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December 7, 2015

Brad Choat, December 7, 2015 3:30am

St. Louis, MO (December 7, 2015) – – No one knows what will happen to the distinctive old Desloge hospital and chapel properties, as SSMHealth plans to build a new hospital complex for St. Louis University.
Over the weekend, some history lovers and preservationists got to see the French architecture up close, thanks to the Les Amis tour group.
Christopher Desloge, whose ancestors gave money to build thehospital and chapel in the 1930's, understands the tough decision SSM faces, "If they do decide this building and the chapel need to find their way into the history books, after wise counsel and wise deliberation with the community and the landmarks people, then so be it."
Desloge says he'd like to see a museum created somewhere to recognize the history of African-American health care and nurses training in St. Louis.
Elizabeth Sayad of Les Amis introduced a group of about fifty to the chapel on Saturday, "We saw the need to help be sure this chapel, nothing happens to it, because it's such a special part of our French heritage."
Andrew Weil of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis is hopeful the structures can be spared, "In the pantheon of St. Louis architecture and signature buildings, these are really way up there."
SSM has said it hasn't made any decisions about the future of the building Read more…

December 6, 2015

SAMANTHA LISS, DECEMBER 06, 2015 10:00 AM

St. Louis, MO (December 6, 2015) – More than 50 people filed into the quiet chapel at St. Louis University Hospital on Saturday afternoon, filling almost every pew, yet they weren't gathering for Mass.
Rather, the group, Les Amis, was there to see and hear more about the historic elements of the Chapel of Christ the Crucified King that opened in 1933. The group is dedicated to preserving and showcasing French colonial history in the mid-Mississippi River Valley.
Leading the group was Christopher Desloge, the great-grandson of Firmin V. Desloge, whose estate in 1930 provided $1 million to build the original hospital structure, and the family later contributed funds to build the chapel.

The new owner of St. Louis University Hospital, Creve Coeur-based SSM Health, plans to build a new $500 million hospital and outpatient center nearby, and the group wants to make sure the original hospital structure, or at least the chapel and some of its elements, are preserved.

SSM has said it has not made any decisions about what it plans to do with the original hospital building or the chapel.

"I think it's wonderful," Desloge said of the turnout. "It's wonderful to have these minds here and awareness about a chapel that people don't know much about."

The chapel was designed by the influential architect Ralph Adams Cram, who was renowned for Gothic Revival-style churches.

Sitting in the pews, attendees' heads swiveled from wall to wall as they peered up at the vibrant stained glass windows, listening to Anne Craver's interpretation of what each pane symbolizes.


The crucifix at Chapel of Christ the Crucified King at St. Louis University


The stained glass windows were designed by artisan Rodney M. Winfield of the famed local company Emil Frei, she said.

The chapel is unlike a typical hospital chapel that is tucked away in a small room. It more closely mirrors an actual Roman Catholic Church, and the actual inspiration for the chapel was the Sainte-Chappelle in Paris, known for its towering stained glass windows, according to Craver.

Chairman of Les Amis, Elizabeth Sayad, said the chapel, is "a very special part of our French heritage."

Firmin V. Desloge, namesake for the original hospital structure, founded both Desloge Lead Co. and the city of Desloge as a company town in 1890.

He would go on to become one of the richest individuals in the St. Louis area and left a $1 million bequest to his alma mater, St. Louis University, to build a hospital. His wife, Lydia, later donated $100,000 to build the hospital's chapel. Read more…

July 30, 2015

ELSIE PARKER & "THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS" TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2015, SHELDON CONCERT HALL

St. Louis, Missouri (July 30, 2015) – ELSIE PARKER & "THE POOR PEOPLE OF PARIS"
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Sheldon Concert Hall in Grand Center, 3648 Washington Blvd.
Tickets, $20 at Box office – (314) 533-9900 or MetroTix.com
Partnered with Les Amis (The Friends)

