Houma, LA — Former Daigleville Indian School students Mr. Lawrence Verdin, Ms. Marie Billiot, and Mr. Charlie Duthu came to the UHN Tribal Administration Offices today to share their stories of attending Daigleville School as youth. While there, they were pleasantly surprised by Mr. Kevin Sevin, co-owner of the Just4Him Haircut franchise (www.just4himhaircuts.com), who presented these elders with a check for $5,000 to go towards the UHN’s Save Daigleville School fundraising efforts. Mr. Sevin shared that he and his partner were motivated to give when they learned of the UHN’s recent court battle with the Terrebonne Parish School Board and interest to preserve the building to establish a museum.
Chief August Creppel was in attendance and stated that he is honored that Mr. Sevin and the Just4Him family are standing in support with the Houma people. Mr. Sevin and Chief Creppel spoke at length of the importance of a museum in Houma that memorializes the experiences of these former students. “With all the students now elders, their story of not being able to graduate in Terrebonne Parish until 1964 is even more important to tell,” according to Chief Creppel.
In February 2021, the United Houma Nation became aware the Terrebonne Parish School had sold the historic Daigleville School property to a private buyer through a real estate agent with what appeared to be little to no public notice at 51% of fair market value. In less than 30 days, the UHN filed a federal lawsuit citing multiple complaints including failure to recognize the UHN’s property interest as the UHN believed the previous cooperative agreement had renewed and had property in the building at the time of the sale, and failure to acknowledge the historic designation of the property in the sale. During the course of the initial proceeding, the School Board and the purchaser rescinded the sale on the condition that the property be put back up on the open market for sale for all interested parties. Following this action, the judge dismissed the case.
At this point in time, the UHN is anticipating a public bid process to purchase the property and secure the preservation of the historic designation that was granted on October 21, 2020. “We hope other individuals and businesses in the community will join Mr. Sevin and Just4Men by helping in these efforts and giving what they can to help preserve what is one of the last American Indian schools that exist outside of a reservation nationally,” stated UHN Councilwoman Gretchen Boudreaux. Anyone seeking to support the effort may give through the GoFundMe site: https://www.gofundme.com/f/unitedhoumanation or contact Tribal Administrator Lanor Curole at (985)223-3093 or [email protected]