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Committee of the society, the membership thereof was almost doubled; Mr. Rochester had been selected for a very important function in connection with the Liberty Bell reception of November 19th, but before that day arrived, he was with us no more forever.
We shall miss his genial face, his kindly greetings, and his loving personality, and shall ever remember him as a personal friend of every member of the society.
We feel that we can do no better in closing this feeble tribute, than to repeat part of the memorial prepared by the Wholesale Drummers' Association, of which he was president for many years:
"In the passing of John J. Rochester, New Orleans lost one of its substantial citizens in every sense of the word. Not the amount of largess which he distributed earned for him this distinction, for it must be said that he died possessed of few earthly goods, but in the manner in which he performed his duties as a man and member of the community.
"In any undertaking which had for its purpose the advancement of New Orleans, or the betterment of his fellowman, John J. Rochester could be found in the forefront waging the fight.
"He was truly a lover of man as his every act proves. Slow to judgment, but quick in action when this was demanded, he tempered his course always with kindliness and courtesy.
"To him, more than any other man or factor, can the Wholesale Drummers' Association be thankful for its years of progress and prosperity. No work was too much, no duty too arduous, for him to undertake in its behalf. No meeting found him absent from it.
“The warm clasp of his hand, the kindly gleam of his eye, are gone, but only as part of the order of this existence; they are not forgotten. His place will be hard to fill.
“May his be the reward for faithful performance of duty, for living the righteous life; for helping make happy the life of others; for being a man among men.”
To his bereaved wife and daughters (one of whom, Miss Jennie Rochester, is a member of this society), we extend our most sincere sympathy, and ask that these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the association, on a page specially devoted thereto, that copies be sent to his family, and furnished to the press of New Orleans, and to the organizations herein named.
W. O. HART, Chairman.
Mr. Cusachs made a brief verbal report, stating that the society was in a flourishing condition and thanked the members for their co-operation.
Robert Glenk presented a report as corresponding secretary and librarian, which, on motion duly seconded, was ordered printed in the proceedings of the society.
Judge Renshaw suggested that a sign be placed at the entrance to the Cabildo indicating the domicile of the Louisiana Historical Society.
The president appointed a committee composed of Judge Renshaw, Mr. Hart, Mr. Dymond, Mr. Cusachs and Robert Glenk to handle the matter.
On motion of Mr. Marx, duly seconded, it was resolved that the society invite some of the old members and residents to write a paper giving reminiscences of their lives and localities to be presented to the society at future meetings. Carried.
Mrs. S. B. Elder's paper entitled "Statue due to Sieur de Bienville” was read by Mr. T. P. Thompson.
On motion of Mr. Dymond the paper was received with thanks and ordered to be published.
Mr. Thompson outlined his plans for a popular subscription plan of ten cents a person to raise the money by 1918.
Mr. Hart suggested that Mrs. Elder's article on Bienville be printed in pamphlet form and sent to the schools all over the State with solicitations for subscriptions so that at least enough money to pay for the corner stone be secured by 1918.
Election of officers for 1916 was then held.
Mr. B. P. Sullivan nominated Mr. Cusachs for president. Motion was seconded and secretary was ordered to cast ballot for Mr. Cusachs, there being no opposition.
Mr. Dymond was nominated for first vice president.
Mr. Robert Glenk for corresponding secretary and librarian.
All were unanimously elected. The president appointed the following committees : Executive Committee—All officers and Judge Charles F. Claiborne, Professor W. L. Fleming and Professor J. M. Gwinn.
Finance Committee—Justin F. Denechaud, chairman; Henry M. Gill and Sebastian Roy
Membership Committee-Col. H. J. de la Vergne, chairman; Miss Emma Zacharie and George Koppel.
Work and Archives Committee—Mr. Cusachs, Miss King, Robert Glenk, Mr. Hart, Mr. Thompson and A. B. Booth.
On motion of Mr. Dymond, seconded and carried, the Executive Committee is to meet once a month to consider matters for the welfare of the society.
Meeting then adjourned.
By Mrs. S. B. Elder. It is hardly credible that Louisiana does not possess a statute of Bienville, the explorer of the State, the father of the colony, the founder of New Orleans and the governor of the whole territory for nearly thirty years.
History, upon its pages, writes his name in large letters as the father of Louisiana. Yet not a single enduring monument has been erected to his memory.
There is a medallion of this hero in the Marble Hall of the Customhouse, but it belongs to the United States Government, and not to Louisiana.
Few persons know of even this small testimonial, and fewer still have seen or understood it.
A parish, a schoolhouse, a street; there are the only memorials of him who gave his entire self and his best energies to the land that seems to have forgotten him!
A small spark of remembrance glowed a few years ago, when a new real estate company was formed in this city and its directors appropriately named it the “Bienville Realty Company," after him who laid out, and measured the first land-lots in New Orleans.
The spark seems to have rekindled the recollection of the great French explorer and colonizer, for there is a movement in embryo, to erect a splendid bronze statue of Bienville here in our midst, which shall be worthy of the father of Louisiana and of his people.
A model, small but exquisite, has already been made by a distinguished sculptor, and which is to be seen, at present, in our State Museum. The dress has been copied from historical sources, and the pose of the figure is true to life.
If the project be carried to completion the statue, life size and impressive, will stand somewhere in the “Vieux Carre." In front of the Cabildo would seem to be the proper place.
There its noble, silent presence will teach our youth far better than books can do the history of that eventful past whose dangers, difficulties, grandeur and achievements resulted in the Louisiana of to-day.
He stood on Louisiana soil in 1699—a mere stripling, but full of enthusiasm for his king and country, and imbued with the grand idea of winning a new jewel for France-a new realm for his king.
He lived to be an old man, but, throughout his eighty-six years, his one and only love was Louisiana.
Ever busy planning, fighting, governing in the interest of the colony, he found no time for wooing any maiden, and went to his grave unmated and alone.
Made governor in 1701 by the death of the Sieur de Sauvole, Iberville being still away, the young commander showed wonderful wisdom in his dealings with white men and with Indians.
Exploring among the natives, he once met 300 warriors waiting to attack him, yet he skillfully changed their enmity into friendship, and, moreover, secured them as allies. These were the Colapissa tribe, first fruits of Bienville's tact and judgment.
Another time he managed to turn back an English vessel which was ascending the great river, its captain having orders to plant the flag of England on the Mississippi shore.
And how easily this could have been accomplished! The vessel carried sixteen guns, and there was not a French post nor a French soldier upon the borders to oppose this scheme.
Young Bienville grasped the situation at once, and realized the danger to his country's cause.
Bienville, in his canoe, seemed no match for his English foe in his large and well equipped vessel of war-but diplomacy won a victory.
The polite Bienville assured Captain Barr, the English commander, that the river they were on watered a French Dependency, subject to Canada, then in the possession of France: and he would probably find the object of his desires further to the west.