Celebrating the songs of the great French chanteuse, Edith Piaf on her 100th Anniversary, Elsie Parker and "The Poor People of Paris" will present a wide range of her vocal repertoire. Well-known favorites such as "La Vie en rose" and "Milord" combine with rare, austere "Quand même" and smoldering "J'ai dansé avec l'amour", "Mon Légionnaire" and triumphant "Non, je ne regrette rien." Read more…

July 16, 2015

by: Nick Lucchesi for the Village Voice

New York City, New York (July 16, 2015) – Drenching rains may have caused the Gowanus Canal to overflow on Wednesday, disgorging its disgusting contents into the streets as a result, but the wet weather didn't stop a man from Missouri from swimming the 27 miles around Manhattan.

"I think the water is pretty good," said Henry Biggs, 51, on Wednesday night. "I may come down with a horrible illness tomorrow, so you may want to ask me in a week, but I have no strange new growth on my body."

Biggs, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, took 8 hours, 32 minutes, and 14 seconds to swim the distance, leading a small fleet that included a supplies boat, a kayak, and a race director with NYC Swim. Read more…

December 15, 2014

Director who brought new activity to historic Tower Grove Park is retiring

St. Louis, MO (December 15, 2014) – By Joe Holleman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The beauty of Tower Grove Park is that it doesn't change, at least not dramatically.
That's fine with John Karel, who will retire at year's end as director of one of the nation's most architecturally significant parks.
Karel said he will leave his job the same way he took it 27 years ago: passionately.
"That's better than staying so long that everyone starts thinking they don't need that old guy around anymore," Karel said.
Ruminations on aging aside, Karel, 66, lights up talking about his beloved acreage adjacent to the Missouri Botanical Garden in south St. Louis.
Karel sits straighter, leans forward, his hands come unclasped to underline the points he makes and hold the ideas he shares.
"This park is more remarkable for its continuity than for its changes," Karel said. "It's a refuge, a haven for people that contributes to our civic health." Read more…

November 6, 2014

Ladue News

St. Louis, MO (November 6, 2014) – There are new historical markers throughout downtown St. Louis to highlight seven streets with their original French names. The new signage is a gift from LES AMIS (The Friends) for the city's 250th anniversary. Les Amis is a French heritage preservationist organization that hopes to extend the signage system along the entire Creole corridor on both sides of the river--from Cahokia to Chester, Illinois, and from Ste. Genevieve to St. Louis. The seven downtown streets still in existence from the early village in 1764 are: First Street (La Grande Rue/La Rue Royale), Second Street (La Rue de L'Eglise), Third Street (La Rue des Granges), Walnut Street (La Rue de la Tour), Market Street (La Rue de la Place), Chestnut Street (La Rue Missouri) and Pine Street (La Rue Quicapou). The downtown markers were unveiled during a ceremony at Kiener Plaza last week. Read more…

November 4, 2014

West End Word

St. Louis, MO (November 4, 2014) – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay on Oct. 30 unveiled one of the historical markers installed on seven downtown streets which have existed since 1764. These streets bear new signs with their original French names.

The new signs and historical markers are a 250th Anniversary gift from Les Amis ("The Friends"). This French heritage preservationist organization represents the mid-Mississippi River Valley's unique Creole culture.

"Restoring the early character of the founding village to the busy thoroughfares of today reminds us of our unique identity formed from the French and Spanish Colonial periods. These signs will remind residents and tourists alike of our heritage," Mayor Slay noted.

Watercolorist Daven Anderson has spent the past four years negotiating this project through many civic agencies. Robert Moore, Ph.d, Historian for the National Park Service, created the English texts for the markers.

