Heart of Louisiana: Buggy capital

Updated: Sep. 26, 2017 at 8:05 PM CDT
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CHURCH POINT, LA (WVUE) - Hitching a horse and buggy was part of the childhood experience for Easton T-Boy Bourgeois. "I remember coming to church here in Church Point which we lived probably five to seven miles away from here in the buggies," said Bourgeois.

Buggies were common on the roads around the small cajun town of Church Point, well into the 1950's. It was a matter of economics.

"Everybody was just poor folks around here. Not very many people had money," said Bourgeois.

You still find some old hitching posts in front of the Town Hall. And you find something else.

"The townspeople have actually made an official buggy route with the state transportation department meaning its legal on the body route to actually drive a horse and buggy through town.

Harold Fonte runs the local museum housed in La Vieux Presbytere, a 130-year old rectory for the Catholic Church.

"The church was built out here in this rural area and for years and years, people would drive their horses and buggies to the church," said Fonte.

For more than three decades, Church Point hosted an annual buggy festival and parade. But interest faded after the death of Lloyd Latiolais, who owned several old buggies.

They called him the buggy man. Whenever somebody would call, are you the buggy man, you know?" said buggy owner Mattie Latiolais.

Mattie Latiolais still has several of her late husband's buggies. "He liked to live kind of like in the past and wanted our children to see what it was like when he was growing up," said Latiolais.

Kermit Laverne, who owns a cattle farm has several buggies. "I always wanted a buggy, my grandparents had one, and I just wanted one." said Laverne.

But he knows the days of the buggy are limited. "It is. It is a dying art," said Laverne. "There's no one else, no other generations that seem to have the love of horses and buggies like my generation. It's probably the last of them."

That seemed sad. Maybe its the special connection to this little town. I once had my picture in the local paper as the first Church Point Baby of the Year. My mother tells me that when I was one, one and a half years old, that every Saturday evening, we would hear the clip-clop, clip-clop of a horse and buggy coming down the street here in Church Point and I would toddle over to the screen door and watch the horse and buggy go by. It was just fascinating for me as a child to see that. Do you find kids react that way? "Yes, and it's a very soothing sound," said Laverne.

Even on a hot August afternoon, there was something pleasant about the ride. You feel the breeze, you move at a slower pace. You feel a bit more connected to what's around you.

You can learn more about Church Point and it's buggies at the town museum, Le Vieux Presbytere. For more information, click here.

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