Sometimes a tree burns and hits you

My grandmother’s parents, Albert Gauthreaux and Isabelle Giroir Gauthreaux, didn’t live long. Albert died in his early 40s of kidney disease. Isabelle died in her early 20s of appendicitis. Their daughter (my grandmother) made up for it by living to 95. But I digress.

Our ancestors died of all kinds of things: Yellow fever, typhoid, childbirth, etc. Life was hard before vaccines and urgent care centers.

And, sometimes, a tree just up and hits you and your “lady friend,” creating a family of destitute orphans (anyone else picturing Oliver Twist here?).

Pioneer of Assumption
March 30, 1878

On Thursday, the 28th, Auguste Arsement, more familiarly known under the sobriquet of Joami, a fisherman, was killed by the fall of a tree. It appears the deceased, in company with several other fishermen and a lady friend, had encamped for the night on the shores of Lake Verret, near a partially decayed tree, in close proximity to which the ordinary camp fire was left burning. In some inexplicable way, during the time all the party was wrapped in deep sleep, the fire came in contact with the decayed tree and readily ignited the same. Soon after, the flames having weakened the tree, there was a crash and poor Auguste was mortally wounded and the lady seriously injured. Mr. Arsement survived until the next day. He was about 50 years and leaves a family of destitute orphans, his wife having died some two years since.


Bergeron house evolution

I’ve written before about the Bergeron house, which is located at LSU’s Rural Life Museum. I was a little bemused to see it there. My ancestors didn’t live in grand plantation homes. They were a simpler stock. In fact, this simple Bergeron house is where some of my ancestors lived. Apparently it’s considered typical of early Cajun homes, which makes it preservation worthy.



The homes dates to between 1810 and 1815. Jean Charles Germain Bergeron, my ancestor, married Marie Magdeleine Doiron in 1805. By 1810, they had three children so they would have been comfortable in this home. Eventually, they had 11 children. The children were born over a nearly 20-year span much like my granny’s children. By the time the youngest were toddling around, the oldest probably had been married off.


At bottom left is how the house looked when it was first built. It had a big front room and then two bedrooms. The bedroom on the left had no exit to the outdoors and would have been the girls’ room (Elise and Abdeline Hanriete).  Elise died young so Abdeline might have had this room to herself (they had no other girls) until she married at 15 to Dozain Gros.

This information is on the Library of Congress’ website ( My family’s come a long way, baby.


If you visit the house at the Rural Life Museum (and I highly recommend that you do!), then you’ll see it as it looked in 1810.  Apparently it grew in 1845. Germain was long dead (dying when his youngest was just a few months old), but Marie Magdeleine was still alive. I can’t imagine, though, that she undertook a house expansion.


How the house looked before it was fixed up and moved to the Rural Life Museum. 

A sign at the Rural Life Museum puts into question my populating the bedrooms with Germain and Marie’s children.




So now I’m thoroughly confused. Why is it called the Bergeron House? Did my ancestor ever live there? I’m determined to find out!

The 1924 tornado in St. James Parish


Thank you to the Bayou History Center for this picture of Laurel Ridge Plantation home.  Wasn’t it gorgeous? I may be mistaken in labeling this as the Haydels’ Laurel Plantation, but White Castle is very near St. James Parish.

Times-Picayune: Aug. 26, 1924

Vacherie, La., Aug. 25 – Realization of the full extent of the tragedy which fell upon their peaceful little parish Sunday afternoon slowly is forming in the minds of the residents of St. James Parish.

Grim death, riding rampant on the wings of a ‘twister’ left in his wake eight dead, several dying and many injured as a result of the destruction of St. Philip’s Hall, three miles from Vacherie on the river road and about 40 miles from New Orleans.

Five thousand persons this afternoon attended the joint funeral services at St. Patrick for seven of the eight victims. Rev. Father Fontaine of St. Philip’s Catholic Church and nearly a score of other priests from nearby points conducting the services. The church was far too small to accommodate the crowd, but as many as possible entered it and the others grouped themselves about the building.

Seven caskets containing the bodies offics. The body of Florence Fernandez, one of the victims, was taken to Gretna for burial.


Stephen Haydel and his wife (above) both died in the tornado. Their son also perished.

The list of dead follows:

Stephen A. Haydell Sr., 63 years old, part owner of Laurel plantation and the father of 10 children.

