If Louisiana had a soundtrack, the emphatic blues would hold a special place in the discography. The board and volunteers of the West Feliciana Historical Society had this in mind when they decided to create a special exhibit honoring both the blues and the countless black artists from Louisiana who helped bring the art form to the global stage.
Notable blues artists from this area, such as Tabby Thomas, Henry Gray and Teddy Johnson, are the focus of the "Louisiana Blues: A Century of African-American Influence" exhibit that opened Feb. 22 during a wine and cheese reception at the West Feliciana Historical Society museum in St. Francisville.
Visitors and volunteers browsed the exhibit while live blues was played by a trio composed of Gordon Graham and the husband-and-wife duo of Joe and Nancy Roppolo. The event attracted local and regional interest.
The event and exhibit are projects of the historical society, said Susie Tully, president of the historical society board, a nonprofit group. Tully said the first exhibit linked to black history, the Dawson Exhibit that pays homage to early African-American educators, remains in place. "This exhibit will remain up at least until the end of March," she said.
Jeff Deal, museum curator, said the exhibit was meaningful and a joy to develop, so it is not likely to fade away anytime soon. "The Dawson and blues influence exhibits will eventually be put into a package and sent to other places," he said.
The group's website says the historical society has had a nearly 50-year impact on the culture and history of the area.
"The West Feliciana Historical Society was founded in 1969 to foster an awareness of local history in the belief that a communal sense of continuity and a common past can give hope for the future and help for the present," Elisabeth K. Dart said. "The certainty that a known past and a sense of place open the doors of the mind has guided its endeavors."
Museum director Helen Williams said the museum was moved into the current building, a former hardware store, in 1970. Part of the space housed the library.
For more information about the exhibit's schedule or hours of operation, visit westfelicianahistory.org or call Williams at (225) 635-6330.