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Our Museum History

   Beginning with only a vision and a dream, a handful of local citizens purchased some of Adam
Morales' cypress driftwood sculptures (shortly after his untimely death) when they learned that
they might be sold and moved away from our community. Many thanks go to Julius Mabile,
Darrell Rivere, Butch Gros, Ken St. Germain, and Gerald St. Germain for saving these local
treasures for our bayou community! Saving these unique sculptures gave birth to the idea of a
museum for the Pierre Part/Belle River area.


    A board of interested citizens was formed, a legal non-profit entity (a 501c)3 was created, and planning started for a museum with no money, no location, no land, nothing. Everyone soon learned that creating a museum was a very complicated, expensive, and time-consuming task! An area consultant, Mr. Lou Cutrera, who had helped with Veterans Memorial Park and many other projects in our area was consulted for advice and direction. Then, to the extreme good fortune of the entire community, the Settoon family in Belle River offered to donate a very valuable parcel of property near the old Belle River ballpark. The donated property is 150' wide on Hwy. 70 and is 350' in depth. Since that donation, a 50-year renewable lease on about 13 additional acres adjoining the donated tract has been secured from the Settoon family. Unbelievable!!!

   In Feb. of 2020, a Valentine's fundraiser was held in the Church Hall and amazingly we raised
about $84,000 for the mu
seum! Then, Covid-19 hit our community and put the brakes on
everything...even small group board meetings. Then, because of Covid, we could not plan
another Valentine fundraiser in 2021 or 2022. However, we are planning another fundraiser for
Valentine's 2023 on February 11th. By the way, we are currently working on a museum calendar
with drawings by the school kids.

   Then, based on the recommendation of our consultant Lou Cutrera, we entered into a contact
with a very highly regarded consulting firm with extensive experience in planning and creating
museums. We quickly made plans to start clearing the property but were advised to wait until we had all the proper permits from the US Army Corps of Engineers since part of the property is
indeed wetlands. Accordingly, we had to hire another firm to do a delineation study to determine what parts of the property are wetlands. To date, we are awaiting a final determination by the Corps of Engineers before we can even begin clearing. The Corp Delineation report has been received already and clearing took place.

  Conceptual Plan is completed. Next phases are design and construction of museum infrastructure. Currently, the conceptual plan and design includes a main display building and welcoming area. Perhaps a nice footbridge over the slough near Hwy 70, and walking trails in the rear of the property on the "old plantation levee" and an elevated board walk across the swamp to the forty-acre pond at the back of the property. Another possibility is some type of Cajun cabin type structures on pilings adjoining the walkway across the swamp. All so far is tentative and in the planning stages.

   The entire proposed museum complex will be designed to showcase and preserve the history
and culture of our area with special attention to the swamp in our display. Our planned exhibits
will be created around our unique culture and language, music, early farming, fishing, hunting,
trapping, logging, moss picking, boat building and local personalities like Adam Morales. We have already collected many artifacts for our displays, visited many other museums for ideas, secured a very old cypress barn for our farming display, collected boats and pirogues, etc.

   We are also working with Lone Wolf Marketing LLC on public relations, branding, and website layout, etc. January 10, 2022, Assistant Professor Nicki Lirette Boudreaux of Nicholls State University notified the Museum that her class had accepted our communications project for the semester. We were selected among many submissions to be a part of Nichols State University Asst. Professor Nicki Lirette Boudreaux’s Communications class. A team of 5 students was created whose job was to develop a campaign strategy for the museum that included research for a unique logo, website and communication resources. A sign has been erected on the site for public awareness. We recently received a $10,000 grant from the Atchafalaya National Heritage Association. The museum was honored to receive $100,000 State funding June 1, 2022 to assist with operational expenses to move the museum project forward. We secured all the proper permits, which now clearing will begin on the site. But we need the continued support of our local community as well as our neighbors outside of our community. At some point soon, we will probably call for a public meeting to receive your thoughts and comments. However, feel free to contact any of our board members now or at any time with your thoughts. This museum will be a tremendous asset to this community and will attract visitors from near and far!


PP/BR Museum Board Members: Darrell Rivere, Julius Mabile, Butch Gros, Celeste Gros,
Gerald St. Germain, Ken St Germain, Dennis Landry, Eugene Blanchard, Chad LeBlanc,
Louanna Breaux, TJ Blanchard, Beryl Gomez

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