Mrs. Stephen A. Haydell Sr., 59.



Stephen Haydell Jr. 

Stephan A. Haydell Jr., 34, member of the St. James Parish School Board, manager of Laurel plantation and one of the foremost young business men in St. James.

Arthur Hubbell, 40, clerk in the general plantation store and father of five children.


Arthur Hubbell and his sister Virginia died. 

Virginia Hubbell, 29, sister of Arthur Hubbell.

Burchman Waguespack, 21, druggist, son of Dr. Lionel Waguespack and brother of Rene Waguespack, former United States district attorney at New Orleans.

Marie Louise Troxclair, 5, daughter of Fabian Troxclair of St. James.

Florence Fernandez, 7, daughter of Dr. J. R. Fernandez.


Little Florence Mary Fernandez was just 7.

Seriously, perhaps fatally wounded, are Mary Haydell, sister of Stephen Haydell, and Belphor Haydell, brother of Stephen Haydell Sr.


More than a dozen others were painfully hurt, among them being Albert Haydell, another son of Stephen Haydell Sr. Albert Haydell suffered a broken arm, internal injuries and surgeons say a possible fracture of the spine.

Miss Mary Haydell, whose injuries were so serious that she could not be moved far, was taken into the home of Father Fontaine, near the scene. Little hope is felt for her recovery, though she is still conscious. Her chief worry seems to be the well being of her mother and father.

‘Why don’t mama and dad come?’ she has asked many times.

They are not going to tell her why – for a while yet.

Tales of heroism of those who died, those who were injured and those who fought furiously for the lives of the stricken ones will go into the history of St. James Parish to be told and retold for generations to come.


Dr. Lionel Waguespack and his wife on their wedding day.

Of how some of the doomed met death and of how Father Fontaine, Drs. Lionel Waguespack and J.R. Fernandez and others battled for the lives of others in the face of irretrievable loss in their own families makes a story St. James can well be proud of.

This afternoon St. James, worn out from a night of vigil over the deceased and administering to the injured, buried its dead amid the deepest spell of mourning and despair this parish ever has known. One simple service comprised the obesquies of those whose lives, one minute joyous in anticipation of a gala evening at St. Phillip’s church fair, were the next minute blown out by the breath of death in the shape of a whirlwind.

It will be many days before the survivors of the awful calamity recover from the shock. Some of the stricken families never will. Indeed, two families were partially wiped out. Those two are the Haydell and Waguespack households.

Theirs had been the moving spirit in arrangements for the fair, and the hand of destiny had beckoned them to be early to see that everything was in order. Had the whirlwind struck two hours later than it did, it must have buried several hundred persons instead of the three score who were in the building at the time.

Many relatives and friends of the Haydell and Waguespack families were also early arrivals. In fact, most of the families in this section of St. James, through intermarriages or by blood, are related, and it is little wonder the St. Phillip’s hall disaster has bereaved the entire parish. The business and social partnership, which Stephen Haydell Sr. and Ramond Waguespack formed many years ago, under the firm name of Waguespack and Haydell they extablished Laurel plantation has grown so much that the two families are considered one.

And few sadder blows ever visited one household.

Nearly half a century ago Stephen Haydel, an ambitious farmer boy, begun his career in St. James Parish.

He had seen his parish prosper, had worked hard, managed well, saved and himself had prospered.

He had seen his few acres grow into hundreds of acres; then had seen them become more important when he merged with his friend Ramond Waguespack, himself on of St. James’ most energetic builders.

Life had treated Stephen Haydell kindly in return for his faithful work and he was kind to his fellow man, showing his appreciation for his success in business, his stalwart sons, beloved wife and beautiful daughters. Though he continued active in the administration of many features of the plantation business, he gradually was turning over his part of the work to his sons and he and his wife devoted much of their time to community work.

It was with pride they had seen a tiny chapel grow into the original St. Phillip’s church and with added pride they had seen the new church recently erected and the old church converted into a hall.

Then, came the time for the holding of the church fair, which provided the last fair to be held in St. Phillip’s Hall.

Stephen Haydel Sr. had seen his wife and daughter and other womenfolk of the parish preparing days ahead for the fair. He had helped them and his sons and all his relatives had helped, and the anticipated success of the fair was only another of the many good things he was to get from life.

