Francois deLery Chapter was organized on January 31, 1970, in Arabi (St. Bernard Parish), Louisiana, by 27-year-old Bonnie Pepper Cook, a descendant of the original Francois deLery, who fought in the Galvez Expedition, the only Southern battle of the American Revolution. There were eighteen charter members and six of these were Junior Members. It was the first chapter organized in Louisiana in over eight years.
The chapter has produced four State Outstanding Juniors (more than any other LSDAR chapter to date): Bonnie Pepper Cook, 1975; Laura Lewis Carson, 1980; Mary Ellen Decker Menge, 1996; and Shannon Fresh Aparicio, 1998. Six members have received the DAR Member Outstanding Teacher of American History Award. One member, Emma Barrus Pepper, received both the LSDAR and NSDAR Outstanding Correspondent Docent Award in 1990.
Three members have held office in the District IV Regents Club, one member is a District Director, three have held state chairmanships, and two members have been state officers. Over the years, the Junior members have paged at most LSDAR activities.
Seated: Bonnie Cook, Organizing Regent
Standing: Mary Aldige, Vice Regent; Marilyn Terry, Rec. Sec. and
Rosa Foster, Chaplain
The chapter members annually present JROTC awards, American History awards, DAR Good Citizen, and DAR Good Citizenship awards to area schools. The chapter achieved Level I in Chapter Achievement.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed the homes of fourteen members and flooded several others, yet the members continued to reach out to each other over the internet and through e-membership all were located. With the help of the Adopt the Daughter program, no one lost her membership.
Our community was devastated by these storms and many organizations did not survive the exodus of citizens to other parts of our nation but the chapter is thriving and looks to the future as our ancestors looked forward to the freedoms gained by their participation in the American Revolution. We can do no less than they did.