Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Special Thanks:
- Jean Denton-Thompson; Each year I continue with this research, I am continually reminded of what a path was laid for me by my ancestors, and it comes from people like you. You are more than my amazing first cousin once removed (I can hear you saying “FIRST COUSIN!!! **Laughs**) I love you SO much and cannot imagine doing this with anyone else! Here’s to North Carolina and more microfilm!

- Grace Parker, Alice Thompson, Freddy George, Jr. and Freddy George, Sr.; for food, photos, lodging, support and most of all, love and laughs. Thank you for the tours, the education, and the conversation. We are truly blessed to call you family!

- Gene and Cassandra Rosby; for food, photos, lodging, support and most of all, love and laughs. We are truly appreciative of all that you did for us while we were away from our families. You made Baton Rouge feel like we never left home and were definitely with family. We will spend the next year losing the weight of all that eating!

- Robert and Cinderella Nervis; for food, lodging, support and most of all, love and laughs. You two are gems and are definitely an asset to Lake Providence! We are still laughing with you all, literally!
- Florence Atlas; for the tour of the land, the pecans, the greens, the company and your graciousness! You are one of a kind and the family’s griot with rights all your own!

- Carl and Allene Rosby, and family - for the great food, photos and laughs. Your family is awesome and it's talents will live long beyond your lives! You all are a true testament to what King Atlas and Rachel Day hoped we’d all be! Hope the fruit flies are doing well and that there are more dramatic track meet pictures to come!

- Brian Sr., Brian Jr. and Marissa Parker - for making a part of your trip to New Orleans a part of our trip there! Thanks for the shrimp, crawfish and education about bugs and creepy crawly things!

- My best friend Genevieve for the travel voucher!!! Let me know when you get your beignet mix and the magnet! Apologize to Brian for me about the pralines!

Summation of Research - 2007 Research Trip - 02/17/07 to 03/03/07
Louisiana State Library – Baton Rouge, LA
1. Copies of Newspaper Articles
06/17/1961 – Louisiana Weekly featuring Jean Thompson
05/25/1961 – New Orleans Times-Picayune featuring Jean Thompson
05/27/1961 – New Orleans Times-Picayune featuring Jean Thompson

2. Copies of Land Ownership Map
a. 1860 Carroll Parish, LA – Plotted out land owned by King Atlas, Jr., Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas, Sr., and Hood Lane Corporation

Louisiana State Archives – Baton Rouge, LA
1. Copies of Death Certificates
a. John Atlas, Sr.
b. Sabina (Williams) Atlas
c. Eliza (Atlas) Rosby
d. Albert Marshall, Sr.
e. Susie (Lee) Atlas
f. William Abner Hearns, Sr. (Hearns)
g. Alice Hearns (Hearn)
h. William Russell
i. Alice (Smith) Franklin (nee Tucker, Jacks)
j. Clora (Evans) Atlas (nee Williams, Lee, Marshall)
k. Thomas Atlas, Sr.
l. King Atlas, Jr.
m. Sarah (Hewlett) Atlas
n. Rachel (Atlas) Hearns
o. Annie Mae Thompson

2. Copies of 1880 US Agricultural Schedules
a. King Atlas, Sr.
b. Louis Ates (Believed to be a relative)

Tax Assessors Records – Louisiana State Archives – Baton Rouge, LA and East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court - Lake Providence, LA
Family Members Found: King Atlas, Sr., King Atlas, Jr., John Atlas, Sr., Andrew Atlas, William Steven Atlas, Sr., Rachel Atlas (Hearns/Hearn), Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas, Sr., Thomas Atlas, Sr.
Possible Family Members Found – Simon Atlas, London Atlas
1. 1873- 1875
2. 1877-1878
3. 1880-1881
4. 1883-1884
5. 1886-1880
6. 1899
7. 1908-1909
8. 1912

West Feliciana Parish Clerk of Court – Saint Francisville, LA
1. Conveyance Records Documented
a. Typewritten – 13
2. Sheriff Sales Records Documented
a. Typewritten - 10

East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court - Lake Providence, LA
1. Conveyance Records Documented
a. Handwritten – 10
b. Typewritten/Documented for Later Research – 11

2. Marriages Documented
a. Typewritten – 29

3. Mortgage Records Documented
a. Typewritten/Documented for Later Research – 34

4. Succession Records Documented
a. Typewritten – 3

- Based on tax assessors records, King Atlas, Sr. died between 1890 and 1895

- Based on East Carroll Parish Conveyance Records, Williams was the maiden name of Sabina who married John Atlas, Sr.

