Twilight of the Living Statues


Nearly an estimated 125 people strolled through the Mississippi River Sculpture Park to listen and ask questions of statues come to life.   The event marked the official kickoff of a major fund raising campaign to bring to life the sixth bronze sculpture– Marianne Labuche.

The event also marked the introduction of Friends of the Mississippi River Sculpture Park.  Becoming a Friend is a great way to get your family involved and to do as much or as little as you'd like. Additional information can be found here.

The photo, left, shows a small scale model of Marianne Labuche, called a maquette. The maquette stands about 15 inches and is cast in bronze.

Marianne Labuche was a local healer known as “Aunt Mary Ann” by her faithful followers in the early 1800s. Marianne Labuche was the first person to heal the sick in Wisconsin. Her patients called her "Aunt Mary Ann".  Labuche came up the Mississippi River about 1790.  She filled a crucial need in the Wisconsin frontier with her knowledge of herbs, midwifery, and Native American and folk medicine. Until a fort was erected in Prairie du Chien, 1816, and a surgeon arrived, she attended the sick and attended to them as a physician, and charged fees.

After the Fort, she continued to practice among the people of Prairie du Chien. Her talents were put to the test on June 26, 1827, when her baby granddaughter was critically injured during an Indian attack. Labuche covered the exposed brain with a silver plate over which the skin healed. The little girls lived to be eighty years old. An online story can be read here.

Five life sized sculptures: Black Hawk, Dr. Beaumont and son Israel, Victorian Lady, Julian Coryer - Voyageur, and Emma Big Bear are already installed.

The statues that came to life were:

  • Emma Big Bear
  • Riverboat Captain
  • Marianne Labuche
  • Mastodon Hunter
  • Victorian Lady
  • British Redcoat
  • Chief Blackhawk
  • An archaeologist
  • Father Jacques Marquette
  • Dousman Daughters


Additional Photos of the event can be viewed here.