Celebrate Me Home conference connects Creole communities

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NATCHITOCHES  –  Loletta Wynder and Sheila Richmond represented the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University by participating in the Celebrate Me Home Conference in Mobile, Alabama, on June 8-10. The event brought together people from Louisiana, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois, Florida, Georgia and Missouri to connect to their Creole heritage.

 

Family Doctors

Wynder and Richmond presented information about the establishment of the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State and the subsequent work that has been done over the last 20 years. Other presenters included genealogist Christopher Nordmann, Ph.D, on African American genealogy research; Shawn Williams, Ph.D., from Georgia State University on Creole Connections, and Carlos Finley on the Utopia Social Club.

 

Also included in the conference were a tour from the Dora Franklin Finley African American Heritage Trail featuring sites such as the Creole Fire House and a tour of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

 

On Saturday, June 9, the conference moved to Mon Louis Island, heart of Creole culture in the Mobile area. The island is the home of the Utopia Social Club, established in 1936, and the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The current church building was constructed in the early 1900s, but the church history goes back to around 1853.

 

The Celebrate Me Home Conference was presented by the Mobile Creole Cultural and Historical Preservation Society whose mission is to continuously promote and improve understanding of the culture and history of the Creole community of the Mobile region and to facilitate the research efforts of those exploring their ancestral connection to this community.

Loletta Wynder, Sheila Richmond and other participants at the Celebrate Me Home Conference in Mobile, Alabama, are pictured at Kazoola, a restaurant named after Cudjoe Kazoola Lewis, the last survivor of the last recorded U.S. slave ship, the Clotilde. Wynder and Richmond represented the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University and presented at the conference.