Falgoust is my birth name. Falgoux is my pen name. Both are pronounced the same – “Falgoo” or “Fowlgoo.” When I began to write books, I decided to use the Falgoux nom de plume.
Falgoux is the original spelling of the family name and actually has a French ending. Falgoust does not end en francais and when pronounced with a French tongue, does not work at all. Why was there an ending change? There is no real explanation in fact or in logic. But the last of my ascendants to use the name Falgoux was Pierre Falgoux, who was born in the late 1600s in Villesequelande, a little town in southwest France near Carcasonne. The “Falgoux” name can still be found in this region; there is even a little picturesque village, “Le Falgoux,” in a valley in Cantal.
While southwest France is our oldest known ancestral home, my ascendant Pierre Falgoux would first head north before coming to America. Pierre ultimately moved to the Touraine region and the town of Langeais, where he married Claude Massalue. Pierre and Claude had only one son, also called Pierre, and Pierre Jr. for some unknown reason used the names “Falgous” and “Falgoust.” Pierre Jr.’s son, Louis Marcel Falgoust, carried on the “st” tradition.
Around 1739, Louis Marcel Falgoust emigrated to the French colony of La Louisiane, which would become the Spanish territory of Louisiana in 1762. Louis settled in an area known as La Cote des Allemands (The German Coast), a stretch of land between the Mississippi River and Lake Des Allemands. Louis made his home in St. Charles Parish near Hahnville, across the river and a few miles upstream of New Orleans. Louis had three sons, Jean Louis, George and Charles. Eventually, Jean Louis moved further upriver to St. James Parish. He kept his surname Falgoust. His brothers, George and Charles, moved south to Lafourche Parish, dropped the “s” and spelled their name Falgout. Ironically, I grew up and live in Lafourche Parish, home of the Falgout clan, but my grandfather was a St. James-born Falgoust.
All of the Falgouts and Falgousts in Louisiana – and there are thousands of us – are descendants of Louis Marcel Falgoust and Pierre Falgoux.1
As I stared my writing career, I used our original spelling hoping that people in other parts of the country would cease calling me “Falgowst” or “Falgusst” or “Falgoostt.” In a sense, it worked. After the publication of One Dream: The NFL in 2001, the national media did not call me these names. Instead, they called me Falgooxe or Falgo or Falgowx. In hindsight, I should’ve kept my birth spelling. Too late now.
1Of course, there is much, much more to this story. In the 1980s, my cousin Barbara Allen wrote and self-published in hardcover a giant book tracing our family back to 1555 called, Falgoust, A History and Genealogy of the Falgoust and Falgout Families of France and Louisiana 1555-1988 (Metairie, Louisiana 1988).