So there was an early gathering of those most interested in the success of the project. They wanted to arrange the ice cream, candy and pop booths, fix the beaches, prepare a stage for the little play, which was to be held Sunday night and complete all details. Father Fontaine, rector of St. Philip’s church, was here, there and everywhere, working like a beaver with his friends toward the same end. It was his flocking giving the fair and, therefore, was his fair.

Scant attention was paid to the black, ominous-looking cloud which was seen hovering low on the horizon across the Mississippi river.

Big drops of rain which predicated the approach of a heavy downpour fell and created only additional joy, even though the threat prompted the removal into the hall of benches, booths and chairs, which were outside on the lawn in front. St. James had seen little rain in three months, and almost any inconvenience was to be put up with if the soil could be drenched.

Stephen Haydell had walked hurriedly into the hall when the first sheet of rain fell and there was a smile on his face as he addressed Albert Haydell, one of his sons.

“I hope we will get a little of this down at the plantation,” he said. Laurel plantation is about a mile nearer Vacherie than St. Philip’s.

Just then Father Fontaine, whose home is a hundred feet in the rear of the hall and about the same distance to the side of the new St. Philip’s church, noticed one of the windows in his home and blown open and he scurried across to close it.

At the same time, Albert Haydell, who was helping to close some of the doors and windows of the hall, remarked how the sky suddenly was becoming overcast and that black clouds suddenly had taken on a fringe of dirty yellow, which spread an unnatural light over the vicinity.

Then the rain fell in blinding sheets, driving down the road before a strong, but apparently not dangerous wind.

And then, as if dropping with the weight of a stone, that black cloud hurtled downward, whirling wind and rain around in a literal maelstrom of destruction.

Directly over St. Philip’s Hall it settled and its first blow staggered the gigantic wooden structure.

“I was returning from my home just as I saw the whirlwind strike,” said Father Fontaine “and the next second it seemed the roof split asunder and, caught in the irresistable eddy of the whirlwind, both sides of the building collapsed and in another few moments the whole thing was levelled.”

Crumbling walls, falling timbers and avalanching debris hurled the threescore persons who had been huddled in the shelter of the hall. Some were smothered to death; others suffered broken backs or broken necks.

All happened in much less time than it takes to tell. According to those who escaped unscratched from the falling building, it hardly seemed ten seconds between the first shock and the time when shrieks of the crushed and dying mingled with the dreadfu roar of the whirlwind which, within another few seconds, seemed to list as if to survey its work of devastation, gave one last demonical cry and circled off into space. Several unroofed houses, fallen fences and mangled trees were left as mute evidence of where the whirlwind now and then dipped back earthwards after leaving the ruins of St. Philip’s behind.

For a few seconds, then, the ones who were fortunate enough to have been unhurt, and the few who had not been in the building were stunned. But only for a few seconds. Then, desperately they sent out calls for help and more desperately fell to work, in the driving rain, to tear the timber and ruins off those pinned beneath the wreckage.

Within a few minutes men came from every point and they worked until blood poured from their torn hands.

Dr. Lionel Waguespack, who, in some miraculous way had escaped unhurt, rushed to the side of his won, Burchman, just as the latter was pulled from beneath a timber.

Conscious to the last, Burchman intimated there was no hope for him and begged his father to forget him and attend to those whom help would mean much. The young man had been standing by the side of his sweetheart, and at the crash had pushed her aside just as a heavy timber bore him down. The girl suffered only a slight scratch, a table and some benches saving her from the weight of the other timbers.

Dr. Fernandez, whose family was there, for a second was speechless and numb with sorrow as his little daughter Florence as pulled out of the wreckage and it was seen there was no hope for her. Then another younger daughter was rescued from beneath some timbers and when Dr. Fernandez saw she was only slightly injured, he forgot his own terrible misfortune and, with Dr. Waguespack, heroically bent to the task of administering to the injured ones who most needed it.

It took more than an hour of frantic work to make a thorough search, recover the dead bodies and rescue those who were pinned beneath the ruins.

The exception was Miss Mary Haydell who, with others was rushed into Father Fontaine’s home.

The body of Miss Florence Mary Fernandez was sent to Gretna and will be buried there Tuesday morning from the home of her uncle C. E. Thomassie.

