Jodie in 1970 – A First Date

Jodie Landry circa 1970

I thought I’d write a story about my sister Jodie since today is her birthday.  She was born 68 years ago today, but only lived for 36 years.  When I realized that it was her birthday, I decided to write a post about her.  I then remembered this photo that I had worked on a few weeks ago.  It’s a fun photo of her from 1970 and it brings up so many memories for me.

It’s a photo of her playing the guitar in the den of our house at 758 Lucy Street in Jennings, Louisiana.  The guitar was my dad’s and it usually would hang on the back wall next to the ukulele that you can see behind her.  She’s sitting on a rattan chair that we had back then.  On the other side of the room was a matching couch.  In the middle of the room was the pool table, which you can see the edge of in the photo.

It was around this time that things were changing in the Landry household.  Before this time, the family consisted of Bob, Betty (nee Bucklin), Jodie, Rob, Karen, Al, Van (me), and Jamie Landry.  We all lived together in a three bedroom house with one small bathroom.  Around this time we started to accept others into our circle.  Mainly I was thinking about Jodie’s boyfriend at the time.  She started dating him sometime around her junior year in high school.  I call this post “A First Date” because I remember her first date with him.  But I don’t think it was her first date ever.  Since her boyfriend at the time is still alive and I don’t have permission to identify him, I’ll just refer to him as FD (First Date).

Let me set up the scene.  Before this first date occurred with FD, there had been a thunderstorm or heavy rain in the area.  The only reason I know that is because of what happened when we had heavy rains on our street.  We had a ditch across the front of the yard and it would be full of water after a rain.  So I used to go out and play in the ditch and catch little crawfish.  I had two hard, clear plastic containers that we had gotten at Christmas time.  They were just the packaging for gyroscopes that Al and I had bought each other without the other one knowing about it.  They worked perfectly for keeping crawfish.  So I had a few crawfish in  the two containers and I left them at the end of the sidewalk at our house.  The sidewalk was from the front door to about six feet from the edge of the road.

This was on the day of the first date.  I must have known about it because Jodie was getting ready for it and we all knew what was going on in our house.  So FD came to our house to pick up Jodie.  He must have come in the house and talked to my parents.  Then he walked Jodie out of the house through the side door.  At least that’s what I picture now.  And then something got into me to say something encouraging to the departing couple.  So I opened the front door, leaned out, and shouted, “Y’all kiss!”

I never really knew what Jodie or FD thought about this.  I’m sure my sister was somewhat embarrassed that her bratty younger brother would do such a thing.  I probably thought it was funny at the time, and it still makes me laugh to this day.  Maybe it helped them break the ice if there was any ice occurring.  Funnily enough, it didn’t scare him away.  I would think it would be intimidating to meet a family of eight people who are a tight knit family that aren’t used to “intruders.”  Maybe he didn’t see it that way.  We weren’t scary people, after all.

Anyway, at the end of the first date I wasn’t there to grill them or inquire about details.  I was probably asleep in bed or something.  So I woke up the next morning and decided to go check up on my crawfish.  Can you imagine my disappointment when I discovered that they were gone?  Gone!  And the containers that they had been kept in were broken!  Why would someone do such a horrible thing to a young innocent boy in the small town of Jennings?  It was criminal!

I went and told my mom about it and she let me know that it wasn’t done maliciously.  When FD had brought Jodie home from their first date, he walked her from his car to the house on the sidewalk.  And we all know what was sitting at the end of the sidewalk – my crawfish.  He didn’t see them in the dark and stepped on them and sent my crawfish scattering.  At least that’s what I’ve always told myself.  I never looked too closely to see if there were any little carcasses from any injured crawfish trying to crawl to safety.   So the crawfish fled back to their little crawfish families and I got over the loss of their company.

So Jodie and FD started dating and I think he may have even taken this photo.  He was a guitar player and a singer, so he got along well with the rest of us.  I remember a lot of singing, fishing, and making ice cream with the family during that time.  It was the first step in the move to a wider family group.  They didn’t stay together, but it was the start of a change that led to brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and more.

Mee Maw Enjoying Her Grandchildren

I was planning on posting a different photo today.  I had thought that I would follow up on a topic that I started a while back.  I was thinking I would post a photo of Mee Maw giving one of her grandchildren a haircut.  I posted a photo of my other grandmother cutting someone’s hair a while back and thought I’d show off Mee Maw’s skills as well.  But when I was going through the photos to find that other photo, I found this one.  I tried to be disciplined, so I found the photo of the hair-styling session.  But it didn’t speak to me. 

My paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry was known by her grandchildren as Mee Maw. Her she is with some of her grandchildren around 1956.

But this one did.  So that’s what I’m going with.  It’s a photo from the Secret Collection.  I estimate it to be from around 1956 based on the apparent ages of the cousins that I can recognize.   One of the main reasons I posted this photo is because of the nice smile on Mee Maw’s face.  She looks so happy to be surrounded by all of her young grandchildren and their friends.  It looks to be somebody’s birthday party.

