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Volume 2014 Issue 8

 21 August 2014 Meeting

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The August meeting of the Lafayette Genealogical Society was held on August 21, 2014 in the Meeting Room of the South Regional Library, 6101 Johnston St., Lafayette, Louisiana at 6P.M. The meeting was called to order by President Brenda Thibodeaux. Following the Pledge of Allegiance there was a moment of silence for our military. A large turnout of members and guests were welcomed.

President Thibodeaux introduced Martha Royer of the Rayne Historical Preservation Committee. She introduced the film about the historical Mervin Kahn store located in Rayne, Louisiana that served as a shopping center for Southwest Louisiana from the 1890’s to February 17,1990. Thirty living legends that worked there were interviewed with the assistance of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) that produced thirty hours of film. Thanks were given to producers, local musicians, and sponsors, both local and those from out of state. Over 100 people were involved in the production of the Mervin Kahn film. During research many artifacts were found within the store. Connections to local musicians were found in that Mervin Kahn sold musical instruments, especially accordions imported from Germany, namely the "Monarch" and the "Sterling". The supply of accordions was cut off during World War II. Local accordion makers began making accordions and modifying them. Featured in the film was Joe Falcon who said he bought his first accordion at Mervin Kahn's for $45. Some of the very first accordions sold there ran $18. In the 1970's an accordion found in the store attic had a price tag of $33 on it.

Other highlights of the film showed the first "tube system" of payment within the store. There were Thursday raffle sales. There were cooking demonstrations. Style shows brought the ladies to town to shop; there were the latest styles and the quality was excellent. Saturday's were the BIG shopping days that brought whole families to town to shop at Mervin Kahn's. All the clerks were treated like family; they had fun. Mr. Kahn was a mild-mannered man. The men employees were always invited to Mr. Kahn's camp for a dove hunt around Christmas time. The farmers were treated with respect. With time crops changed from cotton to rice, soy beans, sugar cane, and frogs. The train stopped in front of Mervin Kahn's so there was a platform where farm produce was sold. In 1984 Mervin Kahn celebrated its 100th anniversary. And when the store closed in 1990 it caused people to go to other cities to shop.

Mr. Sidney Stutes, a retired American History teacher and school principal, was a second guest speaker. He spoke on the history and politics involved with the founding of Acadia Parish and with Crowley becoming its parish seat and how it evolved with the Duson, Webb, and Clark families.

President Brenda Thibodeaux announced that the December Banquet will be held on December 6, 2014 at Bailey’s on Johnston Street.

There being no further business, a motion was made and seconded to close the meeting.

Respectfully Submitted,

Brenda Fuselier, Acting Secretary