Witness living history in Grand Coteau, Louisiana. On Thurs., January 30 at 7:00 p.m. The Thensted Center in Grand Coteau will host an evening of oral history and fiction featuring the true stories of Mary Ann Milton and Margaret Thomas. Their oral histories will be recorded and archived at the Archives of Cajun and Creole Folklore at ULL. Fiction by Matthew Hardin Hofferek will also be featured. The features will be followed by an Open Mic session, so you can bring your own poems, songs or stories. You're also invited to bring snacks or drinks to share.


Mary Ann Milton was born on August 6, 1943 in Sunset, Louisiana and at the age of 15, she moved to Grand Coteau and married Joseph Clifton Milton. She raised nine children, while working as a housekeeper in a local hotel and as seamstress in her spare time. Milton’s sister-in-law is Margaret Thomas who grew up in Grand Coteau, the daughter of sharecroppers. Ms. Thomas attended Grand Coteau Elementary and then worked to support her family. These Grand Coteau area natives will discuss their families who lived under difficult conditions in the 1940s and 50s until they prospered with their own property and homes. 


The oral history presentation will be hosted by Constance Milton, a native of the Grand Coteau/Sunset area.  She is a graduate student in the Public History program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, with a focus on museum studies and African American history.

Matthew Hofferek has written a collection of short stories called All Wars End Alone, and is working on his first novel. He has won three creative writing scholarships and has had his work included in a variety of publications.

The event is free and it will be suitable for all ages. It is sponsored by The Festival of Words Cultural Arts Collective in partnership with the Thensted Center and the Center for Louisiana Studies at ULL. For more information call Patrice (337) 254-9695 or festivalwords@gmail.com. The Thensted Center is located at 268 Church Street in Grand Coteau.


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