Saturday, October 31, 2015

Leon Dunn the Dunn and Chapman Family Griot

Left to right: Leon Dunn, Ruby Dunn Gilmore,
Theodore Dunn
If you want to learn about the Dunn and Chapman family branches of the family. Leon Dunn is the person you want to sit and talk with.  You may want to bring a video recorder and take notes. Mr. Dunn is in his 80s and his mind is very sharp and sound. His niece Paulette went to talk with him about the family history that he could recall for their Dunn family reunion. 

He talked about what he knew and what his father Theodore Dunn passed on to him. Recording your family is very important it is the unwritten history of your family. Everyone has a family member who love to reminisce about "the old day",  and the people who they remember.  At one time we use to be able to say that oral history was often passed down from generation to generation.  Nowadays, it seems like many people in the younger generations has no interest at all in their family history. 

They're to busy with their own lives, work, families, and other interests. By the time they stop and and want to know more about the family history most of the elderly people may not be around anymore.

I could have sit and talk with Mr. Leon for hours. He was recalling events, places and people. Although he didn't know his Native American grandfather Hezekiah. His father passed down stories  to him about Hezekiah. 

Most importantly, Mr. Leon wanted to talk about the family history. Often times some elders in the family doesn't want too talk about the family history. I heard many of them say, "I can't remember". Oral history fill in the gap and help us to learn more about our family and the community they lived in. 

I found Mr. Leon to be a treasure for the Dunn and Chapman families. One of the trades that was past down to him was farming. On any sunny day, you can find him on his tractor tending his crops or harvesting the crops. Although is knees ache him, he don't let it stop him from doing what he love doing. I hope that I can get talk with him to record his family history and preserve it in the oral history collection at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mayor Irma T. Gordon First Year in Office Reflections

Chief Kazerooni, Councilwoman Irma Clines,
Mayor Irma T. Gordon, Councilman Callihan
Kentwood, Louisiana- Mayor Irma T. Gordon became the first elected female mayor of the Town of Kentwood, Louisiana. The first year went by very fast and Mayor Gordon and the Town Council has accomplished many task. However she feel there is so much work yet to be done. You can find Mayor Gordon at the Town City Hall five days a week. Although she served on the Town Council for two decades. So serving the citizens of Kentwood is something that she knows all about.

"We will continue to work to improve our town", she said. One thing that Mayor Gordon has address is the blighted properties on Main Street. The town had already started demolition on some of the building that was falling down. "We now have Walmart's and a new medical clinic," said Mayor Gordon. "We're looking at attracting more businesses to our town," Gordon said.  The Mayor invites the citizens of Kentwood to attend the monthly Town Meeting every first Thursday of the month.

Please click on the video below.

Mrs. Leona Spears of St. Helena Parish, Louisiana

Mrs. Leona Spears
Leona Spears was born on November 29, 1883. " That's the day I was born, " smiles Rocky Hill resident Leona Spears. In her life Mrs. Spears has witnessed the dawn of automobile, running water, airplanes, indoor plumbing and electricity. "I can remember when their wasn't a flick of electricity anywhere in New Orleans.

Tucked in her favorite rocker, legs bundled under a quilt and warmed by a crackling fire, Mrs. Spears chats. " I liked working the field with the mule. That was probably my most favorite thing to do on the farm.

"Ole Sam was the best mule we ever had. I guess we had 5 or 6 one that was with us for a spell. But Ole' Sam was the best 'cause he listened. He'd go slow and when you need him to. And he'd gee and haw like I wanted him to."

Up until a half dozen years ago Mrs. Spears still plowed a little with a mule. A step or two from her back door is her garden or 'patch' as she called it. Her patch is about a quarter acre. "I hoe it all myself, " she says proudly. I lived this because I alway ate good. I eat plenty of vegetables and greens and good meat. People don't eat right. They are too much in a hurry and they eat that food somebody else fixed for them. Better you eat food you fixed yourself.

