at one point instructing the entire Pontalba household to pretend she was invisible. Finally, in 1834, the despairing elder Pontalba trapped Micaela in a bedroom and shot her four times before turning his gun on himself. Miraculously, she survived. Five years later, after securing both a separation from Celestin and legal power over her wealth, Micaela focused her attention on building, following in the footsteps of her late, illustrious father, Andres Almonester. Her Parisian mansion, the Hotel Pontalba, is today the official residence of the American embassy in France, and her Pontalba Buildings, which flank Jackson Square in New Orleans, form together with her father's St. Louis Cathedral, Presbytere, and Cabildo one of the loveliest architectural complexes in America. As for Celestin, he eventually suffered a total physical and mental breakdown and begged Micaela to return. She did so, caring for him for twenty-three years until her death in 1874. In Intimate Enemies, Christina Vella embroiders the compelling story of the Almonester-Pontalba alliance against a richly woven background of the events and cultures of two centuries and two vivid societies. She provides a window into the yellow fever epidemics that raged in New Orleans; the rebuilding of Paris, the Paris Commune uprising, and the Second Empire of Napoleon III, European ideas of power, class, money, marriage, and love during the baroness' lifetime and their inflection in the New World setting of New Orleans; medical treatments, legal procedures, imperial court life, banking practices, and much more