I can’t even tell whose birthday party it might be.  My cousin Douglas Winn is in the center at the front of the table.  Since the photo came from his family, it’s highly likely that it was his birthday.  Yet the cake (I think that is a cake!) is front of another cousin Mark Reeves on the left with the blonde hair.  He is also under the festive balloons.   Whatever the occasion, it looks like they are having a wonderful time.

Cousin Hubey Landry is on the left in the doorway.  He’s got a big smile.  Of course reigning over all of the cousins is the First.  She had to stand on a chair to make sure her prominence was unmistakable!  That would be my cousin and godmother Shirley Landry (now Shaw) with her hands firmly planted on her hips.  That other girl looks like she’s trying to garner some of the attention with a sassy and flamboyant stance.  This might be cousin Daphne Winn (now Morton), though I don’t associate that attitude with her.  It looks like a Paula Raley attitude, but this was way before her time and it doesn’t look like her.

The other cousin that I can identify is Dennis Landry who is sitting in the welcoming lap of our dear Mee Maw.  Wasn’t he the fortunate one!  I know that some of the other children in the photo are definitely friends, though there may be another cousin or two in there.  Is that Patricia Duffy (now Rauser) next to Mark?  I’m sure I’ll get some more information from the First or another of my cousins.  They help us young ones in our quest for older family history.

Sept. 24, 2021 – Follow-up

Two more cousins have been identified with the help of the cousins.  The two children on the left edge of the photo are Daphne Winn and Kenny Landry.  It also was agreed that the event is most likely Douglas Winn’s birthday party.

The Landrys at Hodges Gardens in 1967

One of my sister Jodie’s good friends from back in the day shared an old photo that I had posted a few years ago.  It was a photo from 1967 of the Northside Jr. High School band party that my dad held at our house every year.  Those were lots of fun when we were young and we could hang around all those older kids.  My mom would make cookies and other snacks, and there were games to play and people to talk to.  The picture from 1967 was really good, but I had cleaned it up and enhanced it since I had originally posted it.  So I went back to my 1960s photo folder and found the new and improved version and shared it.

Jodie, Karen, Al, Rob, Van, and Jamie Landry at Hodges Gardens (south of Many, Louisiana) in May of 1967.

But when I was looking for that band party photo, I came across this photo from the same year.  I had cleaned it up and enhanced it around the same time.  It’s such a great photo of the Landry kids when we really were kids.  And it’s in living color.

Now let me tell you who we all are.  First off, we were the six children of Robert Joseph “Bob” Landry, Jr. and Betty Lou Bucklin Landry.  Starting on the left, we have Jodie who was the oldest.  She had just become a teenager the past October.  She would be starting high school at Jennings High School later in the year.  Next in the photo is Karen, who is the only one out of order as related to birth order.  She was the third child and younger than Rob, my oldest brother.  He’s the tallest one in the photo, but he didn’t stay the tallest for much longer.  You can see his face even though Al is standing in front of him.  That would change.  Al ended up being the tallest of us all (including our father).

And next in line is me.  My name is Van and I’m the cute little boy in front with the striped shirt.  When I was this age, my mom always said that I was supposed to end up being the tallest.  It was some scientific truth or something.  They measure children at birth and compare it to their size at two years old and then predict their ultimate height.  I was supposed to be 6’4″ tall.  I never liked the sound of that, so I decided to stop at 6’0″.  And I did.  Mind over science wins every time!  I never minded that I was the shortest brother.  Plus I knew that Rob wouldn’t have been happy if both of his younger brothers would look down on him.  It’s the least that I could do.

The Landry kids standing in front of the Country Squire car. It was the perfect car for a family of eight. My mom (Betty Lou Bucklin Landry) is sitting in the driver’s seat of the car.

Speaking of not being happy, that brings us to Jamie.  She looks a bit sad.  This must have been her blue period.  It started the previous Christmas and looks to have continued to this point.  Looking at subsequent photos, she seems to have recovered. But she looks unhappy in both of the photos.  She was the youngest of the six kids and there was less than nine years separating Jodie and Jamie.

I had to post this second photo because it has the old wood-panel station wagon that we had during this period.  Even though my mom is shown in the driver’s seat, she wasn’t the one driving.  She didn’t learn to drive until she was 36, which was about two years later.  I remember sitting in the back seat of that car with Jamie when a woman named Mrs. Langley taught my mom to drive.

These photos were taken at Hodges Gardens.  I always remembered it being in Many, Louisiana.  I looked it up and it is actually in Sabine Parish about 15 miles south of Many.  There were lots of rose bushes and other flowering plants on the grounds.  It was closed a few years ago after spending a few years as a state park.

But our family went there when it was a relatively new place with lots of flowers around.  Good memories.

Pluto and Betty Lou: The Prequel

Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. and Betty Lou Bucklin in June of 1952 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I had another topic that I was thinking about writing tonight, but when I sat down to start, I changed my mind.  I decided to find something from the time when my parents were together but not married.  There aren’t many photos from that period, because they didn’t have an extended engagement.  Comparing that short time to the 64 years that they spent together explains why most of their photos together were taken after they were married.

Before they were married, my dad was known as Pluto Landry and my mom was known as Betty Lou Bucklin.  But after they were married, it seems that people usually referred to them as Bob and Betty.  Even when referring to each other, my dad would call her Betty and my mom would call him Bob.  Of course when they were talking to each other, they called each other Honey.

