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.