Alma Pearl Street was awarded Honorary Life Membership in the Women of the Church, Presbyterian Church of the United States on January 24, 1968.  The highly deserved recognition was given Miss Street for dedicated service to her church in her 39 years of membership, particularly for 12 consecutive years as historian of the Women of the Church, First Presbyterian Church, Jennings, Louisiana.

          Mrs. Steve Coco, Women of the Church president, conferred the honor on behalf of the organization.  She was assisted by Mrs. Earl C. Necessary, vice-president, who pinned the beautiful Life Membership pin on Miss Street.  Mrs. Necessary has assisted Miss Street in various projects and preceded her as WOC historian from 1951-55.  In presenting the Life Membership certificate, Mrs. Coco said, “No one could dare count the hours you have spent collecting information for your annual report, and material for the scrapbooks.” 

         These scrapbooks, compiled yearly, each covering six months of activities, are an additional service inaugurated by Miss Street in 1958.  In the some 20 books may be found news stories of church functions and of the activities of members and friends.  In 1963, when Jennings celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, the 75th year of incorporation, Miss Street compiled a scrapbook of news coverage of the Jubilee celebration and mounted in a handpainted cover, especially designed and painted by Joe V. Black.  All these books are kept in the Church Library.  Miss Street has prepared scrapbooks for her friends, for the Eastern Star Chapter #9, and the Woman’s Literary Club, both of which she is a member.  She said, “I love to clip, paste and plan these books. I hope they will be of historical value in the years to come.”  Proof of this love is shown by her recent gesture of volunteering to continue compiling the WOC scrapbooks although she feels she can no longer give her best to the office of historian.  She held this position from Jan. 1, 1956 through September 30, 1967.

          In 1959 and 1960 as members of the Historical committee of the Jennings Public Library, she and Mrs. Ella Lee Faulk, former librarian, volunteered their time and energy to sort, mount and catalogue clippings and pictures of historical value and file them in more than 200 special folders.  These are in a fireproof filing cabinet at the library.

          Miss Street became a member of the local church in September 1929 under the pastorate of Dr. Thomas A. Stubbins.  At that time the church was the First Congregational church.  Prior to that her membership had been with the South Methodist Church in Iota, La.  When there was no church of her choice in the community where she lived, that did not deter her, for regardless of creed or denomination, she attended worship service and took part in the work with the young people.  Her earliest recollections is of the minister is as of a child, she recalls, “He had a long white beard and rode horseback.  We looked forward to his arrival as he stayed in our home.  We children loved to gather around him and listen to his wonderful stories.  He inspired us to learn more of God’s Holy Word.”

          Miss Street was born April 5, 1890 on the Barbreck Plantation near Washington, La.  Her parents were M. S. Street Emily Jane Roberts, both natives of Mississippi.  Before the Civil War, the Roberts’ family moved with their slaves from Mississippi to Louisiana and settled in Enochs, La., on Bayou Boef in St. Landry Parish.  Later the paternal grandparents, the Street’s, located in the same area.  A governess was hired to tutor the children.  They attended a small Methodist church nearby.  The maternal grandfather was captured as a war prisoner and imprisoned in New Orleans where he died.  Miss Emily, the youngest of five girls, was married to M. S. Street in Dec. 1879.  Their living children are Pearl and Lillie, (Mrs. Earl L. Myers).  An older sister, Minnie, (Mrs. G. W. Rice) and a brother, Shirley, are deceased.

          After receiving her early education in Acadia Parish, where her family later made their home, Miss Pearl, in 1917, completed a two year teacher training course a Louisiana State Normal at Natchitoches.

