We haven’t always had the best of luck in Kaplan, but after a few different tries, we finally found our story.
And this is how we met Rayetta Broussard, whose story can be traced back through the generations thanks in large part to her fascination with genealogy and her family history.
Rayetta says her love of her history has been a life-long fascination.
“I’ve always loved reading about other people, biographies, and history.”
So at her kitchen table, we wound through tales that go back to start of Kaplan itself. Stories emerged of cowboys who would go on to become cattle barons, and cattle barons that would go on to become her father and war hero.
“He fought the Battle of the Bulge under Gen. Patton, his feet from what I understand were frostbitten,” explains Rayetta of her father’s service. “Then they were captured and in a boxcar for two weeks.”
From stories of war, we moved on to stories of love. Of Rayetta and her husband, everything meticulously documented through the letters he wrote while serving at Fort Polk.
“These are all the letters he wrote me,” Rayetta says indicating a box of envelopes. “Since he’s passed away, they really mean a lot.”
The letters and photos are Rayetta’s way of continuing the family history that is most important to her. The stories she shares give you the feeling that you’re actually living the history itself. The history of the places and the family that she loves.
Now, by sitting on the board of the Kaplan Museum, Rayetta can continue to pass on that history.
And by tracking her own history, she can make sure it lives on in the future.
“Family at that time meant so much,” says Rayetta. “You really had to have family to survive, and I want them to pass that information on.”
As for the future of ‘What’s Your Story,’ we’re off to Palmetto in St. Landry Parish.