Phyllis Kidd’s Words from the Heart

The special recognition of Black history was begun by Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950), a Harvard-trained historian whose parents had been enslaved. Dr. Woodson believed black people had a culture and tradition that scholars should investigate and artists should use as inspiration. He challenged all Americans to understand their country by seeing beyond American culture as simply transplanted British culture.

When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in February, 1926 (which became Black History Month in 1976), he wanted to provide a yearly theme to help focus the p... Read Full Blog

The Green Book: A Remnant of a Segregated World

 Before the days of the Interstate, Henry Smith, Sr. was driving with his wife and two young children, Henry, Jr. and Cheryl, across country, from their home in Seattle, Washington to his and his wife’s home state of Louisiana. They planned to visit relatives outside of Baton Rouge. They had just crossed into northwestern Louisiana when little Cheryl piped up from the back that she needed to use the restroom. Henry, Sr. looked at the road signs. They were just entering Bossier City, an area with which he was well familiar, having served in the Civilian Conservation Corps on Barksdale A... Read Full Blog

Mysterious Disappearance of Barksdale General and Airmen Still Unsolved

Throughout history there have been many intriguing and mysterious disappearances that remain unsolved such as the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the crew of the Mary Celeste, Amelia Earhart, and the men of Flight 19. One such disappearance has ties to Barksdale Air Force Base, and, although not as well-known as these more famous cases, it nonetheless is still mystifying 73 years after it happened.

In early 1951, the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command (SAC) established the 7th Air Division and assigned it to England to help counter the growing threat from the Soviet Union. SAC bombers... Read Full Blog

Bossier City Library: From Small Branch to The Central Complex

The Bossier City Library Branch opened on September 21, 1940 in the old Bossier City Hall on Barksdale Boulevard, under librarian Miss Margaret Frances Wiseman, with library experience from Concordia and Morehouse Parishes, and assisted by Myra Wiley of Bossier City. It was among the first three branches of the brand-new, “demonstration” Bossier Parish Library System (along with Plain Dealing and Haughton and Benton Headquarters), meant to give parish voters the opportunities to see the possibilities and value of a library system, initially operated with largely state and federal resources,... Read Full Blog

Still Waters: The Freezing of a River and its Lasting Impact

The waters of the Red River, normally free flowing, came to a halt in December 1983, and 40 years later, this event is still a source of wonder and awe. Few times in local history have cold temperatures made their presence known on such a grand scale or created such a stunning display.

As residents prepared for Christmas in ’83, the weather gave no hint of what was to come. According to author and National Weather Service observer Billy Andrews, conditions were nothing out of the ordinary. “The first ten days of the month were typical of December weather ... ranging fro... Read Full Blog

Haughton’s Dorothy Elston Alford Memorial Branch Library

Haughton was home to one of the three original Bossier Parish Library branches, along with Plain Dealing and Bossier City, and a Benton headquarters. The Haughton library opened Monday Sept 16, 1940, inside the Lea Lawrence store, a historic building in “old Haughton” by the railroad depot that burned down in the late 1990’s.

Winona Tomlinson of Haughton deserves credit not only for establishing the Haughton library but for the parish library system as a whole. As part of the Bossier Parish Parent-Teacher Council, and head of the Bossier Parish Police Jury’s library com... Read Full Blog

Plain Dealing Man Earns Bronze Star During First Major Battle of Vietnam

Christmas of 1965 is likely one that Plain Dealing native Dr. Tone Johnson won’t forget. He was recovering from wounds suffered in the first major confrontation in Vietnam between U.S. forces and North Vietnamese troops – the Battle of Ia Drang Valley. Prior to this engagement, American involvement had been mainly advisory. That changed with this battle and left a lasting impact on Johnson’s life. What follows is not an uplifting read, but one of courage and bravery in a fight for survival.

With echoes of the brutal Korean conflict still reverberating across East Asia, ... Read Full Blog

Christmas Bundles for Britain

 Great Britain was overwhelmed by Nazi Germany’s aerial bombing from 1940 to 1942, and German U-boat attacks on shipping caused shortages of critical supplies. In the United States, a nationwide effort to provide nonmilitary aid to the British was called Bundles for Britain, which collected donations of clothing, blankets, and other basic necessities, as well as cash. Bundles for Britain was started soon after the war in Europe broke out by a young mother in New York City named Natalie Latham originally as a knitting project but rapidly expanded its activities.

