CF Industries Helps Preservation Efforts

Staff reports

The River Road African American Museum (RRAAM) is the nation’s premiere museum dedicated to educating the public about the cultural heritage of African Americans in the rural communities of south Louisiana. The RRAAM Board of Directors would like to thank CF Industries for assisting with the protection of one of Ascension Parish’s most valuable historic treasures.

Modeste, Louisiana resident, Leonard Julien in 1964, invented the first sugarcane-planting machine. In 2002, the Walet family of Loreauville donated one of the Julien machines to the Museum. After seeing the exhibit on Mr. Julien’s inventions, he and his wife decided to give it to the Museum. Mr. Walet stated that he had used the machine for thirty years.

None of the other Julien prototypes exist. This was a great addition to the Museum collection and according the US. Patent Office, the Leonard Julien sugarcane-planting machine may be the largest Black invention held in any museum collection.

Thanks to CF Industries of Donaldsonville, the machine has been padded and covered temporarily until funds are raised to build a more permanent structure. The estimated cost for a pavilion is $15,000.00.

The Museum plans to develop an outdoor educational program using a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum to teach children about the invention.

Thanks to the CF volunteers for helping to preserve this Louisiana treasure.

For eighteen years the RRAAM has been in the forefront of providing innovative educational programs and events for residents of the rural communities and visitors from around the world.

For more information about the exhibits at the River Road African American Museum, visit the website: www.africanamericanmuseum.org.