Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter newsletter

Our winter newsletter can be found here. If you would like to be added to the newsletter mailing list, please contact the Historical Center at 318-746-7717.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kickapoo Restaurant menu

This menu advertising the Kickapoo Restaurant's Thanksgiving dinner ran in the November 18, 1960 issue of the Bossier Press. Bossier Parish historian Clif Cardin notes in his book, Bossier Parish, that the Kickapoo was "considered by many as the place to eat."

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Planning Tips

Advertisers made sure readers of the 1949 Plain Dealing Progress knew that their tasty products were available for the Thanksgiving feast. The above ad for Jolly Time Popcorn has a pilgrim encouraging shoppers to remember to pop some Jolly Time for the holiday.

The 1949 Plain Dealing Progress wanted to be sure its readers were ready for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Their November 17th issue presented tips and recipes:

"It won't be long now before one of the biggest of holiday meals will grace your table: golden brown, done to a turn turkey, chicken or other fowl, with the trimmings, topped off with a dessert of glistening pumpkin pie or spicy mincemeat.
The market list will be a long one, the preparations extensive and the planning careful. Start early and make an outline of all ingredients to have, and just what should be done when. Then even a Thanksgiving dinner will be well organized and efficiently executed."
Sweet Potatoes with Oranges (serves 8)

8 boiled sweet potatoes, sliced thin
2 oranges, peeled, sliced thin
1 lemon, peeled, sliced thin
One-third cup brown sugar
One-third cup butter
Two-thirds cup water

Arrange potatoes and fruit in layers in a buttered casserole. Sprinkle with brown sugar, dot with butter and add water. Cover. Bake in a moderate (350 degree) oven until tender.
Oyster Soup (serves 8)

2 tablespoons onion, grated
1 tablespoon celery, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 pint bouillon
1 pint oysters

Simmer vegetables lightly in butter. Add flour and brown. Gradually add oyster liquor and bouillon. Season and cook for 5 minutes. Just before serving, add oysters, either cut or whole, and cook only until they curl.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1960 Thanksgiving

With the holidays approaching, we'll be spending some time looking at our back issues of Bossier and Shreveport newspapers to find recipes, local happenings, advertisements, and other fun tidbits.

We'll start with this post about Thanksgiving 50 years ago - in 1960.

In the November 20, 1960 Bossier Tribune's "Around BC in BC" column, the Roving Reporter found a yummy dessert offered at a local bakery. "Delicious looking cupcakes, decorated with little turkeys, pumpkins, and corn for the Thanksgiving dinner table were on display at Bakery Counter this past week."
The November 18, 1960 Bossier Press offered readers a tasty grapefruit and cranberry relish recipe. Why not try this for your Thanksgiving meal?
"Grapefruit and cranberries combine to make a tasty and attractive relish for holiday dinner tables. Both the raw and cooked versions of the relish can be stored for several weeks so why not make up some now for your own Thanksgiving and Christmas menus and to give as gifts, too? Although Florida citrus suffered some hurricane damage this year, there is still plenty of quality fruit available in local markets to enjoy often and in a variety of ways. Citrus is one of the richest sources of daily-needed Vitamin C, so Florida oranges and grapefruit area a good investment in health as well as pleasure."
Raw Relish:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 Florida grapefruit, sectioned

Put cranberries through food chopper. Add sugar; mix well. Dice Florida grapefruit sections; stir into cranberry mixture. Chill. Yield: 3 and one third cups.
Cooked relish:
2 cups fresh cranberries
Half cup water
Half cup sugar
1 Florida grapefruit, sectioned

Combine cranberries, water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil until berries pop. Remove from heat. Dice Florida grapefruit sections; stir into cranberry mixture. Chill. Yield: 2 and one third cups.

Check back soon for more posts about Thanksgiving's history in Bossier!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Louisiana State Fair

Have you been to the State Fair yet? It's running until November 7th at the state fairgrounds in Shreveport.

