After lunch we drove over to the Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum and Chamber of Commerce. There was a little old lady there (probably about our age) and she let us in (admission $3 each) and we talked a long time about when we had lived there in 1960.
She knew that the grocery store of our landlord had been torn down, which was why we couldn't find it. Neither did we find the appliance store that we bought our stove and refrigerator from.
I asked if there had been a Presbyterian church in town, because I remember going to church circle meetings at which I was the youngest person there by at least 40 years. But there was no longer a Presbyterian church. She confirmed that there had indeed been such a church, but it had also been torn down. She had a picture of it which I have put in the Intro.
She showed us a video on the sugar cane industry and gave us a package of raw sugar and two Louisiana oranges.
According to Baldwin's "Guide to the Museums of Louisiana"
Tracing 200 years of the sugarcane industry...also features a Swamp Room, cypress industry displays, and a Victorian bedroom. There are works by local artists and crafters, and an annex includes black history and Mardi Gras Rooms... (photo 4- every place in Louisiana seems to have a Mardi Gras section)
Pictures and artifacts from cypress boom days include the 19th century cypress patterns used in the manufacture of gears for sugar mills, sawmills, salt mines, rice mills, and steamboats..
In the Victorian bedroom, examples of turn-of-the-centry lace, tatting, crochet and French embroidery, all handmade, vie for your attention.
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Saturday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
We decided to have lunch, and after passing up small local seafood chain place, and Sonic (Bob doesn't like drive-in places), we went to Lil's Kitchen opposite Moresi's Foundry.
There was a limited menu (hamburgers, cheeseburgers, a couple of po'boys, chicken nuggets and 5 or 6 lunch plates) but it was extremely inexpensive. While you could carry the food out, there were also four tables. The food was cooked fresh. There were bottled drinks, and our lunch was served in a cardboard "basket"
I talked to Lil, and she remembered the name of our landlord. Bob thought it began with a W and that's why the street was named Wattigny, but I remembered a G sound, like Joe or Giovanni. But my memory for names is definitely quirky, so I wasn't really sure. The actual guy's name was Grisieffi. His son is still in town she said.
Favorite Dish: The Saturday Dinners included Smothered Pork Chop, Smothered Meatballs, Spaghetti and Meatballs, BBQ Chicken, BBQ Pork Chop, Fried Shrimp and Fried Crawfish (in season)
I had a shrimp Poboy and Bob had a hamburger (photo 4), and lunch was less than
Choices of sides are rice with gravy, red beans, sweet potatoes, rice dressing and baked spaghetti. And you get a roll with each dinner.
Neither Bob nor I remember this foundry even though the building is on Main Street. It was certainly there at the time we lived there, as it was established in 1865. The 19th century building is a National Historic Landmark. They make items such as cast-iron kettles and custom castings for machinery, and repair the huge grinders that crush sugar cane into juice.
"Handmade cypress patterns displayed in our museum were once used at Moresi's to make gears and other parts for mills and steamboats," says museum docent Darlene Derise. "On pay day workers lined up at the old paymaster's station we have set up in front of the museum."
In 1960, Bob was going through the training command, and at that time the last part of ASW training was done at the brand new base in New Iberia. There wasn't much housing in New Iberia - particularly not for student pilots whose training was only for six months. We also found out that we had to buy a stove and refrigerator because rental houses didn't have any appliances included in Louisiana at that time. We stopped looking for a house to rent and went to buy a stove (photo 2) and refrigerator. [We still have the stove 50 years later.] While we were talking to the appliance salesman, he mentioned that the local grocer (Joe Grisieffi - an Italian in a French Cajan town) had decided that rental houses would be a good investment so he had built two identical ones, one of which was available.
The house was in Jeanerette about 12 miles from the base and was $50 a month and had two bedrooms. It was in an old sugar cane field and we had to buy a power mower to mow the tough grass. The road was slippery mud after rains and there was a problem with fire ants.
From the time we were first married, I formed the habit of taking photos of the inside (photo 3,4,5) and outside of our houses to send back to my parents so they could see what our houses looked like. I have one picture of this house from the (unpaved) road. It was taken when there was a rainbow. This one has our 1959 station wagon in the driveway - Bob drove the 1949 Plymouth to work
Fondest memory: We found this house again when we went back for a visit in 2004. It has been remodeled somewhat - Shutters had been added and it had a metal roof instead of a shingle roof. The utility shed had been removed. But the house next door was exactly the same configuration as ours had been, so I figured that the owner had repaired or remodeled.
I remembered the kids names of the people that lived in the other identical house were Kevin, Margot and the baby Reed, and I knew that he was a oil roustabout, but I didn't remember the first names of the parents other than that they were both Herberts but were unrelated. (Pronounced Aay BEAR and not HER bert. My husband's name - Robert was pronounced Row BEAR). When I talked to the docent at the Jeanerette Museum we found out that Kevin (who was about 5 when we lived there) was her son's best friend, and she knew them well. They were Ann and RL (Roy). She said they had both died of cancer (they both smoked).
According to a book on the museums of Louisiana, the sugar cane section of the Jeanerette Museum has a 25 panel display which was developed by the Center for Louisiana Studies of the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette.
Sugar cane became the key factor in the community’s economic growth for the past 200 years. Jeanerette still has 2 or 3 active sugar mills in the area. It also has manufacturers of machinery and equipment for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of sugarcane.
The museum docent took us back into a little building which was a former bridge tender's house and showed us a video (photo 2) on the sugar cane industry "Sugarcane to Sugar" which actually answered a lot of the questions we didn't know we had. It showed all aspects of the industry from the cane field to the refinery. She gave us a package of raw sugar and two Louisiana oranges.
Also in the museum are more than 40 species of native wildlife shown in dioramas in the Swamp room - this includes a 7.5 foot canebrake rattler (photo 4)