Creole Heritage Folklife Center
While the Folklife Center serves primarily as an educational center for local youth, it still offers an intense and very personal narrative of local African American life in the first half of the twentieth century.
Creole folklorist Rebecca Henry has collected and displayed family records, photographs, and personal effects in order to relate the lives of her parents and grandparents, who worked as tenant farmers in the region. The personal effects on display at the Creole Heritage Folklife Center thoughtfully represent not only history, but a way of life.
A native of Louisiana's St. Landry Parish and mother of six, Rebecca Henry grew up in a small farming community of Leonville as the daughter of a sharecropper. She recalls times when kerosene was used to light rooms and a hot jug of water wrapped in cloth kept your feet warm while you slept. It is these kinds of old traditions and folkways that she seeks to preserve and share at the center.
The Creole Heritage Folklife Center is located in an old house, deliberately kept rustic so that visitors get a true sense of the period. There is a potbelly stove in the kitchen, a dry sink on the countertop, a hand-braided rug in front of the bedroom fireplace, and shelves with hats and hatboxes of the era. There is also a gift shop of hand made gifts, art, soaps, and dolls—all created by Henry.
Guided tours are available weekly and by appointment.
Listen to Voices from the Trail with storyteller Louis Gossett, Jr.
1113 West Vine St. Opelousas, LA 70570