TITANIC SURVIVOR STORIES - THE LAROCHE FAMILY
The Laroche Family
Juliette Laroche, 22, married her Haitian husband, Joseph, in her home town in France. Although an engineer, Joseph had difficulty finding a job in Villlejuif, a southern suburb of Paris. The couple already had two beautiful little girls, Simonne, 3, and Louise, 1. In March, a new pregnancy was confirmed, and the Laroches determined to travel home to Haiti where prospects would be better – after all, Joseph’s uncle, Cincinnatus Leconte, was President of Haiti.
After purchasing passage on the SS France, they quickly changed to Titanic when they learned the girls would not be allowed to eat with them. They boarded Titanic in Cherbourg, meeting new friends, the Mallet Family of Albert, Antoinette, and 2-year-old André, also bound for the same ship. While both husbands, Joseph and Albert, spoke English as well as French, the ladies did not. With this advantage, the men quickly recognized the danger of sinking and therefore made sure their wives and children made it onto Lifeboat 10.
After braving the night, these women and children still had other challenges to meet because they spoke no English. On Carpathia, there was a lack of diapers for the two little ones, so they managed to secure dinner napkins for this more immediate need. Both families were taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York for treatment and eventually found benefactors to support them while they recovered. Juliette and the two girls eventually returned to her family in France where Joseph, Jr. was born on December 17, 1912. Juliette eventually won a settlement from the government and was finally able to support her family.
Juliette did support her family, but the devastation of losing her husband and her future stayed with her all her life. It is not always easy to be a mother; but in 1912, after Titanic, these mothers also had to be survivors in every sense of the word and for as long as they lived.