- Based on West Feliciana Parish Conveyance Records, Hewlett was the maiden name of Sarah who married William Steven Atlas, Sr. William Steven Atlas, Sr. was deceased before 1917, as per these records. In addition, discovered siblings of Sarah (Hewlett) Atlas based on the same conveyance records. This establishes another tie to West Feliciana Parish.

- Based on East Carroll Parish Conveyance Records, Charles Campbell was married to Sabina Atlas (Cooper), daughter of John Atlas, Sr. and Sabina Williams.

- All maiden names of the wives of King Atlas, Sr. and Rachel Day have been discovered and documented.

- Louis/Lewis Carson, husband of Caroline Carson, was not in the Confederacy during the Civil War. During the trip to the Louisiana State Archives, it was uncovered that he fought for the Union. The NARA website will be used to get a copy of his pension file

- Based on her death certificate, Clora (Williams, Lee, Marshall) Atlas maiden name was Evans. Her father is listed as Moses Evans and her mother is listed as Susie Evans. The informant was her son in law/stepson Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas, Sr.

- Discovered Priscilla Balfour, living in Saint Francisville, LA. Free woman of color with the last name Balfour. Could not locate any other records on her. Further research required.Feliciana Parish Conveyance Records - David Austen (deceased) to Priscilla Balfour (a free woman of colour) – 01/31/1835 transaction, recorded 02/06/1835 – Book E, Page 341 – For the sum of $705, sixty feet on Royal Street and run back 180 feet but certainly 120 feet of lot 10 in square 17, the same lot purchased at the probate sale of Wm Wyse, deceased, by Joseph Beruard and transferred from Beraurd to William Hunstock and purchased by David Austen from Hunstock. Priscilla Balfour could not read or write. Sheriff’s record of transfer from David Austen to Priscilla Balfour in Book E, Page 343.

- Carroll Parish Conveyance Records - John B. Byrne to Wm. L. Balfour, Book B, Page 294-295 – November 13, 1841 property sold, recorded December 9, 1841. John B. Byrne and his wife sold to William L. Balfour a plantation in the parish of Carroll, LA composed of lots of land as follows: lots 71, 72, 73, 74 and 75, township 22, range 12 east, and lot number 30, township 21, range 13 east also sections 76 and 77. Township 22, range 12 east in the said parish of Carroll in the State of Louisiana, with the improvements, utensils, stock and all other things on said land together with 29 negro slaves for the some of $40,000. Purchase made in New Orleans, LA.Names of the slaves: Caph?, Eliza, James, Margarite, Turner, Mary Jane, Maria Allen, Heamit Sevarlles, Charles (her son), Isaac (her son), Fountam, Charles Seipis/Serpis, Daniel Lewis, Emaline (child of Rosetta), Tom, Caroline, Betty, Rosetta Butler, Marie Jackson, Maria Jackson and child, Sarah Cragge, Maria Grandein/Granderson?, Ann Grace Robinson, Henry Henderson, Henry Waddell, Eliza B. Stewart, Sarah Ann, Priscilla (child of Sarah Cragge) and Jordan (child of Rosetta)

Second list of slaves on page 157:
Caph?, Eliza, Jim (could be James above), Rosetta Butler, Margarett, Turner, Maria Jackson, Mary Jane (her child) and her other child then aged one year, Ann, Maria Allen, Sarah Cragge, Harriet Sevallis, Maria Grandison, Charles (her son), Ann Grace Robinson, Isaac (her son), Henry Henderson, Fountain, Henry Waddell, Charles Scipio, Eliza B. Stewart, Daniel, Sarah Ann, Lewis (her child), Priscilla (child of Sarah C. Cragge), Emaline (child of Rosetta), Jordan (child of Rosetta and Tom).