Yellow fever in Louisiana

yellowMy grandmother was very fond of her own grandmother Merante Aucoin Montet Gauthreaux. Apparently Merante was very kind to her, and there weren’t many people who were kind to my grandmother during her Dickensian childhood.

What amazes me about Merante is that she was able to be a bright spot in a young girl’s life despite her own tragedies. Merante was the 13th child of Ludfrois Aucoin and Amarante Felicite Gautreaux. She was born when her mother was 45. Shortly after her first birthday, her father died.

The Aucoins were a large household. In addition to rearing their own children, Ludfrois and Felicite reared Ludfrois’ son by his first marriage and Felicite’s orphaned niece.

Catholic records weren’t the best in St. Mary Parish during the 1800s. Of the 13 children, I’ve only been able to find a marriage record for Merante, sister Celestine and brother Adrian.

Merante married Pierre Paul Montet in 1868. They had at least four children (possibly more): Rosa, Felonie, Gabriel and Oleus (my grandmother’s parrain). Pierre Paul had been married previously (to an Elizabeth Snell who just faded into history), and had two boys: Oscar and Desire.

Celestine – older than Merante by six years – married Apollinaire Frioux. They had at least four children: Villeo, Ernestine, Florestine and Felonise.

Of these 10 children from the blended families of the two sisters, only three would live to adulthood.


These nurses came to St. Mary Parish just before 1900 to treat yellow fever victims.

Yellow fever arrived in St. Mary Parish in the late 1870s, and it was merciless.

Nowadays, you don’t hear much about yellow fever. According to the CDC, it’s transmitted through mosquito bites (who hasn’t been bitten by mosquitos?) and it leads to fever, chills, severe headaches, vomiting, fatigue and weakness.

Yellow fever killed more than 41,000 people in New Orleans between 1817 and 1905 (



From the Lafayette Advertiser in early October 1879.

In 1879, at least 95 people died of yellow fever in St. Mary Parish. The dead included Merante’s sister, nephew, nieces, husband, half brother and her own children. Not surprisingly, burial records are scant. The priest likely was overwhelmed.

Here’s a list of St. Mary’s dead from the U.S. Mortality Index (I’ve bolded everyone who’s in my family tree):

  • Volsen Aucoin (Jean Baptiste Valery Aucoin, son of Francois Malo Aucoin and Marie Boudreaux)
  • L.E. Aucoin (Ludfrois Heli Aucoin, son of Ludfrois Aucoin and Henrrique Isabel Blanchard)
  • John Boudreaux
  • Henry Berd
  • Carl Berry
  • L Boudreaux
  • A Bourgeois
  • Mary Blanche Breed
  • Ellen Brent
  • Symmthia Buniff (Symphenie Johnston who married Benjamin Buniff in 1874)
  • Peter Burke
  • Judson Campbell
  • T Campbell
  • Judith Alice Cary
  • F C Chase
  • George Clearer
  • Louisa Cook
  • Aleda Corodus
  • Pauline Dellucky (the wife of Etienne Delucky; the Deluckys married into the Bourg family)
  • Chas Ditch
  • Severen Dupuis (Severin married to Victorine Augustine Aucoin)
  • Amylie Dupuis (Amelie, daughter of Severin and Victorine Aucoin Dupuis)
  • Henry Dupuis (son of Severin and Victorine Aucoin Dupuis?)
  • Rosalie Dupuis
  • Celestine Faerie (Celestine Marie Aucoin Frioux, daughter of Ludfrois Aucoin and Felicite Gautreaux; wife of Apollinaire Frioux).
  • Gustave Faerie (possibly a brother of Apollinaire Frioux)
  • Villion Faerie (son of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
  • Ernestine Faerie (daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
  • Pauline Faerie (probably Felonise, daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
  • Clennie Faerie (most likely a daughter of Apollinaire Frioux and Celestine Aucoin)
  • Carl Fellrath
  • Ferdinand Fellrath (son of Antoine and Caroline Fellrath)
  • Frank Fernandez
  • Adele Francioni
  • Emma Francois
  • Augustus Gaines
  • Nancy Ganeway
  • Albert Geisler (Albert Geissler who immigrated from Germany in 1867)
  • Ann Grant
  • Cornelius Grant
  • Joseph Grant
  • William Green
  • James Green
  • Faun Green
  • Thomas Green
  • Jimmy Green
  • Sophie Hattendorf (Sophia Forstl Hottendorf, wife of John Hottendorf).
  • Wm Hayes
  • M L Hayes
  • G A Hilbreth
  • L O Hilbreth
  • Albert Hildreth
  • Oline Hildreth
  • Francisco Johnson
  • Solomon Kahn
  • Thomas Laher
  • Marie LeBlanc
  • Louis Levi
  • Manuel Loeb
  • Lucien McLane
  • Horrace McLane
  • Frank Melville
  • P P Monte (Pierre Paul Montet, son of Pierre Paul Montet and Emerante Emeline Braud; husband of Elizabeth Snell (first) and Merante Carmelite Aucoin (second))
  • Desire Monte (son of Pierre Paul Montet and Elizabeth Snell)
  • Rosa Monte (daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
  • D Monte (probable daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
  • Louise Monte (Felonie Louise Montet, daughter of Pierre Paul Montet and Merante Carmelite Aucoin)
  • Linas Moore
  • Jas H Morehead
  • Wm B Mullens
  • Andrew O’Brien
  • E Passley
  • Louis Peterson
  • Olevia Peterson
  • Frank Queen
  • George Reason
  • Isom Richardson
  • Frank Royers
  • F Royers
  • Mitchell Royers
  • Felix Sennett (Felix Senette, husband of Leodicia Erwin Robertson)
  • James Stansberry
  • Joseph Stout
  • Adelle Thibodeaux
  • Louis Thibodeaux
  • Aletha Unsworth
  • Rosana Walls
  • T M L Whitner
  • H F Whitner
  • Benjamin Willis
  • Wellington Wills
  • Wooster
  • Carry A Wooster (Carrie Agusta Wooster: daughter of Nathan and Mary Wooster)
  • Adam Yancy

