Remembered for her devotion to preserving St. Charles Parish history, Marilyn Richoux, 79, died last week from Lou Gehrig’s disease.Richoux, along with Joan Becnel, Sue Friloux and Faye Loupe compiled the parish’s history in a book, “St. Charles Parish Louisiana: A Pictorial History.” She also founded the parish’s St. Charles Historical Foundation that later became the St. Charles Museum Historical Association.
“We came out with the finished product,” Friloux said of their book. “She persevered and brought a lot of people with her. That is the mark of someone who had a mission, and you can’t accomplish it by yourself . And, as it turned out, it was a very productive ride because we all have something with our names on it. We thank her for that.”
Friloux added people will remember Richoux for being so generous with her time, particularly in historic preservation and beautification.
She recalled when Richoux announced she wanted to start a historical group and the mark that group has left on St. Charles Parish.
“We preserved history,” Friloux said. “We’ve taken bits and pieces of it and put it in a book, designated areas for history and developed the mural in Destrehan where you can drive up and read it – 300 years of history. Years back, we held meetings parishwide and people spoke of what their area had to offer like Ama’s flat iron collection. If there were buildings we had to save we fought for them and preserved as much as we could.”
Friloux said they got a lot accomplished through Richoux’s leadership and those who worked with her will carry on her work.
“I think it helped her knowing a lot of people had her common interests, accepted the challenge and moved forward,” she said.
In September of last year, the Parish Council recognized Richoux’s achievements.
She praised her book co-authors as people who shared her passion about preservation.
Of the work, Richoux noted, “We became fully aware of the territory’s remarkable evolution over a period of 300 years, which strengthened our resolve to bring it to light and preserved.”
Although Richoux was humbled and appreciative of the council’s tribute to her contributions, she didn’t believe in being recognized for work she performed for the love of God, family and community.
“You want to do what you can to help along the way, and not just sit back and expect things to happen,” she said at the time. “We kind of have to help to make things happen.”
Among her many achievements, Richoux also served on the parish Planning and Zoning Commission from 1993 to 2005, which lent to her later serving on the steering committee for the parish’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
By May 2003, the parish’s preservationists were back in action when they decided to develop the German Coast Farmers’ Market.
Friloux said her part in her longtime friend’s work will continue, adding, “Twenty years and counting … and carrying on her legacy.”