Wednesday, March 14, 2018


In its January 29, 1976 issue the Bossier Banner-Progress proclaimed that the “Louisiana Hayride” music show had been around for twenty-eight years and was still going strong.
BPLHC collection; 2016.001.001

“The internationally known country music show/broadcast, ‘Louisiana Hayride,’ a division of ‘Hayride U.S.A.’ is still going strong after twenty-eight years of good old, down home-style country entertainment. Known as the ‘Cradle of the Stars,’ the Hayride has its own auditorium and restaurant located six miles south of Benton.”

“Every Saturday night at 7:45 the fun begins with a two hour stage presentation, broadcast over Shreveport radio KWKH. It is heard throughout most of the nation and in many foreign countries. More than 700 people can enjoy the fine entertainment in the Hayride auditorium. Approximately 350 can be seated at tables with about the same number in the audience. The dance begins at 10:00 pm with a full bar available. On Fridays there is a dance which begins at 8:30.”

“Prices for the Saturday night show are $3.00 for adults and $1.00 for children under 12. The dance admission is $3.00 per person. If you want to see the show and dance, it’s $4.00.”

“A recent and welcomed addition to the Hayride complex is the ‘Hayride Kitchen.’ Operated by one of the nation’s largest and most experienced caterers, it is one of the finest and most attractive facilities in the Southwest. Over 250 people can enjoy the delicious country cooking served family style.”

“The National Star Search, another aspect of the ‘Louisiana Hayride,’ is conducting a perpetual talent hunt. In its many years of existence, the Hayride has sent on to superstardom such artists as Johnny Cash, David Houston, Hank Williams, Jim Reeves, Elvis Presley, the Wilburn Brothers, Red Sovine, Farron Young and many others. The Hayride also engages in music publishing, professional recording, personal management of artists and talent booking.”

“Also, the Hayride auditorium is ideal for meetings and conventions. Entertainment and meals can be furnished to any specification. The walls of the auditorium are available for unique advertising space.”

“The complete ‘Louisiana Hayride’ show is available for out of town engagements on any other day than Saturday. Any organization wishing to sponsor an appearance of the show is invited to contact the Hayride.”

The primary run of Louisiana Hayride ended in 1960. KWKH continued packaged music tours under the Hayride name until 1969. A new Louisiana Hayride located at a dinner theatre facility in Bossier City was a syndicated radio show that ran until 1987. To learn more visit the Bossier
Parish Library History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Second Sunday Screenings: Suffragette

Join us this Sunday at 1:30pm for our next installment of Second Sunday Screenings. Our film for March is Suffragette (PG-13). Enjoy the movie and some popcorn & drinks! 


Hughes House after restoration.
Bossier Parish Library Historical Collection, 1997.002.011
The Bossier Banner-Progress, in its March 14, 1968 issue, announced that the Hughes House would soon have landscaping. In 1968 the Hughes House had not been moved to Benton from its original location in Rocky Mount.

“Preparations are being made to landscape the Civil War village at Rocky Mount, President Webb H. Martin told the members of the Bossier Parish Restoration Foundation at their meeting Thursday night in the Town Hall at Benton.”

“The board of directors was told that [the] 10-acre tract given to the foundation by heirs of the original settler has recently been mapped by the Dorcheat Soil and Water Conservation District in preparation for the landscaping.”

“The directors set Saturday, April 20 as the annual dinner-on-the-ground date for their membership meeting, which will be on the site in Rocky Mount, where citizens on November 26, 1860, met to discuss the critical times facing them when Lincoln had been elected President. They decided to secede from the Union, declare the war and organize the Bossier Volunteers.”

“Entertainment will be provided the tourists and other visitors by sports that were in vogue before the War Between the States. An old-fashioned muzzle-loading, turkey-shooting contest is being planned, as well as the pitching of horseshoes and other outdoor games.”

“The foundation, a non-profit organization, will have its annual membership meeting following the dinner, at which time officers will be elected and plans made to complete the restoration work there, Martin stated.”

Today the location of the Hughes House in Benton is known as Heritage Village. The Village
tours include the following features: Hughes House, c. 1845, Thomas Heath log cabin, c. 1884,
Scanland Plantation moveable kitchen, a Blacksmith shop, Bradford Plantation corn crib and a
one-room schoolhouse. The address for Heritage Village is 414 Sibley Street, Benton, LA. Tour
information can be obtained by calling (318) 716-1504 or (318) 965-9253.

By: Ann Middleton

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Pages Past: An American History Book Club

Stop by the History Center to check out a copy of our April book - The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

(Rescheduled) The Bossier Parish Library Historical Center presents a talk: “Andre Cailloux—Free Person of Color, Civil War Captain”

In honor of Black History Month and its 2018 theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center presents a talk:  “Andre Cailloux—Free Person of Color, Civil War Captain” by Ann Middleton, Historical Center Director. Ms. Middleton’s talk on Andre Cailloux will be presented as a case study of a long-term genealogy project she began while a genealogy and special collections librarian at the Historic New Orleans Collection.

Andre Cailloux, the first black military hero of the Civil War was a French Creole free person of color in New Orleans and an officer in the first black regiment officially mustered into the US Army as well as the first black regiment involved in a significant battle. Cailloux’ brave death in this battle, the Battle of Port Hudson, inspired not only people of African descent in New Orleans where he received an unprecedented military funeral procession on July 29, 1863 (pictured in this woodcut that was published in Harper’s Bazaar) but among African Americans and their white radical allies nationally. As a “culture hero’, according to historian and author Stephen Ochs, Andre Cailloux’ story became elevated “to a near-mythic status.”  Ann Middleton will illustrate for patrons the genealogical research process that can bring his story back to the realm of an authentic human life.
Illustration: Funeral of the Late Captain Cailloux, First Louisiana Volunteers (Colored) from the August 29, 1863 edition of Harpers Weekly.