Marie J. R. (LeBlanc) St. Laurent
Marie Jeanne Robertine St. Laurent will say that she is a relatively minor
figure in the fly tying history of New Brunswick, she deserves recognition
because of her connection with four other lady fly tyers who were taught
the art of fly tying by David Arthur LaPointe.
Laurent was born on April 27, 1926 in Atholville, New Brunswick, and is the
daughter of the late Eugenie (nee LaPointe) and Joseph Edward LeBlanc.
Marie J. R. (LeBlanc) St. Laurent (circa 1944)
tying salmon flies in 1944. She was 18 years old at the time and a regular
visitor to the fly tying shop of her uncle, David Arthur (D.A.) LaPointe,
professional fly tier from Atholville. Robertine liked to visit her sister,
Carmelle (LeBlanc) Bigaouette and her friends, Corrine (Legace) Gallant and
Hélène (Jean) LeFebvre who were already employed as fly tiers by Mr.
LaPointe. It was during one of Robertine's visits that D.A. LaPointe asked
her if she would like to learn the art of fly tying. Robertine who was eager
to give it a try did so and for the next two years worked as a fly tyer with
her sister and friends at D.A. LaPointe's Fly Dressing Shop.
L/R Carmelle Bigaouette
and Marie Robertine J. LeBlanc-St. Laurent (circa Early 1980’s)
During the two years
Robertine tied flies for her uncle she was only permitted to tie the bodies
of the trout and salmon flies. Her uncle assembled and mounted the wings,
and finished the heads. It wasn't because Robertine lacked the ability to
totally construct the entire trout or salmon fly, that Mr. LaPointe did not
allow her to do so. His method for teaching the art of fly tying was
designed in such a way that the student had to graduate from stage to stage
in order to earn the honour of constructing the complete salmon fly, of
which some patterns are extremely difficult to duplicate.
Robertine's fly tying
ended when she moved to Montreal, got married and found other employment.
However, she cherishes the many memories from those two years in life where
she, along with her sister and friends formed, not only the earliest, but one
of “Five Lady Fly Tiers” who were taught the art of fly tying by D.A.
fly is the “Green Highlander”. Her favourite river is the Restigouche.
Marie Robertine J. St. Laurent, with her sister, Carmelle (LeBlanc) Bigaouette
and her friends, Mary Jane Babin, Hélène (Jean) LeFebvre and Lucille (Jean)
Gallant outside D.A. LaPointe’s Fly Shop, Notre Dame Street, Atholville, New
Brunswick (circa Mid 1940’s)