Academic and Professional Portfolio

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Rediscovering old connections: Nacogdoches, Tx

A Summer 2010 trip to Nacogdoches to do research on descendants of Los Adaes brought me to the East Texas Research Center where I met with Peggy Jasso, a Texas genealogist specializing in old Spanish and mestizo families.I searched land records and poured through old Spanish documents translated in the E.B. Blake Collection.

 

I visited  rural communities and a number the older cemeteries.  In the course of visiting these communities with Dr. George Avery, an archaeologist at Stephen F. Austin University, we had the pleasure of meeting good contacts for follow up ethnographic fieldwork regarding life along the old  El Camino Real. Dr. Avery introduced me to the pre-historic and historic archaeology of the area. Before returning home, I  saw Old Stone Fort, Mission Delores and stopped for inspiration at  El Lobanillo, the site of Gil Ybarbo’s ranch on the Texas side of the Sabine River.

 

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Documentation and Preservation

Historic American Buildings Survey

I completed a detailed Level IV  HABS report on 550-560 Front Street (DeBlieux) Commerical Building in Natchitoches. The report has been submitted to the Library of Congress.

Cemetery Preservation

I practice proper Cemetery care and grave marker cleaning methods. I learned these skills from Dr. Elizabeth Guin and put them to the test at American Cemetery in Natchitoches, LA. I also participated in the Oakland Cemetery tornado damage documentation for FEMA Assessment. November 2009.

After cleaning

Digitization

I completed the Historic Landmark District Survey Digitization Project for the Cane River National Heritage Area and City of Natchitoches planning office in early summer 2010.

I have the ability to digitize  and convert various forms of media, including:

* VHS to DVD

* Analog Cassette to digital audio file

* Paper to .pdf

* Photo, photo negative, or slide to .jpg

 

Texas & Pacific Railroad Research

 

In Fall 2009, I conducted background research regarding Natchitoches’ 1927 Texas and Pacific Railroad Depot.

Photo: Jack Boucher, Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division HABS: LA-1296-2

The Depot represents the shift from riverboat transportation to rail and the hegemony of Natchitoches’ town elite over downriver Creole planters and more rural Anglo settlers. Initially the Texas & Pacific line circumvented Natchitoches. Instead of allowing Prudhomme (Cypress, LA,) Marthaville, or Robeline to become the premier main rail hub in the Parish, Natchitoches businessmen created a new joint stock company to build a “tap line”  to bring rail access to the town. The Texas & Pacific Railway constructed the two-storied brick depot after securing that “tap line” and integrating Natchitoches as part of their main line.

The depot’s architect , F. G. Shaw, drew on Spanish and colonial themes, reportedly to honor Natchitoches founder St. Denis’s Spanish wife. The beams and windows of the main waiting room are influenced by the architect’s imagination of the master’s cabin of Christopher Columbus the Santa Mari and the chandeliers were modeled after the hilt of the sword worn by St. Denis.

Natchitoches’ Jim Crow segregation is evident in the building’s design. The large central hall was the white waiting area. One, smaller, side wing was the black waiting area, while  the other side was used for freight. Once restored, the  building is ideal for an  African American and/or Civil Rights museum.

Research on the history and context of the Texas and Pacific Railroad brought me to Dallas/ Fort Worth. En route I visited the restored 1912 T&P station in Marshall, TX (still in use as an Amtrak station) and the restored 1912 era T&P Depot (Amtrak Station) and Texas and Pacific Railway Museum.  I did archival research at SMU’s DeGoyer Library and visited U.T. Arlington. I rode the Trinity Railway from downtown Dallas to the magnificent 1931 T&P station where I photo documented the building’s architecture.