Put Me In Coach
On September 14, Cane River Creole National Historical Park hosted "Put Me in Coach! Baseball and Community along Cane River". Students from Cloutierville School came to the park's Magnolia Plantation for a traditional Cane River baseball game. In the early half of the 20th century Cane River plantations fielded their own teams. Some of the teams included the Melrose Pecans, Black Magnolias, Magnolia Giants, and Cane River Dodgers. The baseball games were community events that transcended racial boundaries. Families would enjoy the game, picnic, and catch up with old friends. As the population decreased, the baseball games faded away.
With help from a National Park Foundation America's Best Idea Grant and assistance from the Cane River National Heritage Area, the National Park Service was able to re-establish this community tradition. The park was able to purchase uniforms, equipment, and transportation for the students from Cloutierville.The event also featured volunteer contributions from student-athletes from the Northwestern State University baseball and softball teams. The Northwestern State players led the kids through calisthenics, batting, and fielding drills. The event culminated with a game between the Cane River Dodgers and the Magnolia Giants. With the game tied going into the final inning, the Dodgers scored the final run to secure the victory.
Did You Know?
After emancipation, some newly-freed slaves like Bermuda's long-time blacksmith Solomon Williams, negotiated separate bargains for higher pay and a new work schedule.