The... Read Full Blog

Rosie the Santa Claus: World War II Santa Shortages

 It is well-known that women filled many military and manufacturing roles during World War II, to compensate for men fighting overseas, as well as meet the ramped-up wartime needs in manufacturing.

The symbol of this wartime woman worker became the “Rosie the Riveter,” of the famous Westinghouse factory poster of a young woman in a blue work shirt, sleeves rolled up to show off muscular arms, her curly brunette hair held back from her rosy-cheeked face with a red handkerchief. In the Norman Rockwell version of Rosie, she’s depicted in a blue work shirt, also with r... Read Full Blog

“WAAC, Wisconsin Girl, Teacher:” Putting a Near-Century of Life into Words

 As a member of the WAAC (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, later known simply as WAC), which formed early in the United States’ involvement in WWII, who had been a longtime resident of the north Bossier community of Plain Dealing, the 2017 obituary of Dorothy “Chris” Christoffersen Walker caught my eye. I had actually been scrolling through digitized historic newspapers looking for something else entirely, but I always want to know more about local WACs. The obituary comprehensively covered the scope of her 99 years, and it also had me wanting to know more.

Dorothy started her l... Read Full Blog

Water Fights: Bossier City’s New Municipal Water Supply, 1959

A bond had already passed in 1956 allowing for the city to build its water treatment plant. The bond had passed after the distribution of false information, claimed Ned Touchstone of the “Bossier Press,” citing a statement issued prior to the bond vote that the water would not be taken from the Red River. Instead, it was purported to be taken from deep wells near the river, stating that would avoid some of the salt content in the river.

Mr. Touchstone’s newspaper led the fight to halt construction of the new water system, with the main argument against it being the City of Dallas’... Read Full Blog

Benton: The First Bossier Parish Library, September 1940

In 1925, the American Libraries Association selected Louisiana, out of twelve competing states, to be the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to establish rural public libraries. The Louisiana Library Commission then selected Miss Essae (pronounced “Essay”) Culver, a 42-year-old librarian who had fallen in love with library work as a student at California’s Pomona College and who’d helped establish libraries in Oregon and California, to begin the project in Louisiana. She decided to work with a northern parish and a southern parish in which to establish a library syst... Read Full Blog

The Parade to Welcome Cross Lake Water: Bossier City 1928

 Like the precipitating event in a coming-of-age novel, devastating fires that destroyed much of downtown Bossier City in the mid-1920’s prompted city leaders to work together to get a municipal water system and a new fire alarm system for the people and businesses of Bossier City. (Read more about this event in the September 6, 1923 article.)

Bossier found its first municipal water supply across the Red River (rather than from the Red River, like today) when it was connected to Shreveport’s water system, supplied by Cross Lake. This connection happened with much fanfare. In ... Read Full Blog

The Lumberjack Ghost: A Spectral Story from North Bossier Parish

 Local legends abound in nearly every American town. Investigating the origins of some of these scary stories often reveals actual historical happenings. Let’s explore the history that could be behind a ghost story from the Plain Dealing area about a lumberjack ghost who appears with large boots and carries an axe.

Timber has been a thriving economic activity here since the last two decades of the nineteenth century, when Northern forests had largely been over-harvested, and the untouched forests here became more accessible after the clearings of the Great Raft of the Red Riv... Read Full Blog

Rita Keoun and the Plain Dealing Library Branch

The Bossier Parish Library System was first discussed by the PTA of Bossier High School in 1940. The Bossier Parish Police Jury approved the formation of the library on a “demonstration” basis. The demonstration library was initially funded by the State Library of Louisiana for one year, and operated with the Works Progress Administration, a federal work relief program of the Great Depression era. At the end of that year, the Police Jury approved the library on a permanent basis with the passage of a one-half millage sustaining tax in June of 1941. The first branches were located in Bossier... Read Full Blog