LOGO UNVEILED: During ceremonies Monday night in the Mural Room at the Rayne Civic Center Complex, the logo designating Rayne as an “Official Old Spanish Trail City” was unveiled and the first “OST Certification” was presented by Charlotte Kahl, third from left, chairperson of the national OST Centennial Committee. Among those on hand for the event were members of Rayne’s OST Committee, including, from left, Nikki Link, Martha Royer, Kahl, Dr. Eddie Palmer, local chairman; Fran Bihm, Beverly Rayon, Ann Palmer and Suzette Leonards. (Acadian-Tribune photo by Josie Henry)
Rayne is first ‘Official OST City;’ new logo unveiled during program
Rayne became the first city to receive certification as an “Official Old Spanish Trail City” during well-attended ceremonies Monday night.
The certification was presented to Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux by Charlotte Kahl, chairwoman at Old Spanish Trail Centennial Celebration Association, during a program in the Mural Room.
Kahl, a resident of San Antonio, Texas, said she was very impressed by the teamwork exhibited by a number of organizations in Rayne in bringing this certification to bear.
“I can’t believe how your committee, your chamber and your city administration work together so well here,” Kahl said.
Kahl explained that the OST certificate (inset at right) was designed by artist Mary Bonner in the 1920s.
Bonner, known for her etchings of Texas Cowboys, was born in Bastrop, but lived most of her life in San Antonio with long periods of time in Paris, France.
Robichaux, in turn, read a city proclamation designating Oct. 17 as “Old Spanish Trail Day” in Rayne, adding his thanks to members of the committee for bringing the project to its fruition.
“It’s not us,” he said, “it’s y’all.”
Dr. Eddie Palmer, chairman of the local OST Committee and long-time advocate of the historical and cultural significance of “The OST,” expressed his delight with the ceremonies.
““This is something concrete that we can use to revitalize interest in the OST,” he said. “It can be used to promote tourism and commerce.”
With that, Palmer called upon Robichaux and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Fran Bihm to “unveil” the official OST logo for the city, touting the efforts of Nikki Link, committee member, and Kevin Meche of Rayne Plastics in developing the design.
“We hope that this can become an advertising adjunct to tourism here,” Palmer said. “We’re hoping that businesses will incorporate the logo in their advertising, letterhead, etc.”
Palmer explained that small, “plate-sized” logos will be reproduced for businesses along the OST — which follows U.S. Highway 90 through Rayne — to put in their windows.
Palmer served as master of ceremonies for the night’s event, explaining the history of the Old Spanish Trail, which stretches nearly 3,000 miles across eight states in the southern area of the United States from St. Augustine, Florida, to San Diego, California.
“It has many different highway numbers along its route — U.S. 90 through Rayne,” he said.
Palmer lauded the work of the committee in bringing the program together, paying special recognition to Link, who spearheaded efforts to incorporate the youth of the community.
“From the very first OSL Committee meeting, an important goal was set to get our local schools involved in the history of the OST,” Link said. “We realize this is an important part of our Rayne history.”
Link, who also serves as president of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, met with teachers from Rayne schools and encouraged them to include information about the Old Spanish Trail in their history lessons.
“We had several teachers give their classes a project that was age-appropriate for each grade,” she explained.
Link mentioned Sarah Bergeron at Martin Petitjean Elementary School and Paige Dupont at Rayne High School.
Bergeron had class members participate in a coloring contest while, under Dupont’s tutelage, students at RHS could participate in an art contest or an essay-writing contest.
In the lower grades, the winners were Riley LaGrange, first place; Jaylon Carmouche, second place and Tenian Spurlock, third place.
Cy Morgan’s art was judged first place winner at RHS while Brooklyn Mire’s essay garnered top honors for her.
Kahl said she was particularly impressed to see that the local committee had made the effort to include the youth in the celebration.
In wrapping up the night’s program, Palmer said he hoped “this will be the first of many such projects” for the city.
He then called upon the general public to assist in the research of the OST.
“Talk to your neighbors, your family — see if they know any old stories about the OST,” he said. “We’ll be happy to sit with them and interview and archive all this information for posterity.”
Before the program closed, Kahl was presented ditty bags from the city as well as from the chamber.
Throughout the night’s program, a slide show of historic scenes in and around Rayne featuring the OST was shown by Tony Olinger.