The name is everywhere in the Westminster neighborhood. Drusilla Lane, Drusilla Drive, Drusilla Lane Park, Drusilla Imports, Drusilla Shopping Center and, of course, Drusilla Seafood.
So we turned to the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Special Collections staff with the question: Where did “Drusilla” come from?
Here’s what we discovered: Prominent businessman Alfred Blassingame Singletary owned a large swath of land between Jefferson Highway and what was then Hammond Highway from about 1910 onward. Singletary ran a dairy farm, a stock farm and several other operations on the pastureland there. His wife Mattibel Cawthon, originally from Madison County, Tennessee, brought her mother to live with them around 1920. Her name was Mary Drusilla Garner Cawthon.
Singletary must have really loved his mother-in-law, as her name began to take on a strong significance in the family history. His daughter was named Drusilla Singletary. On the Drusilla Lane Stock Farm, they raised several thoroughbreds for sale, including Lady Drusilla and Drusilla Lane.
A 1927 ad in the State Times announced that the Drusilla Dairy Farm on Jefferson and Hammond Highway, “where all that good rich milk and cream comes from,” was being subdivided into small tracts for sale. That included four good business locations, “either for gasoline filling stations, stores and an ideal location for a tea room, country roadside dinner hotel and recreation space.”
Thanks to Melissa Eastin, EBRPL archivist and librarian, and Lee Bareford of Special Collections for their research. ebrpl.com
If you’ve got a question about a Baton Rouge area landmark or name you’ve always wondered about, shoot us an email at [email protected]