Looking over Voyageur Shoulder

Still Room for more.

Chief Black Hawk and Dr. Beaumont

Emma Big Bear and Victorian Lady

Shelter

Dedicated in 2013, the Mississippi River Sculpture Park Shelter will provide families and friends to gather, share a meal, and imagine the possibilities.

Marianne La Buche

Marianne La Buche Dedicated June 7 2020.

Marianne La Buche Bronze Sculpture Dedicated

Marianne La Buche, the newest life-sized bronze sculpture at The Mississippi River Sculpture Park was dedicated on June 7, 2020.
The sculpture, created by artist and sculptor Florence Bird, stands with five other sculptures at the Prairie du Chien park on St Feriole Island. After nearly a decade of community fundraisers, the sculpture was dedicated on a perfect summer day.
"I am so overwhelmed at how beautiful Marianne turned out!" Florence Bird said as she gazed at the finished sculpture. "The community and the board of directors worked so hard for this day."
Randy Paske, the emcee for the dedication told the audience, " We are here at The Mississippi River Sculpture Park, because of the contributions of so many people. This day is here because of the creativity of people like Cindy Hertrampf and Mel Igou who, together, planned, directed, and pounded the pavement seeking contributions from many of Prairie du Chien’s contributing businesses. This day is here because of the many talented people who tirelessly contributed their time to perform in the Follies. This day is here because of people like Tom and Cathy Nelson who worked to beautify the Mississippi River Sculpture park with trees, gardening, laying bricks, trimming the grass, general maintenance and so many tasks that go unmentioned but are so appreciated. This day is here because of the creativity and ability of Florence Bird. This day is here because of the financial support from so many donors."
Audience volunteers and descendants of Marianne La Buche assisted in the unveiling ceremony, Many of the audience took photos after the ceremony.
Prairie du Chien mayor, Dave Hemmer welcomed all in attendance and thanked the community for all of the hard work in fundraising. "Prairie du Chien is very proud to have this beautiful addition to the park. All who visit and live in this city should come down and view the Sculpture Park."
Mike Ulrich, Director of Prairie du Chien's Park and Recreation department, accepted the sculpture, "We are so proud to accept Marianne La Buche sculpture." He thanked the artist, Florence Bird as well as all of the people who contributed time and money.
Marianne Labuche was created and installed by the Vanguard Sculpture Services in  Milwaukee, WI.
View Photos here.
Dedication Video.



Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche Dedication, June 7 at 2:00pm.

The sixth full-sized bronze sculpture was dedicated on June 7, 2020. Click to see dedication Photos. 
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I first heard of Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche from a friend who suggested that she was significant in the history of Prairie du Chien and this region.
Her story is unique and different. As the first physician, before medical doctors arrived in the community, she contributed to many people's lives with her herbal and folk remedy healing.
The most dramatic was the rescue and healing of her granddaughter who, as a baby, was scalped and left for dead during what eastern newspapers called the Red Bird Massacre.
Her family was attacked by the native Red Bird and his cohorts who were seeking revenge for tribal deaths. This happened just south of Prairie du Chien, where Walmart now has a parking lot.
Mrs. Gagnier and her son escaped after her husband and a friend were killed, and her baby, Mary Louisa Gagnier, was scalped and left for dead.
Aunt Mary Ann took the baby, who was still alive, and applied a silver plate to the wound (silver is an antibiotic) and nursed her tenderly with herbs and loving care. The baby lived to be 67 years old and always wore a ribbon in her hair to cover her scar
.Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche, like many settlers in this area, was of mixed heritage, part French, part Sioux, and part African American.
While I was modeling the first image of her, which is shown on our website, I emphasized her African heritage by the features on her face. Recently, I met some of her descendants who have researched her life and showed me a photograph of Mary Louisa Charrier (the baby in the story), taken when she was an adult. I have remodeled the features of the Aunt Mary Ann LaBuche to reflect a more accurate family portrait. It makes me feel like I am participating in this amazing family history.
Artist, Florence Bird