Edgard Depot donated to parish

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 24, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / March 24, 1999

EDGARD – The battered little building is sagging dangerously at one end, yet it retains an atmospheric glance into a bygone era in St. John theBaptist Parish.

Tucked away at the Caire & Graugnard plant, the 1800s-era Edgard railroad depot is crumbling away. Meanwhile, the Louisiana PreservationAlliance has named the old station to its “10 Most Endangered Historic Sites.”The National Trust for many years issued a similar list in an attempt to draw attention to the need to preserve and protect sites of national heritage and history.

The Edgard Depot was selected for Louisiana’s list, being the only surviving railroad depot in the area.

However, the old building gained a new lease on life Monday after representatives of the Mississippi River Road Commission met with Francis Graugnard, who agreed to donate the old depot to the parish.

Madeline Edwards of Parish President Arnold Labat’s office said she, Darryl Daniels and Winnie Byrd met with Graugnard after the commission’s meeting at Evergreen Plantation in Wallace.

Edwards reported that Graugnard was happy to make the donation. Sheadded a site for the building’s relocation is under consideration, possibly in front of the parish courthouse, where it could be restored and used as a tourism information center.

The other endangered Louisiana historical sites include the Beauregard Town Historic District in Baton Rouge, Rosedown Plantation in St.

Francisville, Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, Trudeau House in West Feliciana Parish, Poplar Grove Plantation in Port Allen, historic South Grand Street in Monroe, Epps House in Bunkie, McNeil Street pumping station in Shreveport and Lower St. Charles Corridor of Central City inNew Orleans.

At the meeting, chairwoman Mary Wolbrette also presented draft copies of the commission’s draft executive summary of the Master Plan for the region for final editing.

The commission also discussed applying for a portion of the $250,000 which may be allocated by the Legislature during the upcoming session to endow historic preservation projects.

The Mississippi River Road Commission, formed by Gov. Mike Foster, aimsat enhancing the River Road corridor from the U.S. 190 bridge north ofBaton Rouge to Williams Boulevard in Kenner. Local members include Sen.Ron Landry, Rep. Bobby Faucheux, St. John Councilman Kevin Duhon, St.Charles Parish President Chris Tregre and St. James Council ChairmanTimothy Roussel.

Along with preservationist activities such as at the Edgard Depot, several promotional tourism brochures are recommended.

The summary lists plans for an Edgard Historic District, a rural black church survey, the Godchaux-Reserve Heritage Center, a River Road International Music Festival, Evergreen Plantation state park, Les Allemands state park, River Road African-American museum, Germania Heritage Preserve, Donaldsonville revitalization, River Road historical markers, Garyville Green Market and many more projects.

Economic impact of tourism along the River Road corridor is estimated now at more than $1.2 billion in sales revenue, directly supporting morethan 14,000 jobs and $216 million in direct earnings.

Consultants for the Mississippi River Road Commission include The Mumphrey Group Inc., Allan Katz & Associates Inc., Frederic R. Harris Inc.and TerraDesign Inc., along with contract historian Judy Bethea.

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