The first Louisiana State Fair was held in 1906, making this year the 104th fair! Come over to the history center to see photos and memorabilia of fairs past. We have many photos on exhibit that were taken at the fair in the 1910s. You can also see an original 1909 complimentary ticket and a 1915 parish exhibit blue ribbon.

This is a circa 1915 photo (1997.054.062) of the wild animal sideshow booth. Several miniature ponies stand on the platform.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Festival

Join us on Friday afternoon, October 29th, for Bossier Central Library's Fall Festival! The library will have crafts for children, candy tours, a "Boo-ling" game, a spider toss, pumpkin painting, face painting, and special guests Gorilla Joe and Miss Bossier City, Kimberly Rusley.

The Historical Center is decorated for the Festival, too! Stop by to see our haunted Bossier exhibit and participate in a scavenger hunt!

Monday, October 11, 2010

October events

October is a busy time of year for the Historical Center. Since the weather is finally starting to cool, it's the perfect time to find us at some special events in the area. With this month being Louisiana Archaeology Month, representatives from the Historical Center are taking our reproduction Native American tools to several local events. All of these reproductions were made for the Historical Center by Louis Baker, a Bossier Parish resident. These beautiful Osage Orange (also known as Bois D'Arc) wood tools are great examples of items that members of the Caddo Nation and other Native Americans were using in their daily lives. Some of the tools that we have include a wood-splitting wedge, an atlatl, a bow and arrow, a mortar and pestle, a pump drill, several spear points, and a celt. We also have a bone needle, necklace, and fishhook.

This past Saturday, Marisa Diedrich joined Northwest Regional Archaeologist Jeff Girard at LSUS's Pioneer Heritage Day. The reproduction tools were on display for the many visitors to the Pioneer Heritage Center. Vistors could hold the items to feel the weight of the wood and they were impressed by the efficiency of the pump drill. We enjoyed the event and look forward to next year!

If you missed the Caddo tools at LSUS, there is another opportunity to see them this Saturday, the 16th, at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Celebration. This free event runs from 8:30 - 3:30 at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters Unit on 555 Sunflower Road in Bossier City. Pam Carlisle and Jeff Girard will provide demonstrations of the tools. There will be plenty of things to do and see, including animals (hawks, owls, alligators!), hayrides, face painting, and children's activities. Stop by to support the Refuge and the Historical Center!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall 2010 newsletter

Our Fall newsletter is available for viewing as a PDF file here

Let us know if you recognize the mystery photo of a school in Bossier Parish. It was designed by Bossier City architect Thomas Merideth.

We have one guess so far of Curtis Elementary School. Does anyone agree?

Monday, September 27, 2010

RELIC Program "Where is North Louisiana?" Concludes

The "Where is North Louisiana" RELIC Program concluded Thursday 23 September with a discussion of Louisiana Power and Light, by John Dufresne. Overall, this book was the least favorite of the four titles that we read for the program. The other books we read were Shreveport Sounds in Black and White; Swaggart, The Unauthorized Biography of an American Evangelist and On My Way, The Arts of Sarah Albritton. Dr. Cheryl White from LSUS led our discussions. She was knowledgeable about the subjects and often presented them with humor. While North Louisiana may often be ignored as being a viable part of our state, with her direction, we re-established our remarkable history and our position of importance in Louisiana's history. Attendance at all 6 meetings was very good and we look forward to the possibility of another Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities RELIC program in the Spring of 2011.

Friday, September 10, 2010

RELIC program - My North Louisiana: Race, Gender and Art in the Life of a North Louisiana Artist

For the 9/16 RELIC session, we will be discussing Sarah Albritton, Ruston native and acclaimed folk artist, who has been described by some as the next Clementine Hunter. Like Hunter, Albritton is an African American artist, a noteworthy painter and cook without formal art or culinary training, born into North Louisiana at a time of racial prejudice and social limitations. Using portions of Susan Roach's On My Way: The Arts of Sarah Albritton, this session examines the special role played by artists in defining what it means to live in North Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

RELIC program - Faith and Religion in North Louisiana

This Thursday's session will build upon the previous one by continuing to explore the religiosity of North Louisiana. The region is sociologically distinct from other areas of Louisiana, bearing the designation as part of the "Bible Belt," geographically and culturally remote from the heavily Roman Catholic regions to the south. There are numerous denominations evident throughout the region, with church attendance and religious participation playing an active and vibrant role in the life of North Louisiana. Is this unique to the region?

