Phone Outage at Benton Branch

A Lake Bistineau Fishing Story for National Hunting and Fishing Day

This past Saturday was National Hunting and Fishing Day, an event celebrated by all 50 states every year on the fourth Saturday in September. It was established in 1972 when Congress passed two bills to have a day to celebrate the conservation contributions of U.S. hunters and anglers. So it seems a perfect time to share a fun fishing story (with some hunting thrown in, too) brought to me by a reader of this column, JoAnne McDonald.

Mrs. McDonald and her late husband Jerry had a house in Bossier Parish with a private pond near Lake Bistineau. It was highlighted in the Shreveport T... Read Full Blog

September is Library Card Signup Month

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held in September to mark the beginning of the school year. However, there have been a variety of campaigns well before then, especially from women’s groups, to encourage as many residents as possible to take a first step in connecting to the widest array of library resources by getting a library card. Some of the most impassioned campaigns were in the 1960’s, and aimed at women, but with the intent that if you reach the women, you ultimately reach the whole family.




<... Read Full Blog

Listen to Fire Warnings, Learn From History

Even though we just got a little rain, drought conditions continue to worsen in Louisiana, with a burn ban still in effect. Fires are burning around the state and region. The Governor has pleaded, “Please follow the statewide burn ban to try and prevent any new problems for our firefighters.” On the last day of August, 2023, the southern half of the parish is in “Severe Drought.” You can look at the history of Bossier City to see just how widely destructive droughts plus fire can be. But you can also see in this history reasons for pride and positivity if you, as Mr. Fred Rogers instructed,... Read Full Blog

Black Business Month: Blacksmithing in Koran

 August is Black Business Month, founded as a time to acknowledge and uplift Black-owned businesses across the U.S., that have existed and persisted despite the obstacles historically put in front of them. Unfortunately, there are obstacles in researching black owned businesses, too. When searching the History Center’s own archives, and city directories and local newspapers readily available to us, such as the Shreveport Times and Journal, the Bossier Banner and the Plain Dealing Progress, there was little to find on early black businesses in Bossier Parish, when life and news sources ... Read Full Blog

Back-to-School in Bossier Pop Quiz

It’s back to school time…and time for a quick pop quiz! Question 1) What was the first high school in Bossier Parish? Question 2) What was the first brick building in Bossier Parish? Answer, Question 1: Pioneer High School in Plain Dealing. The Pioneer High School cornerstone in Plain Dealing was laid in 1888, making it the first high school in Bossier Parish. The school opened in January of 1889, Answer, Question 2: Plain Dealing High School. In 1921, a new brick building was built for Plain Dealing High School to accommodate its growing student body. It was the first brick building to be ... Read Full Blog

Mail Order Day and the Sears Catalog's Significance to Black Americans

August 18th is National Mail Order Catalog Day, to celebrate the old-fashioned way of shopping by selecting items in a printed catalog, and ordering and paying for it by mail or over the telephone. This ability to order items from a catalog, and not having to rely on the limited inventory of small-town stores, was significant not only for the convenience and a wider availability of “stuff” to go into American homes. Mail order’s success brought changes to American society, and these changes were especially important for African Americans, particularly in the South. The first really successf... Read Full Blog

The Sanders House of Plain Dealing, Both Practical and Trendy in its Time

Wow, it’s hot out lately. Thank goodness for air conditioning. It’s hard to imagine living here in the South without it. These “dog days” of summer are a good time to revisit the southern architectural style of the dogtrot house, which featured a central open corridor from the front to back of the house.  This style of house was common throughout the Southeastern United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries.




