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New Orleans, Louisiana – Metairie Cemetery – Lucien Napoleon Brunswig

26 Jul

Entrance Brunswig Mausoleum

Metairie Cemetery, in New Orleans, is one of those fascinating places that will capture your imagination even if you don’t have one!  The tombs are very interesting and many are great examples of various types of architecture, which always provides for a great cemetery visit.  On the other hand the tombs hold individuals and many of those individuals led distinguished and productive lives. Their stories are sometimes lost amongst the grand views of the tombs.

One of the most visited and photographed places in Metairie Cemetery stands near the rear of the older part of the cemetery.  The outstanding Egyptian influences of the Brunswig Mausoleum are very worthy of attention. The pyramid mausoleum  has attracted visitors for over a century.   A woman and a sphinx figure stand on either side of bronze gates that seal the tomb and they have been photographed a million times. Those figures have become synonymous with the tomb , but  what about the man that lends his name to this well known tomb – that man was Lucien Napoleon Brunswig.

Lucien Napoleon Brunswig was born in Montmedy, France, in 1854, and was educated at the  College of Etain. Apparently Brunswig thought his future lay in the United States and he came to the U.S. in 1871.  He found work as an apprentice to a U.S druggist. In 1875 Brunswig opened his own drug store in Atchison, Kansas. After a year of business he sold his drug store and moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

In Fort Worth Brunswig opened a new drug store that not only sold retail but also dealt with wholesale pharmaceuticals.  Within 5 years the business was producing $350,000 in annual sales.  Business took Lucien to many places and one of those places was Independence, Missouri.  There he met and married  Annie Mercer. The newly married couple made their home in Fort Worth and they soon added children.

In 1882, George Finlay, the owner of a well-established wholesale drug firm in New Orleans invited Brunswig to join him as a partner. Brunswig sold his Fort Worth business and joined Finlay in the firm of Finlay and Brunswig.  In 1885 Finlay died and Lucien Brunswig took over the entire wholesale drug firm which then became L. N. Brunswig and Company. In 1887 he took on a partner by the name of F.W. Braun.

Lucien and Annie had 5 children – 3 girls and 2 boys.  The year of 1892 became a pivotal year for Lucien N. Brunswig.  That year marked the death of one of his young sons – a son who also bore the name of Lucien N. Brunswig.  This death was a terrible blow to Annie Brunswig.  The child’s death was too much for her to handle.  She declined in health and within a month she too was dead.

Lucien Brunswig moved on with life. Prior to the death of his wife and child Brunswig had been looking toward the west.  In 1887 Braun was dispatched to Los Angeles, California, and within a year a prosperous business was established.  In 1890, while Brunswig was still in New Orleans, he sent Braun to San Diego to set up a branch office.  In short order another prosperous branch office was operating under the name of F.W. Braun.

Braun believed that the future of his company was in the west.  In 1903 Brunswig, and his family, which included his second wife and another child, moved to Los Angeles so he could preside over the company.  In 1907 Bruswig bought out Braun and the business was renamed Brunswig Drug Company.  At this time he also sold his company in New Orleans.

Established in Los Angeles the Brunswig Drug Company grew at a phenomenal rate.  The company became the leading pharmaceutical distributor in the western U.S.   The company also eventually expanded to many countries in the Pacific realm.  His company also took on new products such as cosmetics.  The business would boom during World War 1 due to its geographical location.

In 1917 Brunswig found himself too old for military service in World War 1 as he was 63.  Still he went to his native France and served 8 months for the “Friends of France.”  On his return from France he continued to be involved with helping those that had been impacted by the war.  This was just the tip of the iceberg in his service to his local community and to his country and to his homeland.  While in Los Angeles Brunswig served as Director,  Bureau of Americanization; Director of a number of Franco-American Relief Societies during World War 1; Chairman, Pacific Coast States American Field Ambulance Service; Chairman, Pacific Coast, Fatherless Children of France;  Chairman, American Committee for Devastated France; President, Alliance Francaise;  President, Lafayette Society of California; Delegated by the Minister of Public Instruction in France to co-operate in the scholarships for young French students to American Universities and Colleges; Director of the College des Etats Unis, in Paris; and he served as Chairman for the Sunshine Houses of France for the U.S.A.

While he lived in New Orleans he served as a Police Commissioner in New Orleans from 1895-1899; Vice-president, Anthenee Louisianais; Member, Louisiana Historical Society; President, French Society; and served as Vice-President for the Board of Trade.

