A Grand Place
In The Awakening, Grand Isle is a magical, mystical place, much like Sir Thomas More’s
Utopia or James Hilton’s Shangra-La. But unlike the imaginary Utopia or Shangra-La, Grand
Isle was a very real place, and Kate Chopin saw for herself the island’s magic and mystery.
While living in New Orleans during the 1870’s the Chopin family often visited Grand Isle and
the adjoining peninsula Chénière Caminada. At the time resorts at Grand Isle were
experiencing a heyday. The Creole and Cajun influences on the area shaped Chopin’s
experiences there, which in turn influenced her writing. Chénière Caminada is essentially
gone. Grand Isle is no longer the family resort area that Chopin visited, but continues to be a
magical, mystical place.