The story of this home begins long ago in Alsace-Lorraine, France where Abraham Heyman (1837-1886) and Delphine Baer (1841-1939) were both born before traveling to the United States at tender ages with their respective families. Whether or not the two families were acquainted is unknown, but in 1862, the young adults married in New Orleans. Two children blessed their union; Jennie Heyman (1868-1931) and Marx Heyman (1870-1939).
In the census of 1870, they are found living in Alexandria, Louisiana with Abraham having made business there as a retailer of dry goods. It was said that people came into Alexandria from all surrounding areas in their wagons drawn by oxen to sell their crops and to take home supplies from the Heyman family’s store.
Their son Marx Heyman succeeded his father in the downtown Alexandria mercantile business with his store between Third & Fourth Street. In 1895, Marx had married Pauline Rosenthal (1869-1953) in the city of Alexandria, Louisiana and the two began a family of their own having two sons over the next five years; Abram Heyman (1897-1979) and Irion Heyman (1898-1954). The extended family lived downtown on Fourth street above their store until Marx had a new home built in the outskirts of town at 2116 White Street in 1927. In 1928, Marx decided to sell all his inventory, the business, and the real estate retired.
In the 1930 census, Marx and Pauline are retired at the White Street home with their son Abram living with them who is working for the Parish government as a civil engineer. His brother Irion has moved to Dallas, Texas and is the Assistant District Manager of a cement plant. Irion is married with two children by this time.
By the next year, Abram has found a bride and marries Estha Weill (1907-1988) in Abbeville, Louisiana. They will have one daughter, Julie Ann Heyman (1936-1998). Abram kept his widowed mother with him and cared for her until her death at the age of 96 in 1938. In the obituary of Mrs. Delphine Baer Heyman, she is said to have been Alexandria’s oldest citizen at that time.
The very next year Marx passed away leaving his wife Pauline to be cared for by their oldest son Abram and his wife Estha. The family continued to live in their stucco 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on White Street and reimagined their life without him.
Abram finds a new career as one of the proprietors of an insurance agency with a neighbor from a street over on Albert, Mr. Sylvester Charles Spengler (1893-1969) who had formed Spengler Insurance Agency in 1916. From at least 1940 and on throughout his life Abram worked at the insurance office at 911 Fourth Street in downtown Alexandria as Secretary/Treasurer. The insurance company is still in operation at the same location today. Pictured below is Sylvester C. Spengler (seated), Abram Heyman (standing left), Paul Stewart (standing right).
The Heyman family remained at the residence until Abram’s mother Pauline passed away in 1953 and the family moved to 2221 Marye Street. The Heyman family’s inspirational tenacity of spirit empowered them to leave France and make a new life in Louisiana. The sense of family that kept them close throughout wars and losses as well as their caring regard for their loved ones, especially their elders, can teach the families of today a lesson in respect and familial love. From what the owners of the home at 2116 White Street tell me, the home has lingering traces of this dignity and love embedded in its walls.