DR. ERNEST N. EZIDORE
Marcia G. Gaudet of Edgard published a book in 1984 titled "Tales From The Levee". It is a very interesting book about the folklore of the West Bank of St. John Parish. In one chapter she writes about the many societies of the black community on the West Bank. She writes about the respect the area people had for Dr. Ernest Ezidore who was from Gramercy.The following article is from her book.
"According to Mr. Clifford Geandron, all of the societies have had an account with his drugstore since 1926. He attributes the success of these societies to good leadership, financial responsibility, and cooperation among the members. Several doctors have served the members of these societies through the years. Since the doctors worked mainly "on the road" (i.e. made house visits), and there were neither telephones or street numbers, a system of flags was used to let the doctor know that he should stop at a certain house. If a person wanted a doctor to stop at his house, he would tie a paper or cloth, about a foot square, to the end of a pole and attach the pole to his mailbox".
Each doctor had a different color flag. Mrs. Becnel said that Dr. Burchs flag was white. Dr. Ezidores flag was green and Dr. Fernandezs flag was red. Lillian Bourgeois mentions this practice in Cabonecy, The History, Custom and Folklore of St. James Parish, but she says that a white flag was for a doctor and the red flag was for the "coal oil man".
Among the physicians who practiced in the area, the one best remembered and admired by the black people is Dr. Ernest N. Ezidore. Dr. Ezidore, the only black physician in the area, was from Gramercy, in St. James Parish and he was graduated from medical school in Washington, D.C. in the 1920s. He then came back to the area to practice until his death in the late 1950s. The druggist in Edgard, Mr.Gendron, described Dr. Ezidore as, "A man who never turned down anybody in his life," and he added, "I want to tell you how good a man he was". Mr Gendron said that Dr. Ezidore worked from early morning until after dark, visiting patients in Gramercy, Vacherie, South Vacherie, Wallace, Edgard and Lucy.
Since few people had transportation to go to an office for help, he came to the sick. When the only druggist in Vacherie died, leaving his widow to run the drugstore, Dr. Ezidore would come to the drugstore, Dr. Ezidore would come to the drugstore to fill the prescriptions himself and then he would deliver the medicine to the patients, often returning home after 10:00 p.m. He would pay the druggists widow for the medicine, and then supposedly collect from the people, since he would not allow the widow to carry any charge accounts.
It was believed that probably much of the payment "came out of Dr. Ezidores pocket." Furthermore, anyone who could not pay a doctor in Edgard had only to call Dr. Ezidore in Gramercy and he would come as soon as he could.
Mrs. Lucretia Becnel was a family friend of Dr. Ezidores mother. His father was a farmer, and had been financially successful. She said that he never had a girl friend, and had never married. His cousin, Tavie, lived with him and cared for him until his death.
The people of Edgard, Lucy and Wallace felt confident and at ease with Dr. Ezidore and had tremendous respect for him. Since all of the societies in the area relied mainly on him and all had charge accounts with him, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to their success. The people who remember him regard him as a true folk hero.
By Leone Haydel from STORIES FROM THE RIVER ROAD
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