CROWLEY — A treasure has been saved in Crowley, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser said during a pronouncement Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the city's May Home being named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Originally the home of prominent African-American residents David and Jeanette Ross May, the home at 576 N. Western Ave. is now owned by the couple's student, Henry Clement, and his wife, Margarit. The Mays were pioneers in civic, educational and religious organizations who made their mark on the history of the state and even the nation.
"This is what Louisiana is all about," Nungesser said. "Small communities coming together with the love and passion they have for their community and saving a treasure. There's a reason why this community looks like it does. Look at Main Street. It's gorgeous. This is a great example that can be mirrored all over Louisiana to restore our culture, heritage and our history."
David May was one of the first African Americans elected to a city council in Louisiana and was the principal of both Henry Clay Ross elementary and high schools. He was invited by President John F. Kennedy to participate in the National Conference on Constitutional Rights and Freedoms and was named an honorary state senator in 1919 and president of the People's Investment Company of Crowley. He also organized and was first commander of American Legion Post No. 506.
Jeanette Ross May was a lifelong educator who entered Southern University High School at only 12 years old and received her bachelor's degree in teaching only two years after graduating high school. She taught history, English, algebra and music and also coached girls basketball, taught piano and was the Crowley school's first librarian.
"There's a lot of history and memories here," Henry Clement said. "I was raised up through here. Mrs. May was my teacher and she taught me math and science and music and this house became very important to me. We needed to do this because this house is one we need to remember."
Clement added that he wanted the home to be restored and preserved so it could be a symbol of the importance of education and dignity and a reminder of the contribution the Mays made to the city of Crowley.
The National Register of Historic Places is an official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that have been marked as worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register or located within a National Register Historic District may qualify for tax incentives for expenses to preserve the property.
The Clements bought the house in 2000 and have worked to restore and maintain it. The house being placed on the National Registry of Historic Places will help them continue preserving the property for years to come.
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