So the prequel to Bob and Betty is the story of Pluto and Betty Lou.  I’ve mentioned previously that they first met in 1950 when my mom went to a Solo and Ensemble Music Festival at LSU in Baton Rouge.  She was looking for the right building to go to, and he was a student there in the band and he was more than willing to help that pretty young baritone player from Hathaway find her way.

Daddy was studying music education at LSU, but then McNeese went from a junior college to a four year college.  So he went back to school in his hometown of Lake Charles to get his bachelor’s degree.  He was the first music student to give a senior recital and he was in the first graduating commencement at McNeese State College on May 26, 1952.

But his senior year of college was a special one.  Betty Lou Bucklin graduated from Hathaway High School in 1951 and she decided to attend McNeese as well.  And since both of them were in band and played the baritone, it was inevitable that they would meet.  Of course my dad had seen a list of the new band members and recognized my mom’s name and made sure to speak to her sooner rather than later!  It wasn’t long before they went on their first date.

I found out a few details about that first date after I posted a story a while back.  I mentioned the name of Harvey Prejean, who was a friend of my dad’s from high school.  Come to find out. my mom and dad’s first date was on a double date with Harvey.  It also happened to be the first time both my mom or dad ever ate pizza.  That sounds like such a commonplace food to eat nowadays, but I suppose it wasn’t back then.  Or maybe my parents led incredibly sheltered lives!  They obviously liked pizza, because our family used to sing at a pizza parlor and we’d eat pizza all the time.

But then trouble between Bob and Betty developed.  Not really, they never had a troubled relationship.  My dad was brought up Catholic and he was devoted to that denomination.  When he found out that my mom was a Methodist, he decided to call it off.  According to my mom, he had been burned by some other non-Catholic girl and wasn’t keen on trusting another one.

They went a short time without seeing each other.  Of course they both played baritone in the band and saw each other every day.  My dad soon realized that he did not want to live his life without that sweet girl from the country.  My mom agreed to becoming a Catholic so they could get married in the Catholic Church.  Interestingly, mom’s older sister Sylvia also was seriously dating a Catholic man and she too decided to join the Catholic Church.  They went through the education and rites together.  When it was time for them to choose godparents, they asked if they could be each other’s godmother.  Strangely, it was allowed. 

So my mom became a Catholic and my parents were married on Nov. 1, 1952.  So began the years of Bob and Betty.

Our Patureau Matriarch Was a Landry: Emma’s Death Notice

For some reason I was thinking about these death notices that are keepsakes in my dad’s family.  I’m pretty sure they come from my Mee Maw – my paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry.  I was thinking it was time to share another one.  Plus it was time to write a post about the Patureau line of the family.  And again, a Patureau post ends up being a Landry post as well.  That’s what you get when  you have three generations in a row of a Landry marrying a Patureau.

Death notice for Marie Emma Landry Patureau from 1892 in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  (Shared with me by my cousin Daphne AKA the Keeper of the Secret Collection)

I didn’t exactly remember which ancestors I had copies of death notices for.  So when I saw this one, I knew it was the topic for discussion today.  It fit all of the criteria for what I was looking for.  Then I had to decide on a name for the post.  Sometimes I just sit there for several minutes waiting for an interesting name to come to me.  I can’t start writing until I settle on a name for the post.  Mainly because I think the program won’t let me.  And actually I could be wrong about that.  Oh, well.  It is what it is.

My last name is Landry, but one of my posts is titled “I Am a Patureau.”  Now I’d like to remind all of my Patureau kin out there – and there are lots of you – you can also say “I Am a Landry” because our matriarch was a Landry.  Marie Emma Landry was born on November 10, 1829, in St. Gabriel, Louisiana.  She was the daughter of Elie Onezime Landry (1800-1880) and Jeanne Zerbine Dupuy (1807-1886).  Both of those are Cajun/Acadian surnames, but  Emma’s maternal grandmother was from a French line. 

So when Emma married French immigrant Ferdinand Pierre Patureau on February 10, 1847, she wasn’t the first one in her family to marry “outside the family.”  Isn’t that a weird term?  I found myself saying that about cousins in the Landry and Patureau family lines who didn’t marry their cousins.  It seems like that trend has mostly fallen by the wayside.

Anyway, Emma and Ferdinand were married and had a large family.  I spoke about that once before, so I won’t go through all of the names again.  She gave birth to over a dozen children, as did her son Max’s (my great grandfather) Landry wife Marie Therese.  It definitely was a trend in the Patureau family groups.  I know I’ve got over a thousand cousins that I’ve identified from that group.  That is a lot.

The Jan. 8, 1881, Iberville South has an article that mentions Widow F. Patureau.

Ferdinand died in 1877 after an accident that occurred in his sawmill.  According to a newspaper article in 1881, Emma was declared owner of half of the Iberville Saw Mill.  I suppose that was the name of the sawmill that Ferdinand owned.  I find the article confusing because it mentions Widow F. Patureau who I’m pretty sure is Emma Landry Patureau.  But it also mentions L. Patureau and I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be Emma or someone else – most likely a son – Leobon? 

