Last weekend from Thursday, October 20 until Monday, October 24, 2016 the Louisiana Creole Research Association presented its 12th Annual Conference: Enduring Legacy: The Role of Louisiana’s People of Color in the Pursuit of Equality in America.
The conference began on Thursday evening with a Special Event at the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center in the French Quarter. A special presentation was made by Dr. Emilie Leumas, Director of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Office of Archives and Records, on the new exhibit, One Heart, One Soul: The Life and Legacy of Henriette Delille. A private viewing of the exhibit was open to the conference attendees.
Friday evening found LA Creole’s members at their Annual Meeting and Member Reception at the Port of New Orleans.
The conference event on Saturday was held at Xavier University of Louisiana and presented a program of outstanding scholars and speakers including Leon Waters, Louisiana Museum of African American History, Kara Olidge, Ph.D, Amistad Research Center, Kathe Hambric, African American Museum Doaldsonville, Maxine Crump, Dialogue on Race LA, Vincent Barraza, Xavier Library Archives & Special Collections, Mark Roudane, 19th Century Tribune, Beverly McKenna, current Tribune, Keith Plessy and Phoebe Ferguson, Plessy & Ferguson Foundation, Clarence Becknell, Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Cedric Ellsworth, Autocrat Club, Keith Medley, Knights of Pythias historian, Brenda Square, historian, and Ms. Sybil Haydel Morial, historian, author, political activist. Musical presentations included the Xavier University Music Department’s Jazz Combo, Xavier University piano student, Markell Allen, OperaCreole, and OperaCreole Founder and Director Givonna Joseph.
LA Creole’s traditional Jazz Brunch and Awards Ceremonies was held on Sunday at the Landmark Hotel and featured Pinstripe Jazz Band. LA Creole’s Founders Award was presented to Brian J. Costello for outstanding contributions to the preservation of Creole Culture through extraordinary historical research, writings, and genealogy expertise. The LA Creole Recognition Award was presented to Sybil Haydel Morial for outstanding contributions to the enduring good of the greater society through a lifetime of achievement as educator, civil rights activist, public servant, and celebrated author.
Conference attendees gathered early on Monday morning for a bus trip to Whitney Plantation and Slave Museum in Wallace, LA and excellent presentations by Director Dr. Ibrahima Seck and two descendants of the Haydel Family, original inhabitants of what was then known as the Haydel Plantation, followed by a private tour of the plantation compound. The group enjoyed lunch at Dook’s Place on the way back to New Orleans and the end of a truly incredible 5-day experience immersed in the history and culture of the Creoles of Color of Louisiana and their enduring legacy: the pursuit of equality in America.
LA Creole’s mission to “advance family research, provide education, and celebrate Creole culture” is accomplished through genealogy assistance, ongoing public programming throughout the year, and an annual conference. LA Creole also collaborates with other community groups and organizations in presenting cultural events.