A Palace for a Queen - Sesenne to Receive a New Home
Friday, June 16, 2000
by Dana Augustin
Saint Lucia?s Queen of Culture, Marie Selipha "Sesenne" Descartes will receive a new home from the Government of Saint Lucia. That was the indication when family, friends, officials and students gathered for a sod turning ceremony at the site designated for the construction of the house for Sesenne in Patience, quarter of Micoud, on Thursday, June 15.
Minister for Community Development, Culture, Local Government and Cooperatives the Honourable Damian Greaves turned the sod to symbolize the commencement of construction of the house, which designer Herald Nicolas, from the Ministry of Planning, estimated would begin within the next few weeks.

From the ceremony at the housing site, located within walking distance of the Patience Combined School, the crowd retreated to the school where the "Queen of Culture" was majestically entertained and honoured with cultural melodies, skits and other presentations for her dedication to folk culture in Saint Lucia.

Honourable Damian Greaves expressed, on behalf of the government and people of Saint Lucia, deep gratitude for her contribution to the island's rich cultural heritage. "As part of our national cultural policy we have firmly embedded the recognition of our folk heroes, the development of communities and areas that showcase the contribution of our folk heroes," said Greaves.

Plans are also being made to facilitate the subsequent conversion of the house into the "Sesenne Descartes Folk Heritage Museum. According to Minister Greaves, "This house for Sesenne and the surrounding terrain will in fact provide an opportunity for us to demonstrate the richness of our folk culture and the link that can be established with our tourism in this country." During the proceedings Sesenne signed a deed, donating the house to the Government of Saint Lucia.

Sesenne, who resides at La Pointe in Micoud was born on the 28th March, 1914. She rose to fame through her involvement in the flower festivals - the "La Rose" and "La Maguerite" - and other cultural activities, singing and dancing most of the time to songs that she originally produced. These have in fact contributed to her popularity in folklore, not only in her native Saint Lucia, but also in the Caribbean, Paris and other parts of the world. She sang one of her most popular songs entitled, "Mamai-la Di Wai" at the Carifta Expo"69 in Grenada. Today it remains one of Saint Lucia's most treasured folk rhythms. In 1984 Sesenne was proclaimed the "Queen of Culture" in Saint Lucia. In 1991 she was introduced to the Caribbean Broadcasting Union's Hall of Fame and in 1994, she received the Saint Lucia Medal of Merit in the Independence Awards.