The Anaise riddle

I’ve been fairly successful in sorting out much of my family tree, and new information is always coming along to surprise me. The past tends to do that. Just when you think you’ve discovered everything, a new bit of information surfaces.

The one person who is a mystery is my great-great-great grandmother, Anaise Templet Giroir Larose.

I’ve never heard the name Anaise before or since. My grandmother always pronounced it ‘Naise.’  Believe it or not, there were two Anaise Templets born about the same year in Assumption Parish. Who would have thought it?

My Anaise was born to Charles Valsin Templet and Louise Josephine Boudreaux. The 1850 census for Louisiana shows Valsin with his wife, daughters Marie and Anais and baby Charles.

Here’s the little family:


That would mean Valsin and Louise had Marie in 1846, Anais in 1848 and Charles in 1849. Except the baptism records show they had Josephine Emeline in 1846, Marie Heloise in 1848, Charles in 1849, Philomene Victorine in 1852 and Marie Uranie in 1854. No mention of an Anais.

So I suppose that Marie in the census is really Emeline and that Marie Heloise in the baptism records possibly was meant to be Marie Anaise (which means she may have later had a child out-of-wedlock).

I’ll just go to the 1860 census and figure it out, right? Well, there’s a problem with that. Louise seems to have died about 1858. Unfortunately, her succession is listed in the index book at the Assumption Parish Courthouse, but the record itself is missing. The nice clerks at the courthouse shrugged and said an attorney probably took it home and forgot to return it back in the 1800s. Sigh.

After their mother’s death, the children were divvied up among the relatives.

Charles and Anaise went to live with the Besses. Charles Besse was a Canadian schoolteacher who married Louise’s sister Marcelite. The Besses had nine children so maybe they didn’t even notice the two extra ones.


1860 Assumption Parish census

So what happened to Emeline, Philomene and Irene (Uranie)? Well, Louise came from a big family.


Sister Adeline took in Uranie. Half-brother Basile took in Philomene.  There were 15 people in Basile’s household so what was one more? Emeline – or Evaline as she later called herself – found shelter somewhere because she soon married.

There’s no clue on what happened to Valsin. I can only assume he gave all his children away, changed his name to Lincoln and bought a really tall hat. Or maybe he died. Yeah, he probably died.

But back to Anaise.

EPSON038 (2)d.jpg

Anaise’s great-granddaughter: My granny with her daughter Olive.

