Mossville History Project

Information


Size: 59 interviews on 77 recordings


Time period covered: 1940s-1990s


Dates of interviews: 2015-2017


Principle Interviewers: Chelsea Arseneault, Jennifer Cramer, Jamie Digilormo, Stephanie Dragoon, Rebecca Cooper, Douglas Mungin, Teresha Ussin, Elizabeth Gelvin, Kathleen Donner


Finding Aids: Abstracts


Audio Availability: MP3


Access Restrictions: See individual abstracts


Description: This project is a collaboration between the Imperial Calcasieu Museum and LSU Libraries to document the history of Mossville, a historic African American community in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Many Mossville residents today are descendants of families who settled in what was known as "Shoat’s Prairie" until 1916, when it was renamed Mossville after James Moss, a descendant of the original settlers. Many Mossville residents today are descendants of original families, yet they have been largely absent from any written or oral records. Adjacent to Lake Charles, Sulphur, and numerous industries, this community has been the focus of much media attention in relation to environmental justice issues, especially since the ‘90s.

In 2015, Sasol, a chemical company out of South Africa, provided a grant to the Imperial Calcasieu Museum, who partnered with the Center, with the aim to capture, record, preserve, and make available the written and oral history of the people and community of Mossville. By 2017, the majority of Mossville residents relocated due to property buy-outs, and the landscape of the area continues to evolve as the Mossville community members face an uncertain future.

In addition to sharing family histories, interviewees discuss their upbringing, home remedies, the importance of religion, education, and athletics, local leaders and politics, gardening, raising livestock, integration, and what Mossville means to them personally. Other topics discussed include the impact of industrialization, segregation, property buyouts, water contamination, and environmental justice. Most interviewees were raised in Mossville, but several grew up elsewhere and they offer a unique perspective of Mossville’s place in history.


Interview Abstracts


Lenoria Ambrose


Shirley Andrus and Carolyn Marshall


Ronnie Banks


Delma and Christine Bennett


Charlotte Bernard


John Bernard


Helen Bradley


Donald Braxton


George Braxton and Velma Carheel by Doug Mungin


George Braxton and Velma Carheel by Stephanie Dragoon


Joseph and Kathy Charles


Rose Charles (feat. children Joseph, Wayne and Kathy)


Daren Dotson, Sr.


Della Dotson


Barry Edwards


McKenneth Edwards


Dorothy Felix and Evelyn Gasaway Shelton


Kevin Fondel, Sr.


Janie Gardner


Edward Julia Lemelle Gordwin


Mildred Calvin Guidry


Audrey Sims Guillory


Jawanna Mayo Huntsberry


Roger Clay Jackson


Brenda Cole Jones


Mary Jane Jones


Jourdan Family (Emma, Carol, Kathy, Claudia, Preston)


Enola Margaret LaTour-Pitre


Arthur Kenneth Lee by Douglas Mungin


Arthur Kenneth Lee by Chelsea Arseneault


Theresa Lee


Edward Butch Lemelle, Jr


Hal McMillin


Wesley Montgomery


Judy Montgomery-Gauthia by Kathleen Donner


Judy Montgomery-Gauthia by Jamie Digilormo


Judy Montgomery-Gauthia and Elaine Robinson


Julia Paige


Barbara Payne


Joseph Payne


Larry Payne


Vera Payne by Douglas Mungin


Vera Payne by Chelsea Arseneault


Larry and Wilson Payne et al. (Joseph, Larry, Barbara, Wilson)


Morris Prater


Jimmie Lee Williams Riggs


Carolyn Rigmaiden-Frank


Gloria Rogers


Myrtle Marie Rosamore


Patricia Prater Rubit


Evelyn Gasaway Shelton


Huber Smith


Marie Towner and Lenoria Ambrose


Perry Trahan


Rufus Victorian


Haki Vincent


Lillian Washington


LaSalle Williams by Chelsea Arseneault


LaSalle Williams by Stephanie Dragoon


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Unlinked interviews are unprocessed.
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