You’ve probably seen them marching in parades, noticed the kilts, heard the bagpipes, but where do these Scotsmen come from?
Baton Rouge’s Caledonian Society participates in numerous parades each year. They also participate in other events and sponsor a program of education and community services, even teachomg Highland Broadsword Fencing.
The Caledonian Society of Baton Rouge (CSBR) was founded in October of 1976 by Miller D. M. F. Dial, who became interested after attending a reception for the British Ambassador to the US in New Orleans in 1973. Members from the Caledonian Society of New Orleans attended the reception dressed in formal Scottish attire as well as a pipe band, catching the attention of Dial, who was of Scottish decent.
The first meeting was held at Dial’s home in 1976. It started as a get together of those who had expressed interest in the idea of starting a Caledonian Society in Baton Rouge. By the time the meeting had ended, officers were elected to serve until bylaws and a constitution could be written and a proper election could be held. Thus the CSBR was formed to preserve and promote the culture of Scotland.
To many, preserving their history is important, and to James Mungall who has been involved with the CSBR his entire life, it isn’t just about maintaining his heritage.
“For me, it’s part of who I am and always has been,” said Mungall. “If you’re looking back at your family tree, at what point do you cease being Scottish, Irish, German, French, Chinese, Ethiopian, Greek, or American Indian? Heritage is about from where we come, what our ancestors thought was important enough to pass down. Some people have lost touch with that through intervening generations. In this day and age, it’s very easy to become distracted. We seek to offer a real avenue to preserve Scottish Culture, interact with real people who make this a part of their lives.”
Members don’t have to be Scottish to join and participate. The only requirement is a desire to help preserve and promote Scottish culture. Individuals interested in joining are encouraged to get involved with one of the subgroups and meet some members. For more information visit their website www.csbr.org, where membership applications can be found.