One of the developers of Hammond, Charles Emery Cate, was recognized with a permanent exhibit of photos, writings and artifacts recently in Southeastern Louisiana University’s Sims Memorial Library.
“Charles Emery Cate was one of the most storied and important citizens in the early development of the city," Southeastern President John L. Crain said. "This exhibit demonstrates the alignment of the missions of Southeastern and the City of Hammond."
At the ribbon cutting ceremony were Suzanne Graham, Cate’s great-great-granddaughter, Emery Cate Reymond, his great-great-great-great-granddaughter, other members of the family and SLU officials.
The exhibit is in the Sims Library and is open to the public 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays.
“This is a special day for the Cate family,” Graham said. "This is what my mother wanted, and we are truly honored.”
Professor emeritus of history Howard C. Nichols addressed the group.
A native of New Hampshire, Cate came from a family engaged in brick-making and shoe manufacturing, Nichols said. In 1852, he moved to New Orleans and worked as a shoe salesman, later purchasing tracts of property and establishing a shoe manufacturing plant in what would later become the town of Hammond. Later, he would build a saw mill, a grist mill, leather cutting facility and other businesses.
Among the reminders of his influence on Hammond are the site of his first home, now Cate Square, and the Cate Teacher Education Center at SLU.
The exhibit demonstrates “only a fraction of what this man meant to Hammond,” said Leon Ford Chairman and professor of history Samuel C. Hyde, director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies.
Hyde oversaw the development of the exhibit and gave credit to the Cate family for its financial support and donation of materials and to the individuals at SLU who worked to make the exhibit a reality.