William L. Balfour, and his estate, owned and operated Eyrie/Balfour Plantation from 1841 until 1865.

- Photos Taken: 300+

Where To Go From Here:
- None of these slaves in the Book B, Page 294 -295 have names of earliest traceable ancestors. This supports the hypothesis that William L. Balfour purchased the earliest traceable ancestors in North Carolina and moved them during his move to Louisiana in 1820 or purchased them while in Mississippi and transported them to Eyrie Plantation

- No transactions noting sales of slaves to William Balfour or his son William L. Balfour in Feliciana/West Feliciana Parish, LA. Notation made of 13 slaves auctioned off when mortgage was defaulted; names of slaves: Peter, Polly, Castell, Castell, Tony, Anthony, Moses, Cillie/Ciller?, Rose and her children Isabel, Lenye and John (who was born since the seizure of all slaves); none had any names matching the names of ancestors

- Find records for and/or visit Edgecombe County, NC prior to William Balfour’s departure. It is possible that he purchased King Atlas, Sr. or Rachel Day there and then transported them to Louisiana, then Mississippi and then back to Louisiana to Eyrie Plantation.

- Continue search for records in East Carroll Parish, LA for ancestors and relatives and their records.

- Find records for and/or visit Bolivar County, MS, where Fallback Plantation was located to see if the purchase of King Atlas, Sr. and/or Rachel Day was performed there.

- Continue searching through Madison County, MS records to see if the purchase of King Atlas, Sr. and/or Rachel Day was performed there.

Friday, March 02, 2007

My birthday...and NOLA...

I had a great birthday yesterday. I had at least seven people sing me Happy Birthday. No one could sing real well, but it was appreciated nonetheless.

We started the day off touring the Lower 9th Ward. I didn't get a chance to see it last year because I didn't come for the New Orleans leg of the trip, but I imagine that I missed nothing since nothing has been done. You would not believe the state things are in. It looks like a warzone. There is hardly anyone down there and all they are doing is demolishing houses. I praise God that during the time I was down there, I didn't see any homes that has bodies in them at one point or another. We went by all three of Grace's houses first. The first one I had already seen, but the last two I hadn't. They had torn down one of the last two, and the second one was still standing, in the same condition. The house next door had actually moved so far that it was touching the second house and about to topel it over. The streets are ridiculous in their condition.

From there, we went to 1931 Tupelo Street. This is where my great aunt, uncle and hosts of cousins use to live. That house is still standing, but it needs to be gutted. The damage was so bad, that there are no street signs, so people have spray painted the street names onto electric poles so you know where you are going. There was also a note on the street that noted the intersection of Tupelo and Johnson streets. After that, we headed to my family's previous address before Tupelo, on Louisa Street. That house was still standing too, and it's amazing that it was considering that it was built in 1945. The houses around it were in horrible condition though.

One thing that I thought was amazing is how the churches in the area, that we saw, were still standing. One in particular blew my mind. It's my cousin Gene's sister church in New Orleans. That building didn't even look like it had been nearly covered with water. That is a testament to the amount of prayer that is there.

Across the street from Gene's sister church was the recreation center that was named after my great aunt and uncle. They were involved in a lot of community activities through the group S.O.U.L., which was started in their kitchen. The building is closed, but they have set up a temporary fire station there. It's nothing but a portable building. We talked to a retired New Orleans Fire Fighter who is volunteering through LSU to provide counseling services to the fire fighters in the area. He said it's needed because of all the changes they and their families are facing.

From there, we headed to the French Quarter. We went to Cafe Du Monde. As many times as I had been to New Orleans, I had never eaten there. We got beignets and iced coffee. Jean then tipped this street band to play and sing happy birthday to me. They even included my name. I was embarassed, but happy. The beignets were great and I bought a couple of boxes to bring home with me. I also purchased a mug for church family and another magnet for my best friends and myself.

