Probably the most unique annual gathering in Louisiana . was held in Kinder Saturday as the members of the Chachere family, their kin and connection, descended from pioneer settlers of southwest Louisiana, motored and marched to this little Allen parish town for the family reunion which has been held every twelve months for the- past 127 years, with brief interruptions during the Civil and World Wars. The date marks the anniversary ot the family patron, Saint Louis.
Bearing two score names, but all direct descendants of Louis Chachere and Catherine Vauchere, founders of the reunion, more than 250 members of the clan, "dropped in at the picnic grounds to swap the family gossip of the year and talk of who has married who and who has gone on. and of the other reunions of a generation past whose memory is like a string of beads trailing back into the dusty mist of childhood.
There never was a time, save during the wars, when these survivors could not remember the annual gathering.
According to James O. Chachere of Opelousas, 84-year-old life-time president of the reunion, there never was a time in his memory when less than 250 members of the family showed up for the yearly affair. "And often there were many more," he adds. He has long worked on a complete family tree but is unable to say just exactly how many hundreds there are now in the family.
However, according to his partial compilation, Louis Chachere and Catherine Vauchere, the original settlers. had ten children and only the oldest son, Louis, never married. Of the other nine, Veilland Chachere (born May 25, 1801) married Heloise Lavergne and had' 13 children; Constant Chachere married Celestine Lavergne and had 11 children; Pouponne Louise Chachere married Dominique C. Sitting and had 11 children; Pouponne Louise Chachere married Leon Boutte and had five children; Lisle Chachere married Emeranthe David and had six children; Beaurepaire Chachere married Eugenie Lavergne and had five children; Jacinthe Chachere married Jack Bacon and had two children; Emelie Melite Chachere married M. Martel and had six children; Manette Chachere married Antoine Boutte and had five children.
President Chachere declares that the records about the founder are vague, but that "our grandfather Louis came to this country we think the latter part of the seventeenth century. He adopted St. Louis as our patron saint. The birthday of St. Louis was August, and we the descendants of Louis Chachere mark it to the present day, assembling at various parts of this parish (St. Landry) with the few exceptions when the meeting has been held nearby. The place is always decided by vote of the family, and Kinder was selected this year to meet the convenience of the majority, The 25th being Sunday, and some objection being made, Saturday, August 24 was agreed upon.
President Chachere is the son of Veilland Chachere, second son of Louis and Catherine, who automatically became a sort of family head when the eldest son Louis failed to marry. Referring to his father, President Chachere says: “He was born here in Opelousas in 1801 [and] he always talked about reunions and remembering them from his infancy.”
It is his hope, say the chief of the Chachere the the family reunion will be kept up annually – “always.”
He emphasized that intoxicating liquors were never served at the reunions following the 18th Amendment, and said his family meal each year together consisted of “barbecue meat, coffee, lemonade and cakes and salads of various kinds with a barrel of ice water near at hand.”
Purchase the Chachere family book at Lulu.com
More about the Chachere family at: FamilyAtLouisiana.com
See also Louis D. Chachere; (2) African-American Chachere Family Lines