Alexandria Genealogical Library and Museum Holds Open House

The Alexandria Genealogical Library and History Museum held an open house today and there was a large turnout for the event.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey was there and has this report.

Santana Brown with the Louisiana National Guard has been volunteering at the Alexandria Genealogical Library and History Museum for two and a half years she says she has a good time at the Museum.

Brown said, “It’s important for our youth these days to know their history.  It’s important for them to know where they came from also the history of the area that they live in… It’s fun doing this you get to see so many different things that have happened here in the city and why things are the way they are.  You get to know about the building structures and all the things that goes into that.”

She took me on a quick tour of the museum starting with the civil war.  She showed me a hand grenade from Camp Beauregard and maps of the breakwaters of the Red River from when lumber was put into the river to make the water shallower and harder for the north to come in from Shreveport.

David Manning is the President of the Library and Museum and he spoke with me about the colorful history of Huey P. Long.

Manning said, “My opinion is he did more for Louisiana than any other governor.  He built the bridges.  He provided free schools free textbooks. When I was going to school every six weeks.  I got two pencils and a tablet of paper… He probably did a lot for himself too because if an oil company was going to poke a hole in Louisiana for oil they were required to give him shares of stock.  When he died, he was a large shareholder of Standard Oil.

Manning spoke about Longs death at the hands of an alleged assassin.

“He walked out of the capitol, flagged down a person on the road to take him to the hospital. They did surgery on him and removed one bullet… They put him in the room and he bled to death from the wound of a second bullet… The rumors that somebody had him killed.  A lot of the rumors that he was running for president and Franklin Delano Roosevelt had him killed.”

The event was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber President Deborah Randolph said, “Part of the job of the Chamber is to market and promote the assets we have here in Central Louisiana and this is certainly an asset an attraction for both the locals or people touring our area to come and see.”

Randolph says the Library and Museum couldn’t operated with out the Board and the Volunteers.

“We thank all the board and the volunteers who keep this facility open and who provide the tours.  They’re awesome and we appreciate what they do.”

Mayor Jeff Hall also got a tour of the museum.  He wants more people to know about the museum.

Hall said, “This museum is a real treasure from my perspective of a collection of artifacts and items.  It’s truly relevant to the region and the area.”

Pat Boone is the director of the museum and a professional genealogist.

Boone said, “I love helping people do their family history and up here I can help people and show them how you can learn your history and you learn more about yourself.  When you know about your own history then downstairs in the museum you can go and see how your family lived during certain time periods.

The historical building that houses the library and museum began as the Alexandria Public Library in 1907.

The museum has outgrown itself and there’s no more room for additional exhibits.  That’s why the board has bought the historic Shiloh Baptist Church downtown with plans to expand.  Joel will have more on this story next week.