Sunday, September 04, 2016
This photo was taken in June by Martha Lee as we stood outside the construction site of the still incomplete Museum. It was thrilling to know that it would be open in a few short months, but at that time I had no idea that I would be invited to the festivities, though I was aware that our staff was working on that possibility. Everyone knew that I was dying to attend this opening.
Finally, a few weeks after returning home from the WWII Museum's annual Gala in New Orleans, I learned --not only that Secretary Jewel would be bringing along the replacement coin from the White House to the Port Chicago Day of Remembrance -- but that she would see that the invitation happened, and it has. Not only will I be able to attend the opening as her guest, but that I will have ten days in Washington to participate in a panel before the Congressional Black Caucus Conference with former National Park Service Director Bob Stanton, and a signature ranger from the East Coast, Ranger Cassius Cash. I will be involved in activities yet unnamed, but listed on a growing itinerary that no one is allowing me to see lest I'm overtaken by the vapors!
I will present to the museum a photograph of the convent of the nation's first all-black religious Order; the Holy Family Sisters. The convent was built by my grandfather, Louis Charbonnet, out on Gentilly near the campus of Dillard University in New Orleans. In June I saw among the temporary exhibits, one on that historic Order of Nuns, and vowed that I would locate that fading photograph and contribute it to the Museum to take its place among those artifacts. I'll now get to do that.
I will not only attend the preview on September 17th along with the Collection Donors Preview & Reception, but will be attending the grand opening of the Museum on September 24th as well. And that means that this 'lil ole lady ranger will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Willie Brown, General Colin Powell, etc., and we may all be wondering just how on earth she ever got on the A-List!