News From the Isle: SAHS Activities & Highlights

The St. Augustine Historical Society (SAHS) is pleased to highlight 2022 appointments and activities.

New appointments to the Board include Mrs. Jennifer Colbert and Mrs. Kimberly Antee Martin. Mrs. Gloria “Mama Glo” Jones and Dr. Hiram “Pete” Gregory were awarded lifetime honorary advisory Board of Directors. Mrs. Charlotte White was appointed a SAHS Advisory Board Member for the Restoration of Badin-Roque House, and Mr. Clyde Roque was appointed the Project Manager for Badin-Roque Restoration.

At 92 years young, Mrs. Gloria “Mama Glo” Jones was appointed as a lifetime honorary Board of Director. Mrs. Jones was also named a Natchitoches Treasure in 2015. She was an original SAHS member when it was founded in 1979, and her husband, the late Lewis “Sonny” Jones, served as the organization’s first president. Through her efforts and others, the organization acquired and continuously works to preserve the Badin-Roque House, one of the oldest structures in the parish and one-of-a-kind in Louisiana. She and other board members also worked with community partners to restore the collapsing tomb of the community and church founder, Augustin Metoyer, and to place a historical marker in his honor. “Mama Glo” is well known for her service to the community. She served on the board of the Cane River National Park and Heritage area; she received an award for her contributions from the NSU Creole Heritage Center in 2013; she served on Louisiana State boards representing this area – the State Board of Agriculture and the State Livestock Branding Commission; and she served on the Council on Aging Board helping bring services to the elderly and low income.

“Dr. Hiram “Pete” Gregory was also appointed as a lifetime honorary Board of Director. A long-time friend, proponent and advisor, Dr. “Pete” has been a member of SAHS since its inception in 1979. He performed the first archeological study on the site and discovered a wealth of information and relics. He is a former Natchitoches Treasure and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award (2019) by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for his studies with the American Indian, Creole, and other Louisiana cultures. Together with help from the Cane River Community, he and Joseph Moran wrote a cultural study of the Cane River Creole community – “We Know Who We Are” – for Jean Lafitte National Park. He also joined Terrel Delphin, second president of SAHS, in organizing the Creole Heritage Center at NSU (1993), – an idea which spawned out of the SAHS. This year, he was recognized by the Louisiana Universities for his work with the Louisiana American Indian communities (2023).

Dr “Pete” says, “My great pleasure has been to listen and learn about Creole culture from my friends along Isle Brevelle, Cane River and across Louisiana. I came to Isle Brevelle as a stranger, and I found another home – a community of wise, faithful, families.”

Besides beginning the restoration of “the one-of-a-kind” Badin-Roque House, the SAHS has made new appointments and was a driving force in the recent to renaming of a portion of Highway 493 to the Augustin Metoyer Memorial Parkway – an idea brought to us by Emile Metoyer and sponsored by Senator Louie Bernard. A dedication will be planned in the near future.

Charlotte White was appointed a SAHS Advisory Board Member for the Restoration of Badin- Roque House. Charlotte currently serves the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as Vice President General and a member of the Spanish Lineage Research Task Force. She was elected Honorary State Regent of the Louisiana Society at their 2022 state conference. Charlotte served as State Regent from 2019 to 2022. During her administration, her State Regent’s Project, Restoration of Badin Roque, raised over $80,000.

Says Charlotte, “Selecting the Badin Roque restoration as my state project was an easy choice.”

Prior to her election, Charlotte visited Cane River to share the story of DAR with the ladies of Cane River. During her visit, she toured Badin-Roque and fell in love with the people and its history. As she toured the house and learned its history, she knew she had to be a part of saving this incredible structure. Charlotte led a fundraising effort among the 43 chapters in the state.

Charlotte shared, “It was a great honor on behalf of the Louisiana daughters to assist in raising funds for the preservation of a part of Cane River’s history, a part of Louisiana’s history and most significantly a part of our country’s history.”

