I just returned from the Lafourche Heritage Society 36th Annual History and Genealogy Seminar. It was held at Envie’s Restaurant and Banquet facility in Thibodaux. I was also joined by my 2 sisters, Terry and Leslie, who drove in from New Orleans (in a rain storm) to “search our roots in Thibodaux.” This was my 2nd year attending (I became a member 2011) this wonderful event and surely won’t be the last.
It was a full day of activities starting at 8:30 a.m., and closed with last speaker at 3:00 p.m. Patty Whitney, the President of the Lafourche Heritage Society, kept the program moving after the early “technical issues with PowerPoint.” The seminar had two morning sessions, a buffet lunch, and two afternoon sessions with a break between sessions to visit the book vendor’s tables and exhibits on genealogy.
I did not know that Louisiana played such an important role in bring film making to the United States and that the very first seated indoor theatre in the U.S. was at 623 Canal Street in New Orleans. Films made in Louisiana date back to 1896! The Poole’s premiered their latest book, “Louisiana Film History: The First Hundred Years” which I purchased. Check them out on their website and Facebook.The speakers for the first session were Ed and Susan Poole. Their presentation was of great interest to me – they are film accessory researchers. Their mission is to preserve and document film history through film accessories (e.g. film posters). Ed and Susan’s presentation was very entertaining.
Batting second was Dr. Liz Williams, President and Director of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. I think the Lafourche Heritage Society went four for four on the line-up this year. I enjoyed all of the presentations and learned new information on the cuisines of the South. Dr. Williams talked about how they started from scratch to invent a food museum. As the locals would say, “only in New Orleans!” The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is currently located in the Riverwalk, New Orleans but will be moving to their own building at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. (formally Dryades Street) by the end of this year. I look forward to their relocation which is in one of my old “uptown neighborhoods” where I grew up in.
The vendor’s tables had great exhibits and genealogy reference materials to purchase. I am always amazed at how much material has been recorded. The Terrebonne Genealogical Society (I am a proud member of TGS) had tables full of publications to purchase. My favorite, the Terrebonne Life Lines has served me well in my research. It is always a pleasure to talk with Jess Bergeron, the Correspondence Secretary for the Terrebonne Genealogical Society.
After lunch, (which by the way was excellent and worth the cost of admission) was my friends from the The Diocese of Baton Rouge, Katie Oubre & Lisa Lewis. They shared with us the Treasures in the Archives. I know first hand how valuable the Catholic church records are. It has helped me fill in those missing blanks in my own family tree with names, time and places. It was the published books by the Diocese of church records that helped me connect my ancestors back to the Canary Islands. Their presentations showed the history of the Bishops of Baton Rouge and the role they played with the development of the archives. The staff is always friendly and willing to help you with your research.
Last but not least was Dr. Craig Bauer, author of the book, Creole Genesis: The Bringier Family and Antebellum Plantation Life in Louisiana. The Bringiers were one of Louisiana’s Old South most prominent families. Dr. Bauer shared the story of three generations of the Bringiers before and after the Civil War. I have added this one to my must read list.
Rienzi Plantation, Thibodaux Louisiana
We decided to take a quick tour of Thibodaux and visit Laurel Valley Plantation, the site where eleven movies had been filmed including one of my favorites “Ray.” Located on Hwy 308, two miles below Thibodaux, it is one largest surviving 19th and 20th century sugar plantation complex left in the United States. There are over 60 structures still standing. In 1905 there was about 105. Stepping in the country store was like stepping back in time.
Laurel Valley Plantation, Thibodaux, Louisiana
Laurel Valley Plantation, Thibodaux, Louisiana
On the last leg of our tour, we visited St Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church located at 1100 Bourbon St. in the historical district of Thibodaux . This was an important stop for us because our 2nd-3rd great grandfathers formed a non-profit organization in 1884 at this location for the “purpose of buying and owning a piece of property upon which should be established a Catholic School for colored children.” This is the results from their labor. St. Luke School was opened in 1923 and the church in 1924.
This was a very fun-packed day that started at 6:00 a.m. for me and I enjoyed every moment of it. I look forward to the thirty-seventh annual Lafourche Heritage Society Seminar next year. This year was special because I was able to share some of my research with members of my family.