The Natchitoches In Bloom sculpture unveiled | Community
NATCHITOCHES, La. – A poinsettia sculpture was unveiled in Natchitoches on Friday, the first in a planned series of public art projects produced in conjunction with the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, Cane National Heritage Area River and Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.
The Natchitoches In Bloom concept was inspired by similar initiatives in other cities to celebrate the culture and heritage of each location.
The sculpture, which honors the life of Sadie Maggio Dark, is the first Natchitoches In Bloom piece unveiled with recognition from NSU art professor Corbin Covher and graduate art student Emily Dawson. It is located at Santa’s House on the shore of downtown Natchitoches, appropriate due to the Maggio family’s long history with Santa’s House.
“They were trying to imagine what would be repeat good form all over Natchitoches. I thought it would be better if they were unique instead of all being the same sculpture. They mentioned flowers and I agreed to do the sculptures and the Natchitoches In Bloom project blossomed,” Covher said. “I took the initiative to create an experiential learning class, where students have the opportunity to work with me on real public sculptures. Several students, including Emily Dawson, participated in meetings, designing and making the steel sculptures. It was an opportunity that allowed students to learn valuable skills like metal handling and welding through completing a cool project.
Dark had been a lifelong resident of Natchitoches. She was born on November 22, 1921, daughter of Sam and Carmelite Maggio, on the 7e of eleven children in a close-knit Italian Catholic family. After 100 years of life, love and laughter, she passed away on September 2. She was a graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and Louisiana Normal School, now Northwestern State University, and was involved in her church and community.
The creation of Santa’s House in Natchitoches is credited to Dark’s sister, Jeanette Maggio Gunter, in memory of her son Barry who died at the age of 4. Since 1958, with members of the Maggio family and other volunteers coordinating the details, thousands of children visit Santa’s House every year. In 1994 the house was remodeled and dedicated to Charlie S. Maggio, who along with Charles Solomon was known for creating lighted sets to be placed along the waterfront. Another memorial honors Brooke Hennigan, Miss Merry Christmas 1993, who died in an accident during her reign. The house was remodeled again in 2018 during the restoration of the entire Beauport Street and waterfront area.
La Maison du Père Noël will open on December 4 and will be open every evening until December 23. Hours of operation are 6-8:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday and 5-8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The next flowers in the Natchitoches In Bloom series are a zinnia, tulip, and magnolia that will be placed around the historic district.