2013 Regional in New Orleans


Hosted by the Illini and Ohio River Chapters

28 February - 2 March 2013

(updated 11/16/13)

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Lindy Hatcher (left) and Lynn Davis “auditioning”

Tour of St. Louis #1 Cemetery

(left to right:  Dan Sturdevant at entrance to cemetery; attendees making their way to the grave site of Blaise Cenas; gravestone of Blaise Cenas)

The following photos were provided by Doug Davis (Spirit Lake, IA)

Enjoying pipe organ music

at a local church

Group Dinner

The bus then returned the group to the hotel, and we immediately walked to a river dock to board the NATCHEZ Riverboat.  As we moved down the Mississippi we were served a fine New Orleans sit-down meal. The riverboat made the turn in site of the Chalmette battlefield, then traveled back to the downtown area.  Visits to two New Orleans headquarters were next.

First, the Historic New Orleans Collection (a museum) provided several historic documents for us to view.  One document in particular made some Ohio River Chapters members very excited.  The museum had exhibited a historical survey document of the area made by Jonathan Clark.  Could this be new, unfamiliar information to Clarkies”?  Well, no.   After some searching, the tour guide said, “probably not.” Jim Holmberg concluded the same.  On to the Williams Research Center (library) where again many historic documents were displayed and another fine presentation was made.  We were then allowed to view the documents.  My favorite was a letter written by Blaise Cenas.

Part of the Williams Research Center is a refurbished hotel/boarding house that is located at 535-537 Conti (corner of Conti and Chartres). This was the location of William Clark's 1798 stay in New Orleans.  This hotel was once called The Rising Sun Hotel, and several attendees were convinced this was the inspiration for the song “The House of the Rising Sun” (you know, “There was a house in New Orleans they call the Rising Sun.  It's been the ruin of many a poor boy...).  Well, that made Lorna Hainesworth and Dan Sturdevant break out in song right on the streets of the French Quarter.  We then made our way to the hotel to rest and recover for the evening activities.  That evening we strolled to the nearby Mulattes restaurant for a very filling Cajun dinner with a Cajun band playing in the background.

The activities on Friday again started with a brisk walk to another fine New Orleans French Quarter breakfast shop, Croissant d’Or Patisserie. We then walked through parts of the French Quarter with the Basin Street Visitors Center and St. Louis Cemetery #1 as destinations.  One site in particular was noted, that being the residence of John James Audubon’s stay in New Orleans.  The group strolled through St. Louis #1 (which is the oldest above ground cemetery in New Orleans dating to the late 1700's) noting several tombs.  The tomb that generated the most excitement was that of Blaise Cenas.

After the cemetery visit the group walked to the Cabildo (Louisiana State Museum) where again we were allowed to view many of their excellent displays.  The next stop was one of the streetcar lines, which took us out to the City Park area.  Lunch stops were provided at several local restaurants (attendees choice).  Then time was provided to visit the park, art museum, etc.  The remainder of the evening was free time with advice given for a restful sleep.

The Saturday activities were to mainly take place in the St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Woodville, Mississippi, area.  That meant a long bus ride with several presentations along the way.  In particular, we were happy to have Tulane professor Richard Campanella along.  He provided us with much valuable information about the history and geography of the area.  One of the historical events that took place in an area that we traveled through was a slave uprising that occurred in 1811.  Again Blaise Cenas was involved.  The first official stop was at a small plantation cemetery (Locust Grove Cemetery) where a presentation was given that included Lewis and Clark connections.  We then stopped at the Audubon Historic Site for lunch, plantation tour and museum visit.  Both the cemetery and plantation are near St. Francisville.  We then made a short bus tour of the town including a pass by of the Myrtles Plantation.  The Myrtles was built by Whiskey Rebellion notable David Bradford.  Another St. Francisville stop was a bed and breakfast plantation tour which had in it's library an important Lewis and Clark book.  What a find!  We then bused on to the Woodville, Mississippi area where at the first stop we were given a presentation by a Moses Hooke descendant (you know, the expedition could have been named the Lewis and Hooke Expedition).  We then divided into three groups depending on interest.

New Orleans Regional Gathering attendees from twenty-three states are pictured

in front of the Battle of New Orleans monument in Chalmette, Louisiana

Left to right by row (rows are approximate)

Front row: Susan Ritten, Jon Ritten, Peter Ritten, Mary Ritten, Lorna Hainesworth, Ann Bear, Janice Wilson, Jerry Wilson, and Lindy Hatcher.

Second row:  Doug Davis, Fern Harmon (with sunglasses, partially hidden), Beverly Lewis, Mark Bear, Mary Langhorst, Liz Tidwell, Philip Gordon, Philippa Newfield, Matt Grundy (partially hidden with sunglasses), Paige Cruz, and Dan Sturdevant.

Third row:  Lou Ritten, Della Bauer, Rob Barg, Jerry Garrett, Jim Koss, Herb Gordon, Joan Stockmel, Jim Fazio, Dawn Fazio, Skip Kowalski, and Margaret Gorski.

