Robert & Augusta Elmwood
One warm afternoon this month, Robert and Augusta in their lovely garden situated on a key lot at 1514 St. Roch Avenue shared the story of their life and marriage over the last forty-one years in St. Roch.
Robert refers to himself as a yankee transplant that found himself on his last tour of duty with the Marine Corp in New Orleans. Two days after he rented an apartment at 519 Dauphine Street, he met Augusta his neighbor in the French Quarter.
Augusta’s family has been in New Orleans since 1718 and in St. Roch neighborhood for 150 years. Augusta grew up in the Upper 9th Ward on Pauline Street and attended Joseph Kohn Jr. High, her family later moved to Gallier Street near Bunny Friend Playground and striking out on her own for the first time she rented a little apartment on Dauphine Street in the French Quarter.
On August 31, 1970 while Robert was working for Tidex Nigeria Ltd. in Nigeria, the couple wed on Augusta’s birthday. Augusta and Robert stayed in Nigeria for nine months, visited Spain and then returned to New Orleans.
Augusta and Robert have three children, Otis, Victoria and Elizabeth. Victoria and Elizabeth live and work in New Orleans and Otis is in San Francisco. The children all attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School now located on Burgundy Street, as well as Newman and Ben Franklin High School.
While the children attended school at St. Paul’s, Augusta discovered that her ancestors were amongst the first congregation. This is likely what peaked Augusta’s unbelievable desire to research her genealogy and make the connections that she has made over the years. Augusta has uncovered her family connection to so many names you may recognize like the Labostries, Trevigne, Morial’s and distant cousins such as the Haydel’s, Bacas’ , Cosse’s and the Brelet’s. A few of these families she even traced to the St. Roch Neighborhood. One ancestor owned a nearby tavern in the French Quarter right around the corner from her first apartment, where she met Robert. She located a collateral ancestor living in the St. Roch neighborhood just a few blocks away from her home, and her grandfather was the sexton at the St. Roch cemetery in the early 1900s.
In 1975, Robert and Augusta purchased the home at 1422 St. Roch Avenue for Augusta’s mother, where one of their daughter’s lives today. On September 5, 1978 they purchased their own home at 1514 St. Roch Avenue where they reside today. They can’t picture living anywhere else Augusta says. The proof in that statement is never more evident than in their story of Hurricane Katrina.
Robert and Augusta stayed ten days after Hurricane Katrina while their house took on water to the bottom of their raised home, they tore up their own stoop and entry way and part of the hallway to save a trapped dog caught under the house with wire tied around one back leg while she was barely able to keep her snout above water. Today when you arrive at their home, you will be greeted by that very same dog Ebony, who they kept with them after they rescued her and travelled out of town on a bus that a businessman from Baton Rouge chartered to get residents and their pets out of the flood waters and to safety.
*Courtesy of Faubourg St. Roch Project