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Memories going on display at River Road Museum

L’Observateur / October 21, 1998

NORCO – A group of dedicated Shell retirees combed their memories and attics and, working with Shell management, developed the new River Road Museum, opening next week.

A grand opening, invitation-only reception is set Oct. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8p.m.Located just off River Road at Shell Refinery, Norco, it will be open free of charge to the public from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays,by appointment only.

The River Road Museum highlights the history, not only of Shell but also the River Parishes region and its industrial development. Norco itselfderives its name from the old New Orleans Refining Co. (NORCO) more than80 years ago, which became the present Shell Oil refinery.

“This is a museum spotlighting Shell and the petrochemical industry,” said Lilly Acosta-Galland, board president of the museum.

“You will see Shell gasoline pumps as far back as the 1920s. You will findtoys and products with Shell’s name prominently displayed. But this ismuch more a museum about the area, its people and its growth.”Indeed, the museum houses the history of Norco as a “company town,” complete with its own movie theater, Boy Scout troop, band, baseball team, bowling alley, swimming pool and school house for the families of employees.

Also, a satellite map tracks Indian sites, port development, sugar mills and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. The museum auditoriumfeatures a short film relating the history of the settlement of the River Parishes from colonial times.

Shell retiree and board member C. “Sis” Webb commented, “Everyone seesthe museum from a different perspective. Whether you are interested in aneducational, nostalgic or an entertaining experience, you will find something to peak your interest and encourage a love of history.”Indeed, families with connections to Shell during the past three generations will likely find photos of those family members somewhere in the archival photos which fill the museum displays.

Also featured is a special Boy Scouts display, which highlights the troop sponsored by Shell, including a bugle, uniforms and photographs from the 1935 Chicago World’s Fair attended by this Scout troop.

The Shell retirees who devoted countless hours developing the museum include Jane Banquer, Mary Gauthreaux, L. “Gig” Guglielmo, Gloria Keller,Ollie Mauduit, Alice Weber and Webb. Other board members include DonBaker, Baron Bunch, Don Didier, Sharon Dyer, Cathy Herren, Leslie Myers, Hank St. Pierre and Mike Stout.To schedule a free visit, phone 465-6333.

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