History of the Time Capsule:
Seventy seven years ago in February 1939, when construction on the Vocational Building began, Mr. L. R. Divine, then President of LSD, placed a hermetically sealed box filled with school and other mementos in a cornerstone of the building. When LSD’s campus was moved to Brightside Lane, several attempts were made to locate the box and return it to the current campus, but the actual location had been forgotten and the time capsule was not recovered.
In 2015, the Louisiana Association of the Deaf (LAD) appointed Wanda Miller as LAD historian. As Wanda took over the responsibilities of historian, she was told of old Louisiana School for the Deaf (LSD) school magazines called The Pelican that were archived at Gallaudet University library in Washington, DC and also in the LSD archives room. In January 2016, she started researching the history of both LAD and LSD, she found a Pelican magazine that mentioned the time capsule and its placement in a cornerstone of the new vocational building that was being erected on LSD’s campus in 1939. That is when she became interested in researching the time capsule.
Wanda contacted few people who were older than she, and they were able to give her the information they could remember from when their parents attended LSD from 1930 to 1942. Not long after, she found the floor plan of vocational building in which the time capsule had been placed in the cornerstone. Through her research, she was able to gather other information as well, and began to put the pieces together to solve the mystery of where the time capsule had been placed all those years ago.
Wanda and Houston Moss, LAD President, went to the old campus to see the vocational building and realized that the Department of Corrections was in the process of doing major renovations to the building. The area they suspected the time capsule was located would be covered by the renovations and inaccessible. Houston and Wanda contacted Dr. Donna Alleman, Director of LSD, and they worked together for few months before they were able to contact Angela Whittaker, the Confidential Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Mr. Jimmy LeBlanc. On March 22, 2016, a meeting with Mr. LeBlanc and members of his staff was held to discuss the history of LSD and LAD, the historical importance of the time capsule, and the possible location and retrieval of the time capsule.
In a search that took almost two weeks, through the dedication of several people but most notably Mr. Nate Harvey, Department of Public Safety and Corrections Headquarters Maintenance Director, with the assistance of Houston Moss the time capsule was located on March 30, 2016. On Monday, April 4, 2016 at 2:00 pm, the time capsule was recovered and opened.
The old LSD campus located on Mayflower Street in Baton Rouge was a second home for many deaf students during their school years and holds many good memories. The time capsule has been secured in the archives room at LSD’s current address where Wanda will continue her work to carefully preserve and document the articles in the time capsule which will be displayed to the public at a later date. A complete video of the entire recovery and photos will be shared with current LSD students and the community before the end of the school year in May 2016. The importance of this time capsule cannot be overstated as it marks the history of deaf education in Louisiana and highlights the importance of deaf culture and community.
Louisiana School for the Deaf in the news!!
Dr. Donna Alleman
Director, Louisiana School for the Deaf
Dr. Donna Alleman