Monday, August 30, 2010

RELIC program - Perspectives on Rural Life in North Louisiana

For this Thursday's (September 2nd) RELIC meeting, we will be discussing Ann Rowe Seaman's Swaggart: The Unauthorized Biography of an American Evangelist, which offers opportunities to understand the relationship of religion and society in the region. The first half of the book examines class, race and religious fervor and posits an important question with regard to the extent that Swaggart's life story can be generalized to people with similar backgrounds. An examination of his life in the context of the rural North Louisiana framework can provide some insights into the culture of the region.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RELIC program - The Sounds of North Louisiana

For our August 26th RELIC program meeting (6 p.m. - 8 p.m.), we will be discussing the Sounds of North Louisiana. Sections of Kip Lornell's and Tracey Laird's Shreveport Sounds in Black and White will be read.

In a state with unique musical traditions, Shreveport became a center for the breakthrough musical sounds of the 1950s, including the rise of such greats as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.

In this way, the region of North Louisiana contributed to the development of rockabilly, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll. Shreveport's unique contributions to music history are not as well-known as that of other cities such as New Orleans or Memphis, but are nevertheless formative and significant.

Spots are still available, so please call the Historical Center at 318-746-7717 to reserve your place for our discussion. Refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Spoonful of Snake-Oil

Our new exhibit about the patent medicine industry is available for viewing in two of the Historical Center's display cases. Stop in to learn about the questionable ingredients and advertising tricks used by patent medicine manufacturers. All of the advertisements on display were taken from the Bossier Banner newspaper. Also on display are antique medicine bottles.

There were numerous ads for medicines in the newspaper, so we weren't able to include them all in the exhibit. Below are two ads for Pe-ru-na from 1900. Pe-ru-na was a very popular remedy, chiefly because of its high alcohol content. Why did so many medicines contain so much alcohol? Manufacturers said it was necessary to preserve herbs, but this wasn't the whole truth. Stores didn't need a liquor license to sell medication and any liquor taxes did not apply to the patent remedies. The alcohol found in patent medication provided the public with an economical way to drink.

Pe-ru-na's widespread usage was also thanks to its claims to cure catarrh - and any pain or discomfort could be pinned on catarrh by the Pe-ru-na salesmen. Catarrh was the cause of stomach troubles, runny noses, earaches, and fevers. No matter where the catarrh was in your body, Pe-ru-na could cure it, ads boasted. These two ads for Pe-ru-na used "celebrity endorsements." Whether these men and women actually gave permission for the companies to use their likeness or received any compensation is unlikely.

Belva Ann Lockwood was a noted attorney in Washington D.C., and was apparently the "best known woman in America" thanks to her run for president of the United States in 1884 and 1888. Here, Pe-ru-na uses her face to appeal to women across the country. In a letter supposedly from Lockwood, we learn that it is an "invaluable remedy for cold, catarrh, hay fever, and kindred diseases."

This ad doesn't show a famous face, but rather a famous ship from the Spanish-American War. Ann Gridley touts the wonders of catarrh-curing Pe-ru-na, calling it a "grand tonic and a woman's friend." Ann was the mother of Captain Charles Gridley, the commander of the USS Olympia during the American victory at the Battle of Manila Bay. Gridley received the well-known order, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," from Admiral George Dewey. This ad mentions Dewey three times, implying an endorsement from the heroic admiral himself.

