June 5, 1998

Memorial Day: Monday, May 25, 1998. What a fitting day for the dedication of the Aubrey Lasseigne Walking Trail Memorial in Berwick.

It was a lovely morning. A little breeze stirred the air as the sunlight shone intermittently though the trees and played among the flags that adorned the walkway. A crowd assembled quickly; Aubrey’s family, friends and acquaintances.

The Rev. Paul Bienvenu gave the invocation and said the ending prayer. Stan Beaubouef acted as master of ceremonies, eulogizing Aubrey and calling to mind the many instances of council meetings where everyone reacted favorably with Aubrey on many subjects.

May Emmett Hardaway was the next speaker and he told of Aubrey’s original desire for the walking trail. Emmett told him it was a great idea as they discussed it in great detail and proceeded with plans for making the trail a reality.

V.J. Bella, the state fire marshal, was the last speaker. He told of many instances in Aubrey’s life, his connection with the Ber Theatre, the C-Wall Theatre in Morgan City, the Drive-In Theatre in Bayou Vista and the Center Theatre and the Teche in Franklin. It was always Aubrey’s ambition to own and operate his own theatre and he finally succeeded when he opened the Lake Cinema in Morgan City.

V.J. told of his friendship with Aubrey which lasted from childhood, as they grew up as kids in Berwick.

Now it was time to view the plaque, which was raised on a cement slab at the beginning of the trail. It was a beautiful likeness of Aubrey, depicting date of birth, death and dedication to the walking trail. To show how popular the trail is today, there are at least 200 to 250 people who walk the trail every day.

There is one thing that touched everyone’s heart, that little grin on Aubrey’s face endeared him to everyone. And as you walk on the trail, you might hear his voice say, “As you are walking on this trail, remember that I am always here in spirit with you.”

And now, let me tell you of my experiences with Aubrey! He came to me when he was about 8 or 9 years old, a small boy with piercing brown eyes and a thatch of sandy hair. He looked up at me with his sandy hair in his face and that little grin that he had, and asked me for a job. I asked him what could he do and he answered, “Anything!” Jokingly, I asked him if he was married, but he said he was working on that!

Well, I gave him a job delivering handbills and putting up advertisements and “stills” in front of the theatre. He would work all over with a pair of pliers and with a screwdriver in his pocket. He was very mechanically-minded. He would tear any motor down, but putting it together again was somewhat of a problem.

We worked together from almost 40 years. Aubrey was a good showman. We had a lot of fun together; show business was exciting in the ’40s and ’50s. There was never a dull moment, because everybody went to the movies. That’s where everybody would meet and socialize.

Well, somebody introduced television and consequently put on-half of the show people out of business. That’s when Aubrey and I parted. I opened up a liquor store and Aubrey stayed in show business.

Aubrey had a hard climb at first, but eventually he made good. I’m sorry I didn’t stay in show business with Aubrey. We had a lot of fun together.

* The End *