Surviving inhabitants of Weeks Island reunite after nearly 50 years

Posted at 10:26 PM, Apr 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-21 23:26:00-04

The surviving inhabitants of the community of Weeks Island in Iberia Parish reunited on Saturday after being asked to leave their village nearly 50 years ago.

In 1969, Morton Salt determined that supporting the community had become too expensive, so they paid the more than 400 families to move off the island.

The former residents of Weeks Island say it was fully self-sufficient with its own roads, gas station, schools, post office, churches, a movie theater, and more.

Lately, residents have been reminiscing through social media about the good old days of their former tight-knit community.

"I was on Facebook, and I was trying to contact Weeks Island families and friends from Weeks Island to find out the name of the people who took care of us at the teenage center, and that’s how the response started,” said reunion organizer Debra Savoie.

The friends made a private Facebook group for the residents of the community. With the page receiving an influx of members sharing old stories and photographs, the friends decided to schedule a reunion.

The guest speaker, Dr. Donald A. Pavy, says he was the doctor for everyone living on the island.

Pavy shared old memories in a speech he gave during the opening of the reunion.

"She was having a baby, and she called me, and I said, ‘Elizabeth, I think we can make it to town. So, I put her in the car, and you know where the railroad is? She had the baby right there,” spoke Pavy to a laughing crowd.

Pavy continued being the physician for community members after they moved off the island.

He retired a few weeks ago at the age of 87. During his long career, he wrote two books on the way people lived on the island.

In his speech, Pavy spoke of a friend who caught a 1,000-pound alligator near the island.

"And the way he caught it? He jammed a rod down the alligator’s mouth. He fought the alligator. It took ten men to put that alligator in his boat,” explained Pavy.

Out of the 99 people that RSVP’d to the reunion, more than 200 showed up, with some from as far away as Minnesota.

"For me today, it’s heartwarming to see everybody who came out here today that felt so special about Weeks Island,” said Savoie.