Past Exhibits at the Center

From Blood to Berries: A History of Tangipahoa Parish

Created in 1869 as a political ploy amid the turmoil of Reconstruction, Tangipahoa
Parish has endured a tumultuous pattern of development. The parish was carved from
portions of neighboring Livingston, St. Helena, Washington, and St. Tammany parishes
to create a contiguous entity that corresponded with the Tangipahoa River and the
New Orleans – Jackson Railroad Line (now the ICRR). 
Long burdened by extraordinary rates of rural violence that led the parish to be
dubbed “Bloody Tangipahoa,” the region abandoned its attachment to the cotton economy
in the early twentieth century with the arrival of strawberry farming and ancillary
industries. Today Tangipahoa boasts a rapidly expanding population and growing economy
amid one of the most diverse topographical regions of the Gulf South.

Celebrating one-hundred-fifty years of history, our exhibit showcases different industries
that helped grow Tangipahoa and how they affected certain cities within the parish.
Along with highlighting different festivals and events that put Tangipahoa on the
map we take time to honor famous figures who call this parish their home.

We hope you enjoy the exhibit and all of the interesting history Tangipahoa has to
offer. If you would like to arrange a special tour for school age children or to inquire
further information, please contact the Center at 985-549-2151.


World War I Exhibit:

Titled “The War That Did Not End All Wars: Louisiana and the Horror of World War I,”
a mock trench, battlefield diorama, and scores of war related items and artifacts
were among the features of a special exhibit commemorating World War I at Southeastern’s
Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies. The exhibit highlighted the horrors of World
War I, depicting images of indescribable butchery on the battlefield, mass genocide,
and the terrible conditions of trench warfare. Alternately known as the ‘Great War’
and the ‘War to End All Wars,’ World War I represented an unprecedented human tragedy
that devastated Europe and gave rise to political and economic configurations that
continue to challenge our world today.

The exhibit opening was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the launching
of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the largest American military offensive in the nation’s
history. An educational project designed to inform and entertain, placed emphasis
on all the nations who participated in the great struggle. The exhibit covered all
aspects of the war from the sources of the conflict through the ill-fated Russian
incursion and the influenza pandemic that killed thousands at the end of the war.



Posing in front of the mock trench from left to right: Faith Allen, Graduate Research Assistant; Dr. Samuel Hyde, Director; Dr. Keith Finley, Assistant Director; Bailey Hall, Graduate Research Assistant; and Mikayla Martin, Student Worker. Not pictured: Amelia Haag, Graduate
Research Assistant.


Strawberry History Exhibit:

The exhibit titled “Fruit Revolution: The Impact of Strawberry Farming on Southeast
Louisiana” emerged as the idea of three graduate research assistants at the center,
said Director Samuel Hyde, who is also Leon Ford Endowed Chair and Professor of History
at Southeastern.  The exhibit revealed that with the demise of cotton farming due
to the arrival of the boll weevil and destruction of the timber forests, the region
went into a sharp economic decline that had a devastating impact on society.

 The introduction of strawberries, which developed a unique flavor and texture due
to the soil quality of the region, rescued the area from its economic malaise and
brought other new industries with it, such as box and crate plants and refrigeration
companies. The emergence of the strawberry industry was not without controversy and
conflict. One portion of the exhibit explains the heated dispute between unions, big
industry, and small independent farmers.  It is our hope that this exhibit sheds light
on the importance of strawberry farming in this parish.

Strawberry Exhibit

Graduate research assistants pose with the exhibit. From left are Faith Allen, Blake
Constant, and Sarah Pardue-Bourgeois.

“The West Florida Revolution:1804-1810: Fulfilling Jefferson’s Mandate, Furthering
a Distinctive Regional Identity”

This exhibit illustrated the history of “the most understudied insurrection in American
history” –the West Florida Revolution, which created an independent nation in what
is now Louisiana’s Florida Parishes. The exhibit, presented in cooperation with Secretary
of State Fox McKeithen and the State Archives, was on display through 2003.The exhibit
centered on the only known surviving copy of the constitution of the Republic of West
Florida and supporting documents describing the Baton Rouge battle and efforts to
establish the republic


Houma Indians and Their Art

“Houma Indian Arts: Triptych,” was on display Feb. 1-28, 2000.

This exhibit included traditional and exotic carved objects by father and son, Cyril
and Ivy Billiot. Moss dolls and woven baskets by Marie Dean were showcased in an exhibition
exploring the folk art tradition of the Houma Indians. Curated by Dr. Frederic Allamel,
“Houma Indian Arts: Triptych,” is the first exhibition mounted to celebrate the folk
art of this French speaking Louisiana Indian nation that once dominated the western
Florida Parishes.