Clyde Roque was appointed SAHS Project Manager for Badin-Roque Restoration. He has been a Board Director since 2015. Mr. Roque is a long-time historical preservationist and has led efforts to preserve the historic Alfred Llorens home on La-119. Mr. Roque has acquired a wealth of historical information over several decades. He graduated from Northwestern State University in 1974 and has been an industrial designer for the oil and gas industry in Houston, Texas for 35 years. He will use his expertise to guide the 2021 Badin-Roque restoration project after SAHS raised over $122,000 of support from community partners and private donors.

Jennifer Christophe Colbert is a member of St. Augustine Catholic Church and Metoyer descendant tracing back to the founders of St. Augustine’s Catholic community on Isle Brevelle. Mrs. Colbert believes that her Board position will give her an opportunity to bring her ancestry search to life.

Says Mrs. Colbert, “The unique culture of the Cane River Creole community is worth publicizing, celebrating, and keeping alive for future generations. My hope is that we no longer will be known as a ‘forgotten’ people.”

Colbert’s father, Louis “Pajoe” Christophe started her on her journey when he gave her the hand-written data collected on the Kirkland-Christophe family members derived from the St. Augustine Church record. Today, Colbert hopes to give life to the contributions and hard work made by her ancestors and to inform her current family members of their unique heritage and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Kimberly Antee Martin is the daughter of the late parents Joseph “Woodrow” Antee and Peggy Aaron Antee. Kim grew up in Inglewood, CA, but spent every 4th of July week on Cane River at the home of her grandfather Edward “Wood” Antee and Mable Conde’ Antee. Her grandfather, Edward Antee, was the owner of the Friendly Place on Cane River. Edward was the grandson of Norbert Badin, and after the passing of Edward’s aunt, Zeline Badin-Roque, he took ownership of the Badin-Roque home. In the early 1980’s, Edward sold the Badin-Roque home to the Saint Augustine Historical Society to preserve this piece of Louisiana history. Kim fondly remembers playing in the “mud house” as a child. Kim attended Northwestern State University with an emphasis in Marketing, and she currently serves as a member of Northwestern State University’s Alumni Board. While Kim and her family currently live in League City, Texas, they have plans to retire at their residence on Cane River.

Dr. Rand Metoyer was appointed SAHS Treasurer, succeeding Vera Severin who served over many years and remains an active member. Dr. Metoyer was born and raised in Natchitoches Parish.

Metoyer says, “Despite spending my formative years here, I wasn’t aware of our unique history until later in life. We would frequently take field trips during our school years, but never visited Melrose. We studied Louisiana history, but never our history. Understanding our history creates a peaceful ‘sense of being’ and a greater respect for the region. The objective of the historical society is both to preserve important structures of our past and to educate and engage future generations. Much of our community has migrated over the years. It is easy for the later generations to lose the connection to this area. My goal for the St. Augustine Historical Society is to reach out to the younger generations and create memorable experiences while they are visiting here, that will encourage them to want to return frequently and be an active part of our local and nationwide community.”

Continuing as SAHS President since 2013 is Rev. Dr. Harlan “Deacon Mark” Guidry.

Deacon Mark says, “SAHS has great appreciation for its outstanding board of directors who volunteer their time, treasure, and talents to the preservation of our Catholic faith-based heritage on Isle Brevelle, centered around St. Augustine Catholic Church. Over the years, much of our heritage has been lost, relocated, or misinterpreted by those looking from the outside in. Truth is, we know who we are, and SAHS is here to tell our own story and to preserve it.”

SAHS welcomes and appreciates supportive community partners and friends.

“Our supporters respect our cultural identity and come to us for our history,” Deacon Mark added. “As a people and a community of faith living on the Isle, we have never forgotten who we are.”

Other Board of Directors include Thomas E. Roque. Sr. (Vice President); Kathie Sarpy Roque (Secretary); Dawn Guidry Carmouche (Asst. Secretary for state and federal reporting); Dianne V. Moran (Press Secretary); Mary Frances Jones; Rebecca Metoyer Jones; Theresa Conant Demery; Vanue B. Lacour, Jr.; Anita Metoyer Evans; Anastasia Christophe; and Vera Severin.