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DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) -
The Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission has a new home, inside the old DeRidder post office. The building houses "Rural Free Delivery," a Depression-era fresco painted by Conrad Albrizio, who is regarded as a dean of Southern art.
Lori Darbonne, the commission's executive director, said the move came Jan. 2.
The tourist commission was previously housed in building space on Washington Avenue in downtown DeRidder. The old post office is directly across the street from the Beauregard Parish Courthouse and the Hanging Jail. It served as DeRidder's post office from 1936 to 1982. The building was recently revamped as part of a Beauregard Parish Police Jury project. The post office has a basement, a main floor and an upstairs level. It is located on W. First Street.
"We are delighted in our new location and look forward to promoting our area and its attractions here in Beauregard Parish," Darbonne said.
Albrizio painted the fresco, considered a state treasure, in the post office in 1936.
Albrizio, a New York native who died in 1973, was commissioned by Gov. Huey P. Long in 1929 to paint murals inside of the state Capitol.
That work led Albrizio to be asked to paint murals in post offices in the 1930s and 1940s as part of a federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) project.
The DeRidder mural was completed in 1936. It stretches on the west wall of the building. In it, a farmer rests on a wooden fence beside some leaning mailboxes. The farmer is reading a letter, ignoring his sheep flock and the fields around him.
"Mr. Albrizio painted a typical country scene just after the arrival of the mail," Darbonne said.
The Beauregard Parish Tourist Commission is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.