Sidney Stutes to continue historical series on Rayne
The Rayne Acadian-Tribune staff is pleased to announce Sidney Stutes has agreed to continue his historical series on the events and personalities which shaped the community of Rayne in the Rayne Acadian-Tribune, beginning June 13.
A longtime students of local history, Stutes taught American history at Rayne High for years before moving into administration. He became assistant principal at Armstrong Middle School, then principal of Rayne High. Retiring from the public school system, he taught for several years at Notre Dame High School.
His current project, “Lot 13, Block No. 1, Plan of Rayne,” began with a reprinting of a photograph (dated March 15, 1912) of the current Farmer’s True-Value Hardware building (on Lot 13, Block No. 1) which raised the question as to whether this building might be the oldest, original, but extant, “business house” still in operation in Once asked, the question called for an answer. And - that brought the readers back to the 1880’s at the very beginnings of our community - standing quietly, as it were, with Dr. William Cunningham who drew his “Plan of Rayne” at the crossing of the Old Spanish Trail and the new Louisiana Western Railroad.
The opening series featured the personalities involved in the establishment of Rayne’s first “business houses” moved up from Pouppeville, as was St. Joseph’s Church from the “hill” east of town - Bernard, Crouchet, Fremaux, McBride, Chappuis, Arenas, et. al.
In fact, it was Mattias Arenas - the Cuban immigrant - who purchased the whole of Block No. 1 from the “Plan of Rayne” and became the first proprietor of Lot 13 at that site.
Using the ownership of that comer lot on Adams Avenue as his central theme, Stutes expanded his account into the personalities, family histories, and political and historical matters that brought his readers to the matter of the “succession” of Mattias Arenas’s property at his death in 1893 between his wife (Eleanor Martin Arenas) and the two daughters (Dolores Arenas Perres) and Susan Arenas Anding).
In the succeeding weeks - so much more will be added about Privat, Fremaux, Stamm, Raymond, Hunter, Petitjean, Kennedy, Hebert, Mauboules, Plattsmier, McBride, Albarado, Dischler, Mayeux, and more - all accompanied with business and political matters, continuing disputes with Rayne adversaries, some genealogy, and ample anecdotes that will bring the reader to the present - with the Simoneaux family operation of the “business house” on Lot 13, Block No. I of the Plan of Rayne.
(NEXT: Nuns arrive, a great fire, and an offer from Louis Privat.)