More than 300 years of history in St. Charles Parish is depicted in a new mural recently dedicated by the St. Charles Museum and Historical Association.
The 130-foot mural is located on the side of Cashio’s Food Villa, 13572 River Road, in Destrehan. According to the Historical Association, the site was selected because it is located in the “Mile of History” corridor, which runs from Van’s Lane to Destrehan Plantation.
Mural artist Hans Geist, of Gray, worked with the Historical Association members in deciding the placement of the scenes. From left to right, the scenes depict the Native Americans; the arrival of the explorers and Germans; Cajuns and hunting, trapping and fishing; the Louisiana Purchase; the 1811 Slave Revolt; sugar refining; Civil War; and public education, churches and industry. It ends with the last of the St. Charles ferries and the building of the Hale Boggs Bridge. Beneath the mural is a timeline that lists the dates for each scene.
“I love to drive by and see people pulled up in their cars, gazing at the mural and studying it. It’s a frequent sight, too,” association board member Marilyn Richoux said. “It makes me feel good that people are interested in the mural and our fascinating history.”
The goal of the St. Charles Museum and Historical Association is to promote preservation and the history of the parish. The Historical Association also has published a book on parish history titled “St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, a Pictorial History.”
Money raised from the sale of the book as well as small grants went to pay nearly $40,000 for the mural. There were logistical problems to overcome such as a gas line that had to be moved, a special frame created to hold the metal panels, a dumpster that was relocated, security cameras to be installed, landscaping to be completed and the installation of a dedication plaque. No public funds were used, according to board member and project chairwoman Betty Claudet.
Claudet said they are happy with the selection of Geist, who has created many murals in the Houma area. She said selecting the historic scenes to depict was not easy, as the mural shows the history of the entire parish, not just events that occurred in the Mile of History.
Other board members who assisted with the project include Harriet Williamson, Don Ellis, Collette Lottinger, Coy Landry, Sue Friloux, Rita Carlson and Joan Becnel.