While in Los Angeles he also co founded the Pharmacy Department at the University of Southern California.  He traveled extensively in Europe and to other places in the world.  While traveling he amassed a personal library of over 6,000 volumes.  Some of these were original transcripts obtained from monasteries in Europe and he even collected an original transcript from William Penn.  Brunswig donated over 1,000 volumes from his collection to the University of Southern California.

Lucien Napoleon Brunswig died in 1943 and his body was interred in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. But what happened to his Drug Company?  In 1969 Brunswig Drug Company merged with Bergen Drug Company to form Bergen-Brunswig.  This company in turn merged with the AmeriSource Health Corporation in 2001 to from AmerisourceBergen.  Last year AmerisourceBergen ranked 24th on the Fortune 500 list and employed 10,000 employees.  Sales for the Corporation were $78 billion.  What a testament to Mr. Brunswig!

Today we marvel at the structure in which Lucien N. Brunswig is interred but very few of us know anything at all about his life.  Indeed the tomb now houses his body but no tomb could ever house his accomplishments in business nor his service to his fellow man.  The next time I am in Metairie Cemetery I will make a point to visit the tomb of Lucien Napoleon Brunswig.  This time I will not go to view his tomb but rather to pay my respects to his life.  What a man!

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Arabi, Louisiana -The LeBeau House

19 Jul

The LeBeau House - Old Plantation Home in Arabi, Louisiana.

No matter how much I learn about the New Orleans area there is always something “new” to stumble upon.  A year or so ago I was looking at some photographs and saw one of a very interesting old home.  One cold tell it was very grand in its day but the years had taken a toll.  I was shocked to find that the “house” was in Arabi, just a few miles from downtown New Orleans.  The old home that I saw in the pictures, and which I later visited, is called the LeBeau House.  As with many old homes around New Orleans the LeBeau House has an interesting history – but it is hard to tell fact from fiction.

I paid a visit to the house back in the Spring and took pictures. While there I did not get the feeling that the place was haunted but then again the house has been fenced and boarded up.  A boarded house is sad.  It seems the windows to a house are much like the eyes of a person.  The expression of the windows can say a lot about a place but when they are sealed the mind has a hard time going beyond the plywood or planks. Here is a brief history of the house:

Francoise Barthelemy LeBeau purchased the property  in 1851 and soon after began construction of this home.  The home was completed in 1854 and a few months later Mr. LeBeau died.  That is a sad story but one befitting of a place like the LeBeau House.  What better way to start a story that will last for generations!  For the next 50 or so years the house remained in the family but in 1905 it was purchased from the family and it became a gambling center named Friscoville.  During this time it was operated as the “Friscoville Hotel.”  In 1928 the house was purchased by another group.  Legal gambling was on the decline but the house lived on and was used as an illegal casino known as the “Cadone Hotel.”  It served too as a boarding house for casino dealers.  Since the late 1930s the house has seen little use and time and wear and vandalism have scarred the once grand house.  Now the above gives an outline of the history of the house but there is more.  Much more!

A house as old as the LeBeau House and in the New Orleans area has to be haunted.  As I mentioned when I visited I did not feel that the place was haunted but Indeed the LeBeau House is the focal point of many local ghost stories.  Legend has it that the LeBeau family had a history of mistreating slaves that worked the plantation.  Sometimes punishment resulted in death and the dead slaves were buried in the adjoining fields.  That wasn’t a good move as the departed slaves began to find their way to the home and they began to haunt and to torment the LeBeau family.  One by one members of the LeBeau family succumbed to insanity.  It is reported that two LeBeau family members hanged themselves on the second floor of the home.  There are also stories of other types of strange and ghostly behavior but one of the stories comes from as recent as the 1970s.  The home was rented at that time, and one of the occupants, a little girl, was thrown from a window of the fourth floor cupola.  She was thrown from the cupola but not by human hands.  Since then the place has not seen human occupation.

More information about the LeBeau House can be found in local books and libraries and even some old photos are in the Historic New Orleans Collection.  As per taking photos, or visiting, the home is easily seen – if you can get to Arabi or Chalmette you can certainly get to the LeBeau House.

Jeanerette, Louisiana. LeJeune’s Bakery

6 Jan

The Flashing Red Light Alerts Customers That Hot Fresh French Bread is Available At LeJeune's Bakery.