One of the crops Mrs. Spear and her family raised was rice. "Yeah, rice. There used to be a bunch of us growing rice back then. But it played out. I don't remember when."

"I didn't much want it then. But everybody said we needed it. I'd just as soon it never came around. But they got us hooked now, so I guess we stuck with it. Seventy years ago Mrs. Spears played the harmonica. "My daddy gave me one for Christmas." Ever since then music has been a big part of her life. "I've been playing and singing in the church choir for most of my life." She taught herself to play the piano, accordion and Jew's harp.

"I just love making music. It makes me feel good. And I ain't lost nothing she smiles. Mrs. Spears can remember back when Indians still dwelled in the area. " They camp right back there." She points to the northeast. "Daddy didn't let us fool with them too much." We'd see them in the woods when we collected firewood and hunted up our pigs. She can't recall when or why the Indian left.

"Things ain't that bad for most folks today. But I do think that it was better for everybody when I was a chap. People for everybody when I was a chap. People were nicer and shared things more. People like to have you in their kitchen. And if I had too much of this or that I'd give you some. And you'd do the same for me. Today, you never know who is your friend and who is looking to get something from you.

Source: Tangipahoa's Montly Magazine/ December 5 & 6, 1984
Article written by Charley Vance

Martha James of Amite, Louisiana

The Amite Chapter of the Senior Citizens honored 105 year-old Martha James Friday with a party at the new Senior Citizen headquarters in the depot. Cake and punch were served to those attending and songs and expressions of good will were made. The party was organized by Mrs. Eva Anthony, president of the Amite Chapter of the Senior Citizens' Club.

Aunt Martha, as she is affectionately known, was born 105 years ago and has lived all of her life in Amite. She was born a Butler and married Frank Jame, a former employee of the Gullet Cotton Gin Company. She had two children, Johnny and Robert. What is her secret for living so long? I don't have any secret for living so long?

I don't have any secret," she said. "The Bible says to honor your father and mother so that their days may be long. I have always honored old people and this must be God's way of blessing me."

Source: Tangi Talk. Amite, LA.. Wed., Sept 1, 1976

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Life Celebration of Nezzy "Knotrocker" Womack

Nezzy, a faithful servant of God, was called from his earthly woes to his eternal rest on Saturday, October 15, 2005. He was born to the union of Green and Luvenia Womack, on July 24, 1913.

Nezzy, joined church at an early age at Venable Chapel A.M.E. Church in Liverpool, LA. He and his siblings grew up and went to school in Liverpool. When Nezzy was thirty on, he enlisted in the United States Army, where he served in World War II, earning several metals for his service, the highest one being the World War II Victory metal.

Nezzy united in holy matrimony to Sister Vera Buckhalter, fifty six years ago. He spent a life of bliss with his wife and eight children in Kentwood, LA., Nezzy joined Oak Grove A.M.E. Church after returning from the army. He served there faithfully, as a trustee and dutiful servant of God. Shortly before celebrating their fiftieth year anniversary. Brother Nezzy decided that he and wife should worship God together, as member of the same church, so he joined the Orange Grove C.O.G.I.C.

Nezzy was one of the first black businessmen in Kentwood. Their store, "Nezzy's Grocery",  served as a landmark in our community. For many years Mr. Nezzy as he was affectionately called, loved serving the children when they came into his store. He was also a skilled cabinet maker, excelling in many kinds of woodwork.

Brother Nezzy Womack has a deep passion for singing, he was the bass in the Orange Grove Gospel Quartet. It was in the Quarter that he developed a love for his lifelong favorite songs, The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow", "Precious Lord"and" He Never Left Me Alone".

