Shirley & John LeBlanc
Inducted on July 11, 2015
John Allen LeBlanc was born October 20, 1940 in Lafayette, Louisiana, the son of John LeBlanc and Marie Louise Guilbeau. From 1959 to 1965 he served in the U.S. Army. Eventually, he opened his own business, specializing in painting. He retired in in 2011.
An avid outdoorsman, he hiked Mt Rainier in 2003 to Paradise Glacier level while wearing only his signature short pants. In 1999, he began creating replicas of historic homes, buildings, and churches from a scale of one-half inch to one foot. He has built 40 replicas of historic structures and has donated all of them to institutions and museums across the United States, Canada, and France. John’s replica “Clementine Hunter and the African House” is on display for the remainder of 2015 in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum located in Natchitoches, Louisiana. On April 18, 2015, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne proclaimed John Allen LeBlanc a Louisiana Ambassador.
Shirley Thibodeaux LeBlanc was born February 16, 1944, in Lafayette, Louisiana, the daughter of Everett Joseph Thibodeaux and Norfleet Neta Lee. She was raised in a silent world because both her parents were deaf. She has been an interpreter for the deaf since she was young, a skill she continues to utilize to this day.
In 1962, she graduated from the first class of Northside High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. She has been very active in the scouting programs for boys and girls.
Shirley published a book, Famille de Thibodeau in 1999. She owned her own businesses, Genesis Realty, and a children’s shop, “Granny’s Toy Box.” She served her culture in many capacities, including president of Famille de Thibodeaux Association, President of the Acadian Memorial Foundation (2006-2009), and Secretary for Confederation of Associations of Families Acadian (CAFA).
Shirley works together with John to develop his replicas of historic structures. She also locates venues for his artwork.
Shirley enjoys her family, gardening, genealogy and spending time traveling with her husband throughout the United States and Canada – particularly the Maritime Provinces.
They are the parents of Kevin Charles Lee LeBlanc, Donna Lorraine LeBlanc Ernst and Sonya Claire LeBlanc Key and grandparents of Damion Lee Garrett, Brazos Lee Bennight, Glenda Lee Key, Jessica Ann Ernst and Laura Claire Key and great-grandparents of Devin Lee Garrett, Jeanne Abra Garrett and Sebastain Thomas Garrett.