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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
What started out as a small project has grown annually, until the Deja vu Spirit Reunion has been recognized statewide.
The 21st reunion will take place this Saturday at historic Memorial Cemetery, 5:30-8 p.m.
The Foundation For Restoration of Ste. Genevieve puts on the annual event as a fundraiser to help preserve the cemetery, which buried its first inhabitants around 1790 and closed in 1881.
Ellie Douglass conceived the idea after visiting a small Michigan town that had a similar event.
“It was held in the cemetery, which dated back to the 1870s, during the daytime,” she said. “I thought, ‘We can do better.’ We had people with ancestors buried there (in Memorial Cemetery).”
Things didn’t start off with a bang.
“That first year, we only had six spirits, and only about 15 people showed up,” Douglass recalled. “We were so disappointed. But we decided to stick with it and it got a little better and a little better, every year.”
Last year was the largest turnout, with 265 people visiting. Today, some 25 spirits of Ste. Genevieve colonial pioneers are in the cemetery – by their own tombstones when possible – to tell their tales
Below is this year’s cast:
Al Keiser Vital St. Gemme Beauvais
Donna Harding Madame Beauvais
Jim Baker Jean Baptiste Valle
Mickey Koetting Spirit of Memorial Cemetery
Lou Huck Genevieve Schwabe
Ellie Douglass Odile Valle
Doug Harding Nicolas Janis
Cindy Skaggs Regina Sucher
Debra Cambron Marie Villars
Mark Diamond Fur trapper
Rita Diamond Pelagie Janis
Ryan & Angie Howell Spirits of steamboat wrecks
Skip weiler Francois LeClere
Robert Mueller Delassus de Luzieres
Sandra Cabot Marie Barbeau
Bill Naeger Ferdinand Rozier
Patti Naeger Lost Soul
Jerry Bader Prospect Robbins
John Orem Senator Louis Linn
Carl Kinsky Dennis McGill
Marty Aubuchon Aubuchon family
Michele Baker Memard family