Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society (PLHS)

Philippine-Louisiana Historical Society (PLHS) was established in 2012 to promote the history of Filipinos in Louisiana. The organization joins members from community organizations around the state in a shared mission to research and commemorate the history of Filipinos in Louisiana. Membership in the historical society is drawn from community organizations across the state. Members from the following communities have been instrumental in helping PLHS fulfill its mission.

  • Kapitbahay of Greater New Orleans (KBGNO)
  • New Orleans Filipino American Lions Club 
  • Filipino-American Association of St. Tammany (FAAST)
  • Filipino-American Association of Greater Baton Rouge (FAAGBR)
  • Filipino-American Fellowship Church (FAFC)
  • Filipino American Friends of Acadiana
  • Filipino-American Association of the ARKLATEX
  • Filipino-American Association of Northeast Louisiana
  • Filipino Educators Federation of Louisiana (FEFL)

Philippine Honorary Consul to Louisiana Robert Romero has presided over the PLHS as president since its establishment. He has been joined on the board by community leaders with a range of backgrounds.

Mission

The primary mission of the PLHS is to research the history and culture of Filipinos in Louisiana, educate the community about our findings, and share our stories and culture through regular public events.

To further this mission, the PLHS has erected historical markers, hosts public events, and presents and publishes our work. Our latest project involves a partnership with the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) to research and archive the foodways of Filipino Louisiana. The partnership will lead to a Filipino Louisiana foodways archive, which will be housed in the Nunez Community College Research Center.

Manila Village Historical Marker

Manila Village marker unveiling in Lafitte, La.

PLHS was established with the goal of erecting a historical marker to commemorate the Filipinos who lived and worked in the Barataria Bay region. PLHS erected its first historical markers in 2012 to commemorate Manila Village, the largest platform village in Barataria Bay. In 2013, the organization erected another marker to commemorate Clark Cheniere. Dr. Carmelo Astilla, retired professor of history at Southern University in New Orleans and a founding member of PLHS, was the primary researcher and writer for the Manila Village and Clark Cheniere markers. You can see the markers at Manila Village Plaza in front of the Jean Lafitte Town Hall at 2654 Jean Lafitte Blvd in Jean Lafitte, La.

FAHM Symposium

Unveiling of the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Mural.

In 2016, PLHS hosted its first Filipino American History Month (FAHM) Symposium at Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Jose “JoJu” Bautista, a professor of economics at Xavier University, served as host of the day-long event. The symposium featured talks by renowned Filipino American scholars and community leaders. It was highlighted by the unveiling of the Philippine-Louisiana Historical Mural. Since this initial event, PLHS has helped other community organizations around the state host similar FAHM symposiums.

St. Malo Historical Marker

PLHS members gather around St. Malo marker in St. Bernard, La.

In 2019, PLHS erected a historical marker to commemorate the settlement at St. Malo, the first permanent Filipino settlement in the United States. Dr. Randy Gonzales, a professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and co-vice president of the PLHS, was the primary researcher and writer for the St. Malo marker. You can see the St. Malo marker at the Los Isleños Museum Complex at 1345 Bayou Road, St. Bernard, La. Read more about St. Malo and the historical marker.