Preserve the history of the parish
It is no secret and there is no doubt that Ascension Parish is in the midst of an exponential growth and in maybe ten years it won’t look the same, feel the same or even be the same. In handling the growth and what some call a “boom” it’s very important we do our best to preserve the history that helped us get to the point of where we are and where we will be.
The history of this parish is deeply rooted in a diverse culture, traditions and people. However, we could lose a major part of it with the potential loss of the River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) in Donaldsonville. Last week, the museum’s co-founder, Darryl Hambrick, announced due to funding deficits the museum could be on the verge of closing its doors. If that is the case, not only will Donaldsonville but the Parish would lose out on a lot of opportunity.
The opportunity to continue preserving its own unique history should be significant to us all. Many of us visit other parishes and other parts of the state to learn about their significances and history and we have often overlooked our very own.
Many residents on the east bank of the parish have never visited the museum and unfortunately some didn’t know it existed. As a parish, we all should take pride in what’s ours.
The RRAAM isn’t just about African American history. It offers an experience that allows us to trace our lineages all together. In 2014, the museum helped trace the LeBlanc family name’s lineage. It connected as far as to Caucasian family’s in Canada, and not to mention there are LeBlancs here in Ascension still of all both the African American race and the Caucasian race. Having a place like the RRAAM allows Ascension to be able to connect those dots.
History is not something obscure or unimportant. History plays a vital role in our everyday lives. We learn from our past in order to achieve greater influence over our future. History serves as a model not only of who and what we are to be, we learn what to champion and what to avoid. Everyday decision-making around the world is constantly based on what came before us. Ascension is no different.
While the Hambrick and the other museum’s leaders find ways to maintain our history, let’s offer advice, take a visit and do what we can to help the RRAAM continue doing us the great service.
Because history matters.