LA Dread-NEW

There are those special people in life that have an immense effect on you. Sometimes it’s a family member or close friend, but for many, myself included, teachers served that purpose. I consider some of the best parts of my life to be during my school years and my teachers had a profound impact on that fact, whether I knew it at the time or not. When I was at Holy Rosary (Geaux Hawks), I was taught to hold onto my faith and I made friends that I love and cherish to this very day. My teachers with last names like Chaisson, Callais, Defelice, and Jackson taught me how to write reports and gave me a spark that would eventually ignite my passion in Louisiana history. 

Moving on to South Lafourche (Geaux Tarps) was daunting for me. Coming from an 8th grade graduating class of seven to an incoming freshman class of 400 was quite an adjustment, but my teachers helped me succeed. Teachers with last names like Lafont, Doucet, Rodrigue, Galjour, Melancon, Guidry and Duet among others would guide my passion for art, history, and the French language that I now hold so dear to my heart. It also showed me that teachers come in many forms. Some weren’t even my teachers but would inspire me just the same. Belisle and Gisclair are just a couple of last names of people who guided me to discover my love of history in all forms. Coaches with last names like Callais, Adams, and Pierce among others would teach me about discipline and resilience in the face of adversity. 

This episode is dedicated to those teachers down the bayou past, present, and future. May you continue to mold the minds of the bayou youth and inspire generations of Cajuns and Creoles to better our community and preserve our unique culture.

Galliano can arguably be called the heart of down the bayou, being the central location of the community. In similar fashion to Cote Blanche, Galliano was originally known as Cote Cheramie, or Friendly Coast, until the 1900s. The Cheramie family had been living in the area since at least the 1830’s with most of them being buried here at the Cheramie cemetery, in Galliano.

The area was given the name of Galliano by the postmaster Alzec Autin, who chose the name in honor of an original settler in the area. Salvador Galliano settled in the vicinity in the late 1700s and had a large farm and a citrus tree orchard. He came from Naples, Italy, where he was in the service of the King of Spain. The Spanish were in control of the area and it was known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. This leads most people to assume he was of Spanish descent, when in actuality, he was Italian and Galliano was spelled with 1 ‘L’. The area having much more Spanish and French residents, the second ‘L’ was adopted.

Eventually, there were enough settlers to request a chapel to be built for the community, and in 1887 a palmetto chapel was constructed and dedicated to St. Jacob. Unfortunately, not long after, it was destroyed in the 1893 Cheniere Hurricane. In 1902, another chapel was built, this time dedicated to St. Joseph, and still stands today next to the Galliano pontoon bridge. Many locations in Galliano hold historical significance, but can be easily overlooked. The Centroplex once hosted concerts, world famous wrestling events, and much more.

Of course, down the bayou is never short of fantastical stories including the origins of Galliano. An old legend says a man named Antoine Galliano was appointed to the Spanish King’s Guard. He fell in love with a Spanish woman of noble birth. Just lovely, except for the fact that Antoine was already married to a woman named Julia. Julia was also closely related to the King of Spain. Because he was such a macquereaux (mah-crow), the Spanish King sent he and Julia to settle this area of Bayou Lafourche, and their descendants still live here today. So anyone with the last name of Galliano that lives here, you might be of royal blood. Let me be in your court, that’s all I ask.

In 1909, Salvador’s brother, Julian Galiano, held classes in the attic of his store, but it wasn’t until 1916 that Galliano had their first public school. An important event would occur in 1966, when Golden Meadow and Larose-Cut Off High Schools merged to form South Lafourche High School. Both former high schools would become junior high schools and then currently middle schools by 2002. Black students attended Cordelia Matthews Washington School in Thibodaux during segregation. After racial integration, black students in the DTB region would attend South Lafourche. With many notable alumni like the Cajun Cannon Bobby Herbert and former Coach Ed Orgeron, South Lafourche continues a program of excellence in sports and academics. The school motto is “Tant Que Je Peux” meaning “All That I Can” and it rings true to this day with the community giving all that they can when disaster strikes. From the wrath of Mother Nature to economic turmoil, the residents continue to keep the culture and traditions alive.

This information was gathered from multiple sources found in the Nicholls Library as well as online. Some notable sources are “Longest Street : a History of Lafourche Parish and Grand Isle”  by Tanya B Ditto, “The Lafourche Country: The People And The Land” by Philip Uzee, “Glimpses of Black Life along Bayou Lafourche: Brief Stories of How Black People Lived, Worked, and Succeeded During Challenging Times” by Curtis J. Johnson, and “Plantation Homes of the Lafourche Country” by Paul F. Stahls Jr.

Column Writer

Kyle Crosby is a Louisiana film maker and historian from Larose, who has been in the film and entertainment industry since 2012. In 2017, Kyle founded "Louisiana Dread", which is a YouTube video series that shares and preserves Louisiana history, folklore, culture, and horror stories. Kyle has a Louisiana-first mindset, with an obvious passion for informing people on the significance of Louisiana and a desire to see this state lead the nation in industry and progress.

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