The original French street names to be added near their current names are:

La Grande Rue, la Rue Royale - First Street
La Rue de l'Eglise - Second Street
La Rue des Granges - Third Street
La Rue de la Tour - Walnut Street
La Rue de la Place - Market Street
La Rue Missouri - Chestnut Street
La Rue Quicapou - Pine Street

"One thinks of the signage in the French Quarter in New Orleans," said Anderson. "The historical markers tell in both French and English how any given street name reflected its function or location. For example, rue de l'Eglise, (Church Street or Second Street) led to the original church in the center of the village." Read more…

October 30, 2014

MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY RECEIVES ANNIVERSARY GIFT from LES AMIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 10:30 A.M. at the NW CORNER of MARKET & BROADWAY Inside KIENER PLAZA

(October 30, 2014) – October 30, 2014, St. Louis, MO... Mayor Francis Slay will unveil one of the historical markers installed on seven downtown streets still extant from the early village in 1764. These streets bear new signs with their original French names. The new signage and historical markers are a 250th Anniversary gift from Les Amis ("The Friends"). This French heritage preservationist organization represents the mid-Mississippi River Valley's unique Creole culture. "Restoring the early character of the founding village to the busy thoroughfares of today reminds us of our unique identity formed from the French and Spanish Colonial periods. These signs will remind residents and tourists alike of our heritage," Mayor Slay noted.
Board member and noted watercolorist Daven Anderson has spent the past four years negotiating this project through many civic agencies. Robert Moore, Ph.d, Historian for the National Park Service, created the English texts for the markers. Charter members Dr. Anne Craver and Odile Tompkins collaborated on the French translations of the markers. Les Amis raised the substantial sum to produce them at a 250th Anniversary gala fundraiser in the fall of 2010. (Both Messrs. Auguste Chouteau and Pierre Laclede were guests of honor).
The original French street names to be added near their current names are:

La Grande Rue, la Rue Royale First Street
La Rue de l'Eglise Second Street
La Rue des Granges Third Street
La Rue de la Tour Walnut Street
La Rue de la Place Market Street
La Rue Missouri Chestnut Street
La Rue Quicapou Pine Street

"One thinks of the signage in the French Quarter in New Orleans," commented Daven Anderson. "The historical markers tell in both French and English how any given street name reflected its function or location. For example, rue de l'Eglise, (Church Street or Second Street) led to the original church in the center of the village. The Old Cathedral remains today as the fourth church built on that very same site. It is unfortunate that the Streets Department balked at placing the French signs immediately next to or attached to the present day street markers. In some cases the connection between the names is less apparent. We hope that Streets will reconsider the policy and allow a reconnection between the original and present day names".
"Whenever funding is available Les Amis hopes to see this signage system extended around the entire Creole Corridor on both sides of the river---from Cahokia to Chester, Il. and from Ste. Genevieve to St. Louis, Mo.," added stl250's Historic Reenactment Chair, Elizabeth Gentry Sayad. "St. Louis is the gateway to the Creole Corridor which has been officially nominated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether this comes about or not", stated St. Louis Convention and Visitors' Center Brian Hall, "this region is ready to receive an influx of tourists already underway". Read more…

October 9, 2014

St. Louis, MO (October 9, 2014) – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 09, 2014
By Joe Holleman


Former STL media exec Robert "Bob" Fulstone will be recognized as "St.
Louis Area Veteran of the Year" on Nov. 6 at the Missouri Athletic Club.
Fulstone, an Army officer in Vietnam, also will be featured in the Veterans Day parade on Nov. 8 in downtown St. Louis.
Fulstone was key in raising funds for the USO facility at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, as well as USO units at Scott Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. He also helped organize the St. Louis Veterans Business Resource Center and has worked with homeless veterans through the Salvation Army.
A native STLer and Mizzou grad, Fulstone worked for CBS Radio in St. Louis, Chicago and New York, and was general manager at KPLR (Channel 11) and Metro Networks Traffic & News.
The guest speaker will be Maj. Gen. Susan Davidson of Scott Air Force Base. Tickets are available through the Missouri Athletic Club, 314-539-4470. Read more…

February 15, 2014

As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis City Hall (February 15, 2014) – About 200 people crowded into the lobby of St. Louis City Hall on Saturday to watch a re-enactment of the city's founding 250 years ago.

