The American Sugar Cane League has awarded grants of $3500 each to four museums in south Louisiana with exhibits on the sugarcane industry to help defer transportation costs for school field trips.
The museums are the Bayou Teche Museum in New Iberia, the Jeanerette Museum in St. Mary Parish, the West Baton Rouge Parish Museum in Port Allen and the Bayou Country Children’s Museum in Thibodaux.
Gregory Gravois, a St. James Parish sugarcane farmer and president of the American Sugar Cane League, said it was important for school children to know what sugarcane means to their communities.
“Sugarcane is Louisiana’s largest row-crop farming industry,” Gravois said. “Like most production agriculture, sugarcane farming has become streamlined and mechanized, so even though cane is all around us, many families, even those in rural areas, are not connected to the farm and losing touch with what sugarcane means to our state. We wanted to reach out to school children and get them to visit the museums that feature sugarcane.”
Mona Stansbury, the spokesperson for the Jeanerette Museum, said the transportation grant has brought a new influx of school-aged visitors to the St. Mary Parish museum.
“Our Bayou Teche corridor is rich in culture,” Stansbury said. “We have already had five field trips to the Jeanerette Museum. That’s busy for us.”
Gravois said teachers and school administrators should contact the museums directly about qualifying for grant participation.