St. Charles Parish has a rich history, and for anyone interested in learning more about what came before, there’s a wide-open window into that past at the St. Charles Parish East Regional Library right now.
A St. Charles Parish history exhibit is on display at the library, taking visitors on a voyage through yesteryear via old photographs, written articles and other items showcasing the events from which the parish grew from. The exhibit depicts St. Charles Parish life from 1807, when it originally became a parish, to 1957. The photos are grouped into categories including travel, religious life, school, business and social life.
The display comes via Destrehan Plantation, which showcased the exhibit at its recent Heritage Weekend event. It is expected to remain at least through the end of June and though it has only been up for a few days so far, it’s already garnered some significant attention.
“It really catches your eye when you walk in,” said Lauren Campo-Pitz, assistant director of the St. Charles Parish Library. “A number of people have stopped by already and have been really spending some time looking at it. The photos can tell you so much and there’s articles on a wide variety of topics. So, we’re really happy to be able to host it and share it with everyone.”
Pitz said the partnership with Destrehan Plantation came via the library’s participation at Heritage Weekend, where the library was promoting its available resources to research one’s family history.
“Rachel Allemand (Destrehan Plantation’s heritage education coordinator) said when the event was over, it would be great to have the display in one of our branches. People can get historical information, see it through pictures … one thing I’ve learned from working here is our community in St. Charles Parish really loves local history. Anything historic in this area, people want to learn more about.
“(The library and Destrehan Plantation) have a shared interest in sharing that history with the people here and making sure it’s easily accessible to everyone.”
The two also collaborated on the creation of the exhibit, as the library was one site local residents could drop photos off to be included in the project. Earlier this year, Destrehan Plantation asked the public to participate by contributing any photographs of people, places and events in St. Charles Parish that date prior to 1960.
It’s the latest joint venture the library has entered into in order to share the area’s history more widely and effectively. Last year, the library partnered with the St. Charles Museum and Historical Association to promote the launch of SCPHistory.org, a website serving as a virtual museum showcasing St. Charles Parish history.