A long-time project to honor Terrebonne residents who died serving our nation in World War II has discovered a former Houma resident who was active in planning and maintaining a separate memorial monument.
Some 70 years ago, according to Linda Brashier, a member of the Terrebonne Garden Club, 1950s members of the organization planted live oak trees in Jim Bowie Park as a memorial for fallen WWII soldiers, sailors and airmen.
Longer list? Recently, when the club moved to renew the project, installing plaques listing the names of the dead, a recheck of military records against names listed on the separate red granite flagpole monument at Terrebonne High, seven extra names turned up.
A plea for information about the seven, published here, has yet located no family connections, but a retired teacher, now living in Houston, has shed light on how the Terrebonne High monument list was secured.
“I was a senior at Terrebonne High School in 1953 when that monument was built,” Mike Rigsby emailed last week. “I remember the search for names went on for some months using government and family records. Both newspapers, the Courier and the Terrebonne Press, carried articles and notices requesting names of the war dead, as did radio station KCIL - - for both World Wars.
“All people listed were to be residents of Terrebonne Parish at time of their enlistment. The local American Legion and VFW groups were a part of the research also. There may be information as to just who was in charge of the project in files at Terrebonne High School or in the district office. The work was completed in May 1953.”
Rigsby later was a faculty member at Terrebonne High when names of dead from later wars were added. He continues, “As for the Korea and Viet Nam list of names on the back side of the monument, I was in charge of that and we used similar methods to acquire the names.” As to the seven mystery names, he added, “If any of these men were from Terrebonne Parish and that fact can be proven, then they certainly should be listed on that monument.”
And further: In an exchange of emails, Rigsby detailed his work on the Terrebonne High memorial:
“If those folks (garden club) have proof of Terrebonne addresses for those seven men, then by all means they should be recorded on the marker in Jim Bowie Park. If the school district should grant permission and funds could be found, the names should added to the flagpole monument. Local monument people did the original work on that red granite and I also had local monument people do the Korea and Viet Nam work in the 1970s.”
Meanwhile, the club will continue its research and anyone who has family or neighborly connections with James E. Baggett Jr., Floyd J. Brunette, Thomas C. Cargill, John W. Daspit,Gerald R. Ackerman, Kenneth S. Blau or James E. Myres Jr. should call or write.
Rougarou! The internationally recognized festival, presented this year by Peoples Drug Store, returns next weekend to downtown Houma, celebrating the rich bayou country folklore with games, costumes, storytelling, Cajun food (even gator and nutria), music, crafts, a parade, witches, an emphasis on recycling and appearances by the Rougarou itself.
The event is the primary fundraiser supporting the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, a nonprofit focused on preserving Louisiana's disappearing coast. In pursuit of environmental goals, the festival now also aims at becoming a zero waste event, encouraging and employing compost and recycling practices.
Help! All downtown festivals disrupt businesses around the courthouse site. The Rougarou Fest hopes to reduce that inconvenience by keeping one lane of Main Street between Lafayette and Barrow streets open except during the Krewe Ga Rou Halloween Parade at 7 p.m. Saturday from Town Hall on Barrow to disbanding at Main and Grinage streets. Visitors can help by moving cautiously from bayou side parking to the activity area and by considering patronizing the businesses that remain open during the festival. No room here for festival schedule details. Visit www.rougaroufest.org.
College planning: At 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Terrebonne Main Library, a workshop on scholarships and financial aid will be held. It's ree and open to the public. For information, call 876-5861, opt. 2.
Lawyers in Libraries: Local attorney Lakethia Bryants will offer free one-on-one legal advice on bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, taxes, Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps and more at the Terrebonne North Branch Library at 11 a.m. Saturday. Information: 868-3050.
Nestor bypass? Barely strong enough to be named, this tropical Gulf threat appears to have missed us. Still, remain alert and prepared for other lurking menaces.
Say what? You know about vacations, playcations and staycations. Consider this recently seen Internet ad. “Nakation on a budget at these Florida nudist resorts.”
Responding? Contact Bill Ellzey at 381-6256, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or c/o The Courier, P.O. Box 2717, Houma, LA 70361.