Old photos a treasure worth keeping

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I often receive phone calls from readers after an article runs asking different questions. Last week I received a call asking if I had a photograph of the “old sweat box” that was located in Reserve.

Well, I know that some of you are now asking, what was the old sweat box? It was a small concrete jail that was located across the street from what is now the St. John Theater. It was used mainly to hold someone for a couple of days that had too much to drink. If anyone has a photograph of the old sweat box, please give me a call.

While looking for this photograph, someone mentioned going to the LaPlace library because they have old photographs of places in St. John Parish. I went to the library and found several filing cabinets with boxes of loose photos and other items. Our library is very well run with experienced, friendly personnel, but these photos need to be documented and filed properly. I found World War II war ration books, photos albums from the 1800s and other items that need to be preserved. It would be nice to see the library display these items for our citizens to enjoy and view. It could even turn into a small museum for these items and others that may be donated.

I would also ask our parish officials to make sure we are taking photographs of any old buildings and document the history before they are torn down. Our future generation would be able to see our parish buildings and the history of the years gone by.

While we are on the subject of old jails, I currently have two old jails at my museum. One was built in 1906, and the other was built in 1835. I recently found another old concrete jail in another parish. It is located in the woods and was used in a large town that does not exist anymore. If I am able to obtain it, I will have a very interesting story to tell about the town and jail.

Louisiana Treasures Museum is located on Highway 22 west of Ponchatoula. For more information or to schedule tours call Wayne Norwood at 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.