Or did it happen Saturday at Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Church?
The metal capsule, about the size of a large coffee percolator, was constructed to resemble a Saturn V rocket, since the rocket’s first stage was being built in 1966 at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility a few miles away. “Everything was about space then,” said Robert Peri, 76, who recalled that Monty Montgomery, who founded Time Saver stores, had overseen construction of the capsule.
It was placed in a large hole in front of the church and was held in place by metal arms that were cut away Saturday as the crowd watched.
After some debate about when the time capsule should be opened, Peri said, the committee decided on 50 years so that some then-living parishioners would be on hand.
Church records show that the capsule was carefully packed with parish records, family mementos and congratulatory letters from people including President Lyndon Johnson, Pope Paul VI, U.S. Reps. F. Edward Hebert and Hale Boggs and U.S. Sens. Allen Ellender and Russell Long.
In the end, none of those documents survived.
The audience watched anxiously as crews of men removed the heavy stone cover and cut through the capsule’s metal arms. Somehow, they found, despite all the precautions taken 50 years ago, water had penetrated the seal, turning the paper into a dirty mush.
As Lavastida announced that 6 inches of water had gotten into the capsule, a gasp went through the crowd. Some, including Cisco and Hernandez, began to cry.