Baton Rouge Advocate reporter Ellyn Couvillion penned this news story about the donation of an old Julien cane planter to the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville. Here’s the beginning of her story:
A vintage sugarcane planting machine — one of 154 made by the Louisianan whose invention ended cane-planting’s back-breaking hand labor — has been brought back home to Ascension Parish, where it was built almost 60 years ago.
Getting the machine back to its roots has been a labor of love by the Walet farming family of Loreauville, which found the old planter on their land, hidden and overgrown by vines. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office brought the cane planter home by truck and trailer, then spent a year restoring it, and the River Road African American Museum in Donaldsonville will exhibit it in the future.
And, just as important, has been the input of Leonard Julien Jr., the 80-year-old son of the inventor, who has been able to watch the machine’s restoration over the last year and provide details about its design to the inmate trustees who “sandblasted it, re-blasted it and primed and painted it,” said Julien.