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!
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.
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.