I returned from the Lafourche Heritage Society, 36th Annual History and Genealogy Seminar. They held it at Envie's Restaurant and Banquet facility in Thibodaux. My 2 sisters, Terry and Leslie, who drove in from New Orleans, joined me (in a rainstorm) to "search our roots in Thibodaux." This was my 2nd year attending (I became a member in 2011) this wonderful event and won't be the last.
It was a full day of activities starting at 8:30 a.m., and closed with the 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 Louisiana played such an important role in bring film making to the United States and that the 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 interesting - 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 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 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 in the Riverwalk, New Orleans, but will move to their own building at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. (Dryades Street) by the end of this year. I look forward to their relocation 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 they have recorded how much material. 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 was excellent and worth the cost of admission) were friends from 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 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 Bishop 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 stories of three generations of the Bringiers before and after the Civil War. I have added this one to my must read list.
After the Lafourche Heritage Society seminar, Patty Whitney introduced me to the new owner of Rienzi Plantation, John Lafargue. On the 1870 - 1880 US censuses, lists my 3rd-great grandfather and his family living on the Rienzi Plantation. In 1880, his occupation is a Hostler who is a person who takes care of the horses. After learning about my family history and ties to Rienzi Plantation, he invited my sisters and I to visit his historic home. It was a very pleasant evening. Thanks John. note: this is a private residence!
We took a quick tour of Thibodaux. We visited Laurel Valley Plantation. Eleven movies have been filmed there, including one of my favorites, "Ray." On Highway 308, two miles below Thibodaux. It is the largest surviving 19th and 20th century sugar plantation complex left in the country with over 60 structures. In 1905 there was about 105.
On the last leg of our tour, we visited St Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church at 1100 Bourbon St. in the historical district of Thibodaux. This was an important stop for us. Our 2nd-3rd great grandfathers formed a non-profit organization in 1884. The goal of the organization was to purchase property to build a Catholic School for colored children. The results from their labor were the opening of St. Luke School in 1923 and the church in 1924.
This was a fun-packed day that started at 6:00 a.m. for me, and I enjoyed every moment. I look forward to the thirty-seventh annual Lafourche Heritage Society Seminar next year. This year was special. I could share some of my research with members of my family.