Later, we went to the Cheesecake Bistro for dinner and then headed to Best Buy. Jean got me a bluetooth for my new phone, that I have yet to purchase. She gets worried about me driving and being on my cell phone.

After that, we headed back to the Quarter. Earlier, we had tried to go to this black art store that I love on Bourbon Street but it was closed. They have been open for over 30 years and have some of the best prints I've ever seen. Fortunately, I called there and they had opened. So when we went back, I purchased two prints and five postcards. Jean picked up some prints and post cards.

Today, Jean was supposed to leave, but volunteered to get bumped to a flight tomorrow. She got a $400 voucher for doing so. So, after that, the both of us have travelled here for $10!!!! God is SO good!!!

I leave tomorrow and I'm sort of sad about it, although I miss my friends, church family and a special person. It means I have to get back to the grind, and not be in semi-retirement anymore. :(

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Back to NOLA we go...

Today we headed back to New Orleans. We had a great time in Lake Providence. Robert and Cinderella were great hosts!

On Tuesday, we headed back to the East Carroll Parish Courthouse. I did mostly marriage records while Jean took a look and documented some tax records. She said there were some unpleasant things in the box, like rat boo boo, so we had to make sure she washed her hands pretty quickly after handling the records. They were held in the attic of the courthouse, which explains the special prize in the box. LOL I'm not sure how many marriages I documented, but I'm sure it comes close to about 20 or so. We got the best goodbye from the staff there. They told us to make sure we come by next year, even if we aren't doing any research. One of the staff members told us that she was interested in researching her family since she saw us there doing it. She said that in the 7 months she had been working there, she never saw anyone like "us" coming in to do research. That meant a lot.

From there, we headed back to the house and got Cinderella. We headed back over to our family's land and walked around on it. It was the first time I had ever done that.

First, we walked around in Uncle Joseph's land. It's about 80 acres. Florence told us that they kept finding these mysterious bricks where they planted the collard greens. Just bricks upon bricks, upon bricks. They sent for someone from one of the local universities to check it out, but they didn't give them any information. They thought that they may be some sort of Indian Burial Ground, but the bricks looked too formed to me for it to be that. My hypothesis is that it was something from a plantation that use to be on that land. I took a couple of pieces back with me so I can see if I can get someone to look at them in California. We took a look at the tools of King Atlas, Jr. and also took down the patent information to see if we could get a history on how old they are. I discovered later through research online, that at least the blower was made in the early 1900's, making it a little over 100 years old. These tools use to be at Grandpa Babe's house but they later brought them down to Uncle Joseph's house. We then took a walk down along the bayou, and Florence told us of that path and how she and her siblings use to walk 4 miles to school using it.

Then, we headed down to Grandpa Babe's place. Unfortunately, he accidentlally burned the house down sometime between 1956 and 1957. It use to be a very large house that he built himself. He had a small orchard on the side of the house with pears, persimmons, pecans and peaches. His total land is about 120 acres. Last year, we weren't sure of the location, but my mom told me that there were two "grey big ole pecan trees in the front" that she remembered. We found them this year.

From there, we headed into town and went to Brannum Funeral Home and spent some time with Mr. and Mrs. Trass. Mrs. Trass was sad that we didn't come by earlier. She gave us a great history of the funeral home. She told us about how in the old days, there were only white embalmers in town, and that when black people died, they would put their bodies and their viewing in the back of a furniture store, and the white people in the front. Some of the local black businessmen formed a social club, and put their money together to send one of them to embalming school in Nashville, TN. The first guy they sent, Nookie House, went but partied too much and didn't pass the test. The next man they sent, Mrs. Trass' father, went, interned with another embalmer, and passed the test. He was one of the first black embalmers in the area as well as owned one of the oldest funeral home in the area. At that time, the funeral home was named Majestic Funeral Home. That is the name of the funeral home on a lot of the death certificates for family members from about 1900 to 1944. Mrs. Trass took the business over from her mother, who took it over after her father died, in 1945 and has been there ever since.

After that, we headed back to Super Walmart in Oak Grove to get more supplies. Then, back to the house we went.