He leaves to cherish his memory, his devoted wife, Vera; eight children, John Peavy, Emma Cleveland, Kentwood, La.; Eugene Peavy(Geraldine), Chicago, IL; Gwendolyn Clifton (Charles), Kent, Wa.; Althea Mitchell (Raymond), LaPlace, La.; Artis Cohn (Floyd), Baton Rouge, La.; Cassie Dennis and Brenda Holmes (Special Children), Audrey, Jackie, and Martina; two brother, Leon Womack, Baton Rouge, La., and Green Womack (Geraldine), Atlanta, Ga; three sisters, Bessie Stanford, Evirda Shipp, Baton Rouge, La., and Reba McIntyre, Kentwood, La; five sister-in-laws; Elice, Ola, Sally, Lilian and Doris Womack; two brother-in-laws, Arthur and Woodrow Buckhalter; thirty-five grandchildren, fifty-two great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and good friends.

Brother Nezzy Womack was preceded in death by his mother and father, Luvenia Taylor and Green Womack; a daughter, Patsy Womack; two sisters, Bertha Montgomery and Helen Imes; seven brothers, John, I.W., Sonny, Walter, A.C., Charlie, Paul and Ray; also a son-in-law, James Cleveland.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In Loving Memory of Maye Pennella Richardson Hall

She was the second daughter of the late Emma Lou Elder Washington and the late Horace Joseph Richardson, Sr.; their baby girl. Maybe Pennella Richardson was born May 2, 1918 and she passed May 11, 1992; having resided at the same residence from beginning to end. She was the beloved wife of the late James Arthur Hall and devoted sister of the late Albert "A.L.", the late Amel, the late Vanzie Wilhemena and the late Horace Joseph Jr. "Pete". She was the loving mother of Jacquelyn Augusta, Vanzie Catherine, Marvin Othel, and Jimmi Lorraine, grandmother of their ten children and great-grandmother of their nine grandchildren.

Homegoing Services for Stacey Andrea Gordon

Stacy Andrea Gordon was the baby children of 12, born on November 10, 1963 to the late Adam and Susie Marie Hookfin Gordon. On March 8, 2015 she was called to her eternal resting place with our Lord and Saviour.

Stacy was raised in Kentwood, LA. She declared her faith of God at an early age, attending Orange Grove Church of God in Christ (COGIC). She later moved her membership to Emmanuel Church of God in Christ (COGIC) where she was an active and dedicated member. Stacy was involved in many auxiliaries, and formed a great passion for the choir and youth ministries.

She was educated in the Tangipahoa Parish School System and graduated from Kentwood High School. Stacy graduated from the Ruth Cook's Computer School. She became a para-professional at Kentwood Elementary School where she enjoyed working with children. Stacy was employed by Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court office. She enjoyed her job; bringing joy and laughter to the her co-worker until declining health led to retirement.

In 1987 Stacy married Jerry Bryant. To this union, daughters Jerrica and Kelsey Bryant were born. Besides these two lovely daughters, both of Kentwood, LA who cherish her memory, Stacy is survived by her four sister; Dorothy Daniel of Houston, TX, Mary A. Harrell of Amite, LA, Bettye J.
Jackson of San Leandro, CA and Sharon Gordon of Missouri City, TX and by her seven brothers; Willie Neal Gordon and Alvin Gordon both of Kentwood, LA, Nolan Gordon, Redger Gordon, Herman Gordon and Chris Gordon all of Houston, TX and Glen Patrick Gordon of Slidell, LA, and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, aunts, uncles and other family members.

Stacy is preceded in death by her parents, Adam and Susie Marie Gordon and her brother, Bobby Gordon. Stacy loved people and her humor brought light in many places. Her laughter will forever be remembered.

The Home Going Celebration for Mae Louise Miller

Mae Louise Miller
Mae Louise Miller was born August 24, 1943 to the late Cain Walls, Sr., and Lela Mae Holden Walls. She was married to Wallace Miller for twenty plus years. She accepted Christ early in her life and attended Orange Grove C.O.G.I.C., then she later joined Deliverance Temple C.O.G.I.C., She truly the Lord.

She was an inspiration to all she met and known for her big smile and caring spirit. Her most precious gift was her motherly love for all children. She also had an open door attitude for all who came to her home.

