News Release

World War I Exhibit Visits Lafayette on National Tour
Posted: 10/17/2019 1:00 PM

​“Glory & Gratitude to the United States” on Display in City Hall Through the End of October


​Mayor-President Joel Robideaux cordially invites all Lafayette citizens to view a unique documentary-exhibit that is currently on display in the Atrium of City Hall, 705 West University, through the end of October.

During World War I, civilians in occupied Belgium benefited from one of the first global philanthropic enterprises ever created. The Commission For Relief in Belgium, a mostly US organization, collected and sent shipments of food and warm clothing to Belgium under the leadership of an American official named Herbert Hoover who later became US Secretary of Commerce and was elected President of the United States in March of 1929.

In addition to a few historical panels, the exhibit “Glory & Gratitude to the United States” contains copies and translations of a dozen letters of gratitude beautifully written and decorated by Belgian schoolchildren in 1915. These letters were recently rediscovered in the family home attic of Alexander Heingartner, who was the United States Consul General in the Belgian City of Liège during World War I. Liège was one of the hardest hit areas at the beginning of the war. 

Dr. Nancy Heingartner, great granddaughter of the Consul, found these letters and sent them to the Embassy of Belgium in Washington DC. The Embassy decided to organize a touring exhibit that has been shown throughout the country during the last two years. Lafayette is the first Louisiana town on the tour. This exhibit is complimentary thanks to the Belgian Embassy in Washington DC and the Belgian Consulate in Atlanta.​