Laurelle Richards

Cydonie Mothersill
Category:

SERVICE

  • Full Name

    Laurelle “Yaya” Richards

  • Island

    St. Martin

  • Date of Birth

    28th April 1955

  • Place of Birth

    Freetown

Affectionately known as Yaya, Laurelle Richards is the eldest of her nine siblings born in St. Martin. Richards obtained a sewing diploma from Clara Mingo. Laurelle Richards left school aged 16, to help her parents raise her brothers and sisters. She put her sewing skills into practice and would often make her family’s clothes.

In 1990, Laurelle Richards founded the Cultural Women Association of Rambaud-St. Louis. She used this to help teach people about the traditional styles of cooking. Richards educated the nation about carnival costumes, home-grown herbs, provisions and fruit as well as folk. Schools and cultural organisations often invited Laurelle Richards to talk and exhibit about these topics.

Laurelle Richards was the founding member and President of the Rambaud-St. Louis Fete Association. Which again was used to promote St. Martin and Caribbean culture. Richards worked so hard for our people and identity, and for that she will never be forgotten.

Her welcoming, motherly nature made anyone who met her instantly feel at ease. Richards was so proud of her culture especially the folklore aspect and she worked tirelessly to project this to the nation in a modern way. She was often see wearing her own hand-sewn clothes which would represent elements of the traditional dress. Somehow Richards managed to stitch humour into her clothing, which made her clothes all the more interesting.

Laurelle Richards acted as a mother figure to many, and was famous for organising an annual cook-out under an ancient tamarind tree in St. Louis. Richards had put together a collection of her poems into a manuscript, ‘The Frock’. It was to be published by House of Nehesi Publishers. The publishing company founded by Lasana M. Sekou, who is also one of our honours from St. Martin. However, before the book could be published Laurelle Richards passed away in May 2010. Her legacy lives on and her book was still launched in February 2011. Laurelle ‘Yaya’ Richards, touched the hearts of many, Caribbean1st absolutely salutes you.
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