Bullets and Belles

The Protestant Ladies’ Academy of Rodney, Mississippi

Education is slowly becoming one of the tenants of becoming a fully aware and proper Southern Belle. Previously, the most formal education that was needed was the necessary arithmetic that was required to properly run a Southern Plantation. As the North pushes more and more of its women into factory jobs, the prominence of a quality Southern education seems to have more value as well so that a Southern woman can compete for jobs that have competitive wages in the long run. Ultimately better wages means a better quality of life- more dresses, better guns, and more jewelry!

During the War most education institutions that allowed women had to close their doors. There weren’t enough teachers or students to fill them. In a number of cases the schools needed to be used as hospitals or forts because of their centralized location to a community. The Ladies’ Academy in Rodney was very fortunate in that it had a few sizable grants from some wealthy and successful alumni. Additionally, the Academy also receives funding from the Presbyterian church and is granted an amount of political protection because of this.

The school sits on the old church grounds. The land that the school occupies was originally part of the Spanish Mission, but when the new church was built, the Academy was permitted to establish itself in the old mission buildings. The Academy structures have a very unique adobe and Spanish architecture that is not common anywhere else in the area.

Acting as the Headmistress for the Academy is Miss Theodora Belloquet. Her family has deep ties to the South and to Rodney, and even though they are not landowners, the Belloquets are respected in the county. Theodora is a former pupil of the academy and strives to include women to the academy regardless of their personal upbringings or beliefs. This willingness to accept any pupil has caused some consternation among some church goers, but Theodora passionately defends her decisions.

Women are graduating from the Academy with one of four degrees: Religious StudiesScience and MathematicsSocial Politics, and Art and Music. While the programming doesn’t seem as intense of as specific as many of the other educational institutions, its ability to have produced two First Ladies, a diplomat, and a number of other impressive alumni has bolstered the school’s reputation versus its contemporaries.

The academy doesn’t have any of the pre-requisites that other secondary schools have. The school does not require patronage from parents. The school does demand that any of the entrants to the school have had a basic course in proper Southern manners before they begin their first term of study at the school.

Students are to demonstrate their ability to:

  1. Be seen as humble. Selfishness is frowned upon and the belief that “The Last Shall Be First” is a tenant often touted in the pulpit on Sunday afternoons.
  2. Be seen as courteous. It is the job of a proper Southern lady to go out of her way to be hospitable to others.
  3. Behave oneself. This is often the most difficult cornerstone of Southern living for proper ladies. It is not considered acceptable for a lady to be loud, brash, or cause public commotions.
  4. Be seen as friendly. If is the duty of a proper Southern Lady to be hospitable and neighborly. This is another tenant that also shows itself in church lessons “Love they neighbor as thyself.”
  5. Be modest. As women earn more privileges in a previously male centric society, this tenant is less necessary, but ladies are still expected to know it. Modesty is not to be taken to the extreme so that a lady depreciates her own value or worth to society. A lady who performs good deeds should know she is a good lady. However, bragging is still frowned upon.

Staff and Educators

Herbert Suvall

Notable Alumni

Mabel Charles- Social Politics

Current Student Body

Jorie Trudeau- Social Politics

Serafina Mercier- Art and Music

Octavia Taylor- Mathematics and Science

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