Another article from 1884 thanks Mrs. Patureau for her tasty honey in a comb that came from her apiary in town.  I’m thinking it probably is Emma, though it could be her son Leobon’s wife.  In an earlier article they talk about Emma Patureau by name and talk about her recommending the use of the Howe sewing machine. 

Jan. 12, 1889 article from The Iberville South in Plaquemine, Louisiana.

It wasn’t all sweetness and light for Emma, though.  In the Jan. 12, 1889, article in The Iberville South, there was a report that there was an attempted burglary of her home.  Nothing was taken, so it was supposed that the person or persons were frightened off.  Evidently she was not harmed either, or that would have been noted.  I’m sure it was probably a bit of a scare for her.  Who would do that to our poor old widowed grandmother?  Wait!  She was actually younger than me when that happened to her!  When you’re young, and sometimes still, 60 years old sounds old.  When you make it to that age – if you make it to that age – it doesn’t seem that old.  In this situation, an attempted burglary can be off-putting to anyone at any age.

We all know from the beginning of this article that she didn’t live much longer.  She was only 62 years old when she died.  That seems really young now.  In the newspaper reporting on her death, it said that she was 63 years old and 1 month.  From my calculations, she was 62 years and 2 months.  But more importantly it talks about her being a well respected and loved citizen who will be missed. 

She died at her home at 3:30 in the morning on Sunday January 24, 1892.  To me that implies that someone was with her and knew she was dying.  How else would they know the time of her death?  I’d like to think that it meant she was surrounded by loving family members and/or friends when she died.  The death notice was posted later that day to inform those interested of the time of her funeral.  From the funeral, the procession was to move to St. John’s Church.

St. John’s Church is the Catholic Church in Plaquemine.  The Catholic cemetery is nearby.  I’m sure she was buried in that graveyard, yet there is no evidence of it now.  There is a large Patureau tomb (at least, there usually is – don’t ask) and her name is not on any of the plaques.  Her husband and many of her children have their names engraved on them.  For some reason her name is not.  That may be remedied soon.  She deserves some respect.

Landry Family in Lafayette, Louisiana

Four generations of Landry family that lived in Lafayette, Louisiana, circa 1930. Sitting in front is my great grandmother Marie Celeste Leveque Landry. Behind her from left to right is her son Louis Joseph Landry and her grandson Thornwell Fay Landry holding twin sons Thornwell Fay, Jr. and Louis.

When I was growing up, I always thought of the Landry family as being from Lake Charles, Louisiana.  That’s where my dad (Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. – Bob – Pluto) was born and where he grew up.  My parents (Bob and Betty Lou Bucklin Landry) settled in Jennings, Louisiana, and that’s where my siblings and I grew up.  Almost all of my Landry cousins lived in Lake Charles, so it made sense to me:  The Landry family was from Lake Charles – always and forever – amen. 

But that wasn’t really true then and it is even less so now.  What I was aware of when I was a kid were my own first cousins.  There were so many of us.  Then there were the Bouquets.  That was a family group from my dad’s first cousin.  They were a big family, too.  I didn’t really know how we were related, but I knew they were cousins.  Trying to explain it now still gets me confused.  There were so many cousin marriages in that part of the family.

When I started collecting photos and exploring family connections, I was surprised at how many cousins lived in Lafayette.  My Mee Maw (paternal grandmother Germaine Erie Patureau Landry) was born in Plaquemine and grew up there, but ended up in Lake Charles after she was married to her mom’s first cousin Robert Joseph Landry, Sr.  I knew she lived in Lafayette for a while, but didn’t know the details.  I found out that her dad (Vincent Maximilian Patureau) had moved to Lafayette in 1912 and started a veterinarian practice there.

1920 Census in Lafayette showing Louis Joseph Landry’s household, which included his mother-in-law Amalie Babin (my great great grandmother Belite) and niece Erie Patureau (my Mee Maw).

He moved close to where his mother-in-law Mrs. P. M. Babin lived.  You remember her, right?  That was my great great grandmother Marie Amelie “Belite” Bujol Landry Babin.  She was my Mee Maw’s grandmother.  She had moved there a few years earlier with her second husband Magloire Babin (Her first husband was Trasimond Landry).  Mack Babin died in 1919 in Lafayette.  Belite must have decided to move in with other family members at that point, because in the 1920 Census she is in the household of her daughter Clemence Babin Landry.

The topic of this post came about from the first photo that I posted.  It is not a photo of my great great grandmother Belite, it is a photo of my great grandmother Marie Celeste Leveque Landry.  Sorry about the confusion.  They were first cousins by their Landry mothers.  I wish I had a photo of them together, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.  So when I was exploring the photo of Grandma Celeste with her Landry offspring, I remembered that she ended up living in Lafayette at some point as well.  I was assuming that I would find her in the household of Louis. 

I did find her in Lafayette, but she was in the household of her other son Sebastien Landry.  What was he doing there?  He was the Landry patriarch of the Bouquet family that I mentioned being in Lake Charles.  That just seems wrong, but then I discovered that he moved back to Lake Charles by 1935.  His mother died in 1934 and was buried in Lake Charles.  He probably moved back to be near his daughter and grandchildren.

