Bicentennial Exhibit Highlights Louisiana’s Origins
Compiled by The Weekly Staff
On April 30, 1812, the U.S. admitted Louisiana as the 18th state into the Union. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Louisiana’s road to statehood was not all smooth. Men like French-born congressman Julien Poydras and American attorney Edward Livingston sought the greater political rights that statehood bestowed and convinced territorial Gov. William C. C. Claiborne that the Orleans Territory qualified for statehood.
Finally, in 1811, democratic President James Madison signed the bill allowing the people of Louisiana to form a state constitution. Following the state constitutional convention in New Orleans, where 43 American and Creole leaders convened, on April 14, 1812, Madison signed the bill that approved statehood. The bill designated April 30, 1812, as the date of formal admission.
Two hundred years after statehood, Louisiana remains one of the most distinctive states in the Union. As the state commemorates this bicentennial event, Louisianians celebrate the distinct Creole-American culture that U.S. statehood has fostered.
A traveling exhibit seeks to chronicle the people and events that influenced the development of Louisiana. Becoming Louisiana: Path to Statehood began its statewide tour in April, and will be featured at the main branch of the Terrebonne Parish Library through June 30. Presented by the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission, the exhibit will continue to educate Louisianians in libraries and museums through April 2013.
Those who walk into the main branch of the Terrebonne Parish Library are greeted by a series of 10 fabric panels that display images and text that tell the story of early Louisiana history. Each panel discusses a different theme, such as geography, Creoles and challenges on the path to statehood.
The Becoming Louisiana exhibit is the result of a collaboration that combined the talents of exhibition curator Herman Mhire, graphic designer Kate Ferry and historian Charles Elliott. Utilizing Elliott’s historical text as a guide, Mhire researched the collections of the Louisiana State Museum and The Historic New Orleans Collection for relevant historical paintings, engravings, documents and maps. Mhire and Ferry subsequently collaborated on the design of the panels, integrating images and typography into a rich tapestry illustrating Louisiana’s early history.
To learn more about Louisiana’s early years, visit the exhibit at the main branch of the Terrebonne Parish Library. Visit www.louisianabicentennial2012.com for more information about upcoming bicentennial events.