Pioneer and Heritage Day brings history to life

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monday’s Pioneer and Heritage Day at Cassidy Park’s museums was a throwback to simpler times.

In conjunction with Bogalusa’s Centennial Jubilee celebration, Pioneer and Heritage Day had demonstrations in the fine art of pine needle basketry, quilting, embroidering and putting together necklaces for children.

Entertainment included watermelon eating, a bluegrass band and Jan Adams’ woodcarving. Activities included a corn bag toss, croquet, egg relay and tug-of-war games for the kids.

Near the Pioneer Museum, Lurtie Sanders, Joan Hortman, Lorraine Bourn and Betty Batton patiently demonstrated the art of making baskets from pine needles.

“We use the longleaf pine needles and soak them in hot water to soften them,” Bourn said in describing the first preparations. “We then drain the needles and weave them together, then sew them.”

Bourn said there are different methods to complete the process.

“You can use raffia (grass) to sew or make stitches, but we use artificial sinew,” Bourn said.

She continued, “We then shape them in any way you want.”

Bourn said the Pioneer Museum houses all kinds of baskets.

“In the museum we have fabulous exhibits of baskets in the shapes of animals, called an effigy,” Bourn said. “An effigy looks like an animal or person. Exhibits we have are made by the Coushatta Tribe. They’re the ones known for their fabulous pine needle effigy craft.”

Children Lilly Canter Go of New York City and Stephanie Amthor of Atlanta displayed their embroidery skills while making potholders under the watchful eye of Marcy Regan and Pat Schabla, both quilters.

“It’s just good. You can do it by yourself or with friends,” Regan said. “It’s a good way to make heirlooms to pass down to your family.”

Schabla agreed.

“I’m just addicted to it,” Schabla said. “I started as a young girl and picked it back up earlier this year.”

Despite the heat and muggy conditions, Vice President of the Museums of Cassidy Park Board of Directors Johni Miles-Blount said turnout was good.

“Everything went good,” Blount said. “People were in and out. I think we had two full pages of people who signed in on the register. All in all, it was a good turnout.”