feature: from the past

Louise Dupré Hernandez

By Devin Griffin

Louise Dupré Hernandez was so entrenched in Grand Bayou’s culture that locals rarely called her by her full name; she was known as Aunt Lou. Born in 1919, she had four children of her own and was widowed at a young age. She was pregnant for her fourth child when her husband died under the weight of an iron cistern he was lifting. Still, former residents say she was the woman who took care of the community, always spreading joy.

Aunt Lou from the start as a young girl was a force. She recounted in her biography My Life of Grand Bayou that she couldn’t keep still. She would always be doing something.

She remembered as a child one winter night she took her daddy’s overcoat, his gun, a fishing pole and the moss pole she and her daddy used to push the boat and took off rowing down the bayou. She felt like she was in heaven until she realized she was, about three miles from home. She stayed calm, turned around, and went home. Or tried to get home, the north wind was working against her. It took a lot of power but eventually, just after dark Louise was able to make it home, into the big living room to sit and watch the fireplace.

She didn’t like feeling like she was closed in, whenever she would get a feeling fenced in she would jump in her dad’s old Ford and just drive. The roads were terrible then, and Lou said in her book, but she still left. She ended up lost and not sure what to do, and just as she was about to give up Louise found the right road and made it back home. Never did she run away again. Everything on the bayou seemed okay after that.

Aunt Lou milked cows and played the violin and just lived her life.

She was an adventurous woman always wrapping others into her mischief. As children growing up on Grand Bayou, Louise and her siblings weren’t allowed to play in the bayou. Getting caught playing by the bayou or by it resulted in spankings. “Of course I didn’t listen” quote Aunt Lou from her book. Louise played by the bayou and fell in. She was so scared that she was going to get into trouble, so to avoid that she snuck into the house and changed before anyone knew.

Aunt Lou adored children and giving back to her community. She would give them gifts, activities, and more. She was a free spirit who owned and milked cows, played the violin and sang her own songs.

At the end of Aunt Lou’s book, she wrote:

“I have no regrets for the life I had — they were good old days.”

in her own words

A MEMOIR

June Bouchereau, Louise Hernandez's niece
June Bouchereau, Louise Hernandez's niece