The meeting was held to discuss plans formulated by the Philippine Consulate in Louisiana and the Philippine–Louisiana Historical Society to erect and dedicate a marker commemorating Saint Malo in front of the Louis Alfred Ducros M.D. Museum and Research Library, Los Islenos Museum Complex, 1345 Bayou Road, St. Bernard, Louisiana. The Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society, Inc. subsidized the cost of the Louisiana State Historical Marker, which will join another marker on the front lawn of Ducros commemorating the Terre-aux-Boeufs Settlement, the original St. Bernard Parish.
Filipinos arrived in Louisiana in the 1760s at the onset of the Spanish colonial administration of Louisiana. By the 1770s, settlements of Filipino mariners were established along the shores of Lake Borgne where they harvested abundant seafood long identified as a major resource of St. Bernard Parish. Their settlements were built in the style of the Philippine islands with dwellings elevated above the water and large piers where shrimp and fish were dried and ultimately sold in the New Orleans area and other markets. The most significant of these settlements was named Saint Malo and had been once a hidden village harboring runaway Enslaved African people. Saint Malo had originally been settled by Amerindians more than 2,000 years ago. The settlement flourished until the catastrophic 1915 Hurricane obliterated the community. The survivors joined other Filipino settlers at Manilla Village on Barataria Bay in Jefferson Parish.
“St. Bernard Parish is strengthened by its diverse cultural heritage. That Filipinos established the first Asian - American community is something all St. Bernard residents should be proud of” said Parish President Mc Innis. “Filipino visitors are welcome to visit our community and we are proud to host an international gathering of Filipinos in St. Bernard in November” said Tourism and Film Office director Katie Tommaseo. Honorary Consul Romero noted that there has been “a consular presence of the Philippine Republic in the New Orleans area since 1948 and most of the raw sugar refined by the Domino Sugar refinery came from the Philippine Islands…”
The Saint Malo Marker will be dedicated Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn in front of the Ducros Museum and Research Library, Los Islenos Museum Complex, 1345 Bayou Road, St. Bernard, Louisiana 70085. A reception and cultural program will follow the marker dedication at the Los Islenos Center, Los Islenos Museum complex, 1357a Bayou Road, St. Bernard. A grand gala dinner will be held at the Frederick J. Sigur Center, Chalmette, in the evening of November 9, 2019.