Have you ever had a taste for something and you could not be satisfied until you had whatever it was that you were craving?  Every once in a while I get a craving, or taste, for gingerbread.  If it can’t be had at home how nice it is to run upon a bakery that bakes their own and to get a large piece, along with a cup of coffee, and sit there and enjoy every bite.  Not to mention the smell of freshly baked gingerbread.

A few weeks ago I had to satisfy a gingerbread craving and so I headed off down Bayou Teche to Jeanerette, Louisiana.  Recently I have seen a lot of references to LeJeune’s Bakery and to their famous Ginger Cake.  Every time I hear or see a reference to LeJeune’s the gingerbread cravings start.  Now I have passed the bakery a number of times but have never paid attention to the bakery and I can’t say why.  Well, that situation had to change.  As I drove past the harvested fields of sugarcane I could taste freshly baked gingerbread.

The ride was long. The day was gray and rain was threatening.  Every slow poke along the bayou was on the road that day.  Although long (time wise) the ride was enjoyable.  First on the bayou was Breaux Bridge.  My wife was driving but I was giving directions based upon my faded memory. Slow was the word for the day as many cars and pickup trucks were on the road and all seemed to be out just to enjoy the ride – a slow ride at that. We also passed through Parks, St. Martinville and New Iberia. As we approached Jeanerette the  gingerbread in my mind started to smell and taste delicious.  How nice it would be to sit and munch on some with a nice cup of coffee on such a cool and bleak day.  Soon the time began to be a concern and I was afraid that we would not make it to Jeanerette before the bakery closed.

Late in the afternoon we arrived in Jeanerette.  All we had to do was stay on main street until we got to the bakery.  Pretty soon we arrived and there was not a parked car in sight.   Closed I thought!  Well we parked and I walked up to the front of the building that housed the bakery.  There were some Christmas decorations in the small windows but look as hard as I could I could not see a counter or booths  and worst of all no gingerbread!  The place didn’t even look like it was in business.  There was a lighted sign out front which added to the confusion.  Then I saw a small sign that said “Use Side Entrance.”  Quickly I walked to the side of the building and found a door open!  I walked in and figured I was in the right place because there were pallets of LeJeune’s Ginger Cake stacked everywhere.  There were stacks of bags of flour, a half a crate of sweet potatoes, and a small counter with a cash register.  The counter had a basket of Hubig’s Pies and some LeJeune’s Sweet Potato Pie or Bread. That explained the sweet potatoes!

To the right was what was the front of the building and it was closed off and used for storage but to the left was the place where everything was baked.  In fact a fresh batch of french bread had just been baked.  Finally we caught the eye of an employee and he waited on use.  He was very nice and helpful and answered all of our questions.

I can’t tell you how disappointing it was to find out that LeJeune’s basically only baked for commercial purposes and so there was no coffee nor a table at which to sit and enjoy the ginger cake.  Maybe I had not paid close attention to all that I had seen about LeJeune’s.  How could I miss the fact that there would be no freshly baked gingerbread waiting for me when I arrived?  So, I bought a hand full of ginger cakes and a couple of loaves of the hot freshly baked french bread that was just out of the oven.

All of a sudden a couple of men entered the place and asked for some french bread.  Well, soon we were not the only customers.  As I stepped outside a few more cars pulled up to the side entrance.  When I walked back around to the front of the building I could see why customers were arriving.  There was now a flashing red light alerting the locals that fresh hot french bread was available.  Now I have seen such lights to alert people that hot doughnuts were available but this was the first time I had ever seen a light to let people know the french bread was ready.  Soon more customers arrived and they each pulled to the side entrance and entered there.  They knew were to go!

While there I forgot to ask the fellow that waited on us how LeJeune was pronounced down the bayou.  In some places an R is inserted into the name to make it sound as LeJurne.  Well, that question will have to asked the next time I pass down the bayou.  The rain was falling and the sky was very dark as we started back up the bayou on our way home.  We snacked on warm french bread and ginger cake as the rain started to pound the windshield.  The french bread was delicious and the ginger cake was okay.  Certainly not the fresh gingerbread I had envisioned.  In fact it tasted the same as the LeJune’s Ginger Cake that I can buy at the store that is about one mile from my house!  From now own I will be content to purchase it there and if I want it hot I will pop it in the microwave!  http://www.lejeunesbakery.com/legacy.html

New Orleans, Louisiana – Garden District – E. Burton White, Jr. House

1 Dec

At one time this house was known as the E. Burton White Jr. home. It is located in the historic Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Garden District has a very interesting history and it is always a pleasure to learn more about this historic and unique treasure.  It is always a pleasure to stroll this area of town and to photograph the beautiful homes and yards. It is as much park like as it is residential.

