Landmarks member Pam Heffner made her second presentation in two nights Wednesday to the council on the celebration plans in Franklin. She had made the same presentation Tuesday before the Franklin City Council.
The plans include a full weekend of activities on Oct. 15-16 consisting of a cemetery tour, a resurrected tour of homes, the premiere performance of a live production by Techeland Arts Council derived from local history and tours of Grevemberg House, the Masonic Lodge and local historic churches.
In relating the history of the parish established in 1811, Heffner introduced residents Mike Chauvin representing the Berwick family and Heloise LeBlanc representing the Delahoussaye family, descendents of early St. Mary settlers who were costumed in period dress. She also presented the council with a birthday cake.
“We hope that visitors will come from far away … and make a weekend of it … because there will be so much going on,” she said.
Upon motion by Councilman David Hanagriff of Centerville, a $3,000 allocation from the three-tenths sales tax fund to Landmarks was approved by the council.
Councilman Butch Middleton of Franklin said he felt African Americans are “left out of the loop” when it comes to knowing about their history in St. Mary Parish.
“I would be interested in knowing when the first African American was brought to St. Mary and was it as a free person or as a slave,” he said. “How can we be brought into the loop?”
Heffner said there is a book by local historian Fay Brown that includes a chapter called “A History of the Negro in Franklin.”
LeBlanc who is a member of the Techeland Arts Council, said that agency has spent almost two years collecting oral histories from local residents to put into stage play form. Those oral histories include stories related by local African Americans that are included in the production, ““No Hitchin’,” that will premier during the birthday celebration.
She added that a story gathering conference is scheduled in July to train others on how to gather the oral histories and asked Middleton to get in touch with her if he could provide contacts of others who can relate their stories.
Parish President Paul Naquin reminded everyone that there also will be a birthday celebration in July at Kemper Williams Park in Patterson.
In other business Wednesday the council:
—Accepted a resolution from Darrin Guidry in behalf of the Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District that expresses appreciation for the work and cooperation of the St. Mary Levee District in the recent flood fight.
—Passed resolutions authorizing execution of lease agreements with other entities for polling places at various locations across the parish.
—Passed a resolution authorizing execution of a contract with the low bidder for the next phase of work at the Harold J. “Babe” Landry Landfill.
—Passed resolutions authorizing execution of an engineering services agreement with Miller Engineers on a fire substation in the St. Joseph community; a cooperative endeavor agreement with Evangeline Economic Planning District on the Acadiana Gulf Oil Spill Recovery Plan; and amending the resolution passed on March 23 authorizing the advertising for bids of the purchase of up to $6,865,000 of public improvement sales tax bonds, and making application to the state Bond Commission for consent and authority to issue and sell said bonds.
—Deferred to finance committee an annual funding request by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the parish Veterans Service Office in the amount of $882 a month through December and $982 a month in 2012.
—Heard from Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange that a $559,920 Hazard Mitigation Grant from the state Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness to retrofit five public facilities has been approved.
—Heard from Council on Aging Executive Director Beverly Domengeaux that the council is planning a health and wellness fair on July 23 at the Bayou Vista Community center.
—Reappointed Don Fontenot to the Industrial Development Board and appointed Charlie Rader to Fire Protection District 1, Mosquito Control District 1 and Sewerage District 11 boards.