The sold-out event took place on and around the steps of the lobby, with dozens of spectators viewing from the balconies above, and recounted and celebrated the early history of the region, beginning with the arrival of Auguste Chouteau in February 1764.

The performance was a partnership between Les Amis, a French-Creole heritage group, the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and local actors. It was narrated by local actor Joneal Joplin.

"They went all out," Mayor Francis Slay said of the performers, who were clad in the attire of the city's original 18th-century settlers.

The re-enactment was followed by speeches from Slay, Gov. Jay Nixon and a few visiting dignitaries: Principal Chief Scott BigHorse of the Osage Nation; Graham Paul, the consul general of France in Chicago; and Eric Marquis, the Quebec delegate to the Midwest.

Slay called the 250th anniversary of the city a great opportunity to "reflect on the courage and ingenuity of St. Louisans."

Officials at the event also announced that several downtown streets that were part of the original French colonial village where the Gateway Arch grounds now lie would receive new signage featuring the original French street names, along with historical descriptions. The new signs will be installed during the next couple of months, and were paid for by Les Amis.

The re-enactment was part of a series of events to be held throughout the year organized by stl250, a group created to commemorate the anniversary of the city's founding. Read more…

February 14, 2014

As reported by BlackTie-Missouri

Windows on Washington (February 14, 2014) – The Yale Club of St. Louis and Les Amis co-hosted a dinner celebrating the 250th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Louis at Windows on Washington, 1601 Washington Avenue, February 14, 2014. Les Amis ("The Friends") represents the region's French heritage preservationist organization, which stimulated attention to this anniversary several years ago. Along with the Yale Club and Yale University history professor Jay Gitlin, the groups have worked together the past three years to develop the symposium and related activities.

Diplomatic dignitaries in town for historic events during the Anniversary Weekend included these honored guests: Ambassador Francois Delattre of France; Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares of Spain; Principle Chief John Red Eagle of the Osage Nation, and Delegue du Quebec, Eric Marquis. After the dinner, Yale University professor Ryan Brasseaux presented a special lecture, "Being French in North America". The Poor People of Paris entertained during cocktails and dinner.

The Yale Club/Les Amis dinner followed an all-day Symposium at the Missouri History Museum, co-sponsored by Yale and Washington Universities and Les Amis. "A GREAT CITY FROM THE START: The Founding and Lasting Significance of St. Louis" drew additional scholars from Tulane, Vanderbilt, Universities of Illinois-Urbana, Lafayette and California State, Long Beach, the Historic New Orleans Collection, National Park Service and others. Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton hosted a luncheon for all registrants and dignitaries on campus. Read more…

December 31, 2013

(December 31, 2013) – Les Amis members Mary Pillsbury Wainwright and Hank Johnson have both bought very significant French properties in Ste. Genevieve recently:

The Jean Baptiste Valle' House, home of the last Spanish commandant by Mary (left), and the Bequette Ribault House next to the Amoureux, by Hank (right). How grateful we are for their passion for preservation! Read more…

November 24, 2013

Plaza Frontenac (November 24, 2013) – Saint Louis Film Festival
Sunday November, 24th
3:15 PM Plaza Frontenac
French Film Double Feature

Diner en Blanc
45 minutes – director -Jennifer Ash Rudick

Lord Montagu
85 minutes– director- Luke Karem

Filmmaker Jennifer Ash Rudick will at Plaza Frontenac hosting a Q & A after both films have been shown. Read more…

July 23, 2013

"Dont Let Them Disappear: Saving Our French Colonial Houses"

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri (July 23, 2013) – The Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve invites you to join in a weekend of Ste. Genevieve history! The Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve will host the Ste. Genevieve History Conference from Friday evening through Sunday, September 13th through the 15th. The agenda includes a Friday evening reception, the conference, and a Sunday guided tour of the Ste. Genevieve Church and Memorial Cemetery. The topic for this year's conference will be "Don't Let Them Disappear: Saving Our French Colonial Houses." National, State, City, local organizations and individuals will talk about their participation in the preservation of our French heritage.