Anaise married (I assume) a man with a rather fabulously alliterate name: Eulice Edmond Giroir. There’s no marriage record that I’ve been able to find, but as they baptized their children, I assume the priest would have insisted on them being married.

They had five children in five years: Augustin, Augustine, Alice, Marie and Valcin. Then Eulice died. My grandmother said Eulice died when the youngest child was just a baby.

Anaise farmed out the children but kept Valcin according to census records.  Augustin – my great-great grandfather – either visited her or ended up back with her because he told stories about her going off to work the fields every day while he stayed back at the house with his baby brother. Poor Anaise. She had a very hard life.

Then, in 1895, Anaise remarried. She married a man named Felix Leonide Larose. She would have been close to 50 at the time.

Anaise and Felix are on the 1900 census in Assumption Parish. After that, they disappear. I’ve traced what happened to all of her children (except Valcin; he married, had a few children and vanished), but I don’t know when Anaise died or where she’s buried.

It’s funny isn’t it? I can’t really tell you when Anaise’s parents died, when her first husband died or when she died. I can’t really tell you when Anaise was born or when she married her first husband. Did she only show up to be recorded for the census taker?

Loose ends like that drive me crazy. I so badly want to know the rest of Anaise’s story. Maybe, one day, I’ll stumble across more details.



And yet more Houma obits

From the Dec. 31, 1972, edition of “The Houma Daily Courier & The Terrebonne Press.”

Alvin Navarre Sr., 70, died at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of the Sea Hospital, Galliano. He was a resident of 118 Hanley Lane, Golden Meadow. Services are slated for 3 p.m. Monday, January 1 in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Golden Meadow with burial in the church mausoleum. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Julie Boudreaux Navarre; three sons, Alvin J., Philip of Larose, and Aurestile Navarre Jr.; four daughters, Mrs. Rogers Collins, Cut Off, Mrs. Harrison Curole, Mrs. Gilmer Gaudet of Gretna and Mrs. Gene Guidroz of LaRose; and six sisters Mrs. James Toups, Mrs. J.P. Moore, Mrs. O’Neil Labit, Mrs. Octavie Babin, Mrs. Warren Burgess and Miss Julia Navarre. He is also survived by 20 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents the late Aurestile and Julienne Navarre. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Miss Clarice Bouzigard, 69, died Friday, December 29 in Consolata Nursing Home, New Iberia. She was a Golden Meadow native. She is survived by one son, Bobby Lee Seringe; two daughters, Mildred Lee Serigne and Eva Bouzigard; seven brothers, Leo, Edgar, Maurice, Norbert, Lorris, Harris and George; and eight sisters, Mrs. Eusta Lafort, Mrs. Norris Cheramie, Mrs. Inez Martin, Mrs. Julian Lafort, Mrs. Edison Terrebonne, Mrs. Hilton Davis and Miss Nora and Louise Bouzigard. She is also survived by four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Services are slated from First National Funeral Home of Galliano to the Cheramie Cemetery in Galliano. The time had not been set at press deadline.

McGuire Funeral Home of Vivian, La. is in charge of arrangements for Mrs. Annie Heavener, 91. She was the mother of Mrs. D. Frank Smith of 303 Sunset Blvd., Mrs. William T. Maxwell, Palms Apt., and Mrs. Claude Gray, 10 Alamo.

