January 13, 2017

St. Martinville’s Cultural Museums still recovering from August flood

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (KLFY) – It’s been five months since the historic flood of 2016,  and St. Martinville’s Acadian Memorial and Cultural Heritage Center is still dealing with the devastation.

Flood waters damaged the Cultural Heritage Center and the Acadian Memorial.

“These museums mean a lot to people. It was a huge hit to us emotionally,” said Elaine Clement.
Acadian Memorial Director Elaine Clement said she still can’t get the horrifying image out of her mind.

“It was almost too much to take in emotionally.”

The Acadian Memorial and Cultural Heritage Center sit on the banks of Bayou Teche.
“Within two hours it was through the museum and across the street, so at that point there was nothing we could do,” said Clement.

The Cultural Heritage Center has an African American exhibit on one side and an Acadian Heritage exhibit on the other, both sides were heavily damaged.

“We had about a foot of water in the Acadian Memorial,
about 18 inches in the Cultural Heritage Center and almost up to 7 feet in the Evangeline Oak and gazebo are,” said Clement.

“In the Acadian Memorial the mural got wet but not significantly, and the acrylic paint that it was painted with protected it,” said Clement.

It’s been a long road to recovery but Clement said she hopes they can start reconstruction soon.
“We’re just in the last stages with FEMA so that we can finish and get folks back in here to put us back together.”

This year is the city’s 200th anniversary making it bitter sweet for the museums.
“In a sense this is just a building but it means something to people. This brings people together.