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BY THAD ANGELLOZ
THIBODAUX, La.--Mother Nature presented Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes with two unwelcome surprises four years ago.
First came Hurricane Gustav on Labor Day, and then came a storm named Ike. Both storms caused significant property damage, including damage to Larry Naquin's Lasseigne Road home in Thibodaux.
It was those storms that forced Naquin to reconstruct his backyard, causing him to discover an odd visitor: a rare coin.
"It was Gustav that messed me up the most," he said. "I had a bunch of trees that fell in back of my home."
Although Naquin had lived in the same location for close to 30 years, he never experienced something that made it necessary for him to alter his backyard.
Not until Gustav that is.
"I had to rent a Bobcat and basically dig up and level off my entire yard," the 54-year-old native of Thibodaux said about the project that commenced a few months after Gustav. "It was hard work and took a while to get done. I have to say it is something I wouldn't ever want to do again."
One day after a long afternoon of shifting dirt and debris around, something caught the truck driver's eye.
"I saw what looked like a coin sitting on top of the dirt," Naquin said. "At first I didn't do anything, but the next day I investigated it to see what was there."
After picking it up, Naquin's attention was immediately grabbed when he saw the date on the silver coin: Aug. 21, 1878.
After a bit of research, Naquin found he had a wedding unity coin.
"It is the size of a 50-cent piece," he said about the land he now calls home, which was the former site of Lasseigne Plantation.
The names featured on the coin are Emile Lachize and Berengere Guignard of France.
"I've tried researching it some but need some more help to find out more about these people," he said. "The biggest thing I'm looking to do is get the coin to the next of kin."
Although Naquin hasn't found out much about the people featured on the coin, he did stumble upon the engraver's name on a website called lionscoin.com.
The engraver listed as Pingret, who also engraved the coin Naquin found, has a history of working on wedding coins.