Bringing a family closer together

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2010

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Over 300 members of the Reserve-based Landreaux clan descended on the Quality Inn in LaPlace last weekend for a three-day family reunion.

A five-person committee consisting of Evelyn Wallace, Maria Sterling Stevenson, Claudia Leche Farlough, Yvonne Leche Perkins and Wayne Farlough had been planning the event since October 2009.

Even the event planners, however, were surprised by the number of family members who attended the event. Other smaller reunions had taken place in the past, but Stevenson said, “We had never had one of this magnitude.”

Stevenson served as the family’s historian and said she spent two-years compiling a history of the Landreauxs.

She discovered the family descended from a Virginia slave named Louise, who was given her freedom in 1830. She also learned that through the years, the family name has undergone a number of transformations, from deLandreau to Delandro to Landreau to Landreaux to Landry.

Today, family members live in 45 of the 50 states and include two state senators, one of whom is Louisiana House Rep. Karen Carter Peterson. One family member, Virgie Thomas Aguilar, who is 93 and was honored at the Friday-evening gala, came all the way from Los Angeles by herself.

“I am so pleased,” said Aguilar.

Also honored on Friday was Reserve resident Gwendolyn Wallace, who is 82 and the oldest of eight children.

When asked if she knew how big her family was, she replied, “I didn’t have the slightest idea.”

Besides the gala on Friday, other events included a picnic Saturday with music, face painting and a spacewalk for the children, a drumline performance and, of course, plenty of food. On Sunday, the Landreauxs finished out the weekend with a mass at Our Lady of Grace and a farewell brunch.