Adam J. Landry
Adam J. Landry retired from the State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development with over 34 years of service. He spent his entire career with the Department of Transportation, and all of his 34 years were spent in information technology. Adam retired in 1995 as the Department’s Director of Information Services.
He completed an Associate’s Degree at Spencer-Draughn Business College. He also completed many continuing education computer courses offered by LSU.
Adam is a husband, father, and grandfather. He has two grandsons and a granddaughter who spend lots of time with him. He also manages to do part time consulting in the “Information Systems” field. He is has been a member of the Cajun Clickers Computer Club since 1994. He remains active in that organization where he facilitates workshops and seminars.
He also donates time to Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church where he is an active Parishioner. There he participates in the Adoration Chapel weekly and daily with the Church’s Prayer Line. Adam also belongs to the Knights of Columbus and does volunteer with them.
Adam and his wife, Eloise (whom is also retired), travel extensively in their retirement and love to visit historical places. When he’s not traveling, his hobby is photography, computers and the internet, and he spends a lot of his free time on his hobbies, in pursuit of lifelong learning. Adam was born and raised in Bayou Pigeon, La. the son of true Cajuns, Wilbrod “Caline” Landry and Vivian Hebert. He attended local schools at Grand River and Crescent Elementary Schools and graduated from Plaquemine High School. His spouse Eloise Blanchard was also born and raised in Bayou Pigeon ie., Indigo Bayou. They were married at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Bayou Pigeon. Adam has extensive knowledge of Acadian history, Cajun Culture, and the history of Bayou Pigeon. He and Eloise speak Cajun French fluently and he is an accomplished writer having completed his mother’s biography, “The Story of my Life, Vivian Hebert Landry Solar.”
“There are not many places in the United States where people still live off the land and water. But in parts of South Louisiana this is common. In the early 19th century this was especially true for people living in and around the Atchafalaya Basin. Many residents spent their lives, trapping animals for fur, commercial fishing, working in the logging industry, picking and processing moss or pursuing other marine and marsh life that thrive in this fertile and wet region. My father, Wilbrod “Caline” Landry, did just that. Although he died at a very young age, he spent his entire life living off the Atchafalaya, selling his daily harvest for cash, in this place called the Atchafalaya Basin. He was a son of Leo Landry from Bayou Pigeon who also did the exact same thing. My mother was the daughter of Adam Hebert, son of Anatole Hebert and Leoncia Berthelot. I am a 100 percent Cajun. This book is about the history of the Cajun people living in Bayou Pigeon and their environment in Atchafalaya basin.
I have always had some degree of interest in genealogy, thus the curiosity about my family and our ancestors. This interest peaked in 1996 when my Mother, Vivian Hebert Landry Solar, out of the clear blue, asked me to write a book on her life story. Vivian knew she had lived an unusual and unconventional life during her early childhood. She felt she wanted it documented for her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I knew writing this book would not take any physical strength but certainly require a lot of research and time. I had just retired after spending 34 years on a job that was stressful and demanding to say the least so I had plenty of time on my hands and I welcomed an opportunity to wind down and do some productive non-stressful work. At the same time while doing the research, I could satisfy my long awaited desire to find out more about Cajuns, who they were, and just where they came from. Thus began a remarkable journey to Nova Scotia, land of our wonderful ancestors.
That journey happened in 1998. In July of 1998, my wife and I visited Nova Scotia. We booked a flight into Bangor, Maine, and drove north to New Brunswick where we stopped at the University of Moncton. This university in New Brunswick specializes in the history and culture of Acadians. It houses one of the largest genealogy departments in North America.
We did our research there and it was especially hard because all of the old census records are written in French. With the help of student workers we found all needed documents, along with some very old census maps and a highway conversion chart we were able to find and stand on some of the land parcels of our ancestors. Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, was the property once owned by progenitor Jean Blanchard, the ancestors of my wife. Jean Blanchard's property was adjacent to the Fort and was expropriated by the government in 1705 to expand it. Likewise, we were able to find the old Landry home place and visit that site as well. Being able to stand on that ground was humbling and overwhelming. That was a profound experience and nothing on that trip could equal that thrill. We stood in the old blockhouse at Fort Edward on the Evangeline Trail. Fort Edward was built in 1750. It was the main assembly point for the Acadians before they were loaded on ships during the Deportation of 1755. That was another humbling experience. When people in Nova Scotia know you are of Acadian descent they take you in their cheerful, hospitable fashion and make you feel very welcome. It is truly a warm experience and makes one proud to be a descendent of Cajun heritage.
I was born in 1943 just before the end of World War II. I really consider it an honor and a privilege to have been born at that time. The Atchafalaya Basin was beginning to undergo a transition of sorts during the 40's and 50's. Being able to experience both before and after has allowed me to better understand the human history of this part of the state. I actually lived it.
I lived in Bayou Pigeon before and after electricity was available there. I experienced doing homework at night by the light of a coal oil lamp on the kitchen table. I believe you truly have to experience living without electricity to really appreciate having it.
Water - I lived in Bayou Pigeon when the only source of drinking water we had was the water collected from the rooftop into a cistern, drum or large metal tank. You have to have experienced taking a bath in a No.3 galvanized washtub before you can truly appreciate taking a bath in a regular bathtub. You have to experience taking a bath in cold water before you can really appreciate a warm water bath. I experienced listening to the Grand Ole Opry on a battery powered radio on Saturday nights, then having to turn the radio until the next Saturday night to preserve battery source. I experienced black and white television set with a snowy and fuzzy picture. I experienced sleeping under a mosquito net canopy at night to keep the mosquitoes away. You certainly don't appreciate the comfort of air conditioning until after you have slept under a hot mosquito canopy. All of the experiences mentioned above have changed, but living through those times are very much part of my heart and soul. They helped carve me into the person I am today. Cajun people look after each other and help each other. I don't consider this part of my life as an obstacle or inconvenience, but rather a rare gift -- one I will always remember with gratitude and Cajun pride.
So why did I participate as co-author of this book? Very little has been documented about the Folklife and the Cajun culture of Bayou Pigeon. I considered myself born at an opportune time to have lived and experienced the transitions of life in Pigeon. Finally, because of the strong feeling I have that our culture and existence in Bayou Pigeon needed to be documented. Our oral resources were limited and many older residents had already passed and many were in their sunset years. Time was not on our side, and it just seemed like the right thing to do at this time.
I write this book for my children, and grandchildren and the all other children, of my generation because they will never experience “drinking water collected from the rooftop into a cistern.” They will never experience "doing homework by the light of a coal oil lamp". Nonetheless, that existence was very real and it needed to be documented.
I wish to thank the many people of Bayou Pigeon and Pierre Part who invited us in their homes for interviews and who provided their time and information so generously. Without their enthusiastic support, no such book could have been written about Bayou Pigeon and the Atchafalaya Basin. Of course much information comes from my own memory. However, I do wish to single out a good friend and excellent informant, Mr. Wildy Templet, of Pierre Part. Mr. Wildy is an established author and historian for the Cajun community. His knowledge is unrivaled and he has documents and records to substantiate his information. I learned so much from him. Also, for the many intimate details, I am grateful to my deceased mother, Mrs. Vivian Solar for her love of family, keen observations and her dependable memory.”