A Note for the Falgoust Clan

Via Facebook, my note to the great Falgoust clan regarding the republishing of the Falgoust book.

A note for and to the great Falgout/Falgoust clan, and my apologies that I no doubt came across as quite abrupt yesterday. My mother Barbara Allen wrote a lengthy, well-researched book about the family which was published in 1988. Many people have asked about it over the years, and especially in the last several months:

Memories of my Mom: I apologize for offending anyone with my recent posts. I was asked just prior to Lent and the Covid shutdowns about reprinting the book, and I would love to. Yesterday was the first opportunity I had to address the issue – and coming off of a very busy time, my tone no doubt was more high strung than most. Sorry. 

My memories of the Falgout/Falgoust book are very many, and very ingrained in my entire life. My mother worked diligently for a decade or so putting the entire thing together, and every night the kitchen table – an Ethan Allen kitchen special, was covered in documents which back in the day were literally cut and pasted together. 

Friends were always stopping in and dropping by after work to help decode the writing of priests in their registries, and to this day I’m meticulous about handwriting and keeping proper records. One of her best friends, Elton – who would always stop by with a little bag from Burger King – one day was looking at a document and asked me to help figure out what it meant when he said “I can’t wait until this priest dies!” 

I said “what are you talking about?”

He explained – the priest’s handwriting was so bad it was taking forever to learn what he had written down. The priest who followed him was meticulous, and a breeze. Everything was very present tense. 

When the book was finally finished, I was offered the unenviable task of proofreading it. Which meant reading every word of it aloud. I did it. 

Barbara suffered a heart attack just after the book was published, and in the process underwent an allergic reaction to heparin. She was one of the first cases in the USA of heparin allergy, and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. No one at Ochsner knew what was going on as her nose and extremities started turning black, and at first we joked about it. 

But a military physician who was visiting from the Gulf wars at the time recognized it, and urged them into action. A special dispensation was granted by the FDA for the remedy, low molecular weight heparin, to be rushed onto the scene. We sat and waited, and the hospital staff came in and gave us hourly updates on the transport of the cure. It was in New York; the plane was leaving the airport; the plane had landed; it’d be here in a few hours; they’d start as soon as possible, hopefully, they wouldn’t have to amputate her feet, etc. 

As it turned out, she was in and out of the hospital for about three years, which did not do her heart much good. Her feet were not amputated, but much dead tissue was taken off, and tissue was taken from her arms and stomach to rebuild her feet. It was always difficult for her to walk afterward, and she almost always wore long sleeves. And it was also the reason she had to practice walking the length of the aisle in the Cathedral before my ordination, as she had to use a cane, and was fearful that her feet would need more attention – a constant debriding. They gave her two weeks to live, and she lived over a decade after. 

On Thanksgiving day, of 2003, 7 months prior to my ordination, her heart took a turn for the worse and it was a constant downhill slide.  The hospital staff told me they would try to keep her alive for my ordination. She was not able to be present at my ordination to the Priesthood, but the Archbishop at the time, Archbishop Hughes, and the ceremony filmed, and I was able to bring it to her and to watch it with her several times. And of course, say private Masses with her. 

I apologize that I haven’t been more present to the desires of the Falgout/Falgoust clan regarding the republishing of her work. And I apologize if I have come across as rude, or unsympathetic. I’m not. And I know that it would be my mother’s greatest desire to see that the information was not only available to all but that it would be continued. Until the day she died, she was collecting information, all of which is sitting in boxes in my garage. 

Because of her health concerns and allergic reaction to heparin, many people grew angry with her because she was not able to respond immediately to book requests and requests for more information. That has probably clouded my mind for too long, and I apologize once again. 

She loved her work, her research, and everyone included in it. Many people have written warmly about her over the years. Her research was used to correct information in the National Archives and helped spur many on to their own research, making their own connections, and discovering the knowledge that comes with knowing one’s history. 

Please know, each one of you, that you are the reason Barbara was so passionate about her work. And it is up to each one of you, also, to keep alive the spirit of greatness and strength which has forged the Falgoust clan throughout all of history, and which will endure for all time to come.