July 2, 2020

50-year-old Opelousas Time Capsule Opened

50-year-old Opelousas Time Capsule Opened

Opelousas city officials took a glance into their history this summer as they opened a not-forgotten time capsule buried 50 years ago in front of what is now the Police Department, reports an article by BRProud.com.

On June 14, 1970 in front of what was once the Opelousas City Hall on Court Street, the time capsule was buried by the 250th anniversary committee, and 50 years later, it was opened by Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor, City Council Members, and relatives of members of the 250th committee.

According to a press release from the city, the 1970 time capsules’s contents included a letter from the chairman of the time capsule committee, a letter from former Opelousas Mayor Wilfred Cortez, a key to the city, a letter and badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux, letters from various civic organizations and a package from the Chamber of Commerce containing a tour guide.

Despite many of the contents appearing to have some sort of water damage, there were many letters and artifacts still salvageable. Former Mayor Wilfred Cortez placed a key to the city that sat alongside  a badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux.

The City of Opelousas plans to work with preservation-related agencies in hopes of restoring some of the damaged memorabilia so that the items can be placed at the Opelousas Public Library for the town’s viewing, as was the capsule’s original intention. In order to celebrate the city’s 300th anniversary, another time capsule is scheduled to be buried later this year.

At the same event, officials took time to unveil a community mural for the city’s anniversary, titled “Tree of Life.” The mural features icons and symbols representing the city’s culture and heritage intertwined with an oak tree’s branches and roots. The project’s artist, Jerome Ford is a local accomplished artist and an instructor for St. Landry Parish School Board Talented & Visual Arts Program.

The mural was composed by having the design printed on six individual canvases, creating one large piece of artwork. Through a series of pop-up community panting events, approximately 100 people from the city helped to paint the mural, which was supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts.

In an interview conducted by KATC, Mayor Julius Alsandor said of the event, “History is our present. Our present will be our future.” Alsandor commented on the close-knit community at the unveiling by remarking that everyone “came together at a time when all of us need to be together.”

Also in attendance at this historic Opelousas event were residents Dr. Lucius Doucet, Gerald Emon, Sonny Ray and Becky Faul Diesi, who were part of the 250th time capsule burial fifty years ago.  Marceline Cortez Hrachovy, daughter of former Mayor of Opelousas Wilfred Cortez, shared a few remarks about the letter her father had placed in the time capsule.

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