The quilt made by Tonya LeBlanc, Beth Menard and Brenda Goodson depicts photos taken from throughout the 100 years of history for the city of Sulphur. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, February 17, 2014 12:00 PM
SULPHUR — The 100-year history of Sulphur has been woven into one quilt as part of the city’s centennial celebration.
Tonya LeBlanc, with help from friends Beth Menard and Brenda Goodson, constructed the quilt, which features more than 30 pictures from the city’s collection.
‘We started in August, I am a member of the centennial committee and was assigned to do the quilt,” LeBlanc said. “I am a quilter, so I got some quilting friends together to work on it. We finished in the beginning of December. We spent about 15 hours researching. As far as the sewing and quilting, it took about 50 hours.”
LeBlanc said she hopes the quilt resurrects memories for viewers.
“I was looking for things that people would remember when they saw it, but maybe had forgotten,” she said.
“There are some pictures of streets being paved when there were a lot of dirt roads. I wanted to capture the rich history of Sulphur, there have been a lot of people who have lived in Sulphur all their lives, I wanted to make it special for everyone. Feedback has been positive, that has been reassuring since it was such a big project.”
LeBlanc was happy to take on the chore.
“I was excited, I wanted to put some pictures on it so you could see things from the past that are no longer there,” she said.
“It was hard, we went through hundreds of pictures to decide what would go on. I enjoyed remembering some of the things that were there, old businesses that are no longer there. Sometimes you forget about them until you see a picture. We have 35 pictures on the quilt. 34 of them are of the city, the center block is the centennial coin.
“All of it was enjoyable. Looking through the pictures while doing the research was fun. I got the pattern from a magazine, it was made for someone’s anniversary. When I saw the pattern, I knew that is what we should do for the city’s quilt. It gave me a lot of opportunity to put a lot of pictures on it, but still displayed attractively.”
LeBlanc got a helping hand from Kennedy Wilfer, a fifth grade student at Frasch Elementary, with washing, drying and ironing the pictures, which were edited by Kimberly Feidler.
“She was thrilled to be able to be a part of it,” LeBlanc said. “There is a special paper you buy and use an ink jet printer, you print the picture, dry it for a couple of hours, then rinse each picture out with cold water to get excess ink out of it, then they are ironed.”
LeBlanc said she enjoyed the project, despite feeling a little stress.
“I felt relieved when we finished, there was a lot of pressure for it to be something we could be proud of as a city,” she said. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to do it. Beth and I work together and do a lot of sewing together, so when we were working on it, it was just like visiting with friends, but we had a job to do.”
Menard said she had a good time working on the quilt.
“I just love to sew and quilt, it is fun to work with someone, especially since Tonya and I work so well together,” she said. “It was fun, I was doing one thing and she would be doing something else. It was a lot of fun and kept it interesting instead of working by yourself.”
The quilt is going to be raffled at the celebration on Sunday, March 16. Tickets are $10, the package includes the quilt, a coin, book, t-shirt, local hotel package and a dinner at a local restaurant. The quilt will be on display at the library until the celebration, then it will be displayed at a rodeo at West Cal Arena on March 13, then at the Henning House until it is raffled off. Tickets can be purchased from Sulphur students, Harrington Gallery, Simmons Auto Services and Hollier’s Restaurant.
Money raised by the raffle will be used to help pay costs for the centennial celebration. Terry’s Fabric Cottage donated the stand being used to display the quilt. Tonya’s parents, Bill and Mary, donated costs for construction of the quilt.
Warren Arceneaux writes a weekly column on interesting people in Southwest Louisiana each Monday. Have a story idea about someone in Southwest Louisiana? Call him weekdays at 494-4087. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.