Patureau and Landry Musicians Circa 1900

Kelly’s String Band from Plaquemine, Louisiana, circa 1900.

I’ve posted this photo before, but it was a poor quality version of the photo.  Then at the end of last year I was given an original copy of the photo when I went to pick up an amazing Patureau family heirloom.  The photo is a cabinet card from around 1900 in Plaquemine, Louisiana.  It came from a Patureau relative, which makes sense because three of the people in the photo are Patureau relatives.  Even though I still have several photos to edit from the Patureau Collection from Beaumont, I decided to edit this photo anyway.  I even made a colorized version with a new and improved program. I like the results.

When I posted the photo previously, I didn’t know the connection that I had with one of the other band members – Wade Landry.  I found out the connection a while back.  But those two things by themselves wasn’t enough to cause me to write a post about the photo again.  What pushed me over the edge in deciding to write about this topic was something that was shared on Facebook last week.  In the Plaquemine – My Home Town group, B. D. posted a newspaper article that talked about a tragic accident that happened in Plaquemine in 1907.

Before I tell you about that, let me introduce you to everyone.  (Drum roll, please!) In front on the left, playing the trumpet is our very own Joseph Alcide Patureau (1868-1919).  Alcide was three years younger than his brother Max.  Vincent Maximilian Patureau was the father of my paternal grandmother.  I’ve never heard of Grampa Max playing any musical instrument.  Front and center with the banjo is Alcide and Max’s younger brother Abel Omer Patureau (1870-1917).  Also in the front row is another Patureau family member – Joseph Ferdinand Hebert.  His mother was Aline Patureau Hebert – older sister to Alcide, Max, and Omer.  Ferdinand played the mandolin.  In the second row we have Nick Manola on the upright bass.  It looks like he tears up those strings.  One of them looks like it is wrapped around the head of the instrument.  I don’t know of any relation to him.  I know he lived in Plaquemine and later moved to Chicago.  And that leaves us with Wade Landry on guitar.

I’m sure everyone remembers that Grampa Max’s mother was Marie Emma Landry.  If not, then now you know.  Don’t forget it!  His great grandfather was Joseph Ignatius Landry, who just happens to be an ancestor of Wade Landry as well.  Come to find out, Wade’s father Joseph Alcee Landry was a second cousin of Max, Alcide, and Omer.  That would make Wade the third cousin of Ferdinand Hebert.  Both of them were from the next generation.  When I read the newspaper article about the tragedy, I posted a comment about it and shared the old article I have about Kelly’s String Band.  I’m glad I did, because B. D. shared an earlier newspaper article.

In that article from 1895, it talked about Alcee Landry giving an elegant supper at his residence.  I don’t know how many guests he had, but the table was “exquisitely arranged” in their “brilliantly illuminated” dining room.  Omer Patureau was one of the main entertainers for the evening.  He played the banjo!  He recited verse!  He even sang along with his pretty young cousins.  Wade played a “pleasing selection” on the guitar along with his cousin Ferdinand on the mandolin.  His sister Maude played a solo on the mandolin and later joined younger sister Edna and cousin Omer in singing a lively song.  It stated that “all who were present spent a most enjoyable evening. ” 

But alas, things did not remain idyllic for our Wade.  Sure, he got married and they soon had two young children together by 1907.  I’m not sure when that took place.  I haven’t found records for his children, yet.  But the article that I saw was from December 1907.  It talked about a group of six people including Wade Landry who were traveling on Bayou Plaquemine in a “gasoline launch.”  I guess you would now call it a motor boat.  Another boat came along and the two owners decided to test the speed of their boats.  The second boat got in front of the boat with Wade in it and capsized it.  The six people on the boat went in the water.  Only three of them came out alive.  Wade was not one of them.  He was only 30 years old.  It was a tragic day for the community of Plaquemine.

Sometimes it is not so pleasing to know the stories behind the photos.

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