The unique metal sculpture that greeted visitors to the Houma Post Office for some 40 years, until it vanished back in May, should be back in place before next summer.

JoAnn Pellegrin, who inquired here about its absence, tracked down the official story:

“Good afternoon Ms. Caillouet -- thank you for your email and concern regarding Cane Dance.” So begins a response from Hugo A. Gardea, architect, General Services Administration historic preservation and fine arts officer.

“It is good to know there are citizens concerned with the condition and status of GSA fine arts, especially at the Ellender Federal Building in Houma. Let us assure you the sculpture will be returning.

“Commissioned through GSA's Art in Architecture program, Cane Dance was installed at the Federal Building in 1977. Time and weather have taken a toll on the artwork and if the sculpture remained in place, its ball-bearing joints were at risk of breaking.

“This prompted GSA's decision to remove the artwork for conservation purposes. During conservation, the sculpture's joints will be repaired and the structural supports, hardware, and deteriorated aluminum will be replaced. The sculpture will be cleaned and refinished.

“In addition, new internal bearings will ensure the kinetic aspect of the sculpture is fully operational, as the artist, Lin Emery, intended. The holes that have been filled were done so with precaution in mind so that water does not enter into the concrete base and further deteriorate the structural reinforcing. In accordance with professional conservation standards, all treatment will be reversible and the character of the artwork will not change.

“We anticipate that Cane Dance will be re-installed back in its previous location sometime in June 2019. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

"Thank you again for your interest in GSA art and we also very much look forward to the successful return of Cane Dance.”

Locally: Peter Broussard, a frequent visitor to the post office, reported seeing the sculpture removed: “There were trucks with Ohio license plates, they parked right there for two or three days, dismantling the pieces and packing them in crates.”

Another reader, Linda Thibodeaux, has located among her stash of family treasures one of the programs distributed at the original installation ceremonies of Cane Dance, which should be an interesting item when the sculpture is re-installed.

Ammunition plant? Information is accumulating about a factory that made large anti-tank shells in Houma in the 1940s. Dale Thompson was just a boy at the time but had relatives involved in getting the plant on line on property off Morgan Street, later occupied by Patterson Truck Lines. I need to interview several other sources before attempting to assemble a creditable history of the plant, which closed down soon after WWII was over.

Houma market: The Tuesday afternoon farmers and artisans market outside South Louisiana Seed Store, cornerof  Main and Naquin streets, goes on this month, even though limited local garden produce is available during the hottest days of summer. Food booths last week included ready-to-eat Cajun and Vietnamese foods, and prepared, frozen dishes suitable for heating and serving at home. Likewise, snowballs, popcorn, canned vegetables and crafts items from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Check South Louisiana Seed Market on Facebook for updates.

Military Round Table: Lt. Col. Frank Hughes, USAF (retired), will speak on special air missions, at the Aug. 21, round table discussion sponsored by the Regional Military Museum. Hughes flew combat missions in Vietnam, and piloted U.S. presidents from Kennedy to Ford. The program is at 6 p.m. at the Terrebonne Main Library in Houma and is free and open to the public.

Women's Health Forum:Topics from nutrition to fall prevention to assisted living will be addressed on  Aug. 22, at the TGMC Healthy Lifestyles Center, Belanger Street, Houma. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. It's free, but contributions to the Good Samaritan Food Bank are encouraged. Reservations: 873-6495, by Aug. 20.

Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256,, or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.