Personal history


I had personal reasons for making Louisiana a stop on our travels. My mother grew up in Louisiana, and across the river in Mississippi. She was one of five children of a Presbyterian minister whose job entailed establishing new churches, so they moved around quite a bit.

My parents met in Washington, DC, during World War II. She was staying with my grandfather, who was an interim pastor at a Washington church. He was in the Navy, helping build aircraft carriers. They corresponded when he shipped out to the Pacific on the carrier he’d helped build – he was one of several GIs she wrote to as part of the war effort, she said. In any event, thus did a New England businessman and a music teacher from the Deep South fall in love. On his way back from the Pacific, he stopped in Baton Rouge, where hey were married, in my grandfather’s church, on June 21, 1946.

So since I was in Baton Rouge, I went to take a look at the scene of that momentous event. What I found at the Hiawatha Street address was Interstate 110.

So it goes. Small churches have a pretty short lifespan, I believe, especially those founded by charismatic preachers like my grandfather. People have a limited lifespan too: Near as I can tell, every participant in ceremony has now passed on. All the more reason to write down what little we can recall.

Anyway, for more of my observations in Louisiana, see my Mardi Gras column:

And my take on Huey Long and Louisiana politics: