Varnado Store Museum hosting presentation

Published 12:25 am Sunday, March 31, 2013

People interested in local history or those who just like a good love story are invited to stop by the Varnado Store Museum on April 8.

A presentation on the book “Now and Always: A Louisiana Love Story” will be held that day at 6 p.m. in the museum annex. The free event will include a PowerPoint presentation and a reading of letters from the book.

The book is a compilation of letters sent between Amanda Doerr Lancaster and Joseph Bradford Lancaster between the years 1901 and 1916, during their courtship and after their marriage. Many of the letters are signed “now and always,” Museum Director Terry Seal said.

“You can just feel the love these two people had for each other in the pages of this book,” she said.

The Lancasters’ granson, Christian Garcia, who lives in North Carolina, compiled the letters, edited the book and wrote the introduction. He also and spent many years collecting accompanying documents and photographs.

“Every time a reference was made to a place or an event in these letters, he would research that and find a photograph or a document or something to show it historically,” Seal said.

A number of photographs from the museum’s collection are featured in the book.

Much of the story, Seal said, takes place in Washington Parish.

Over the years, Joseph Bradford Lancaster was an attorney, a district attorney, a representative in the Louisiana Legislature, a judge and a superintendent of schools. He spent a good deal of time at the parish courthouse in Franklinton, also traveling to Covington, where the couple’s home was located, and Baton Rouge.

Seal said the letters provide information about early modes of transportation, the beginnings of the parish legal system, and things people did for entertainment during that era.

Garcia’s brother, Judge Peter Garcia, recently donated a copy of the book to the museum. Seal and other staff members who have been able to get their hands on the book so far were entertained and educated while reading it, she said.

Seal said the museum staff was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity when Judge Garcia called and said his brother would be in town April 8, and thus, available to do a presentation on the book. She is hoping the event will draw a crowd.

“I think anybody who is interested in history would love it,” she said.