Fourth row: Mark Nelezen, Mike Loesch, Barbara Gaitley, Loraine Loesch (tan jacket), Lynn Davis (pink jacket), Ginny Koss, Cathy Corley, Bruce Jones, and Jay Elder.

Fifth row: Ellie McClure, Larry McClure, Doug Dillard, Bonnie Dillard, Jerry Robertson, and Linda Robertson.

Sixth row:  Steve Lee, Patti Thomsen, Robert O'Bryan, and Dee Roche (pink sweater).

Not shown:  Rich Campanella, Bob O'Hara, Mary Jane O'Hara,  Cindy Nelezen, Carolyn Ritten, and Steve Ritten.

by Jerry Wilson

President, Ohio River Chapter

On Thursday, February 28 through Saturday, March 2, 2013, the Illini and Ohio River Chapters hosted a regional gathering in New Orleans as well as in parts of northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi. The evening before, an informational meeting was held at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside Hotel. The attendees were welcomed and were provided with an agenda of activities for the next three days.  The attendees were also given needed materials such as streetcar passes, boat tickets, etc.  It was then recommended that everyone get a good night's rest as the next three days were going to be very busy. 

The activities on Thursday started with a brisk morning walk to Cafe Du Mond for breakfast passing along the way the sites of Dr. George Hunter's  mill and distillery (Hunter-Dunbar Expedition of 1805) and Dr. Joseph Barrabino's  home and pharmacy (Karl Bodmer visited him in 1833).  Upon returning to the hotel, we boarded a bus for the trip to Chalmette to visit the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.  Group pictures were taken first, then an outstanding presentation was given by a park ranger with a brief history of the War of 1815 and how the Battle of New Orleans played such an important part. The attendees then viewed the rebuilt earthworks, the monument and the visitor's center.

Everywhere the group traveled we were treated with wonderful New Orleans and Southern hospitality.  I know I will miss someone, but I will try to mention as many people/groups as I can .  The Chalmette Battlefield, in particular their ranger (I should also mention our bus driver, Gregory.  He took us to some unbelievable locations); The Historic New Orleans Collection; The Williams Research Center; the boat company that provided both the bus and the riverboat; Mulattes; Cabildo; Richard Campanella; various citizens of the St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Woodville, Mississippi, area. There are so many more.

I hope you noticed I mentioned the name of Blaise Cenas several times. Cenas, of course, has a Lewis and Clark connection especially to the Ohio River Chapter.  It was the discovery of Cenas being buried in New Orleans that gave a start to this Regional.  See how it morphed into a three day gathering.

Again, many thanks to the Illini and Ohio Chapters for co-hosting this Regional.  We had over 50 attendees from 23 states that took part.  The meeting planners Lou Ritten of the Illini Chapter, Jerry and Janice Wilson of the Ohio River Chapter, and Lorna Hainesworth of both chapters spent many hours, days, weeks and years as well as many trips to the wonderful city of New Orleans to fulfill our intentions of providing a once in a lifetime experience.

Presentation at Locust Grove Cemetery near St. Francisville, Louisiana

(left to right: Bruce Jones, Jerry Wilson, Mary Ritten, Susan Ritten,

Peter Ritten, and Mary Jane O'Hara)

Hikers in front of the Ft. Adams Blockhouse Hill Monument near Woodville, Mississippi

(left to right: Fern Harmon, Janice Wilson, Jerry Wilson, Jay Elder, Liz Tidwell,

Doug Davis, Lynn Davis, and Lou Ritten)

One small, intrepid group chose to climb the location of the old Ft. Adams Blockhouse Hill.  The others took a nature hike or visited museums.  Finally, that evening in Woodville, a local church provided us with a meal (and some much needed wine) that even included a few songs accompanied by their pipe organ.

Duel re-enactors in Woodville, MS

Dining room in the Audubon house

(left to right:  Della Bauer, Mary Langhorst, Mark Bear, Margaret Gorski, Skip Kowalski, Bonnie Dillard, Jerry Garrett, and Doug Dillard)

Audubon House (during bus trip)

Cafe Du Monde

Janice Wilson, Jerry Robertson and Jerry Wilson enjoy cafe au lait and beignets

The Cabildo

Doug Davis on left, Dan Sturdevant and Margaret Gorski are in the distance.

Chalmette battlefield

Jerry Garrett (left) and Rob Barg

aboard the Natchez

Natchez riverboat

and the Mississippi River

The New Orleans skyline

as viewed from the riverboat Natchez.

On the riverfront

(left to right:  Bev Lewis, Philippa Newfield, Philip Gordon, Jerry Wilson and Paige Cruz)

The following photos were provided by Steve Lee (Clarkston, WA)

Hike to the falls in Mississippi

(left to right:  Dawna Fazio, Rich Campanella, Jim Fazio, Steve Ritten, Philippa Newfield and Phillip Gordon)

Lou Ritten leading the walking tour