Since he and his offspring lived in Lake Charles along with my dad and his siblings, those were the family members that we knew.  Louis Joseph and Clemence’s offspring did not live there, so the families lost touch.  It’s what happens when family moves around.  Maybe one day one of my sibling’s grandchildren will wonder,  “Didn’t Grandma (or Grandpa or whatever cool name they came up with) have a brother that did some family research?  I wonder if he ever found anything interesting?”

That grandchild will search for my name, find this story, and say, “Boy, that guy sure does ramble a lot!”

Her Name Was Marie Magdeleine Granger

I’ve decided to write about Marie Magdeleine Granger again.  I first wrote about her in my “From Acadian to Cajun” series and she was just one person in family group that I was talking about.  But her story really touched me.  She endured so much tragedy, yet she got lost in a long story about a bigger event.  So when I discovered a couple of other facts about her life at the time, I decided to write again.  I could have just written a short little Follow-Up to my blog, but decided to write a separate post just for her.  I think she deserves it.   Plus the 262nd anniversary of one of those tragedies occurred this week.

Birth record for Marie Magdeleine and Anne Granger in 1731.

Marie Magdeleine Granger was born on May 2, 1731, in Grand Pre, Acadie.  She was baptized the same day.  She had a twin sister named Anne.  They were the 5th and 6th children of Joseph Granger and Anne Richard.  Anne and Marie Magdeleine where right in the middle of the family.  Besides having four older siblings, they had four younger ones as well.  All of them were born in Acadie before the Grand Derangement.  That was the period from 1755 to 1763 when the English were deporting the Acadians and sending them to various ports.

We know the date of Marie Magdeleine’s birth because some records survived.  Besides deporting the Acadians, burning their homes, and slaughtering their livestock, the English also destroyed a lot of the records of the Acadian people.  But somehow some of the Acadians took records from their church with them and hid them from the English.  They made it through twelve years of  Exile and ended up in Louisiana.  The St. Gabriel Catholic Church preserved those records and they are available today.  The marriage entry for Joseph and Anne survived, as did the entries for all ten of their children.

Marie Magdeleine was one of the last generation to spend their whole childhood growing up in Acadie before the Great Upheaval. It wasn’t a completely stress free time.  They were under English rule and there were many conflicts between England and France. When she was 19 years old, she married Alain Bujol.  In July 1752 they relocated to Ile St. Jean, an island northeast of Acadie which was still under French rule at the time.  The Census of August 1752 in Riviere de Nord Est, Ile St Jean, shows Marie Magdeleine with husband Alain Bujol (Allain Bugeauld, ploughman) and a nine-month-old son (Simon, born about November 1751).  It reports that they had been on the island for only one month.

While Marie Magdeleine and Alain were trying to find a safe place to raise a family free from conflict, we know that that was not to be.  They had a house and a farm and a little son, but trouble was brewing.  When the deportations began in 1755 in Acadie, those living in Ile St Jean had a period of respite.  During that time, Marie Magdeleine gave birth to her second child – a daughter named Marie Louise born in 1756.  They even had two years at their farm in Ile St. Jean after Marie Louise was born.

And then Tragedy began. For Marie Magdeleine, her year of losses started off with less personal ones such as their home and livestock and progressed to much more personal ones.   It began on July 26, 1758, when Fort Louisbourg fell to the English.  On Aug. 17, 1758, Ile St. Jean capitulated to the English as well.  The English started rounding up the Acadians for deportation.  So two weeks after Ile St. Jean fell, the Acadians were removed from their homes and sent to Fort Louisbourg where they arrived on September 4.  So now Marie Mageleine, Alain, Simon, and Marie Louise were living the life of prisoners.  Other Acadians who had escaped the round up were hunted down “to prevent the vermin from escaping.”

And now it gets more personal.  During their three months as prisoners at Fort Louisbourg, many Acadians were being carried off to England and France on various ships.  Marie Magdeleine’s family was on one of five ships that departed Nov. 25, 1758 and arrived in St. Malo on Jan. 23, 1759.  They were not on the Mary, the Duke William, or the Violet.  The Mary ran into foul conditions and only half of her passengers survived.  The Duke William and the Violet both sank with only four survivors from the Duke William.  It was a terrible time of loss for the Acadians, including Alain Bujol.  Both of his parents died when the Duke William sank.  Marie Magdeleine suffered her first major loss on the passage to France.  Her 2-year-old daughter Marie Louise did not survive the journey. 

Once they arrived in St. Malo, France, the Acadians were moved to different locations to settle.  Marie Magdeleine ended up in St. Servan with her husband and son.  Less than a month after arriving in France, 31-year-old Alain Bujol died.  He died on Feb. 19, 1759.  His widow and 8-year-old son Simon buried him the following day.  What a difficult time for Marie Magdeleine.  It was one tragedy after the other.  And it didn’t stop there.  Less than a month after her husband died, Marie Magdeleine was burying Simon as well.  He died and was buried on March 17, 1759.

“Wait!” you’re saying, “but you said she had a year of tragedies and it’s only March.  She still has four months left of her year of losses.  What more could she lose?”

