The old Lenormand Family Manor sits westward out of of Carrefour, just on the outermost edge of the greater limits of the city. Massive, extravagant, and bathed in antiquity, the plantation was established shortly after the parish was founded in 1807. It is from this family that the name of the river and, subsequently, the parish, comes, but it was not until much later, when their presence was just as celebrated as it was questioned, that the name of the parish was changed. As such, the Lenormand Family Manor has been a celebrated piece of local lore for over two hundred years, and though some might attribute this to the fact that it played a key role in the original creation of the city of Carrefour and the development of Lenormand Parish on the whole, there are those who believe it is because of the intrigue that surrounds the progenitors of the Lenormand family and their varied, strange actions and accounts.
The manor, though imposing and austere in appearance, hearkening back to the time in which it was created, has been modernized. The old, spiked iron fence that used to surround the property has given way to a white picket and the shacks that used to house the many workers have since been torn down in lieu of beautiful gardens and cobbled walkways. The brownish wooden exterior has been replaced by permanently cleaned white siding, the roof’s chipped and cracked clay shingles replaced by modern ones, and the original Gothic trimming replaced by a modernistic golden flair. The inside, too, has been simplified – many of the walls having been knocked down over the ages to combine smaller rooms into larger spaces for the modern inhabitants to exact more comfort from the severe place. It was in one of these numerous renovations, one that took place a number of decades ago, that a strange token emerged from the Lenormand Family Manor and into the public, albeit unknowingly.
An unknown worker, of whom I have suspicions but will keep anonymous due to his personal and occupational advances, was on site when the basement of the Lenormand Family Manor was undergoing renovation to become somewhat of an in-house museum. In the floor of a room that he purportedly described as “something of a broom closet,” the man discovered a singular book, bound in leather and withered in page. A strange, cross-like symbol emblazoned the front in a brand of sorts and a rusted metal buckle clasped it shut. The book was not large, nor was it weighty, and thus, intrigued, he supposedly defied his morals and pocketed the piece to inspect further at a later time.
The book has hitherto been lost, but some of the information lives on in idle talk or in town whispers. Some claim it was a journal of one of the first Lenormands, or that it was originally so and was passed down the line. Others claim that it did not belong to the Lenormands themselves but a distant relative of the same name who did not take up residence in the area. Still others believe that it belonged to one of the myriad of workers who stayed within the house, a maid or nanny perhaps. Regardless of the author, popular myth denotes that it included entries pertaining to a number of major historical happenings of the city previous to their occurrences, as well as mentions of The Devil’s Gumbo, The Shadowman, Carrefour Tarot, The Bayou Draft, The Howling Mire, The Ossein Spell, and other such strange occurrences. Though the existence of such things can be verified by the sheer number of people who discuss them, the exact notions of what they are is a different story, leading many to believe that they are nothing more than local folklore used as bar topics or means of keeping children under control.
ith the loss of the book, or what has become known in circles of searchers as The Lenormand Text, the precise nature of all of these mentions remains a mystery, but there is still hope. The plantation remains, as does the family who built it and, though the plantation is little more than a tourist site and the family is dwindling, perhaps some explanation can be offered in the walls, in the cased and presented objects, or in their words.
I bid caution to those who seek the aid of the Lenormand Family though, as, on the quietest and darkest nights of the year, it is reported that strange sounds can be heard coming from within the plantation, and perhaps it is best to heed the fact that what personal notes on the family that were lost with the text have yet to come to light. Maybe it is best that it remains naught but a family secret.