George Joseph Pellegrin Sr. expired at 9:10 p.m. Friday, December 29 in Terrebonne General Hospital. He was 61 years of age and a resident of Grand Caillou Rte., Box 805. Services are scheduled Monday, January 1, at 2 p.m. in Holy Family Church with interment in the church cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Josephine Marie Pellegrin, four sons George Junius, John and Perry Pellegrin, all of Grand Caillou; three daughters, Mrs. Dennis Pellegrin, Mrs. Julius White and Mrs. Michale Gautier; three brothers, Alfred, Pierre and Elie Pellegrin; and three sisters, Mrs. Vincent Scott of Dulac, Mrs. Felix Bourg of Grand Caillou Rte. and Mrs. Bernard Carrere, also of Grand Caillou. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren. Chauvin Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Louise C. LeCompte, a resident of 618 Roosevelt St., died yesterday at 9:35 a.m. She was 79 years of age. She is survived by her husband, Clarence LeCompte; two sons, Linton and Abbie LeCompte; and two sisters, Mrs. Felicie Guidry and Mrs. Velma Bergerson. She is also survived by three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Preceding her in death were her parents, the late Joseph and Cora Chauvin. Funeral services are set for 10 a.m. Tuesday January 2 in St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church with interment in Magnolia Cemetery. Visitation begins at 3 p.m. today until 10 p.m. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Mrs. Clara Pitre, 89, died Friday, December 29 at Saco Nursing Home. Services are set for 2 p.m. this afternoon in St. Gregory Barbarigo Catholic church with interment in St. Francis No. 1 cemetery. She is survived by two sons, Evans and Virges Pitre; and five sisters, Mrs. Eddie Babin, Mrs. Ismay Duplantis, Mrs. Vivian Bourgeoise, Mrs. Bernard LeBoeuf, and Mrs. Lea Pitre. She is survived by 38 grandchildren, 71 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren. Preceding her in death were two brothers, the late Harris and Eustis Pitre, and her husband, the late Augustine Pitre. First National Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Donald J. Bonvillain, 71, died Wednesday, December 27. Funeral services took place yesterday at 2 p.m. from First National Funeral Home. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. R. L. Hodges of Houma and Mrs. William J. Hoffman of Riley, North Carolina. Bonvillain was preceded in death by his wife, the late Eunice Berwick Bonvillain.

More Houma obituaries

Here are the obits from the Oct. 8, 1972, edition of “The Houma Daily Courier & The Terrebonne Press.”


Alfreda Verdin

Mrs. Alfreda Verdin, mother of Alfred Verdin and Mrs. Orelia Verdin Williams of Houma, died Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9:15 a.m. at her residence on Big Bayou Black near Gibson. Mrs. Verdin, also survived by brother Wilmore Lee Verdin, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, was 68 years of age. Wake services are to be Sunday night, Oct. 8, with the recitation of the rosary planned for 7 p.m. at Terrebonne Funeral Home. Religious services from St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church will take place Monday, Oct. 9, at 10 am. with burial rites to follow in New Zion Cemetery in Mechanicville. Terrebonne Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Raymond Bergeron of 625 Pecan St. died Friday, Oct. 6 at Charity Hospital in New Orleans at 7:35 p.m. at the age of 56. He was the son of the late Sidney Bergeron and Louise Champagne. He was also preceded in death by brothers Sidney, Junius and Louis Bergeron as well as sisters Misses Laura and Thelma Bergeron. Survivors included brothers Ivy and Celestin Bergeron, both of Houma, and sister Miss Flavia Bergeron, also of Houma. Services are to be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9 at St. Eloi Catholic Church. Burial will be in St. Eloi Cemetery in Theriot. Chauvin Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The man credited with bringing the first large pipeline into Houma for the Texas Co., Frank William Courts, expired Friday, Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Lakewood Hospital in Morgan City. Mr. Courts, 83 and a resident of 107 Geist St., died following a lengthy illness. He was born in Duke Center, Penn. and worked in the oil field all his life in the Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Louisiana areas. Most of his working career was spent with the Texas Co. He was active in the Presbyterian Church, the Shriner Club and the Masonic Lodge, No. 23, F. & A.M. in Healdton, Okla. Survivors include his wife, Mrs. Alice Turner Courts of Houma, sons W. M. Courts of Houma, R.T. Courts of Houston, sister Mrs. Ruth McGahey of Pampa, Tex., three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Services are slated from the McCleary Chapel Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. with the Rev. James L. Baker officiating, with burial rites to follow in the Garden of Memories Cemetery in Gray.

Mrs. George Weidenbacher Sr., mother of Houma resident Donald Henry Weidenbacher, died Saturday, Oct. 7 at her daughter’s residence in Harvey. A former resident of New Orleans, she had been residing with Mr. and Mrs. Henry Rhiehm for the past three years. She was 65 and the wife of George Weidenbacher Sr. She was also the mother of George Weidenbacher Jr. of New Orleans. Other family survivors include six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Visitation begins tonight, Sunday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. from the House of Bultman on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Funeral services are slated from 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9 from St. Henry’s Catholic Church in General Pershing in New Orleans. Following the 10 a.m. Requiem Mass, burial will ensue in the Carrollton Cemetery in New Orleans.