Catching up with photojournalist Star Roberts Matherne

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Star Roberts Matherne, a historic photojournalist dedicated to the Donaldsonville area.

She can often be seen around Donaldsonville, La. with a camera around her neck. After all, someone has to shoot this beautiful, historic place. But where does Star Roberts Matherne come from?

"I was born in San Jose, California," Matherne said. "Then, when I was four, we moved here to Gonzales."

She has been in Ascension Parish ever since. Matherne said she got into photography about four years ago. Her husband taught her some things.

"I've always had a vision and a creative side, since I was little," she said.

She said she worked as an editorial and marketing assistant for her husband's business at the outset. She and her husband have had articles published inThe Advocate, theWeekly Citizen and theAscension Gumbo Magazine.

Recently, she was published in a magazine for an article she wrote about Palo Alto Plantation on the outskirts of Donaldsonville. She said she could feel the supernatural presence there.

"I really excelled in school, doing creative writing projects," she said. "So it was no surprise that as I got older, this would be my career."

Lately, the St. Amant High School graduate has been working closely with Director of the Donaldsonville Area Foundation Lee Melancon. He has been commissioning Matherne to take pictures and write historic articles to promote the city.

"I help them with fundraising," she said. "I can't think of anything else I'd rather do."

Just last weekend Matherne was in Donaldsonville doing a rescue of old photographs that were nearing ruin from the old Lemann museum. She has an interesting take on Donaldsonville. Her career led her there by chance about three years ago.

"I had heard many things about Donaldsonville prior to going into it," she said. "Then one day on a historic journey, as I was walking the streets I saw a hometown community that was thriving. It was full of people who drew me in. I was like, 'my goodness, here is this wonderful community full of interesting people!"

She said most others simply drive through and never stop.

But things were not always moving smoothly for Matherne. Her father left when she was a child. This year, she has begun a big project called A Daughter's Journey - Dave Vacant and the Mab, where she has decided to write a story about her late father's life. Vacant was a West Coast punk rocker who was popular in the early punk rock music scene.

The extremely talented Matherne is eager to listen. She recently shared amazing photos withThe Chief from the Monroe and Bruslie Plantation ceremony. She is quickly becoming an asset to Donaldsonville. She is a wealth of local, historic knowledge. She stays learning.

"I can't tell you how many people I've sat with in Donaldsonville on the porch and had coffee with."

And that's how it's done. To reach her directly, check out her website: