Anza Trail Blog

An Appreciation: Luis Lopez

by Kathleen Rabago, Soldados y Californios de SoCal

Tagged as:   Los Angeles County , Volunteers

Lou Lopez with Kathleen Rabago

Luis Lopez, one of our members, who portrayed Anza at San Gabriel Mission events, passed away in June. The re-enacting community was devastated.

Lou was formerly in charge of W.E.S.T., Western Educators, Shooter's and Troopers. In addition to Juan Bautista de Anza, Lou portayed: Governor Juan Bautista Alvarado (my idea); Manual Dominguez at the Dominguez Rancho; and Juan Matias Sanchez at the Sanchez Adobe in Montebello, were I live.

Lou had helped organize Old Fort MacArthur Days since 2000, building it into the biggest, continuous, living history event in Los Angeles County. Before he died, Lou asked me to deliver the "California timeline" speech at Old Fort Mac Days.

What is the "timeline"??? Lou came up with the idea of telling the history of California through different characters. As Governor Alvarado, he would address the public then call up the Spanish conquistadors. Then Father Serra would come forward, then a don of the rancho period (and sometimes me as a doña). Then a Marine Dragoon, American settlers, etc.

I was with him the first time he did the timeline at Founders' Day in uptown Whittier. He tailored the timeline to the location where it was given, and I performed it with him numerous times.

I learned so much from Lou. His talks to the children are burned like a CD in my brain. No one talked the way he did with the kids. I have a lot to learn. The main things I learned from him, as listed on his website under Rules for Reenactors: be historically accurate; educate the public; educate children; and you don't have to be raunchy to this! (a reference to the pirate group he belonged to).

No one will be able to fill his shoes.


The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, CA, will pay tribute to Lou on September 20th at a Hispanics in the Civil War event.


Lou Lopez with Kathleen Rabago
June 2012 Children's Day event at the Juan Matias Sanchez Adobe. Photo downloaded from

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