OPELOUSAS- Janet Ravare Colson, age 75, a native of California and Natchitoches and current resident of Opelousas, passed away on Monday, May 4, 2020 at her residence surrounded by her family.
Janet was a strong, talented, and selfless wife, mother, grandmother, sister, mentor, artist, and researcher. When she set her mind on something you could be sure that it would not only be done but it would be world class. In addition to her family her greatest love was for her culture. In 1997, Janet took on her most exciting role as the Director of the Louisiana Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana where over the course of twenty years she worked to revitalize and bring greater visibility to the language, history, and culture of the Louisiana Creole people. During her many years of service, she organized hundreds of workshops, seminars, and conferences that brought local, state, national, and international scholars and community leaders from various communities together to highlight the contemporary experiences and realities of Louisiana Creoles at a time when they were severely neglected or misrepresented.
Her tireless work led to the expansion of literature, genealogical research and public visibility of one of the nation’s oldest and least documented ethnic and cultural groups for the advancement of future generations. She did this work not for herself but for her children, grandchildren, and for the thousands of young people that she helped and mentored to find their ways home to Louisiana. For her national and international leadership on the Creole Census along with other initiatives including several books that she authored such as The Creole Book (2012) and the highly acclaimed Creole Chronicles series she has become known as the Mother of the Creole Cultural Revitalization Movement. Janet always said, “My daddy thought Louisiana was heaven” and now a big piece of Louisiana is for sure in heaven.
She is survived by her husband of nearly 50 years, John Colson; daughters, Teresa Colson Burns and husband Cody , and Tracey Colson Antee and husband, Richie; brothers, Milton Ravare and wife, Joan, Steve Ravare and wife, Cabrini, and Ronnie Ravare and partner, Rosie; sisters, Norma Metoyer, Gail Wills and husband, Charles, and Karen Bernestine and husband, Arthur; 6 grandchildren, Hope Sprowl, Colson Fontenot, Madison Burns, Bailey Burns, Landon Fontenot and Reese Burns.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Martin Ravare and Teresa Beridon Ravare; her sister, Joan Citizen; and beloved brother-in-law, Alvin Metoyer, Jr.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be an event held at a future date to appropriately honor and celebrate her life and the impact she had on so many. The family wishes that memorial contributions be made to support this event in making it a true Creole celebration. Contributions can be made at https://bit.ly/JanetColsonContribution or 2031 Edwards St. Opelousas LA 70570.
Words of Comfort to the family may be expressed at www.sibillefuneralhomes.com. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Sibille Funeral Home of Opelousas.
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