T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History
Growth of Mossville families over decades
Brenda Cole Jones by Stephanie Dragoon, 2016.
BRENDA COLE JONES: There were areas where some people would have gardens. There were areas where you would see people that . . . A couple of people had cattle. There was families that had lived next door to us . . . Well, I call it next door, it was just across the street. But then Entergy bought that property out and they came through with their power lines. So those families, they relocated, but it was just a couple of streets away from where we lived. And like I said, it was . . . green trees. You always saw somebody out doing laundry . . . Hanging their laundry on the line. Children getting ready to go to and from school. So it was a lot of activity that was going on in the area that we lived in.

. . .

You know, as I got to be close to school age, I remember we started getting more neighbors to come in because for a long time we were the only family on our end of the block. There were a couple of other families that moved in and as they moved in they all had children. So that gave me an opportunity to have some playmates. There were some families that had moved next door to us. The first family was Fontenots and they moved back to Lake Charles. And then the Singleton family moved next door. Then we had the Miles family, the Reado family, and the Moutons that lived by us, so . . . And everybody was real close. And by my mom not working ,if any of the other mothers had a job they needed to go to then they would leave their kids with her because they knew that she would be at home. So I was excited because I always had somebody to play with. Somebody coming over.

We would go occasionally down to the Mossville area we called across the track and we'd go to the recreation center there and play on the playground equipment. But otherwise we just went from house to house playing games, you know, ball, hopscotch, shooting marbles. I was a girl, but I had my own little sack of marbles. [laughs] My dad had taught me how to shoot marbles. So it was just everybody was real close knit.

If somebody butchered, they shared the meat [laughs] with the other families. We all got to know each other's family members. If something was going on with one family, everybody would go over and see their family members or vice versa. They'd come over to our house if my grandmother came over to visit. So it was just real nice. It was . . . When there were shade trees we all got to play outside [laughs] under the shade trees. It was a community where I can remember at night you didn't have to lock your doors or windows because it was real safe. So everybody just . . . Once it got dark, you know, you went in and you took your bath and settled down for the night and that was it. You'd hear cars passing. But we still didn't have a lot of neighbors even into the early sixties, and then the community, it just continued to grow. There were more and more families that started coming in.
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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.
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