In what is sure to be a first of many events to come for the Old Spanish Trail Committee, an OST Networking Conference will be held on Saturday, June 9, according Dr. C. Eddie Palmer, Rayne OST Committee Chairman. The day-long conference will be held at the Rayne Civic Center Mural Room with a full schedule of events and speakers for the first-ever event for this area. “We are expecting a good crowd for the conference,” Palmer stated of the event. “‘Save the dates’ were sent out a while ago and interest is growing, even at the state level.”
The OST Networking Conference will begin with an optional early morning visit to the monthly Rayne Chamber’s Farmer’s Market at The Depot Square in downtown Rayne (corner of U.S. Highway 90 and Louisiana Highway 35). Registration for the conference will begin at 8:20 a.m. where visitors will be provided light refreshments and a Rayne welcome by Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux.
Schedule for the Day: 9 a.m. Dr. C. Ray Brassieur, “Early Spanish Trails Through Louisiana.” 9:45 a.m. William J. Thibodeaux, “Louisiana Western Railroad and the Elusive Old Spanish Trail.” 10:20 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Dr. Eddie Palmer, “Conceptualizing the OST: From the Beginning of the Old Spanish Trail Association to Roadside Preservation.” 11:20 a.m John “Pudd” Sharp “Louisiana Night Life: Dance Halls Along the Old Spanish Trail.” 12:00 - 1 p.m. Working lunch will be observed between noon
1 p.m. “Benefits of OST Involvement” by Charlotte Jeffers, Laurie Suire and Mayor Frank Grazzaffi. 1:45 p.m. Conference reports 2:15 p.m. Dr. Eddie Palmer, Final Comments -------------------------- Since Palmer attended the centennial conference of OST 100 in Mobile, Alabama, in 2015, he has been assisting cities located on U.S. 90 to obtain the “Official OST City” designation from the OST 100 organization headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. The “Old Spanish Trail” was adopted as the name of the roadway that eventually became a transcontinental route starting at St. Augustine, Florida, and ending in San Diego, California. Construction of the highway began in 1915 and was completed in 1929, providing the coast-to-coast highway for motorists. Also, following the 2015 conference, Palmer spearheaded efforts to have Rayne designated two years ago as the first Official OST City in the country. Palmer also explained the historical development of the OST Auto Highway — old State Highway 2 and U.S. 90 and 182 in Louisiana — the center of the OST (Old Spanish Trail) and the anticipated events, ideas and projects planned for that area. “We have many cities along the former OST that could play an important part in the formation of a coalition of official OST cities, right here in our area,” Palmer noted. “I’ve spoken with many of these cities and they are showing much interest. We’re looking at the start of something great that can benefit many locations along U.S. 90. “Many of these cities are perfect candidates due to there historical connections to the highway, landmarks in their city and possible development of additional tourism points that join the participating cities. The possibilities are endless.”