A Day in Old Algiers

Trip Start Apr 09, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Saturday, April 17, 2010

I was pleased when Kevin Herridge, founder and past president of the Algiers Historical Society, invited me back to share an update on my ancestral research with the members of the organization. Algiers being my hometown, I always love coming back here and seeing how much the neighborhood has changed. Even the high school I attended, L.B. Landry is getting a facelift. 

As the guests fill the old carriage house behind the Algiers Courthouse, I’m pleased to see some new faces of people who weren’t at last year’s presentation. Some are cousins I haven’t seen in years; others are old schoolmates; others are community members and curious onlookers. In my presentation I share an overview of my genealogy research, my trip to France last year to meet a distant cousin, and some of the new discoveries I’ve made since then

Please take the time to view the clips of the presentation. I challenge you to do what you can to learn something about your family’s ancestral past. It could literally change your future! I enjoy sharing the value of knowing one’s past. I truly believe that those who care nothing about their ancestors will rarely achieve anything worth being remembered by their descendants. And this is why I continue to research my family’s history, and to help others do the same. What many people don’t realize is that we are all connected somehow. The actions and achievements of our ancestors have led us to where we are today and we should acknowledge that. Rather than use history to separate us we should use it to bring us together.  

Following the presentation, the crowd mingles, asks questions and views my genealogy charts. Before I know it my sister Barbara, brother David, Maw-Maw and Anita have packed up all of the materials, loaded them in the car and are ready to go across the street to enjoy the six annual Old Algiers Riverfest. It’s great to see young and old, black and white and everything in between enjoy my childhood neighborhood. It’s a hot day, but that isn’t a deterrent for people enjoying the flavors and the sounds of New Orleans. Jazz, blues and gospel music fill the air, as does the aroma of red beans, boiled crawfish and boudin sausage. It’s a good day.

I enjoy spending some time catching up with Calvin and Benny Turner, two guys I attended elementary school with and later met up with at Xavier University. It’s been decades since I’ve seen these guys and really, they haven’t changed a bit. We reminisce some, then decide to meet up later for dinner. After they leave, I enjoy the festival; meeting up with people who have lived in the neighborhood for generations, and also meeting some new faces who are discovering all that New Orleans has to offer. 

Several hours later, we make our way through Algiers, and stop at my sister Germaine’s rental property to take a look at the work she and her husband have done to get their rental property ready for a new family. Suddenly, I realize that we have a short time to make it home and freshen up before meeting Benny and Calvin for dinner. So we rush off and hurry over to Salvo’s restaurant just in time to order a few pounds of crawfish. I think Anita is reaching her limit with these little mud bugs; she orders the grilled catfish instead. 

I really enjoy sitting with the guys and their families, and catching up on what we’ve all been doing and what we’ve accomplished over the years. We tell a bunch of stories about the fun we had in college and the trouble we got into as kids attending All Saints Catholic School. After several hours, it’s time to call it a night. Anita and I have to pack and get ready for our road trip home tomorrow. It’s good to see childhood friends doing well. We promise to keep in touch, and I’m sure we will.

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