The whimsical Billiot pieces represented both primitive and craftsman art depicting
the familiar creatures of Louisiana’s woods and waters, domestic farm animals and
international wildlife as well as detailing traditional and modern occupations of
the Houmas of modern Terrebonne Parish. Ms.Dean’s weavings drew their materials and
inspirations from regional resources and local folkways.


Faces of Black Society in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes During the Age of Jim Crow

This pictorial exhibit was on display through month of February 2000.

African-Americans, usually considered “invisible’ in the Age of Jim Crow, are revealed
and individualized in numerous glass-plate portraits from several of the collections
in the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies. Black Louisianians of all classes,
ages and genders dramatically witness their existence and endurance through the work
of local professional and amateur photographers. These images, exhibited in conjunction
with Southeastern Louisiana University’s ongoing celebration of Black History Month,
document turn-of-the century Black life in Louisiana’s Florida Parishes.


Jimmy Davis “100 Years of Sunshine” Exhibit

“100 Years of Sunshine,” a centennial birthday celebration for Governor Jimmy Davis,
was on display July through October, 1999.

It contained photographs, news clippings, letters, and personal objects that were
once used by one of Louisiana’s most colorful governors and co-author of one of the
world’s most famous songs, “You are My Sunshine.”


World War II Exhibit

“From the Piney Woods to killing Fields: Louisiana’s Florida Parishes and the Challenge
of World War II” was on display from April 19, 1999-June 27, 1999. This exhibit examined
the Second World War and honored American combat veterans. It highlighted Allied and
Axis fighting power through displays of period uniforms, weapons, photographs and
documents on loan from area veterans and from numerous private collectors.

The Center’s extensive mix of visual objects (military artifacts, newspapers, photographs,
historical summations and statistical abstracts) with varied audio-visual mediums
(original radio broadcasts, documentary films and interactive computer programming)
helped readers understand “just how challenging the conflict was” for everyday heroes
of the Florida Parishes. The exhibit was done in conjunction with a Center-conducted
Archives & Oral History Project which preserved the recollections of Florida Parishes’
war veterans.


Civil War Exhibit

“The Civil War in Louisiana as Revealed by the Archival Treasures of the Center of
Regional Studies” was on display January-April 1999.

The exhibit drew on the Center’s and university archives’ resources and included rare
documents, newspapers, and private writings, as well as artifacts familiar to Civil
War buffs. It highlighted the course of the war with a special emphasis on southeastern
Louisiana. Although when most people think of the Civil War their attention is drawn
to the large-scale operations in Virginia or Georgia, events in Louisiana remained
central to determining the outcome of the war. In addition to countless skirmished,
raids, and an enduring guerrilla war, Louisiana served as home to the largest naval
engagement in

North American waters, the last and most significant offensive campaign in the western
theater of the war, and the largest training base for Confederate troops in the Gulf


Spanish-American War Exhibit

“The Splendid Little War” was on display July-October 1998.

Although military prowess inspires the American psyche, far less emphasis is placed
on the Spanish-American War than on other wars such as the Civil War and World War
II even though it played a major role in the emergence of America as a world power.

Often regarded as America’s “Empire Building” War, the Spanish-American War was the
first sustained conflict in which Americans engaged a foreign adversary overseas and
demonstrated the rising potential of American power. Southern participation in this
war helped heal the national divisiveness created by the American Civil War and restored
the 4th of July holiday, long associated with the twin Confederate defeats at Vicksburg
and Gettysburg, to Dixie.

The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies presented this exhibit to commemorate the
Hundredth Anniversary of the Spanish-American War and to honor state and local contributions
to the war effort.


Boy Scout Exhibit

“A History of Scouting in the Istrouma Area Council” was on display during February

The Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies and Clark Hall Gallery hosted this special
exhibit celebrating the history of area Boy Scouting.The exhibit featured a collection
of Boy Scout memorabilia spanning 70 years. It included displays of Boy Scout uniforms
and utensils from the turn of the century as well as field books, handbooks and camporee
paraphernalia. Also displayed were facsimiles of two Norman Rockwell paintings, on
loan from the National Museum of Scouting. The paintings originally were commissioned
by the Boy Scouts of America in the 1920s and 1930s.


Indian Exhibit

“Wiley Sharp Collection” was on display in November 1997.

This exhibit included artifacts used 3,500 years ago by American Indians in the Lake

Pontchartrain basin. The artifacts are among the approximately 6,500 stone, ceramic,
bone and shell specimens from the Wiley Sharp collection.

The exhibit included cooking utensils, jewelry, fishing and hunting artifacts, tools
and weapons, many of them excavated at Bayou Jasemine in Tangipahoa parish.