Today, before we headed back to New Orleans, we stopped by Mr. Millikin's house. He lives near Robert and Cinderella, is a life long resident of Lake Providence and is 97 years old. Unfortunately, due to where he lived, he didn't know Grandpa Babe, but he was very familiar with Uncle Joseph. They both were a part of a group of 20+ black people in East Carroll Parish who were given the right to vote 45 years ago this year. Out of that group of 20+ people, he is the only one that is alive. He told us about what he went through with that, how his family was enslaved on the Millikin Plantation in Carroll/East Carroll Parish, and his life in general. He does not wear reading glasses, nor does he have hearing aids. He still takes care of his house, picking up fruit and vegetables from his farm and everything. He was truly an inspiration.

We then headed to Ole Dutch Bakery downtown to bring some stuff back home. This bakery makes everything homemade. I really wanted to bring something back to California with me, but I would have to pack it in my checked luggage and it would get smushed. :(

We tried to locate the East Carroll Baptist Association Cemetery, but were unsuccessful at finding it.

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. We are going to head out early to Bourbon Street so I can go to this art store that I love. We're also going to head to the lower 9th ward to look at the devastation. We are probably going to go out to dinner, I'm not sure where to finish the day off.

Monday, February 26, 2007

In Lake Providence...again...

Last night we arrived in Lake Providence. It was a nice drive up Highway 61 to get here. We went through some of the major small cities in this side of the country. Of course, Lake Providence is exactly how it was when we got here last year.

We're staying with our cousins Robert and Cinderella. We have been laughing since we got here. Although we don't have a cell phone signal, we've been having such a great time. We went to the new Super Walmart when we got here. I'm so happy that they finally have something like that in this area. It was way past needed.

Today, we spent most of our day at the East Carroll Parish Courthouse. I discovered that William L. Balfour mortgaged the land that comprised Eyrie/Balfour Plantation in 1841 and later bought it in 1848. When he mortgaged it, he bought it from John Vance and his wife in New Orleans, LA. It came with the land, all effects including 29 slaves. By 1850, this number of slaves grew to 61 and then by 1860, this number of slaves grew to 103. Unfortunately, none of these 29 slaves had names matching up with those of our earliest traceable ancestors. I checked for records of slaves being bought from John Vance, but I didn't see anything off hand in that name. I'll probably search tomorrow. In addition, I went through the indirect conveyance records and didn't find anything noting slave sales for William L. Balfour either. Our next step, is to order microfilm for Edgecombe County, NC, which is where the Balfour family originated from. We also are going to try to get microfilm for Bolivar County, MS, which is where I believe that they had our earliest traceable ancestors prior to shipping them to Eyrie Plantation in East Carroll Parish, LA.

I was also able to find even more marriage records than we did last year. We'll probably begin to copy those down tomorrow.

I found records for Simon Allis/Atlas as well as a London Allis/Atlas. I still have no idea regarding their relation to us, but I know that because of how small this area is, there is no way they aren't related to us.

I was able to copy down succession information for my great grandfather, Louis B. Atlas as well as for my great grandmother, Susie Lee Atlas and for a great, great aunt, Ella Louise Atlas.

In addition, we found a ton of land records for family members in the parish. Based on our research from this trip, we can see that family members were land owners in this area from 1873 to present.

We ate sandwiches at Jehovah Java. I think I may go back there and get a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. The food was great as well as the service.

We also made a visit over to Progressive Chapel MBC, which is a church that some of my family members started. When we got there, they were having Bible study and we sat in for the last 15 minutes of it. We had a great time and were able to touch base with some people who knew our family. In fact, one of my grandmother's classmates was in the session.

We were also able to visit our cousin Florence, who we stayed with last year. We had a brief visit at her house, but it's possible we may go back by there because she is such a resource.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Saint Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, LA

Today, after another great breakfast cooked by Gene, we ventured to Saint Francisville, LA. It's about 30 minutes north of Baton Rouge, LA. We set out there to see if we could find information on our earliest traceable ancestors via slave sales with the Balfour family, who is who we think was the last slaveholder of our earliest traceable ancestors.

