Ferriday museum wants to move

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 23, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – A committee of the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce is seeking $100,000 in state grants to move its museum to the vacant post office building downtown.

&uot;We could open (the new museum) as soon as March 1 – provided that we get the grants and everything materializes like it should,&uot;&160;said Lynette Tanner, who is applying for the grants.

Brothers Don Ater, Ed Ater and Al Ater bought the facility last week and are waiting to see whether the chamber can get the funding for it to be used as a museum.

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&uot;That building is an integral part of downtown Ferriday’s history, and I thought it needed to be preserved if possible,&uot; Don Ater said. &uot;I would hate to see it torn down or turned into something else.&uot;

It has almost four times more display space than the museum’s current location, the old Concordia Bank branch on North E.E. Wallace Boulevard, occupied by the museum since May 1995.

It also has space for a few meeting rooms, a room for functions of the Louisiana Endowment of the Arts, a kitchen and a loading dock that could be used as a stage for concerts.

Tanner will apply for the grants by Nov. 1. A $60,000 capital outlay grant would be used for renovations like restoring hardwood floors, removing wall coverings and roof repairs.

A $40,000 grant would be used for lighting, exhibit cases and additions to the current exhibits. The Ater brothers have funds to match the grants, Tanner said.

The new museum will build upon the current one’s exhibits, which feature photos, memorabilia and bios of Ferriday’s most famous natives.

They include rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis, blues and jazz artist Leon &uot;Pee Wee&uot; Whittaker, country musician Mickey Gilley, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, journalist Howard K. Smith and Ann Boyar Warner, wife of Jack L. Warner of Warner Brothers Studios.

With touches like marble floors, wood paneling and a mural of a cotton gin along one wall, the building is the perfect location for the museum, Tanner said.

&uot;It’s a wonderful old building,&uot; she said.

The facility served as a post office from 1940 until Ferriday’s post office was moved earlier this year to a new building on First Street.