New Ferriday is museum taking shape

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – In a former post office building in the heart of downtown Ferriday, what could become one of northeast Louisiana’s biggest attractions is quietly taking shape.

Town and Chamber of Commerce officials hope to open the planned Louisiana Delta Music Museum in the Louisiana Avenue building later this year, with a grand opening tentatively set for March.

The Secretary of State’s Office will operate the facility as a state museum.

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&uot;We’re going to try to move into the building in August if the weather stays nice,&uot; said Chris Vaughan, a member of the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce’s Museum Committee.

&uot;We see (the museum) as an economic boost for this area and (see) endless possibilities for the recognition of this area of the state,&uot; Judith Bingham, committee chairperson, said in June when a bill was passed by state lawmakers allowing the Secretary of State’s Office to operate the museum.

Bingham could not be reached for comment Wednesday or Thursday.

This week, crews are busy making a variety of renovations at the building on Louisiana Avenue – renovating restrooms, replacing the facility’s back door and installing ramps for the disabled, to name just a few.

That work is being done by Frank Whittington, Buddy Gregory and Antonne Duncan, Vaughan said.

The work is being done with the help of a $40,000 grant that has also funded painting, restoration of hardwood floors and other fixes made to the 61-year-old building.

And earlier this month, the Ferriday Town Council voted to award a $10,867 bid to Comfort Systems of Jonesville for installing a heating and cooling system at the facility.

Currently, the Town of Ferriday’s museum is housed in a much smaller building – a former bank branch – on N. E.E. Wallace Boulevard.

It features exhibits on six Ferriday natives: musicians Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, and Leon &uot;Pee Wee Whittaker; evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, journalist Howard K. Smith and Ann Boyar Warner, wife of Jack L. Warner of Warner Brothers Studios.