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Ten archeologists come to Natchitoches to discuss years of Creole excavations

Pete Gregory

Ten archeologists from around Louisiana and East Texas will meet in Natchitoches Friday to discuss their ongoing excavation work involving Creole communities in the region and around the world.

The lectures and exhibits will highlight Creole archeology from the Cane River and colonial Louisiana and Texas, according to Northwestern State University anthropologist Pete Gregory. He’s acting director of the Creole Heritage Center. Gregory says field work over the years has focused on plantations of all sizes and ranches spanning the 1720s to the 1850s.

“The Creole community is kind of curious about what it is we’re doing out in their yards, and what we do with these little bits and pieces we pick up and carry away. It’s a chance to set up communication back with people who carry the culture,” Gregory said.

The director of the archeology lab at Stephen F. Austin State University George Avery says he will listen carefully to what’s said at this gathering so it can inform his research on Creole communities in East Texas. He’s found traces of Creole descendants in East Texas, but he’s not ready to dig.

“It’s very, very, very preliminary. We did an oral interview project that lasted about five years, and we’re finished now. We found evidence of people who had French names and were basically categorized as black,” Avery said.

The annual Creole Heritage Celebration will be held Friday, Oct. 30, at Northwestern State University’s Sylvan Friedman Student Union with archeology lectures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event, titled “From the Ground Up: Creole Archeology, Another Way to Meet the Ancestors,” is free and open to the public.

The celebration will conclude with a zydeco dance and reception at 6 p.m. featuring Wane Singleton and the Same Ol’ Two Step. Tickets to the dance are available through the Creole Heritage Center at 318-357-6685.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.