When:
Friday, September 13th to Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Where:
Historic District, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670

See The Official flyer from Historic Ste. Genevieve for more information about speakers and events at the conference.

Have questions? Please call or write to Ann Casada at 573.883.9622 or email acasada@historicstegen.org Read more…

February 27, 2013

Jefferson City, MO (February 27, 2013) – Congratulations to Mimi Stiritz, Vice-President of Les Amis, who will receive the Rozier Award from Missouri Preservation on Feb. 27, 2013 in Jefferson City. Les Amis is eternally grateful for her help and proud of her very distinguished preservation history. We hope that members will be able to support Mimi by going to this impressive ceremony with a delightful luncheon reception following.

Along with Mimi Stiritz receiving the Rozier Award from Missouri Preservation, a second Les Amis-related award will be given! The Antoine Lalumondiere Home restoration in Ste. Genevieve will also be recognized at the Missouri Preservation ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda on February 27th in Jefferson City. This property was purchased and restored by Les Amis member and former board member John Karel, Director of Tower Grove Park in St. Louis. We congratulate him as well on this well-deserved recognition!

The Lalumondiere house is an example of the French vertical log construction technique known as "poteau-sur-solle", or "post on sill". It was built in 1829 and thus reflects the strength and persistence of French cultural building traditions until relatively late in the American period of Missouri history. It had until recently been in a perilous state of decline.

More info can be found at the Missouri Preservation website: Missouri Preservation Read more…

December 31, 2012

(December 31, 2012) – In the January issue of St. Louis Magazine, writer Jeannette Cooperman has penned a lengthy article about St. Louis' French heritage titled "Louis, Louis, Loo-ey: Recovering Memories of St. Louis' French Heritage." Elizabeth Sayad corresponded with Jeanette for the article, and below is an excerpt detailing Les Amis work. The full article can be found in the January 2013 issue, or on the St. Louis Magazine website at the above link.

"...so Sayad founded Les Amis, which has been fighting ever since to preserve this area's French Colonial heritage. In 2000, Les Amis widened its purview to include the entire Creole Corridor of the mid–Mississippi Valley, stretching from Chester to Cahokia on the east bank of the river and from St. Louis to Ste. Genevieve on the west bank. A nice little brochure offered a self-guided tour detailing French historic sites on both sides of the river-and Sayad had to fight to get Missouri and Illinois to cooperate long enough to distribute it.

"Bateaux used to sail back and forth across the Mississippi every day," she remarks. "The politics of statehood totally broke up this French colonial culture that spanned both sides of the river." She had to make a big splash-co-chairing the National Commission on the Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase and bringing French and Spanish ambassadors and the chief of the Osage Nation to St. Louis for a festival-to compel a little teamwork. "For the first time since the Louisiana Purchase," she says, "we were able to get the two states to work together."

In 2007, Les Amis brought in a scholar from Canada. After a year of research, he helped prepare documents nominating the Creole Corridor as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There's a backlog of U.S. nominations, Sayad says, "but we're still being considered. Mount Vernon and Savannah have been dropped.

"Normally, UNESCO sites are much more compact," she adds. "But this is an 18th-century linkage of a fragile, entirely unique culture that is desperately in need of preservation." Read more…

April 7, 2012

The Only French Colonial Village Left in the United States

Washington, D.C. (April 7, 2012) – A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Ste. Genevieve, Missouri to its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Since 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has annually selected communities across the United States that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from the typical vacation destination. From dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and commitments to historic preservation, the selected destinations boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place. Read more…

December 31, 1969

(December 31, 1969) – Read more…

December 31, 1969

(December 31, 1969) – Read more…