On March 17, 2006 I had the pleasure of interviewing two long-time residents of the German community of Roberts Cove, Louisiana. Clara Habetz and Josie Thevis have a fascinating perspective on their community’s attempt to preserve its culture in the midst of south Louisiana’s thriving Anglo, French, and African-American populations.

Clara died later that year at the age of 91.

More excerpts from our talk will be posted as I find time to select and edit excerpts.

Excerpt #1 (3 minutes): Early history of Roberts Cove including surnames of the first settlers.

Excerpt #2 (3 minutes): Speaking German in school and in public between the two world wars. Decline of German language in Roberts Cove. (The book quote in this excerpt is from page 247 of the LSU doctoral dissertation “A Historical and Linguistic Study of the German Settlement at Roberts Cove, Louisiana” by Stanley Joe McCord.)

Excerpt #3 (3 minutes): More on speaking German while growing up in the 1920’s and 1930’s. (The book quote in this excerpt is from page ix of “From Geilenkirchen to Acadia Parish: A History of the Germans of Roberts Cove, 1880-1987” by Reinhart Kondert.)

Excerpt #4 (1 minute): Local German resident serves one term in Louisiana legislature just after World War I.

Excerpt #5 (2 minutes): The hymn “Grosser Gott” and how Clara learned to accompany hymn singing in church.

Clara Habetz (seated) and Josie Thevis inside the German Heritage Museum in Roberts Cove, Louisiana.