She traveled to several states on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement speaking and meeting notable people: Martin Luther King, III, Susan Taylor-editor of Essence magazine, the late Dr. Ron Walters, Dr. Ron Daniels, the late Min. Harold Muhammad, Dr. Leonard Dunston, and former Councilman Oliver Thomas.

She appeared in People's magazine (2007), Nightline News, and About Time magazine. She spoke on the Travis Smiley Radio Talk Show, Bev Smith Radio Talk Show, and FM 98 Radio Talk Show, Warren Ballentine Radio Show, and Nurturing Our Roots Television Talk Show with host and producer Antoinette Harrell.

She leaves to cherish her memories; 4 children-Terrine (Christopher) Steele, Burkhalter, Joe (Angela) Hill, Tausha' Steele; all of Kentwood, LA-Kerry (Tamika) Steele of Raleigh, NC; 5 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren, 2 sisters; Annie Miller and Idell Walls of Kentwood, LA; 2 brother; Arthur( Willie Mae) Walls of Varnado, LA and CW Walls of Kentwood, LA; a host of nieces and nephews whom she loved and help raise as her own children, other relatives and friends and a special cousin, Minnie Dillon.

She was preceded in death by her parents Cain Walls, Sr., and Lela Mae Walls, a sister; Ernestine Hills, and a brother Cain Walls, Jr.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home Going Service For Sister Bertha Vining Oden

Bertha Vining Oden was born on June 9, 1932 tot he late Monroe Vining and Louise Hill Vining in St. Helena Parish. God decided that he needed a beautiful flower to add to his garden so on the morning of September 29, 2015, he called her home where the sweet fragrance of her blossom could be enjoyed by Heaven's Host. Her family and all who knew her have been left with a vid caused by the pain of such a great loss of one who was so loving and dear to them, yet through it all we give thanks to God for having allowed us to share in a life that was beautiful and loving as her's.

Sister Bertha joined Little Bethel Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Willard Vernon. She later attended Butler A.M.E. Zion Church with her niece and great nieces, most recently during her time of illness, she insisted on going to New Hope Baptist Church with her great great nieces until she was hospitalized. Sister Bert leaves to cherish her precious memories: one sister, Mattie Butler of New Orleans, Louisiana; four children she read as her own, Latoya, Daniel and David Butler all of Amite, Louisiana; Kim Muyaka of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; five God-children, Fred Vining of Pontiac, Michigan, Carolyn Watts of San Diego, California, Tyrone Butler of New Orleans, Louisiana, Melvin Martin, Jr., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana., Bradley Nichols of Fort Drum, New York; great/caregiver whom she lived with Mertrell Butler of Amite, Louisiana; great niece, Sheila Addison and great-great nieces, Nikalya Battiste and Nicole Butler who also cared for her as she endured good and bad days; two uncles, Wesley and Charles Vining of New Orleans, Louisiana; one aunt, Betty Jean Nicholson of Houston, Texas. A host of sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Sister Bert was preceded in death by her husband, Allison Oden, Jr., her parents, Monroe and Louise Vining, six brothers: Adam, Vercey, Ercey, Johnny, Willie and Monore; four sisters, Georgia, Lillie, Ethel Mae and Ruby and a beloved niece and nephew, Dorothy Dell Addison and Raymond Vining.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Robert Zanders A Local Musician from Amite, Louisiana

Robert Zanders was born in Amite, Louisiana on December 28, 1910 to Robert and Beatrice Taylor Zanders. Robert was known throughout the Florida Parishes as a gifted musician and often played for various occasion throughout his lifetime.

The Late Leon McKnight, Sr.

Leon McKnight, Sr. was born in Tangipahoa, Louisiana. May 14, 1894, the son of John and Eliza McKnight. He came to Amite in 1928. He remained until his demise. He was a faithful member of Butler Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church.

The Angel of Death visited Bro. McKnight on Sunday, December 27, 1970, he was 76 years, 7 months and 13 days olds.

