"The Great Cross"—
SYMBOLIC FOR EASTER is the replica at Arkansas Post National Memorial of
Henry de Tonti's "Great Cross" erected nearly 300 years ago (1686) to proclaim
that this land "now belonged to God and the King of France." Photographer
Norman Core captured this inspirational moment during a recent visit to the
Post. An audiostation at the site narrates the story of de Tonti's erection of the
original Cross, which became a year later the landmark which marked the end of
a tortuous struggle for survival by six survivors of LaSalle's ill-fated expedition
to what is now the Texas coast. "Being come to a river we saw the Great Cross,
and a small distance from it, a house built after the French fashion," they later
reported. "When we had crossed the river and all come together, we knew each
other to be Frenchmen. It is hard to express the joy conceived on both sides."
The wayfarers then made their way to Tonti's Fort St. Louis in Illinois, and
eventually back to France.