New Orleans is a very historic city and the Garden District certainly contributes to that designation. Because of the old system of filing many legal transactions by the notary it can be challenging to discover the important things about a structure or about a person.   I think that most of the homes in the Garden District have stories to tell and it is always interesting to know some of the history.  If one sees a beautiful home it feels good to know the name, if it has one, or maybe the families that have lived there.

I’m not interested in a detailed history of most homes but I always like to know a little information about any building that I photograph. I have purchased several books on the Garden District, and New Orleans, but even with those it is difficult to learn the history of one of the homes.  Somehow I discovered that one of the beautiful homes, in the Garden District, that I had photographed was called “The White House.”  It could be called something else these days or in times past but there is a description of this home in “The Great Days of the Garden District,” by Martha and Ray Samuel. The information was published by “The Parent’s League of the Louise S. McGehee School.” In this booklet the structure is referred to as the “E. Burton White, Jr. House.”  So the home is/was known for one of its owners – not the color of the house.

E. Burton White, Jr. appears to have been a medical doctor in New Orleans.  I have found information on him by doing searches on the Internet.  From what I have found he is now deceased but I have found other sources that do not make this clear.  At the time that the Garden District book was written Dr. White was the owner and resident of the house. The “White House” which is not the color white is good enough for me.

The above publication says that records of 1877 show the house advertised as a “raised cottage facing Chestnut Street.”  In 1878 a renovation took place in which the entry of the home was moved to First Street and the cottage was raised even higher. A new first story was constructed and the old first floor was moved to the second story and a new facade was constructed.  Bays were added to both floors.

The original construction of this structure is believed to have taken place in 1849. It was a typical Louisiana cottage with a gallery across the front, having a wide center hall with two large rooms, on either side, and two additional bedrooms in the “attic like” second floor.

Sometime after the 1878 renovation the house was converted into three apartments. When the publication was printed in was stated that the present owners were in the process of converting the structure back to a single family dwelling.

Today the home is a beautiful structure that adds its character to the Garden District.  It is hard to picture this home being located anywhere else! Oh, if you have a few million bucks to spare you can purchase this house – it is for sale. It has five bedrooms and five baths and is 6,751 square ft. in size.

Lacombe, Louisiana – All Saint’s Day – La Toussaint

10 Nov

Cleaned and Painted Graves, Flowers, and Candles are All Part of the All Saint's Day Observance in Cemeteries in Lacombe, Louisiana

Louisiana is a place of contradictions – or at least it may appear that way to the outsider.  Many of us that live here even have a hard time figuring it all out but as time goes on we learn.  The great river, The Mississippi River, has sculpted and shaped our landscape but is also responsible for shaping our culture and even our lives.  The river brought many cultures together along its banks.  These diverse cultures found a way to live together and to create a unique common culture.  This blended culture at times appears to be contradictory in many respects but in fact it is the glue that keeps us together.

In Louisiana we have a hedonistic celebration called Mardi Gras but then we also have observances that I would classify as very spiritual. New Orleans, and south Louisiana, have become the cradle of Mardi Gras but this location is also famous for its All Saint’s Day observance.  Louisiana is a very spiritual place and these roots run deep among most of the cultures that call this place home.  So, many people and cultures that have come to this place have seen their customs and traditions blended over time.  Many of those cultural traditions are expressed through religious venues.

A religious tradition associated with south Louisiana is the observance of All Saint’s Day.  November 1st finds many cemeteries clean and sparkling and filled with beautiful flowers and with people.  Some communities even have night-time observances, with the lighting of candles, in their cemeteries.

Priests Prepare to Bless the Graves

In the community of Lacombe, Louisiana, the newly cleaned and painted and whitewashed tombs welcome visitors on the first of November.  Most of the graves have also been decorated with lovely flowers and other expressions of love.  However, as dusk approaches more solemnity comes over the people and it is not long before the priests are there with robes and water and are walking through the cemetery blessing the graves.  After the procession of the priests through the rows of pretty graves it is time for the candles. White candles are placed around most of the graves and are lit.  As evening and night become established the cemeteries take on a beautiful glow from the many candles.  Children, usually relatives of the deceased, hurry to light the candles at some plots.  At others it is more of a ritual.

