Templet family

Sunny, winter days boiling sugar in Cuba

Havana in 1900

Imagine it’s 1906. Cuba’s just become a republic. Colorful cars aren’t yet a thing in Havana. But it’s sunny, tropical and the sugar industry is booming. Sounds like the perfect place for a guy from Donaldsonville to boil some sugar!

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Bernard Edgar Templet

Bernard Edgard Templet (distant relation) went to Cuba more than once. He first visited in 1906 to work as a sugar boiler. He returned shortly before Christmas in 1917, sailing from New Orleans aboard a fruit company’s steamer.

It sounds like the 1917 trip was quickly planned. A letter in his passport file indicates he requested a new passport just a week before sailing.

Christmas in Cuba! It must have been exciting.

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Gaston Bordis

Already in Cuba was Bernard’s nephew, Gaston Sosthene Bordis.

Gaston was the foreman for a sugar house in Salamanca, Cuba. His passport records indicate he lived in Cuba for six months out of the year. Back in Louisiana, he served as a deputy sheriff.

Indeed, Gaston applied for passports again in 1918 and 1919.

I learned all this from passport records. I had no idea that it was once possible to sail from Louisiana to Cuba for a job in the sugar industry.

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