City in Louisiana opens 50-year-old time capsule, unveils 300th anniversary mural

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — City officials in Opelousas looked back in time this past Sunday as they opened a time capsule buried 50 years ago in front of what is today the Police Department.

Originally, the capsule was buried by the 250th anniversary committee on June 14, 1970 in front of what used to be the Opleousas City Hall on Court Street. On-hand for the event were Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor and City Council Members as well as relatives of members of the 250th committee.  Also, in attendance were Opelousas residents Dr. Lucius Doucet, Gerald Emon, Sonny Ray and Becky Faul Diesi, who were part of the 250th time capsule burial fifty years ago.  Marceline Cortez Hrachovy, daughter of former Mayor of Opelousas Wilfred Cortez, shared a few remarks about the letter her father had placed in the time capsule.  

According to a press release from the city, the contents of the 1970 time capsule included a letter from the chairman of the time capsule committee, a letter from former Opelousas Mayor Wilfred Cortez, a key to the city, a letter and badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux, letters from various civic organizations and a package from the Chamber of Commerce containing a tour guide. 

While most of the contents appeared to have some sort of water damage, there were some letters and artifacts that appeared to be salvageable.  A key to the city, placed in the capsule by former Mayor Wilfred Cortez, was located as was a badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux.  The city will work with preservation-related agencies in hopes of restoring some of the memorabilia.  Those items will then be placed at the Opelousas Public Library for viewing.  The city also plans to bury another time capsule later this year in celebration of the 300th anniversary.

At the same event, officials also unveiled a community mural for th city’s anniversary. The mural, titled “Tree of Life,” features icons and symbols representing the city’s culture and heritage intertwined with the roots and branches of an oak tree. The artist for the project is Jerome Ford who is an accomplished artist and an instructor for St. Landry Parish School Board Talented & Visual Arts Program. 

The design was printed on six individual canvases to create one large piece of artwork.  Through a series of pop-up painting activities, some 100 people from around the community helped to paint the mural. The mural project is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts.   

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