By Jeffra Wise DeViney
Rotary District 6200 Governor Mark Lee and First Lady Margaret were in DeQuincy on Wednesday, Sept. 23, to attend the official Governor’s Visit Luncheon for the recently reorganized Rotary Club of DeQuincy which was held at DeQuincy United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
Afterwards, the Lees, accompanied by 2021-22 President-Elect Jeffra Wise DeViney, “time-travelled” in a visit to the “jewel” of our city, the DeQuincy Railroad Museum which is housed in the beautiful Kansas City Southern Depot which features a fine example of Mission-Styled Architecture.
This year marks the 97th Anniversary of the landmark which recently reopened after being closed due to COVID restrictions and later hurricane damages which are still being mitigated.
A personal guided tour was provided by staff member, Allen Walker, who is a retired engineer from Union Pacific Railroad. With Walker’s train service experience he articulated the many workings, procedures and by-gone and present operations of trains as well as explained the many purposes and uses of archives on display.
Both Allen and DeViney reminisced about working for Union Pacific Railroad as she had worked back in the ‘80’s as a Brakeman. DeViney expressed the enjoyment of being able to ride in the red cabooses that had cupolas that gave a bird’s eye view of scenery along the rail line. Those are no longer used by the railroads. Walker related that he had worked with DeViney’s husband, Douglas, also a retired engineer.
If you have never visited DeQuincy Railroad Museum, it’s worth the trip! It’s a place rich in railroad history.
DeQuincy’s heritage centers around the formation of the railroads. The museum houses many privately donated artifacts, mostly from its own private citizens.
A final stop on the tour, took the Lees outside where there are a restored 1913 steam locomotive and two vintage caboose cars as well as a 1947 renovated Pullman passenger car in which you can tour. Stepping inside is a delight! The seats are so comfortable and the bathrooms are so roomy.
Margaret expressed their desire to take a passenger train to visit their daughter soon.
Passenger train service ended in DeQuincy in 1969. The Depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you are looking for something to do, close to home, right in your on backyard, visit the DeQuincy Railroad Museum. Take the kids, tour the museum and check out the new modern train-themed playground.
Operating hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Full time tour guides, Mary Jane Barbery and Katie Haley are available to walk you through and explain exhibits. Kenny Hester and Allen Walker are available for tours when Barbery of Haley need time off.
There is a wonderful gift shop with train themed t-shirts, Louisiana themed gifts and other unique items.
They are non-profit and appreciate your donations. The address is 400 Lake Charles Ave., DeQuincy. The phone number is 337-786-2823.