Correct!  You’ve been paying attention.  I mentioned in a follow-up story that Marie Magdeleine found out at some point during her first year in France that her father had died.  That was another loss.  But there was something more I discovered.  I found out that when she and her family were being deported to France, Marie Magdeleine was in the early stages of pregnancy!  I wonder at what point did she become aware of her pregnancy?  Around the time of being loaded into a cramped vessel to take her away from her home?  When Marie Louise died?  When Alain died?  When Simon died?  What a storm of emotions she must have been going through.

Copy of original birth record of Thomas Henry Servan Bijou in Pleurtuit, France.

Copy of original death record of T. H. S. B. from Pleurtuit, France

And just like you, she might have been holding onto hope that things would get better for her.  But not just yet.  She may have found a glimpse of joy at the birth of her son Thomas Henri Servan Bujol on July 14, 1759.  But she only had him a week.  He died on July 21, 1759.  I wonder if you could see any life in her eyes that day she buried her little newborn son?

Copy of original marriage record for the wedding of Marie Magdeleine Granger and Joseph Bourg.

I don’t know how some people find the strength to carry on from some tragedies.  But she did, thankfully, or I wouldn’t be here.  In June of 1760 she married Pierre Bourg in Pleurtuit, Ile-et-Vilaine, France.  They were 2nd cousins – their maternal grandmothers were Landry sisters.  His first wife had died on the deportation voyage to France.  I descend from the marriage of Marie Magdeleine and Pierre Bourg.  She would give birth to all of their children in France, but later they made their way to Louisiana in 1785.  She died in Louisiana.  I don’t know if there is a headstone anywhere.  There should be.  I want more people to know the name Marie Magdeleine Granger.

My Blue-Eyed Sisters

Jodie and Karen Landry at the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia, Texas, on October 19, 1980.

I thought I would write a post about my two older sisters.  Jodie was the oldest of us six siblings and she died in 1989 at the age of 36.  Karen was the third and she died in April of 2020 at the age of 63.  My brother-in-law Brian (married Karen) shared a photo with us remaining siblings.  It was of Jodie and Karen from back in 1980 when he met Jodie.    It reminded me of some of the photos that I had taken back then and haven’t looked at lately. 

So of course I got my photo album out and decided to scan and work on the photos.  The photos were a little dull and a bit blurry, so I never was very pleased with them.  But 40 years later I can make some changes to those photos that make them much more pleasing.  At least I think so.

The event was the Texas Renaissance Festival and Jodie was selling the pottery that she made.  She had a booth set up and she had her flute with her so she could play a bit while waiting (and to get people’s attention).  So Karen and Brian went to Texas to check it all out.  It was Brian’s first time to meet Jodie and he remembers her playing the flute when they walked up to her booth. I went on the weekend of October 19th with Karen, my younger sister Jamie, and her now husband Allen after getting a glowing report from Karen and Brian.

Leaf vase by Jodie circa 1980

Jodie sold a lot of pottery at that festival.  She had mugs,  plates, bowls, vases, canteens, and some miniature pieces.  I bought this vase with carvings of leaves on it at that festival.  It’s my favorite piece that I have of hers.  I have a few other pieces, but I never did get any of her miniature pieces.  I wish I had a few more of her work, particularly one of those miniature ones.  She had tiny jars with lids that fit on them.  They were so intricate.

One more thing before I close.  I have to say more about those blue eyes.  Karen was sometimes insecure about her appearance.  She was also fond of the color blue.  So she was starting to get a little bit jealous because she thought that Jodie had bluer eyes than she did.  Jodie disagreed with her the first time she said it.  When Karen said it again, Jodie decided to put the statement to the test.  She brought Karen to a mirror where they could sit and compare each other’s eyes to see who had the bluer eyes.  After both of them looked back and forth from their own eyes to the other’s for a few moments, they had to laugh.  There was no distinguishable difference!

I miss those blue eyes.

Another Baseball Photo of Pee Paw

This week I was considering writing about secrets, but I decided that could wait.  But once a secret is told, it can’t be untold, now could it?  And some secrets need to stay secret.  Instead of writing about that, I found this photo that invited me to talk about it.  It might have come from the Secret Collection, but I’m not sure.  I know that it came from one of my cousins and I need to get a better scan or photo of it.  I like the old timey look of the photo and it’s another photo of my grandfather during his baseball days.

Circa 1920 – My grandfather Robert Joseph Landry, Sr. is the third from the left in the back with his arms folded. I don’t know the team name or the location. He was a semi-pro baseball player.

I was thinking that I didn’t want to overdo it with photos of my grandfather with a baseball.  But when I looked for others that I had shared, I realized that it’s been almost five years since I posted one.  I am definitely not overdoing it!  I posted one of him with a group of players from Beaumont, Texas, and another one of him with fellow soldiers during the Great War (WWI).

I really like those other two photos, but they were more posed or staged.  This one looks a bit more casual.  Just a bunch of guys gathered around the dugout after a game for a quick photo.  There are even a few photo bombers in the background.   It was taken about a hundred years ago, most likely somewhere in Southern Louisiana.  He played semi-pro baseball during that time.

