Opelousas, LA – A time capsule buried half a century ago in Opelousas for the city’s 250th anniversary was opened Sunday, June 14, 2020. The capsule was buried by the 250th Committee on June 14, 1970, in front of Opelousas City Hall, which was then located on Court Street where Opelousas Police Department is located today. The capsule was to be opened 50 years later.
On hand for the event were Opelousas Mayor Julius Alsandor and City Council Members as well as relatives of members of the 250th committee. Also, in attendance were Opelousas residents Dr. Lucius Doucet, Gerald Emon, Sonny Ray and Becky Faul Diesi, who were part of the 250th time capsule burial fifty years ago. Marceline Cortez Hrachovy, daughter of former Mayor of Opelousas Wilfred Cortez, shared a few remarks about the letter her father had placed in the time capsule.
The contents of the 1970 time capsule included a letter from the chairman of the time capsule committee, a letter from former Opelousas Mayor Wilfred Cortez, a key to the city, a letter and badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux, letters from various civic organizations and a package from the Chamber of Commerce containing a tour guide.
While most of the contents appeared to have some sort of water damage, there were some letters and artifacts that appeared to be salvageable. A key to the city, placed in the capsule by former Mayor Wilfred Cortez was located as was a badge from former Sheriff Adler Ledoux. The city will work with preservation related agencies in hopes of restoring some of the memorabilia. Those items will then be placed at the Opelousas Public Library for viewing. The city also plans to bury another time capsule later this year in celebration of the 300th anniversary.
A community mural celebrating the city’s 300-year anniversary was also unveiled at the time capsule opening. The mural, titled “Tree of Life,” features icons and symbols representing the city’s culture and heritage intertwined with the roots and branches of an oak tree. The artist for the project is Jerome Ford who is an accomplished artist and an instructor for St. Landry Parish School Board Talented & Visual Arts Program.
The design was printed on six individual canvases to create one large piece of artwork. Through a series of pop-up painting activities, some 100 people from around the community helped to paint the mural. The mural project is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, administered by the Acadiana Center for the Arts.