ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – A World War II hero was honored in St. Mary Parish Wednesday. 2nd Lt. Edward Loustalot played a significant role in the war and his sacrifice is recognized here in the U.S. and in France.
People in Franklin were surprised to find, back in October, that the people of France know Loustalot as a war hero, and they’ve honored him each year on the day of his death.
Ceremonies were held on Wednesday in both countries through a video call.
Lt. Loustalot was one of the first U.S. Army Rangers, along with British forces, in “Operation Jubilee”, to raid on a small town in France. He died during the raid, on this day, August 19th, 78 years ago. He was the first American soldier to die in Nazi occupied Europe.
“My grandmother was obviously grief-stricten, as well as my mother,” said Anne Minvielle, neice of Lt. Loustalot. “It wasn’t until I was older that I felt comfortable asking questions about him.”
The people of Franklin, Louisiana know Loustalot as a war hero. But no one knew, until 9 months ago, the French government have honored Lt. Loustalot, for his actions and his sacrifce, every year since 1946.
“He’s a native son of Franklin, and he will always be a part of us,” said Franklin Mayor Eugene Foulcard. “We felt like this is something we could do to honor Lt. Loustalot”
“We certainly had no idea, that in Dieppe, he was so honored as we saw here today,” said Minvielle.
The people of France expressed their appreciation for the Loustalot family.
“He was one of the bravest, most enthusiastic soldiers at that time. This is my message. The bravery for our honors, our rights and privileges, that we enjoy today.” said Minevielle.
The pandemic prevented a delegation from Franklin from flying to France and attending this year’s ceremony in person. They hope they can attend next year.