Dona Tules - Dona Maria Gertrudes Barcelo (1804 - 1852) was the most colorful, independent, wealthy, and influential Hispanic woman in New Mexican (and Mexican) history. "La Tules" operated an elaborate gambling establishment in Santa Fe during an extremely turbulent period of history. Dona Tules played a prominent role in the events of the 1840s when Santa Fe was a bustling center of trade during the era of the Santa Fe and Chihuahua Trails. Tules assisted the Army of the West in wrestling New Mexico away from the Republic of Mexico. It was during this time that many Americanos met and wrote about her, especially one "Susanita Magoffin"! (Van Ann also protrays Susan Magoffin. To see Susan click here.)
The famous gambling hall of Dona Tules was patronized by soldiers and wagon traders, conspirators, priests and social members. All classes gambled in New Mexico - it was a natural part of life. La Tules was said to be the most expert monte dealer to be found anywhere from St. Louis to California. The Spanish card game of monte was a "game of chance," however it was her expertise with the cards that made Tules a very wealthy and influential woman who dominated the society of her day. Some say she was even "the power behind the throne" of Governor Don Manuel Armijo (the last Mexican Governor of the Province).
Dona Tules died in 1852 at the height of her glory as the favorite of New Mexico officialdom, hostess of elite parties and balls, and shrewd and astute business woman. La Tules is known to be the last person to be buried under the floor of the old parroquia church (where St. Francis cathedral now stands).
Hear the Hispanic side of this "rags-to-riches" story told from the Spanish woman's perspective with drama and music that will capture your heart.