Although many of those that come to the cemeteries on November 1 are observers, the occasion is for the living family members that have relatives buried there.  They perform their rituals, or observances, and it matters not if people are there to watch.  What is done is between the relatives, the living and the dead, others are welcome to watch but those participating pay them little mind until the proper time.

At LaFontaine Cemetery, in Lacombe, the relatives of the dead tell the stories of their family members that have died.  They relate the hardships and joys that their families have experienced through the generations.  They young children listen intently.  The children also have participated in preparing for this day and they look eager to help when the candle lighting starts.  In a few years some of them will be standing where their parents and grandparents are now standing and telling the same stories about their families.  They will become the guardians of a great tradition and of family knowledge.  It is a wonderful thing to see those that are living honor the lives of those that have died.

Woman Relates Family History, and Some Personal Notes, About Her Relatives in LaFiontaine Cemetery in Lacombe, Louisiana

I guess in some respects many people think that this night is an observance of the dead.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The night is to honor and to remember the lives of family members that have departed – what a great way to honor the memory or relatives and to pass on that memory and respect to future generations.   Those in attendance, just to observe, learn of the things that are important to the families from this region.  Things like what brought their relatives to this place, and the hardships and triumphs that the family has faced.  After listening to many stories and looking at the decorated graves it seems somewhat odd to me that World War 2 has now become a part of the past.  It was so real to my generation.  Many of the graves have pictures of the deceased placed on them and the pictures are of soldiers that are wearing the uniforms of the  United States Military.

Many of the men and women in the cemeteries served in the United States armed forces and all seem to have been honored to serve and many are still honored for their service on this occasion.   If one listens carefully they will understand that most that came to this place had different backgrounds and cultures.  However, they blended into one culture over time but at the same time retained elements of their own family’s cultural heritage.

The cultural heritage of south Louisiana is unique in many respects.  The Mississippi River attracted people from all over the world yet the people lived among each other.  In New Orleans there weren’t strictly Italian neighborhoods, or German neighborhoods, or French neighborhoods among the immigrants.  They lived among each other. There was a gradual blending of the cultures but at the same time families of different cultures maintained some of their own cultural expressions.  There was cultural give and take.  That explanation is a little simplistic and leaves out the problems and hardships that took place among different groups but in the end it resulted in a common blended  culture, sort of like a gumbo, with all the ingredients mixed but at the same time separate.  In a good seafood gumbo the oysters and shrimp and the crabs all retain their distinct identify but they are in that gumbo together.

Both Flat and Tapered Candles Adorn This Grave

The observance of All Saints has changed down through the years.  I have read and heard stories of how great and important the observance was in New Orleans and yet I am not sure what goes on during All Saints in the city these days.  The lighting of candles, in New Orleans, has been forbidden because of the threat of fire.  At one time it was a great religious and social tradition.  So many people were going to the cemeteries that vendors offered special foods and treats and had carts outside many of the cemeteries. Women gathered and prayed and talked and of course there was plenty of peer pressure to keep the family cemetery plot clean and decorated.

A Cleaned and Decorated Plot is Ready for a Night of Candle Light

In the region around New Orleans, and in French influenced areas, All Saints is also called Le Toussaint.  Le Toussaint and/or All Saints has been observed in Louisiana for over 200 years.  It is still with us.  Much of the drama and the tremendous throngs of people in the cemetery has slipped into the past.  In New Orleans it was not uncommon to have thousands of people in one cemetery.  In Lacombe the crowds in some of the cemeteries may approach 100. In the areas outside of Lacombe there are tens or maybe dozens of people. Small scale stuff compared to the past. I have to remind myself that this is an important family observance for the local people and not for me – the outsider. This observance would take place regardless if outsiders attended or not.

Although All Saint’s Day is not the social occasion that it once was in south Louisiana it is still an important ritual and observance.  In my opinion the candle lighting will go on for more generations in Lacombe and other areas around the state.  Mums will continue to decorate many graves on November 1st.  As mentioned earlier many things in Louisiana are spiritual in nature and that spirit is alive and well for the time being in Lacombe, Louisiana.

Amite, Louisiana – Tangipahoa Parish Fair

4 Oct
 

 

An Exposure of Several Seconds Helped Make the Ferris Wheel and Another Ride a Wondrous Pattern of Lights

It has been over 25 years since I had attended any portion of the Tangipahoa Parish Fair.  Every year I attended, all the way through high school.  Going back was somewhat of a surprise.  My original intention was to photograph the livestock – the back bone of fairs when I was younger.  The only livestock on exhibit happened to be poultry.