          Her first teaching position was in a small school in north Louisiana near Gansville in Winn Parish.  She said, “I arrived there Sunday afternoon on August 6.  School opened the next morning.  It was six miles from the railroad and located in a wooded area.  The principal and I taught grades 1 through 10.  I fell heir to the first five grades.  After one month of school, it was closed for two weeks for the cotton picking season.  On re-opening, another teacher was added.  My work was with the fourth through the seventh grades and during the last period in the afternoon, I taught domestic science to the girls from grade 4 through 10”.  Her love of teaching began early in life, for one of her favorite pastimes was to gather the younger neighborhood children and ‘play school’ with her playing the role of teacher.          She reminisced of vivid events in her teaching career…..experiences as a 4-H Club leader; and about the class that built a radio station.  Each child had a part in the plays, commercials and musical programs “aired” over the small handmade microphone.  Most outstanding in her memories, is writing, directing, and presenting the familiar story of “Cinderella” with a cast of 81 children.  She said, “Excitement ran high.  The children teased to know how the pumpkin would be changed into a carriage and how Cinderella’s rags would be turned into a beautiful pale pink gown, trimmed with sparkling gems.  But without scientific and modern day devices, we did it.” 

         With love reflected in her voice, she refers to her many students as “her children”.  With pride she tells of the success that so many have achieved…..of Dr. Dale Wright, chaplain at Veterans Hospital in New Orleans..The late Dr. Henry Taylor, prominent bone specialist and surgeon of Crowley…..of Dr. Avery Bertrand, Superintendent of Education of Acadia Parish and his brother George, who is connected with the Louisiana Adult Education Program and the countless others who became useful citizens and of those who served their country in all branches of the armed services.

          Miss Street advanced her education by working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree which she received in may 1940 from Northwestern College, Natchitoches.  She had attended summer classes at L. S. U.; Southwestern Louisiana Institute, Lafayette; Northwestern, Natchitoches, and at A. and M. College, in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

          In 1953, following a summer study of Louisiana history and geography, she wrote a book, “The Door Is Open”, which commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase.  To quote the publisher, “The book offers a comprehensive view of industries, customs, politics, religious activities and festivals that abound in this fabulous state.”  It also contains information about Jennings, Jefferson Davis and surrounding parishes.  At the November 1967 meeting of the Women’s Literary Club, along with other members, Miss Street was honored for her contribution to literature. 

         She was a fourth grade classroom teacher at Jennings Central School from 1929 to 1933.  She taught 28 years in the schools of Acadia Parish, making a total of 38 years.  Following her retirement in 1955, she moved to Jennings to make her home at 202½ Clara Street.  She immediately assumed activities in the community and the church.

          The church, now First Presbyterian, had as its pastor, the Rev. Harold Jackson.  Pearl served as Sunday school and Vacation Bible school teacher.  She is an active member of Circle II, serving as its treasurer, and many times as lesson moderator.  She and her sister, Lillie Myers, have graciously extended hospitality by entertaining the monthly meetings of both organizations.  In April 1952, when the WOC Presbyterian Church of U. S., comemorated its 59th anniversary, these two ladies were hostesses to the local WOC which observed this special date.

          The life story of Miss Street would not be complete without mentioning her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Earl L. Myers of Evangeline, Louisiana.  These three loyal church members lovingly referred to as “Earl, Lillie and Pearl” have maintained regular attendance to the Sunday worship services, driving the 16 mile round trip, in all kinds of weather and on all types of roads.  Up until the last five years, they rarely missed any of the church activities.  Mr. Myers for years has served as an usher, greeting members and visitors to the worship services.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Myers were honored in 1965 on their Golden Wedding Anniversary, at a reception given by church friends. Miss Street has served as Worthy Matron, Associate Conductress, Chaplain and in important stations in the Order of Eastern Star, Chapter #9.  When the WCTU was functioning locally, she served as secretary and publicity chairman. 

         Upon receiving the honor of Life Membership of the Women of the Church, Presbyterian Church, Miss Street said, “I am so honored and overwhelmed by your love.  I treasure this certificate and; will wear this pin with great pride.  Thank you for your love and kindness.  May God’s richest blessings be with you always.” 

         Miss Street’s dedication to the Master’s work is an example and inspiration for other members of the Presbyterian Women of the Church.  Thus, it is with justification that she be awarded this distinct honor of Honorary Life Membership in the Presbyterian Women of the Church. 

Written by

Meredith H. Necessary

April 5, 1968

(Handwritten underneath the following:  Miss Street died Dec. 22 1972)