If you were building a house a hundred or a hundred fifty years ago, the dogtrot style was practic... Read Full Blog

More Memories from The Walker’s Chapel Reunion of the Matlock/Wise Family

I spent some time in July, National Family Reunion Month, looking through the History Center’s oral history collection for some recollections of, or from, Bossier Parish family reunions. On October 11, 2003, Bossier Parish Libraries History Center staff attended the Matlock/Wise family reunion in Walker’s Chapel and conducted oral history interviews. That reunion provided an amazing opportunity to gather family history, as well as learn more about everyday rural life in the first half of the 20th century. Last week we looked at the interviews conducted with Rex Matlock and his younger siste... Read Full Blog

The Walker’s Chapel Reunion of the Matlock/Wise Family

 July is National Family Reunion Month, and next Monday, July 31st at 2PM we will be having a Genealogy and Family Reunions presentation at the History Center, where you can get ideas for ways to collect and use family history at your reunion. Recently I re-discovered some oral history interviews where a Bossier Parish family reunion provided such an opportunity to gather family history, as well as shed light on everyday rural life in the first half of the 20th century. On October 11, 2003, Bossier Parish Libraries History Center staff attended the Matlock/Wise family reunion in Walker... Read Full Blog

Dr. Elizabeth E. Cassinelli - Children Have a Potential, Pt. 2

Since it is still, July, Disability Pride Month, let’s take a second look at the CHAP Program of Barksdale Air Force Base. CHAP, which stood for Children Have a Potential, was a pioneering program for handicapped children who were US Air Force dependents. The program was instituted Air Force wide in 1961 and Barksdale was one of the earliest bases to implement it. And on Barksdale, the medical services related to CHAP were coordinated by a pioneer in her own right, pediatrician Dr. E. Elizabeth Cassinelli.

Dr. Elizabeth Cassinelli was, as reported in her 1995 obituary, ... Read Full Blog

CHILDREN HAVE A POTENTIAL at Barksdale Air Force Base

 It’s the middle of July, and that means it’s the middle of Disability Pride Month. This commemorative month is in July because July 26th is the anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (1990), which protects the rights of Americans with disabilities to ensure Americans can experience the talents of people of all abilities. It’s a perfect time to look back on a pioneering program in US education and military family history, Project CHAP, Children Have a Potential. CHAP, which was announced in a letter sent to all Air Force commands in October, 1961 by Chief of Staff of the Unit... Read Full Blog

Bossier Parish Soldiers Gave All in Korean War

 On the evening of Sunday, July 26, 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower was nervous. The armistice ending the Korean War was due to be signed the following day, and according to White House Assistant Staff Secretary Arthur Minnich, Eisenhower feared “that there was the possibility that something would go wrong before the signing was complete.” Those fears proved unfounded, as the armistice was signed the following morning at 10 a.m., 70 years ago this month, ending the conflict which saw families across the nation burying loved ones killed in action, including three from Bossier Parish.<... Read Full Blog

Bossier Parish Man Still Missing from Korean War

Seventy three years ago this month, President Harry Truman was taking a break from the stress of life in the White House by relaxing at his home in Independence, Missouri. The peace and quiet he enjoyed would not last. Word came on June 24th (June 25th in Korea) that North Korean troops were invading South Korea. Truman rushed back to Washington and committed U.S. forces as part of a United Nations effort to defend the South. The Korean War had begun. Approximately 36,500 U.S. service members would lose their lives in the brutal conflict. One member from Bossier Parish is still among the mi... Read Full Blog

Memorial Day Remembrances - Far Away yet Close at Heart PART 2

For presentations and articles leading up to Memorial Day, I thought I would show fallen soldiers from Bossier Parish being remembered in their hometowns. But some of our soldiers who fought in Europe, and met a tragic end there, stayed overseas. Though it may have been small consolation to their heartbroken families, the American cemeteries and memorials in Europe, most of which commemorate the service and sacrifice of Americans who served in World War I and World War II, are among the most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines in the world, under the auspices of the American Battl... Read Full Blog

Memorial Day Remembrances - Far Away yet Close at Heart

In honor of upcoming Memorial Day, I found a local history story that is an ocean away, in some of the most beautiful natural surroundings European countries have to offer, surrounded with flags of the United States. They are the American Cemeteries maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a government agency founded in 1923 that now manages 26 cemeteries and 35 monuments created after a variety of wars across four continents. The land is generously donated in gratitude to America, and is never taxed in these foreign countries. Forty percent of these cemeteries and mon... Read Full Blog