He leaves to mourn his passing, three daughters; Mrs. Viola Robertson of Hammond, Louisiana, Mrs. Edna Muse of Bogalusa, Louisiana, and Mrs. Katherine Burton of Kentwood, Louisiana; two sons; Wallace and Leon, Jr., Amite, Louisiana; four sisters, two brothers, thirteen grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends. Interment: Butler Cemetery.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

The Late Mrs. Audrey Robinson Curry

Audrey Robinson Curry
Mrs. Audrey Robinson Curry, the wife of Mr. George Curry, was born in Amite, Louisiana, June 21, 1918, the daughter of the late Horace and Virgie Pitts Robinson.

Mrs. Curry was employed by the Tangipahoa Parish School System, where she served as third grade teacher at Westside High School.

She received her formal training at Amite, Rosenwald, Dillon High and Grambling College. She was a member of the Tangipahoa Education Association.

Mrs. Curry was active in civic, social and religious activities. Her heart went out to Zeta Phi Beta and was an example of "Finer" womanhood which Zeta stands.

As a young woman, Audrey, as most of her friends knew her, and church members knew her, was a lovable and adorable person, given her time, talent and energy to her church activities. She was a devoted member of Grant's Chapel A.M.E. Church, where she spent most of her life working in various departments of the church. Mrs. Curry was a leader for the Y.P.W.W., Vice District President of Layman League, and did a great deal of mission work.

After Audrey's marriage to Mr. Curry, she resided in New Orleans, Louisiana and lived happily until her demise. Yet, she she and her mother were able to spend many pleasant hours together and with their friends.

She slipped away quietly in the still of the morning on Monday, September 30, 1968. Surviving Mrs. Curry are; are husband, Mr. George Curry, New Orleans, Louisiana, mother, Mrs. Vergie Robinson; brother, Mr. Johnnie Robinson, and three sister-in-laws, Mrs. Helen Robinson of Amite, La; six aunts, three uncles; one nephew and a host of other relatives.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

In Loving Memories of Delores B. McCormick

Delores Bush McCormick, 31 of 5114 Brooklyn was born June 3, 1943 in Independence, Louisiana. She passed away March 30, 1975. She was united in marriage to Mr. Samuel McCormick on June 1, 1969.

She was employed by the Kansas City Public School District, where she worked at Pasco High School since 1969 as a Vocational Business Teacher.

She was a member of Leonard Chapel A.M.E. Church in Amite, Louisiana. She later joined the Bethel A.M.E. Church on February 22, 1970, where she was a member of the Voices of Bethel Choir. She was member of Celestial Chapter No. 102, Order of Eastern Star, where she held a the post of Past Secretary;

She is survived by her husband, Mr. Samuel McCormick: her mother, Mrs. Vallera Bush; six brothers, Mrs. Charlie Bush, Jr., Mrs. Ray Bush., Mr. Hollis Bush, Sr., Mr. Harold Bush, Mr. George Bush, and the Mr. Amos Bush; and a host of other relatives and friends.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Shirley C. Temple Candidate for State Representative 1971

While reading the push card of candidate Shirley C. Temple for State Representative in 1971. It brings to mind,  today election with Osa Williams and Janice Holland running for the same seat today.

Shirley C. Temple was the wife of Collis Temple, Sr. of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

Children in the Sugar Cane Field in Amite, Louisiana

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

West Side School Marching Band Photographs

Photo Credit

The Collection of the Late Coltidle Aaron Zanders and the Late Deloris Levy.
Submitted to Preserving Our History in Tangipahoa &  St. Helena Parishes Blog and Nurturing Our Roots Educational Television Talk  Show by Rev. Raymond Foster, Sr.

A Photograph from Amite, Louisiana

Can anyone tell me who this lady and little boys is in this photograph? Please email me at

West Side School in Amite, Louisiana Before Integration

Photo Credit:
Mrs. Clotidle Zanders 
I came across these photographs in the collection of Mrs. Clotidle Zanders. If you are from the Amite, Louisiana., and know some of the people in the photographs, please contact me by email at

This photographs was taken at one of the homecoming games in Amite, Louisiana.