Good Things to Eat Everywhere!

Now there was plenty of food.  Funnel Cakes, Blooming Onions, Large Corn Dogs, Popcorn and of course the traditional Cotton Candy and Candied Apples.  A fair is not a fair without a good candy apple or cotton candy stuck in your hair one your hands and all over your face.

Cotton Candy Was Being Sold Faster Than She Could Make It!

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Lots of lines at the food booths and not many people at the game booths.  It was just the opposite when I was younger.  We couldn’t afford to eat all the food and all they  had available were hamburgers and hot dogs.  Nachos had not even made the scene yet.  We would crowd the game booths even though we weren’t playing to see if anyone actually could win a large teddy bear.

Plenty of Temptation for Those Wanting to Win a Large Prize

It was fun though.  There was a cowboy shootout in the Pioneer Village and plenty of rides to make one sick.  Pans of squeezed sugarcane juice were being cooked and reduced to syrup too.

Top Gun Shoot Out at the Pioneer Village

There were a number of scary rides and that is where the lines were.  Not much of the tame stuff – one had to be scared to death or throw up in order to get their monies worth.

The Sizzler Runs So Fast One Can't See the Carts Full of Kids On a Timed Exposure. The Streaks of Light Were Made By Lights on the Side of the Carts As They Raced By

But I came for pictures and found plenty.  The press of the crowd was terrific but everyone was in a good mood and polite.  The weather was much cooler than in previous days – a good time for all at a good time of the year.

Jackson, Louisiana – Old Centenary College

14 Sep

The West Wing Dormitory of Old Centenary College in Jackson, Louisiana.

The towns of Jackson, Clinton, and St. Francisville no longer reflect their past glory but still there are many clues to that heritage that can be found in both East and West Feliciana Parishes.  Thankfully the residents of these small towns have pride in their heritage and have taken the lead to preserve those elements that have linked each generation of people who have lived there.

One of the most enduring structures is the west wing dormitory of Old Centenary College  in Jackson, Louisiana.  Many that grew up in the recent past near Jackson may remember this structure as an old ghostly looking building.  It was the old spooky building out by the baseball fields.  Today it has been restored to its 1837 condition.

The west wing dormitory is all that survives of the original 3 room educational complex  There was an east wing dormitory and a magnificent center building in which classes were held.

The main or center building and the east wing dormitory have been lost to time.  The remaining west wing dormitory is two stories high and one room deep with a free-standing colonnade encompassing the long south front and east and west ends.  The second story rooms are reached by means of a continuous balcony with three sets of exterior stars along the front.

The college first began as the College of Louisiana in 1937 but it came into the hands of a Methodist College in 1845.  Centenary College, previously located in Mississippi, moved to the grounds in 1845.  Centenary had been founded in Mississippi in 1839 on the 100th anniversary (or centenary) of the founding of the Methodist society by John Wesley.

Centenary grew rapidly and reached its peak enrollment of 260 just prior to the Civil War. The war not only took all of the students but it also took a toll on the buildings and grounds.  After the war Centenary was in constant repair and the student body did not regain its previous numbers. Jackson could not regain its former vitality. The college survived until 1900 when at that time a new home was sought.  A 40 acre site in Shreveport was offered and in 1906 Centenary moved to its present location.

After the college’s departure, the campus sat unused for fifteen years. In the mid 1920s it was used as a tuberculosis hospital. But by 1935, the campus was in a state of extreme disrepair, and on the brink of condemnation. The three buildings had three different owners, two of whom chose to sell the rights for demolition. The East Wing and Center Building were both demolished, and the salvageable materials from them sold for scrap. There were many buildings constructed in that time from Jackson to New Orleans whose materials included those of the Main Academic Building.

The West Wing remained standing because its owners had come up with a way to make it far more lucrative than just knocking it down. From 1938 to 1965, the West Wing Dormitory was low-income housing. The campus itself was used as a trailer park. To this day, there are visible remnants of the residences that were there during that time.

In the 1970s, the only use the campus saw was a baseball field, which happened to be on the site of the College’s baseball field more than 80 years earlier. In 1977, not long before it was to be demolished, the West Wing was saved due to the efforts of many influential citizens in and around Jackson. The State of Louisiana purchased and restored the West Wing, Professor’s Cottage, and surrounding 43 acres. The West Wing was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and Centenary State Historic Site was born.