2 Concordia Parish historians honored

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vidalia — Two Concordia Parish residents were recognized Monday for their work in helping document the history of the parish.

The Concordia Parish Police Jury passed a resolution Monday evening in honor of Corinne Randazzo and Marilyn Campbell.

“We wanted to recognize them for all the good work they have done for this parish,” Police Jury President Melvin Ferrington said. “They do so much for this parish that helps a lot of people without asking for anything in return.”

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Randazzo, a life-long resident of Vidalia and widow of former mayor Samuel Randazzo, is known as a local historian when not volunteering her time at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church.

She is a former educator, having spent 36 years in the Natchez-Adams School District, who has worked for a variety of community service organizations including the Concordia Council on Aging.

One of Randazzo’s most important history projects for Vidalia includes documenting the moving of the town in 1938.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers altered the flow of the Mississippi River, and since the Vidalia-Natchez area was one of the narrowest points on the river, the waters threatened the “old town” of Vidalia.

A group of Vidalia residents put up a fight, and plans were laid to relocate the town a little more than a mile from where it was before.

“Vidalians have always been fighters,” Randazzo said. “The story shows the perseverance of the people of the town and how much they loved their town.”

Randazzo worked to archive photos of the “old town,” the moving of the town and the development of the “new town.”

“I didn’t really do any of this for the recognition or praise, but I just wanted to leave something behind for people to know about our town,” Randazzo said. “Those stories are what new Vidalians or people just moving to the area need to hear.”

Campbell, who works for the Concordia Parish School Board, is also known as a local historian in Concordia Parish, specializing in the Monterey area. The Concordia Parish native works to preserve the history of the area by drawing accurate maps that show what used to be, while also collecting vintage photographs and other materials.

“I want to help preserve our history, so we can teach our kids to appreciate their heritage,” Campbell said. “I want my grandchildren to be able to hear the stories I grew up on.”

Last year, Campbell presented a reading of, “Winter Voices from a Miss-Lou Past,” at the Concordia Parish Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet and awards dinner.

The story detailed the reactions of residents in southwest Concordia Parish when a gas plant in Ferriday caught fire.

Ferrington said the contributions of Randazzo and Campbell are invaluable to the police jury and to many others in the parish.

“The mapping and historical data gathering they have done is just incredible,” Ferrington said. “They deserve all the recognition they can get.”