Monday, May 21, 2012

Lafayette Museum/Mouton House has living history, lecture

Members of the Pelican Battery & 18th Louisiana Infantry and
General Mouton Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, at the
Bicentennial celebration of  Louisiana Statehood at the Lafayette
Museum, Alexandre Mouton House in Lafayette, La.
(Photo by Mike Jones)

by Mike Jones
          LAFAYETTE, La. -- The Lafayette Museum/Alexandre Mouton House celebrated the Bicentennial of Louisiana Statehood  with a special exhibit, a War Between the States living history and a lecture by imminent scholar and historian Dr. William Arceneaux on the lives of Gov. Alexandre Mouton and his son, Brigadier General Alfred Mouton.
          On Saturday, May 19, the Mouton House hosted the living history put on by the Pelican Battery, Louisiana Artillery, General Mouton Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the 114th N.Y./18th Louisiana Infantry.
          The reenactment groups set up an encampment and gave demonstrations of infantry drill and artillery drill. The reenactors also gave the public talks on the War for Southern Independence, and the details of military life in the 1860s.
          On display for the month of  May was an exhibit of hand-colored steel engravings depicting scenes from the War Between the States in Louisiana as well as plantation life in 1860s Louisiana.
          On Sunday, May 20, Dr. Arceneaux gave his lecture on the lives of the prominent father and son Moutons and heroes of the Acadian people. Dr. Arceneaux is General Mouton's biographer, "Acadian General-Alfred Mouton and the Civil War," published in 1981, and was the first Louisiana Commissioner of High Education. He earned his B. A. degree from the  University of Louisiana at Lafayette, his M. A. and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, all in history.
Unveiled at the event was
this beautiful oil painting
of General Mouton by Ken
Henrickson, donated by  Mrs.
Elizabeth Domingue Hayden.
(Courtesy of Lafayette Museum
Alexandre Mouton House's
Spring issue of Past & Present.)
          After reviewing the lives of Gov. Mouton and his son General Mouton, Dr. Arceneaux had a surprise for the gathering reading a letter written by  General Mouton to his cousin just three days before he was killed in action April 8, 1964 at the Battle of Mansfield, La. His cousin, Captain Eraste Mouton of Company A, 26th Louisiana Infantry, who had been captured at the fall of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863, and was then in a parole  camp at Keachi, La., about 16 miles away from Mansfield. General Mouton offered to share his tent and food with this cousin and said, in French, that he would be mad if he didn't accept his invitation. The letter is in the posession of local descendants of Captain Mouton.
        Another surprise was the unveiling of a beautiful oil portrait of General Mouton by Texas artist Ken Hendrickson. The painting was donated to the museum by Mrs.Elizabeth Domingue Hayden of Paris, Texas, a distant relative.
        The museum also expressed it gratitude for its  first funding partnership with the Lafayette Public Library.

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