Enhanced view of Pee Paw from the previous photo.

I don’t have many details about exactly when he played or where he would go to play, but thankfully we do have a few photos from back during that time.  I do know that Robert Joseph Landry, Jr. was born in Westlake, Louisiana, on Jan. 9, 1893.  He spent his childhood in Westlake and I’m sure lots of that time was spent playing baseball.  The sport was growing in popularity and by the 1920s it was the national pastime. 

In order that someone becomes a semi-professional in a sport, they had to be really dedicated to it.  He must have loved it and spent a lot of time playing in order to improve his skills.  He was a pitcher and he must have been pretty good at it.  In those days Americans were starting to pay more money to be entertained by athletic contests.  It was the heyday for American baseball and my Pee Paw was in the thick of it.

I have a copy of an interview of him by Bob House of the House of Sports.  I think it was in a newspaper.  It quotes ‘Pappy’ Landry as saying, “Back in those days the boys didn’t mind laying the dough on the line to get a first class pitcher for a Sunday contest and I picked up quite a few dollars until my arm went dead.” He took part in the ‘Sawdust Baseball Circuit’ that thrived during the saw mill era of Southwest Louisiana.  Bob House declared that Pee Paw was “quite a slabster” in his day, even after his arm ‘went dead.’  He played for teams like Oakdale or Lake Charles, anyone willing to ‘lay the dough on the line’ to get him to pitch for them.  I love the old phrases they used! 

But his participation was interrupted by World War I.  That didn’t stop him from playing baseball, though.  He was on a team with his fellow soldiers.  He wasn’t a soldier for very long and didn’t enter any conflicts.  He was still in training when the war ended.  He also suffered from some hearing damage as a result of the military.  He had one last thriller of a game before he decided to marry Erie Patureau in November of 1921.

The Game to End All Games was back in 1920 when the Marksville Independents went to Lake Charles to tackle the potent Lake Charles Athletics.  Pappy Landry was working as a conductor on the street car for Gulf States at the time.  He was minding his business one day when the manager from the Marksville team hopped on his trolley and proceeded to talk him into pitching for his team.  The Marksville team’s pitcher had gotten sick and they were in a pinch.  He had inquired about a local pitcher and was told that Pappy Landry was the man he sought.  And sought him he did.  After a bit of discussion, the terms were agreed upon:  if the team won, Pappy would get 50 bucks; if they lost, he got 25.

The big day was on a Sunday evening.  Pappy had to work that day, but he finished up a 2 p.m.  He decided to stop for a bowl of chili to fuel him for the big game.  He walked into the park with glove and shoes in hand.  The Marksville team manager gave him a uniform for his team that Pappy changed into.  When he came out onto the field, the local fans were not happy to see their Pappy wearing the opposing team’s uniform.  Yet when the game progressed and Pappy was putting his ‘dead arm’ to good use and striking out the Lake Charles team, they started cheering him on!  He ended up winning the big bucks, which was a fitting ending to his days on the Sawdust Circuit.

Death of a Noble Woman

Today I thought I would write about the death of my great grandmother Marie Therese Landry Patureau.  It’s time to write about my dad’s side of the family and it is Father’s Day this weekend, so I’ll write about his mother’s mother.  I was going to say, “But it’s mostly about my dad,” but that isn’t true.  It’s about his mother and grandmother.  My father’s name was Robert Joseph Landry, Jr.  Most people knew him as Bob or Pluto, or Daddy or Pappy, or Mr. Landry.  He answered to all of them.  I ran across the obituary of my great grandmother this week and was glad to find it.  I had looked for it a while back and couldn’t find it.  I also thought it would be good to combine that with some death notices that I got back in 2019 when I got together with some cousins.

Obituary for Marie Therese Landry Patureau from the Daily Champion on Oct. 6, 1909

I have always liked the title of this newspaper clipping from 1909.  Of course, as you can see, it is not the actual clipping that I have.  It is a transcription of the newspaper article.  I don’t know who did the transcribing and I’m not even sure of how I got this information.  I’m a bad genealogist.  I don’t keep good records of where I obtain things.  I find it hard enough to keep track of the things that I have, much less where they came from!  I’m a better family historian.  I can bring the information together, make a few digital edits, and share it in these writings that I do. 

Timeline for the last decade of Marie Therese Landry Patureau’s life by her granddaughter and namesake Marie Therese “Sis” Schafer Vicknair.

The obituary is titled “Death of a Noble Woman” and continues with the story, “In the little village of Crescent, on Monday the fourth day of October, 1909, Marie Therese Landry, wife of Dr. V. Vincent Maximilian Patureau, died at the age of 41 years and 21 days.”  What I really like about this is that they actually give her full maiden name.  She’s not just Mrs. V. M. Patureau.  I don’t think her age is correct in what they say.  On the plaque on the Patureau tomb in Plaquemine, her birth is given as Sept. 25, 1868.  Cousin Sis seems to think it was in October and that she died at almost 41 years of age.  I’m going with what was carved in stone! 

