The week long activities that highlighted our Centennial celebration were the result of many years of planning by many persons who worked tirelessly in preparation. Though the activities of October 1 – 8, 2001 attracted many visitors to our town, the celebration began with the July 1 reception to introduce the book, Brusly 1901 – 2001: A Place to Call Home and continued with the opening of the exhibit of the same name at the West Baton Rouge Museum on September 15. The interest and participation in these two events made us aware that people were eager to join with us in our celebration.
We are grateful to all who attended events to commemorate this special time in our town’s history. It was a joy and a privilege to see people greet and visit with family members, former residents and those who were interested in seeing what we had going on in our small community.
The week began with an overflow crowd at the Opening Ceremony featuring comments from Brusly native Father Joel LaBauve, Brusly resident and longtime educator, Mrs. Shirley Jordan and Warren Perrin of CODOFIL who offered insights on Acadian history relative to our area. Claudette Purnell graced the ceremony with music appropriate to the occasion for the opening event as well as for the Charles P. Adams program at Brusly High on Tuesday morning. The program which honored the Brusly native who is credited as the founder of Grambling State University featured Dr. Mildred Gallot and Edward Adams, grandson of Charles P. Adams, was attended by Brusly High students, Brusly residents and visitors.
Following that ceremony, over 300 participants attended a Senior Citizens’ Luncheon at the activity center of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Father Howard Hall, Reverend Sam Singleton and Smiley Anders were participants seated at the head table. Following the meal, everyone enjoyed the educational slide show. Before and following the luncheon, visitors had the opportunity to view the Genealogy Exhibit which remained available the remainder of the week.
Wednesday’s highlight was the Taste Fair which found a large crowd in attendance to sample the cooking of over 20 “chefs.” Of special significance was the participation of our younger citizens in the production of “Our Town Brusly” on Thursday evening at the Brusly Middle School gym. Their efforts were especially enjoyed by older residents and former residents who had a chance to attend the play. The Art Exhibit at the Lion’s Den was being prepared early Friday morning to be ready for weekend viewing. While all these events were transpiring, many people were hard at work getting Alexander Park ready for the entertainment and children’s activities which began Friday evening. The success of that is still being heralded by anyone who attended functions at the park. From the very young to the oldest “young at heart,” there was plenty to attract them and keep them entertained. Hats off to all who worked so hard to plan and organize, especially the inclusion of activities for children. The weekend included the Tour of Homes, sponsored by the West Baton Rouge Historical Association in conjunction with Brusly’s Centennial events, a free picnic on Saturday, wonderful food prepared by various vendors, a great parade and the Closing Ceremony which featured Lt. Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and vocal offerings by Jennifer Babin. Capping the week long celebration was the magnificent fireworks display which could be seen far and wide, featuring a grand finale of an illuminated oak tree.
For eight years, plans were in the works for the celebration of Brusly’s 100th birthday. During that time, many individuals supported the efforts of the committee and gave of their time and talents when asked to help. It could not have been a success if the citizens of this town had not come out to enjoy the festivities. Many thanks to all of you.
In the Centennial Room at the Town Hall you will find transcribed oral interviews which contain memories of Brusly as recalled by residents and former residents. These stories give valuable insights as to life in this community between 1910 and 1969. You will find historical memorabilia to view in the cabinets in the room. A CD with pictures of the entire celebration has been created and copies can be purchased. As a reminder, books are still available for $10 each at the Town Hall. Also available are tapes of individual activities of the week as well as a tape of the overall celebration. Call the Town Hall at 749-2909 for specific prices and to place orders.