DONALDSONVILLE -- Joan Joffrion squinted and wished she had brought her “TV glasses” as she tried to count the number of stars in an American flag captured in an undated photo of a ferry floating on Bayou Lafourche.
But Joffrion didn’t need her glasses to identify a group of altar boys in a 1950s photo shown by Will LeBlanc during a Sept. 13 presentation, “A Trip Down Memory Lane,” at the Ascension Parish Library in Donaldsonville.
“Now that’s Johnny Falcon and that’s Clarence LeBlanc,” she said, pointing to the photo that was projected onto the library’s meeting room wall.
Others in the audience started calling out names and sharing stories of their days as altar boys.
Will LeBlanc, a Donaldsonville native who moved to Houston to pursue his music career more than 20 years ago, said photos stir memories and feelings in people of days gone by.
LeBlanc’s presentation included photos not published in his recent book, “Donaldsonville: Images of America,” which included 180 photos.
He said the presentation, which was attended by more than 30 people, provided residents a chance to share their memories about businesses, buildings, people and events in the small river city.
LeBlanc was hoping residents “could fill in the blanks” with information about many of the photos he displayed. He offered peppermint candies as prizes for residents who could provide information on the undocumented photos.
There was little information known about a photo of the Collar and Pad Factory, but Brett Landry had some information about one showing men in front of a horse-drawn buggy advertising Christian Wintter’s Model Bakery.
Landry, who works for the Ascension Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, said he’s heard of an area of Donaldsonville called Wintter’s lots.
Several of the photos shown were from a collection gathered by the late Kirk P. Landry, Brett’s brother, who studied the history of the city. LeBlanc dedicated his book to Kirk Landry’s memory and included in the presentation a humorous photo of Landry.
Photos showing Mammoth Stables and a sugar mill drew debate as to their locations and origins.
Audience members were transported back several years when photos of matchbooks from Royal Cafe and the First and Last Chance flashed on the screen.
LeBlanc pointed to the telephone number on the matchbooks: The Royal Cafe’s number was 66, and the First and Last Chance had a three-digit number.
The presentation ended with a photo of LeBlanc and his four brothers that was taken 52 years ago.
LeBlanc, who hung around after the talk to share stories and sign copies of his book, said he worked on the book for eight months, visiting Donaldsonville several times to scan photos and collect stories.
The book, which was published earlier this year, includes photos and stories about residents’ memories of what was happening in the city when the photos were taken.