“It is said that the death of her brother Thomas B. Landry, which occurred on the 26th of last month caused her much grief, and two days later having given birth to a child, her gentle soul took its flight back to its Creator.”   I don’t know about all that.  I’m sure she did grieve the death of her brother, but I wouldn’t think that it had much effect on her death.  She was only 41 (or so) and she had dealt with grief before.  The daughter that she gave birth to in 1909 was named Hedwidge and she was the 15th child that Marie Therese gave birth to.  Marie Therese had dealt with the death of five of those offspring.  Some had died at birth, and during the last two years of her life, Marie Therese had endured the death of a 22-month-old daughter and a 10 1/2-month-old son.  I’m sure she was grieving the death of her children, yet she had nine living children to take care of.  So I’m thinking that it is much more likely that she died due to complications due to childbirth.  I suppose it would have been too indelicate to mention that in a newspaper article of those times.

Marie Therese’s obituary in The Weekly Iberville South. They seem to think that only two of her children mourned her passing. I think they were wrong!

“She was educated at St. Joseph Academy of Baton Rouge.  She was a member of the Brusley choir until her marriage, and until her death, was a member of the Altar Society of Plaquemine.”  I find it really interesting that she went to school in Baton Rouge, especially since that is where I live.  I know people who went to St. Joseph Academy and it is still in operation.  I wish I knew a few more details of her time there.  Did she live there when she attended?  It is now just a high school, but previously it was from first grade to graduation.  I wonder how many years she was there?  She was born in Brusly and lived there during her childhood.  As stated, she was in the Brusly church choir before she was married at the age of 20.  I suppose she wasn’t in the choir as a married adult, but she was a member of the Ladies Altar Society.

Death announcement for Marie Therese Landry. This is from the collection of her daughter Erie Patureau Landry, better known by me as Mee Maw.

“Mrs. Patureau was a devout Catholic, a model wife and a charitable woman, who will be sadly missed, not only by her husband and children, but by the many good people of the hamlet.  She leaves to mourn her loss the following:  Her husband Dr. V. M. Patureau, seven daughters, Emma, Lydwin, Lorena, Erie, Therese, Zita and Sylvie and two sons, Rommual and Vincent; a mother, Mrs. P. M. Babin of Lafayette; two sisters, Mrs. Louis Joseph Landry of Lafayette, and Mrs. Thomas M. Blanchard of Brusley, one brother Mose Landry of Cinclare.  The Daily Champion extends its deepest sympathy to the bereaved ones.”

She sounds like a wonderful – dare I say noble – woman.  I’m sure that in a small community like Crescent was at the time, her death was a loss for a lot of people.  But my concern is for her young, impressionable daughter Erie.  She had just turned 14 and she was one of the middle children in her large family.  So if her mother was as wonderful as portrayed, it would have been a terrible loss for young Erie.  Yet I don’t know how it affected her.  I was just a silly young boy myself when I knew her.  It’s not something we discussed.  I just wanted to spend time with her and learn the card games she would teach me.  I wish I knew more.  How did her mother’s death affect her?  What were her memories of her mother?  And more.

I’m glad I have the death announcement of my great grandmother.  It came from the Secret Collection.  (hushed whispers in the background “Secret?”  “What secret?”)  I’ve already told you enough about the Secret Collection.  If I told you any more, it wouldn’t maintain its Secret name!  Only the Keeper knows what further treasures lie within the Secret Collection, so be satisfied that we have this piece to enjoy.  Like the obituary, it gives the full name of my great grandmother.  Too bad the obituary couldn’t have followed the same trend when referring to to Marie Therese’s mother.  (Again with the Mrs. P. M. Babin)  It also gives her age as 41 years and 21 days, but I think it was 41 years and 9 days.  Sept. 25, 1868, to October 4, 1909 – you do the math.

Death notice of Marie Therese’s brother Thomas B. Landry from September 1909.

I thought I’d share another death notice from the Secret Collection. (hushed gasps from the peanut gallery “Another treasure?” asked in awe. “That Secret Collection sure is leaky!” someone responds suspiciously)  This is the death notice for Marie Therese’s brother Thomas Belisaire Landry.  As mentioned in her obituary, he died just a few days before she did.  His age looks close enough.  I won’t ask you to do any more math!  But you can tell that he was her younger brother.  Marie Therese was the first child of Trasimond Landry and Belite Bujol.  She was followed by Mary Catherine “Kate” Landry (Mrs. Thomas M. Blanchard of Brusly from the obituary),  Thomas, Mose (or Moses), and Manette.  Manette had passed away in 1904 – another death that Marie Therese had to grieve.

Marie Therese also had three half-sisters by her mother’s second  husband Mack Babin.  The first one had died shortly after her birth in 1880.  Then came Clemence (Mrs. Louis Joseph Landry of Lafayette in obituary) and Albine.  Albine had passed away in 1903 – yet another death .  I didn’t mean for this to turn into a sad story, but how could it not?  It’s about death.  But really, everyone that she knew has died since then.  It’s the way of the world.  The same thing could be said about each of us in years to come.

Uh, oh, I feel like I crossed a line with that statement.  Forget I said it.  I’ll turn this back around with something I heard on the news tonight:  Never give up!  Just keep moving forward doing the best that you can do.

1 2 3 16