Southern Elegance 

                      Reflections of the South

African American Dolls

"Zabelle's Triumph"

New Orleans Creole Gumbo Queen

The Zabelle's Triumph, New Orleans Gumbo Queen Doll was inspired by Winterhalder's sketch published in the Coleman's Guide to New Orleans, dated 1885.  This is  my favorite of all the sketches in my collection. My rendition of Mr. Winterhalder's sketch does not do her justice. I could never get the attire just right. It was a client who suggested I dress her as she is seen below. This dress is not my first choice. I hope to one day live up to the Winterhalders sketch and present Zabelle, as she should be. A book titled, "New Orleans: A Pictorial History" by Leonard V. Huber has a picture of this sketch. If you are a New Orleans history buff as I am you will thoroughly enjoy this book.   This African American doll stands eighteen inches in height and is set on a hand-crafted wooden pedestal designed by Brian Bernard. She triumphantly holds a tureen filled with Creole Gumbo, a dish New Orleans claims the honor of having created. The Zabelle doll is dressed in the typical housekeeper attire of the era, a black dress with a white collar, white apron and white cuffs. She wears a red petticoat under her full black dress (inspired by mammy in Gone with the Wind). Her wig is handmade from gray mohair strands. The mohair wigs lend a natural authentic African American appearance to each doll.  A white tignon (bandanna) is worn on her head. In 1792 a law was enforced in New Orleans that called for all women of color to wear a tignon on their head. Accessories are gold hoop earrings, a golden brooch on her blouse and a Gumbo Tureen. (Note: Jewelry may vary depending on availability) Notice the detail carving of the hands holding the tureen. Zabelle's tureen was a major accomplishment in my mold making; it was my first four-piece-mold.  I sculpted the hands and tureen together creating one piece. Then, produced a four piece mold. This development insures the presentation of the tureen to be a strong and solid one. Accompanying the character doll is a booklet and display card designed by JoAnn to include; the number of the piece, the inspirational sketch, a short bio, and a story about the character. All clay pieces are limited editions of 500. A numbered and signed Certificate of Authenticity is also provided with the character doll.

African American Doll

Zabelle's Triumph

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Sample Booklet

Click here to view contents of display card and booklet

Clicking of the sample booklet cover (above) will bring you to the story page for this character doll.
The previous and next buttons below photo will surf you through the large doll photo pages. Clicking of the Back button will bring you back to the
African American Heritage Doll page. Clicking any of the icons in the menu options row below will bring you to that particular destination.




ŠJo Ann Bernard.

Original African American Dolls

An original clay doll collection, for the doll collecting enthusiast

Original African American Dolls recreating Louisiana Life in the 1800's.  Learn about Louisiana Culture through this African American Heritage Doll collection inspired by sketches, photographs and stories of the 1800's.  These African American life like hand made dolls have attached booklets and display cards with short historical essays about the character.  All dolls are reproduced in clay using JoAnn Bernard's plaster molds developed from her original doll designs. Doll wigs, clothing, dress designs, and props are all handmade by the artist.

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Louisiana Heritage Dolls by JoAnn Bernard

Louisiana Heritage Dolls

Figurines, Sculptured Slates/sketches by JoAnn Bernard

Figurines, Sculptured Slates and Inspirational sketches

Oil Paintings by JoAnn Bernard

Oil Paintings

Duck Carvings by JoAnn Bernard

Duck Carving

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Doll Making Techniques/Bio


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