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Still Rising: Free People of Color in St. Landry Parish EXHIBIT AT OPELOUSAS MUSEUM

On Thursday, March 30, the Opelousas Museum and Interpretive Center hosts a reception for a new exhibit, Still Rising: Free People of Color in St. Landry Parish.  The scholars who created the exhibit will give brief presentations as visitors enjoy the display.

THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2023: UNVEILING 5-7 p.m.

On Saturday, April 1, presenters will provide in depth information on Free People of Color in St. Landry Parish.


  • The Life and Times of Martin Donato, Etha Simien Amling
  • History of St Ann Catholic Church in Mallet: 1856 to the present, Vivian Broussard Guillory
  • Origins of Free People of Color, Alex Lee

The Saturday program will be livestreamed on the Acadiana Open Channel’s youtube page:

St. Landry Parish had the second largest population of Free People of Color in Louisiana, outside of New Orleans.  This community shaped culture, economy and other aspects of the region in the pre-Civil War era. Through images, text, maps and a timeline, the display will describe lifestyle, trades and culture of Free People of Color from the 1700s to the present. The exhibit also explores how despite a precarious situation—free but with social restrictions—they thrived, leaving a legacy that echoes in our lives today.

Exhibit developers include historian Sarah Senette, genealogist Etha Simien Amling, designer Jerome Ford, researcher Taylor Suir, education specialist Brandi Meche, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion specialist Kristi Guillory Reid and museum director Patrice Melnick. 

WHERE:  Opelousas Museum & Interpretive Center, 315 N Main St., Opelousas, LA 70570

CONTACT:  Patrice Melnick 337-948-2589;

MUSEUM HOURS:  Mon.—FR, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

315 N Main St., Opelousas, LA 70570.

FMI: Patrice Melnick 337-948-2589;

This program is funded under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project is also sponsored by the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, a division of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism.  Additional Sponsors include St. Landry Parish Tourism, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and The City of Opelousas.  Partners include Acadiana Open Channel, image360 of New Orleans, Kristi Guillory Reid Enterprises LLC., St. Landry Clerk of Courts, and Alex Genealogy.