New museums director’s ideas go well beyond facilities’ walls

Published 8:49 am Friday, February 6, 2015

As the new director of the Museums at Cassidy Park, Marcelle Hanemann said she has a number of thoughts that should spur interest in the park in general.

Hanemann took over the position on Jan. 26 from Lorraine Bourn, who will remain on in an advisory capacity as well as a museums volunteer. Hanemann will also work as a grant writer for the City of Bogalusa.

“The museums were at a crossroads and were faced with potentially having to close one or both of the museums, which are a rare cultural center for Bogalusa and an attraction that draws people from outside the city.”

With finances tight, the Museum Board and City of Bogalusa are sharing in Hanemann’s salary.

“Since the museums were opened in 2003, they’ve operated totally with volunteers, but they try to meet professional standards, and that requires a great deal of work,” Hanemann said. “They got to the point where they would have to at least lower their standards or get additional help.”

Bourn asked Hanemann if she would be interested in a position with the museums, and the board gave its approval. “The Museum Board asked me to sign on part time, and I was thrilled,” said Hanemann. “I love the museums and think they have a lot of potential for growth. But I needed a full-time job.”

That was where Museum Board member and City Council President Teddy Drummond came in.

“Lorraine Bourn, with the blessing of the Museum Board, asked the City of Bogalusa if it could come up with another part-time job to make up the difference,” said Hanemann.

Drummond offered his council salary for the year as part of the city’s portion. Drummond is known to donate his council pay to local causes. The pay totals half of city’s half of Hanemann’s salary. The city is paying the remaining quarter of her total salary.

“After the election, Lorraine, Teddy and I sat down with new Mayor Wendy Perrette. I gave her a long list of things I could do for the city,” Hanemann said. “Like Teddy, she realized that the museums — and Cassidy Park in general — are one of Bogalusa’s greatest assets. The park and the events that take place there pull people from all around, and that’s good for our economy. The Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival is proof of that. It literally attracts people from around the world. Those people spend money here.”

Hanemann shared some of her ideas for the park,

“I have lots of ideas for the park. I’m working with Director of Parks and Recreation Landon Tims and Director of Public Works James Hall to bring them to fruition,” Hanemann said. “Some of the first things I’m working on include getting a fence between the Splash pad and the creek, getting playground equipment for little kids, getting a dog park and moving an example of each type of company house to a spot along the undeveloped section toward the Senior Center for historic preservation and educational purposes.

“I also want to give the many, many people who regularly jog or walk the pathway three exercise stations to enhance their workouts,” Hanemann said. “Then I realized the city might have the materials it needs to put in a double sided stairs, a couple of pull up bars and a couple of slant boards. I talked with James and Landon, and they are set to go in.”

Regarding the municipal aspect of her job, Hanemann said she has various thoughts there.

“I have ideas for Main Street grants and some for the Visitor’s

Center, which is located right on the southern tier bicycle trail,” Hanemann said.

Hanemann, who worked as a reporter for The Daily News for 12 years, said she is putting her newspaper experience to work in finding grants. She also worked for Times-Picayune in New Orleans and newspapers in St. Tammany Parish.

“Because of that, I have a lot of connections and an understanding of the grant process,” Hanemann said. “As promotions chair of the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Fest, I help with a grant that got us $10,000 for promotions the past two years. I also worked with Lorraine to identify a project and to write a grant for Daughters of American Revolution funding for a project at the museums.”

Hanemann noted that the roles are perfect for her.

“I’ve always loved the park and wanted to he a part of the city team,” Hanemann said. “I have a lot of passion for helping Bogalusa, and now I get to do that full time. This is the best job I could have ever imagined. I feel so strongly for these causes.”