Lovelace and his wife Gertrude have about 25 bottles stored in a box in their utility room. Some bottles could be as old as 56 years old.
They have bottles with the writing: “Top Cola,” bottled in Eunice, “Grapenett” bottled in Eunice, “7-Up” bottles bottled in Kaplan, Royal Crown Cola and their pride and joy a large glass container that reads “Toms Toasted Peanuts 5 cents.”
“We are not sure how old they are,” said Gertrude.
The bottles have been with the Hebert family since 1983 when Lovelace dug them up in Cameron Parish while working for the Cameron Parish Drainage Board.
Lovelace operated an excavator working for the drainage board in the early 1980s. His job was to clean up drainage ditches and canals in Cameron Parish. In 1983 he was cleaning out a canal near Holly Beach, which is where the Heberts lived for 20 years.
He would remove the mud and sand in the canal and with the mud and sand, he would place it along the banks creating a levee.
The canal, near Holly Beach, was full of debris left when Hurricane Audrey blew through Cameron Parish in 1957.
The grocery store “Stanley’s” and everything in it was a casualty of Hurricane Audrey.
Lovelace and his wife are convinced the bottles are from Stanley’s Grocery Store. Days after digging, his wife would walk the new levee in search of old bottles.
Lovelace, “People told us the bottles must have fallen out of the store when Hurricane Audrey struck Cameron. We heard the store had floated up to 15 miles into the marsh. It had to have floated across the highway into the drainage canal.”
Gertrude packed the bottles in a box and stored them away while they lived in Holly Beach. They eventually moved to Intracoastal City, left there before Hurricane Rita struck and settled north of Perry.
They just recently unpacked the bottles and began looking at them again. “I thought some people would remember some things about the beverage names on the bottles,” added Gertrude. “Some were bottled in Kaplan and Eunice which was unique.”
When asked if they would sell the bottles for the right price, they did not say no.
Gertrude had the bottles displayed on her table and planned to put them all back in a box until they are ready to look at them once again.
“They are heavy. Different. You can’t find bottles like these today,” said Lovelace.