African-Americans, many free people of color, have contributed to the growth of St. Tammany, helping to develop new industries, including timber, boat building, brick-making and farming. Descendants flourish in Lacombe, where Creole families still celebrate such traditions as "Les Toussaints les Lumieres du Morte", an All Saints Day event for which families clean and decorate graves and light candles at dusk. Visitors are welcomed to visit the grounds on this day and learn about Creole history.
Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine Chapel, located on Davis Drive (Fish Hatchery Road), was erected in 1923 by Father Francis Balay, who dedicated it to Our Lady of Lourdes after Lourdes in his native France. The chapel served as a pilgrimage throughout World War II and parishioners have visited to pray and use water from the spring that many claim has cured them of spiritual and physical ailments.
Photo: Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel Website.