Donaldsonville hosts first historical tour

Brandie Richardson @B_lifestyles
Mayor Leroy Sullivan and volunteers at the first Ramble held in Donaldsonville.

The City of Donaldsonville was the host for the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation's (LTHP) Fall Ramble on Saturday. Attendees from various areas of Louisiana toured historical sites throughout the city such as The First United Methodist Church, The Church of the Ascension Episcopal Church, Netter Building, The Victorian on the Avenue, the River Road African American Museum, Lowery-Brazier House and Bahry Building.

Though not all sites were able to be toured due to unsafe conditions or renovations, attendees were still able to see the historical aspects of the buildings.

"Within the next five to ten years all of these sites will be preserved and open for tourism because we have a pretty aggressive revitalization we are putting into place here to turn Donaldsonville into the historical jewel that she is," said Lee Melancon, Director of Donaldsonville Downtown Development District.

LTHP hosts two Ramble's each year in different cities throughout Louisiana in order to showcase the culture and architecture of historic cities, and to also promote tourism for the hosts.

Creator of the Ramble, Winnie Byrd, said a ramble has never been held in Donaldsonville and the committee was interested in exploring the city and promoting its history, as it is the third oldest city in the state.

"It's important that we know what's going on with our neighbors, so that we can learn from each ramble and take that information back home and use it in our own communities," Byrd said. "There's so much going on in Donaldsonville now and we are proud of the progress."

Donaldsonville resident Felicia Johnson said she thinks events such as the Ramble will be beneficial to drive tourism to the city and show tourists what Donaldsonville has to offer.

"This is a chance for not only the locals to learn more about [Donaldsonville], but others also so they can appreciate this history that we have," Johnson said. "Hopefully we continue on the path to restoring it and keeping it."

The tour not only attracted local residents, but also attendees from other areas in the state who see the importance of historical preservation among landmarks. A group three women, who are Ramble regulars, traveled three hours to visit Donaldsonville's landmarks. The women, who asked yo remain anonymous, said Donaldsonville has a lot to offer, but much work needs to be done first.

"Preservation is a big importance to us and we like to come and see what cities other are offering," saidRae Swent, who owns a plantation in Alexandria. "They have wonderful things to redo here. There are incredible things to work with, that's thereal key, it's all here."