When first got there, I noticed a sign for a historic place that had the same name as the area that the Balfour family lived in during the 1820 US Census. It's called Bayou Sara. When we pulled over to take a picture of the sign, we noticed that the street that Bayou Sara was on was the same name as my last name. Of course, there is no irony in that!

Unfortunately, we did not find any transactions regarding slaves with the names King or Rachel. However, we did locate a free woman of color who made a land purchase in or around 1825 who was named Priscilla Balfour. We tried to find a manumission or emancipation document for her, but had no luck. It was amazing that she was a free woman of color during that period of time, especially in that area because it is known historically for being pretty racist.

We also located a conveyance record for Sarah Atlas, who married William Steven Atlas, Sr. She and her sister owned land in Saint Francisville, LA. In their land transcation, we found out that Sarah's maiden name was Hewlett. We have no idea how she got to Lake Providence or what the tie was to Saint Francisville, but we figured that this could possibly be a clue. The land transaction took place in or around 1909. We were able to confirm that she did not marry William Steven Atlas, Sr. in West Feliciana Parish.

The only conveyance record we found the mentioned slaves, was for a sheriff's sale that was conducted when William Balfour defaulted on a loan. The land he had, as well as 13 slaves were sold at auction. The names of the slaves were listed, but none matched our earliest traceable ancestors or had ages listed.

I forgot to mention that yesterday, while at the Louisiana State Archives, I was looking through tax records for Carroll/East Carroll Parish. I saw that from at least 1873, King Atlas, Sr., King Atlas, Jr., John Atlas and Andrew Atlas all owned land. I didn't find anything for William Steven Atlas, Sr., but I did find records for someone named Simon Atlas. He lives in the Stamboul area of East Carroll Parish. He may be a brother or cousin of King, John, Andrew and William. I'll be following up on him as much as I can at the East Carroll Parish Clerk of Court. We found him on the 1870 Census listed as Simon Allis, and then later his widow as Ann Ellis in 1880, and then in 1900, his son Simon as Simon Allen. Based upon his age on the 1870 Census, he would have been born about 1830 in Tennessee. That would make him older than all of King and Rachel's children and also born in a completely different state.

From here, we will be traveling to the Clerk of Court in East Carroll Parish, LA.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Baton Rouge, LA - Food, Fun, Archives and Libraries...

Today wrapped up our two days in Baton Rouge, LA.

We had a GREAT time here. Our cousin Gene was the ultimate host. On Wednesday, we arrived in Baton Rouge and ate gumbo. From there, we headed to the State Library. Ironically, on the way there, we saw our cousin Carl who was at work at the time. We found a few things at the State Library, namely, King Atlas, Sr. on the US Agricultural Census in 1880. He had what appears to be 90 acres of land. We also found a few articles with Jean in them regarding her Civil Rights work with the Freedom Rides.

We also took trips to two East Baton Rouge Parish libraries that have genealogy divisions. After the library, we headed to Tony's Seafood. This is an icon in Baton Rouge. It is owned by the family that owns Tony Chachere's seasoning. We ordered crawfish po boys and Gene picked up some catfish for our dinner on Thursday. The sandwiches were great. You can actually order seafood from them and have it shipped anywhere in the US at

Later that night, we had dinner at Carl's house. His wife is an excellent cook. We had fettucini with crawfish and shimp, with garlic bread, salad and homemade mini sweet potato pies. We were able to meet two of their children as well as watch their daughter in her track meet at the Penn Relays this past year. The Texas team, for which she runs, won their first Penn Relay for that particular race. They told us that she may run in the next Olympics. We went through pictures with them, had a great time and came home with a ton of food and some pictures to scan. One of their sons who came over is working on his PhD.

On Thursday, we had a great breakfast made by Gene. His friend came by and told us about a commercial kitchen he had built onto his house. He loves to cook. Gene gave the catfish to him for him to cook for us later. From there, we headed to the state archives where we found and made copies a lot of death certificates for family members, as well as got tax information from as early as 1873 from Carroll Parish. Family members were land owners at least from that point forward. I was able to also pinpoint the five year period to which King Atlas, Sr. died. It was between 1890-1895. He did not have a death certificate as they were not required by the state.

