VEGGI Farmers Cooperative Greenhouse [Photo by and Courtesy of Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes]

Botanical Exhibit About South Louisiana Coming to the Cabildo

07:00 June 18, 2024
By: Violet Bucaro

Local Louisiana Plants

The opening of a brand new exhibit in the Cabildo, entitled Botanica: Gardens, Landscapes, and Plant Medicines in South Louisiana, will be on June 20 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, and will be on display through May 3, 2026.

"Houma Family Home" [Unidentified photographer, ca. late 1920s-early 1930s, Pointe-aux-Chênes, Louisiana. Courtesy of the Verdin Family]

The Botanica exhibition digs into the meaning, cultural importance, and evolution of significant Louisiana medicinal plants, along with the historic and contemporary traditions of local communities., particularly exploring how land-loss, climate change, and Louisiana's changing environment have affected Louisiana French culture, as well as Indigenous, African Americans, and Vietnamese peoples.

Co-curators Rachel Breunlin and Monique Verdin have collected contemporary photographs from Louisiana State Museum's collection of art, artifacts, and historical documents, as well as interviews with plant maestros and gardeners, to explore and understand the rich and vast totality of Louisiana plants in rural and urban communities.

The compilation of various interviews feature Tammy Greer, a United Houma Nation medicine wheel steward, mutual aid medicine makers from the Bvlbancha Collective, and herbalist Rachael Reeves, who all share their experiences with natural landscapes and plant medicines in Louisiana.

About the Artists

[Courtesy of Louisiana State Museums]

Monique Verdin is a striking multidisciplinary artist, storyteller, and author who focuses on the documentation of Mississippi River Deltas' conservation and the cultural importance to the United Houma Nation. Her work captures the interconnectedness of climate change, environment, tradition, and culture through expression, photography, writing, collaboration, and more. Verdin is a Houma Nation member and the director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange. She works with Women's Earth and Climate Action Gulf South and continues to invite and incite social change in Louisiana.

Rachel Breunlin is a powerful cultural anthropologist and director of the Neighborhood Story Project (an ethnography non-profit organization), which explores the complex relationships and stories of South Louisiana. She has worked on several novels, exhibitions, events, and courses that do a deep-dive into the public culture and collaborative ethnography in Louisiana.

A stunning and large scale floral mural by artist Francis C. Pavy and the interpretations of Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes will be on display featuring flora and fauna of the Barataria Preserve.

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