Lorna Bourg and Anne Bizalion

A conversation with Lorna Bourg and Anne Bizalion. Sister Anne Catherine Bizalion (1925-1997) was the executive director and co-founder of the Southern Mutual Help Association (SMHA) of New Iberia, Louisiana. Sister Anne, a rural French Dominican nun, came to Louisiana in the mid-1950’s to work to end poverty in the state. She graduated as the first Catholic nun to obtain a Masters of Social work from Tulane University, after which she became the first professional social worker at the TB Annex of Lafayette Charity Hospital. Before founding SMHA, Sister Anne directed a Headstart program and worked closely with Father A. J. McKnight, a Louisiana civil rights leader, to establish educational and cooperative programs. In 1969, she and co-founder Lorna Bourg developed the SMHA to expose flawed systems in Louisiana and then to improve them. Since its founding, SMHA has taught rural sugar cane workers to help themselves through housing programs, health clinics, adult education and homes for the elderly. Lorna Bourg was President, Executive Director and co-founder of the Southern Mutual Help Association in New Iberia, Louisiana. Founded in 1969, SMHA has initiated many programs to help the rural poor of Louisiana. Bourg leads SMHA’s recent efforts in fostering self-help housing projects in the sugar cane plantation community of Four Corners. She also lobbies for changes in pesticide laws and for policies promoting sustainable agriculture. Interviewed by Professor of History Robert Korstad, April 29, 1992. Note: This interview is audio only. The transcript below is not synchronized with the audio.

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