The name Gaidry is the English sounding pronunciation for the French Guédry.
Jean Pierre Guédry immigrated from France in the 1790’s. His wife Mariane Daspit De St. Amant immigrated with him. He worked on a farm in Lafourche Parish near Napoleonville Louisiana and owned property in that area.
His son Eugene Guédry was born in Lafourche Parish on June 2, 1802. He died in Houma, LA, on March 29, 1894. Eugene was a store keeper for a farm near Lafourche Crossing South of Thibodeaux. He married Elise Charpentier (born Nov 29, 1801, died Nov 29, 1844).
His son Adolph A. Gaidry was born on Dec 23, 1840 in Lafourche Parish and died on April, 2 1905 in Terrebonne Parish. Adolph Gaidry, had a big general store on E. Main St. in Houma where the Holy Rosary Church is now located and Adolph’ house was where the rectory is located today.
Adolph was a dentist also and in South Louisiana in the 1800's everyone spoke French; children were taught French in schools and Adolph's books were kept in French.
Most of the people in Terrebonne Parish were of French descent; many came after the war between England and France and were driven out of Canada (Le Grand De’rangement fr.) and found refuge in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana.
After his death his daughter Laura and son Paul lived in the house until Laura sold the property to the Church. He married Aglae Cadiere (born in Lafourche Parish in April 1850, died August 1924 in Terrebonne Parish). They had nine children all born in Houma.
Adolph Gaidry's family
- Wilson Joseph Gaidry: Sep 1866 – Jan 1925
- Laura V. Gaidry: Feb 1869 – 1962
- Wilfred Joseph Gaidry: Born Nov 1889
- Adoiska Gaidry: Born Dec 1872
- Lowell R. Gaidry: Dec 1874 – Jul 1922
- Servule E. Gaidry: Born Dec 1876
- Paul E. Gaidry: Dec 1878 – Aug 1930
- Hector Gaidry: Dec 1880 – Feb 1882
- Arnold A. Gaidry: Feb 1884-1968
Laura Gaidry was very religious and wanted to help people in need. At an early age tended to the sick in the family. Laura wanted to learn the skills of nursing and at that time a girl (there were no male nurses at that time) had to work as an intern in a hospital and the biggest and best in Louisiana was Hotel Dieu in New Orleans run by the Catholic Church. The nursing staff was made of catholic nuns, and French was the language spoken at the hospital.
When Laura was 18 years old, in 1887, she went to New Orleans to intern for two years at Hotel Dieu and in 1889 at 20 she returned to Houma. Laura loved to help people in need and in remote back bayou country of Terrebonne Parish a nurse had to do everything from midwife to aid the dying. Often they were the only professional medical help available. She never married and devoted her life to God and helping the sick.
Hotel Dieu Hospital was founded by the Daughters of Charity an order of nuns. The hospital opened its doors in 1859. Hotel Dieu is French for “House of God.” The hospital was founded, owned and operated by the Daughters of Charity, and was the only private hospital in New Orleans that stayed open during the Civil War. The present building was completed in 1972, replacing a structure completed in 1924, which, in turn, had replaced the original Hotel Dieu.
During the hospital’s long history, it saw New Orleans through two major yellow fever epidemics (1853 and 1897). It was the first hospital in the nation to air-condition its surgical suites (1913), and it was the site of milestone medical research that developed sulfonamide drug treatment for meningitis (in the 1940s). At the end of 1992, the Daughters of Charity sold Hotel Dieu to the state and the hospital was re-named “University Hospital”. After Hurricane Katrina, Charity Hospital closed and University Hospital was updated, becoming the main campus of LSUHSC. University Hospital was then renamed “LSU Public Hospital”.
From 1890 until the 1950's Laura was the first to see the new born of our family and the last person to be by the side of the dying.
It must have been a challenging time for health workers, they had so little technology available to combat illnesses. During the yellow fever epidemic in 1897 Laura had her house, barn and store filled with sick and dying people. She attended to over 20 in her own make-shift hospital, the only one that was available at the time in the Houma Area.
Laura baked bread to be sold in her father’s store, but also she gave bread to needy people and would bring bread when she went to visit patients. Almost all patients were treated at home. She went to the sick whenever needed, most of the time without pay.
I remember her well, kind and generous, she continued to help people until she was in her 80’s but did not deliver babies after the 1940’s. The picture was taken in 1940 when she was 71 years old. She lived to be 93 years old.
Wilson Joseph Gaidry I was born in 1866 and died in 1925 in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Wilson married Clara Katherine Slatter in 1897 and assumed the responsibilities of managing the farm. They had three children:
- Harold Langdon Gaidry (1898 – 1952)
- Wilson Joseph Gaidry II (1901 – 1973)
- Roberta L Gaidry (1913 – 2000)
Wilson J. Gaidry I had a degree from a business school in Tennessee. He died from injuries incurred in an automobile accident in a model T Ford car on the River Road in 1925.
After the death of Wilson I, my father Wilson Joseph Gaidry II assumed the responsibilities of managing and operation of the farm. He raised sugar cane and vegetable crops for the fresh produce market in New Orleans and established the successful Residence Dairy serving the Houma Louisiana area. Wilson II married Lillie Lea McKnight (1908 – 2011) from Campti, Louisiana in 1930. In 1927 Lillie Lea obtained a teaching degree from Louisiana State Normal College 1944 (the name was changed to Northwestern State College of Louisiana in 1944) and came to Terrebonne Parish to teach. She became friends with a fellow teacher Muriel Dupont married to Robert Dupont, a friend of my father Wilson II.
Robert and Muriel introduced my mother to my father and after a two year courtship they married in Natchitoches. Lillie Lea was principal of the Daigleville School on E. Main St in Houma during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.