I received e-mails from two cousins today with updates to the family file. There are at least 8 more people added to the file. I also got an e-mail a couple days ago from another cousin who lives close to me and who will be attending the reunion in August. After the archives, we headed over to Gene's friends house to see the kitchen and eat. I could not believe the kitchen. It was bigger than my apartment!!! We had sweet tea, homemade potato salad, fried catfish and petite peas. It was past good. I would definitely weigh 300 pounds if I lived here.

Tonight, we spent time scanning pictures into the family archive. Tomorrow, we are headed to Saint Francesville which is in West Feliciana Parish. The Balfour family, who we think was the last slaveowner of our earliest traceable ancestors, moved from North Carolina to Louisiana and lived in this particular area from 1820 to 1827 before they moved to Mississippi. We are hoping to find documentation stating that they purchased at least two of our earliest traceable ancestors there. It was not coincidence that their high school band was in the Rex parade on Mardi Gras day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Jean's Arrival/Lundi Gras...Mardi Gras Day...

Jean arrived yesterday. Freddy, Alice and I gave her a warm welcome at the airport. When we got back to the house, Big Freddy brought us four different traditional Po Boy Sandwiches to eat. They are sandwiches served on a roll and "dressed" like a regular sandwich (with lettuce, mayonaisse and tomatoes) with an extra ingredient added in. We had an oyster sandwich, shrimp sandwiches and a roast beef sandwich. We also got some NOLA potato chips that I can't remember the name of. I liked the Cajun Dill ones the most. There use to be a place here called "We Never Close" that sold the best Po' Boys, but of course, due to Katrina, it is no longer in business.

Jean made us these cute tote bags to carry our stuff in when we go to our different research sites. They have pictures of her grandparents and my great grandparents on them and "Atlas Family Research." They are too cute. Jean also brought some pieces of the quilt she is making that will be on the display at the family reunion. It will include pictures of my grandmother, great aunts, uncles and great grandparents. The pieces she brought with her are awesome. I can't wait to see how they will turn out.

We were going to go to Orpheus on Lundi Gras, but because Mardi Gras day was the next day, we decided to skip it this year to go to bed early to be ready for Mardi Gras day.

Yes, there is preparation for Mardi Gras day! We prepare food the day and night before to take with us on the parade route. It's not like you can show up at like 10am and get a spot. We actually have to leave the house at least by 6:30am to get a spot by 7am. This year, it seems like everyone was leaving early, because by the time 6:15am came around, there were way more people than usual in our normal spot on St. Charles street. We actually had to leave early but Big Freddy had left before us and secured us a spot. In addition, they closed off many of the parking lots that we normally parked in. We got a nice spot this year, but we also had to walk a few blocks to catch Zulu and then go to the other side of the street to catch Rex.

We bring a canopy for us to sit under, chairs, even a Porti Potti. Most people don't know that public bathrooms are not available during carnival, so unless you want to use one of the city provided Porti Pottis, you'll have to rent or buy your own. We put ours in a tent so it was more private. If you don't rent or buy your own, or use the city provided ones, many people just urinate in public in a secluded spot.

We caught so many beads at Zulu and Rex. Coconuts are the most prized things to get at Zulu. People will nearly fall to the ground trying to get one. I think we collected at least 10. Poor Alice almost thought she lost her glasses because someone nearly tackled her to get one.

Tomorrow starts the beginning of the actual research trip. We will begin at the State Library in Baton Rouge, which is about a 1 hour 30 minute drive from New Orleans. We will be staying at our cousin Gene's house overnight after we complete our trip to the Library and then will go to the State Archives in Baton Rouge on Friday. I know I need quite a bit of rest tonight in order to be able to read through a ton of records tomorrow. The most intensive work is going to be done at the State Library.

As of February 19, 2007, the family file is now to 1,445 people, living and dead.