Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.


Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.


Tribou Tales: Part 6:
In 1984, a lawyer in the Public Defender’s Office called Father Tribou and asked if he would counsel with a teenage client, and he agreed to help. Stephen Douglas Hill, age eighteen, was accused of killing an Arkansas State policeman. He apparently had no family or friends.
Father Tribou met and visited with the young man in jail and developed a relationship. The teenager was tried for murder, convicted, and sentenced to death. Hill asked, “Father you’re not going to desert me now are you?” Father assured him that he would stick with him.
Tribou visited with Governor Bill Clinton at the Governor’s Mansion to discuss the situation. He said that he could tell that the governor was visibly shaken by what he said was his legal obligation to proceed with ordering the execution.
Hill wrote to Tribou: “This is going to be one of the best Christmas’s I’ve had because this year I have something I have never had before, and that is a best friend, a true friend, a true best friend—you.” Father Tribou was present at the execution in 1992.


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR


Tribou Tales: Part 5:
A parent once asked Tribou why he made the boys suffer through early fall and late spring weather without air-conditioning. His reply was, “It’s hot for the first two weeks and the last two weeks, but hey, it’s only forty days and they can handle that. Christ was in the desert for forty days and forty nights. They can be in the classroom.”

***

A family asked Father Tribou if he would consider enrolling their son, who had been expelled from three separate high schools in town. The lad was invited to a Saturday morning interview. After their conversation, Father showed the boy around the school and then asked him, “Well, what you think of our school?” The defiant young man said, “I think it’s a piece of (****).” Father Tribou took a draw on his cigar and said, “I think you will fit right in. Report Monday morning—properly dressed.”
The student did enroll, graduated with the class of 1978, and told his classmates that Father Tribou and the Catholic High discipline turned his life around and saved him. He went on to have success in his occupational and family life.

***

From his first days as an ordained priest, Father Tribou, as a collateral duty, served as chaplain for the Carmelite Monastery of St. Theresa in Little Rock. Throughout his career, he alternated with Father Frederick in conducting mass for the nuns every morning. Sister Bernadette said, “He would roast us and canonize us at the same time.”


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR


Tribou Tales: Part 4:
Father Tribou spent several teenage years working in a movie theater. He gained not only a strong work ethic, but a love of drama. In later years, he made an annual trip to New York to see the latest Broadway plays.

A Catholic High student, Alan, was absent from school the day before Thanksgiving holiday started, presumably to attend some church function. Actually, he had taken advantage of the opportunity to go to New York City, and he assumed Father Tribou would not excuse him for such purpose. He was standing on a street corner in Manhattan waiting for the light to change when there was a tug on his sleeve. He turned to see Father Tribou, who said, “Alan, you’d better behave yourself while you are here. I’m keeping an eye on you.” Tribou then quickly disappeared into the crowd.
The next Monday, Alan sought out Father Tribou and said that he was really surprised to see him in New York. Tribou denied having been in New York and had two faculty members set up to verify his presence in Little Rock. Apparently, he never confessed to Alan, who was left wondering—and probably never played hooky again.
While students frequently tried to trick Father Tribou or faculty, it was hard to keep ahead of him.
(Father Tribou said the highlight of his life was having a fifteen-minute conversation with Katharine Hepburn in her dressing room on Broadway, and he said he had several notes from her.)


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR


Tribou Tales: Part 3:
In his book, Proudly We Speak Your Name, Mike Moran told a story of his undergraduate days at the old Catholic High School in 1960. Father Tribou asked him to stay after school and help him, and the young senior was flattered.

The Little Rock police had called and reported that they had a vagrant fifteen-year-old who had run away from home. The boy said he was Catholic, so they asked Father Tribou if he would help. Tribou took the frightened, lonely youth in tow. He introduced Mike to the shaggy-haired lad and told him to take the boy to the barbe shop two blocks away and get him a haircut; the barber was expecting them. He then took the two boys to a nice dinner at the Lido Inn, a fine restaurant. After dinner he took the boy to the bus station, bought him a ticket home to Pennsylvania, and gave him $5.00 for the trip. The otherwise defiant young man was very grateful.
This was not an unusual thing for Father Tribou to do, but it made quite an impression on young Mike.
In later years when Mike, then a teacher at Catholic, mentioned it, Tribou claimed no memory of the incident. It was just part of his life to do such deeds and not make a big deal of it.
Mike said that the story was an example of Wordsworth’s description of “those little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love” used to describe “that best portion of a good man’s life.” 


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR


Tribou Tales: Part 2:
A concerned patron called one day seeking advice. His ninth-grade son, Steve, who suffered from dyslexia, was having a difficult time keeping up academically. As sometimes happens, lacking academic inclusion, he turned to other contacts to find acceptance and companionship. Based on what he told his parents, it was apparent that he was under some bad influence, particularly from a new friend, Joe, a tenth-grader.
In a phone call Father Tribou told the distraught father to not worry; he would take care of it. On the PA system he ordered Steve to report to the office—probably a terrifying thing for a freshman.
When Steve reported, Father Tribou looked up from his desk and said, “Steve, I don’t want you hanging around with Joe anymore.”
Steve said, “Yes, sir.” That was the last that was heard of Joe, and Steve was back on the right track.

***

Bill Barnhouse, principal of Hall High School, called the morning before a Hall/Catholic football game to report to Father Tribou that some Catholic High boys had painted up the Hall campus the previous night. Tribou asked how much it would cost to repair the damage. Barnhouse said he didn’t want any reparations; he was only calling because he knew Tribou well enough to know he would want to be informed about the incident. Tribou insisted on getting a dollar amount. Barnhouse finally guessed that maybe $1,000 would take care of it, but no payment was necessary. Late that afternoon Tribou and three boys showed up at Hall High with checks from the parents totaling $1,000.


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR


Tribou Tales: Part 1:
On the first school day after a senior prom, Father Tribou announced that a student was seen going to the parking lot during the dance and drinking alcohol he had hidden in the trunk of his car. He said that he had the license number and that student should report to the office immediately. About a dozen boys showed up. A similar situation occurred when he ordered the student who was seen smoking on campus the previous day to report to the office. Several boys showed up. The punishment for smoking on campus was to smoke one of Tribou’s cigars with a trash can inverted over the head.When two boys were disciplined for fighting, they were required to hold hands all the next day when in class or when walking in the halls.
One boy who was guilty of continually and unnecessarily slamming a door in the restroom was required to detach the door and carry it around school all day.
If a student was found to have a messy locker, he was required the next day to carry all of his books with him in a box.
A boy caught sleeping in one of his classes was made to wear pajamas to school the next day.
Anyone seen dancing too close at a prom was required to dance with a broom, or spend some time hugging a column.
Father Tribou said of the Catholic High curriculum, “We don’t teach AP (advanced placement), we teach M&P (meat and potatoes.)”


W. W. Satterfield
Little Rock, AR