Come to the Historical Center to see more ads in this exhibit or ask to look through our back issues of the Bossier Banner newspaper.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hurricane Katrina Five-Year Anniversary

Cartoon by David Wright, courtesy of The Shreveport Times

It’s been five years, on August 29, since our neighbors on the Gulf Coast had to face the devastation of Hurricane Katrina (and soon after that, Hurricane Rita). Their lives were transformed and for a while, life here at the Bossier Parish Library was transformed, too. It never occurred to us the critical role a public library might play in disaster response, several hours away from the disaster, but we learned on our feet. Hundreds of evacuees poured into the Bossier Parish Library so they could use the computers to look at satellite photos of their homes, to try to contact friends and relatives whose whereabouts were unknown, to watch a New Orleans news channel via the Internet (we projected the streaming video onto a screen in the Historical Center meeting room) and to fill out their FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) applications. They also were here as a place to spend time outside of a crowded shelter or relative’s house and as a place to let their kids be kids in our cheerful Children’s Department. Our librarians did what librarians do – they provided lots of information, from local bus schedules to how to get food assistance - but they expanded their role well beyond that. They provided sympathetic ears and hugs and friendship, while hosting or trying to keep tabs on their own family members in affected areas.

Historical Center staff noticed that history was in the making under our very own noses, so we did a small oral history project, interviewing evacuees who visited the library and staff members who were on the front lines helping patrons and dealing with their own families’ situations. History and Outreach Specialist Pam Carlisle recently burned a CD of the transcripts of these interviews and sent them to the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans at the request of Greg Lambousie, Director of Collections. He will be adding them to the State Museum’s archive, where they can be accessed by researchers and they may be useful for exhibits. We are honored our stories will be preserved by the people so directly affected by the tragedy of five years ago.

“I learned a lot about myself during that period of time, how important it is to think that you are connected to about just anybody that walks in that door in some way. And, don’t let them ever go away empty handed…If you can’t give them what they need, send them some place where they can find it.”
-Reference Librarian Martha Matlock (now retired), Bossier Parish Library

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Newspaper advertisements

In preparation for an upcoming exhibit about patent medicines, we have been looking through past issues of the Bossier Banner newspaper. Here are a few examples of the fun advertisements we've been finding.

Bile Beans claimed to cure just about any ache, pain, or general discomfort. This ad is from the January 26, 1885 Bossier Banner.

Oxidine placed many ads in the Banner during the early 1920s. The product was meant to cure malaria, but it claimed to fix other ills, too.

It's hard to focus just on medicinal advertisements when there are so many other eye-catching ones in the paper. Above is a good ad for safe deposit boxes at the Bank of Benton from the January 14, 1954 issue.

Stop by the Historical Center to look through our collection of historic newspapers. Don't forget that you may also find marriage and birth announcements, obituaries, and town "gossip" to help in your genealogy searches! You can also look at the Bossier Banner index, accessible through the link in the menu to your right.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer vacations

Next Monday will be the official start of summer! With the heat and humidity, it's been feeling like summer for a while in Bossier Parish. A beach vacation is in order when temperatures are too high. The beaches of Galveston Island in Texas have been, and still are, a favorite summer vacation spot. The Walker family of Bossier vacationed on the island in the 1910s. This photo (0000.003.013) shows Sayde Walker and Emma Walker Pattillo on Galveston beach in their bathing dresses.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What's hiding in your attic?

In June, we will be unveiling (pun intended) our Bossier weddings exhibit! Do you have anything to add to the display? We're looking for photos, marriage licenses, fancy invitations, clothing, jewelry, and any other mementos from those special days in Bossier Parish. Please consider donating items to the historical center so future generations can share in the memories. If you can't bear to part with treasured originals, we'd love to have the chance to scan your photos and paper documents. We can add the copies to our collection.

This photo (1997.054.088) is from a Plain Dealing wedding in the 1910s. We can't identify the happy couple. Can you?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here's What We're Doing At the Spring Festival Tomorrow...

Also, try cleaning seed cotton - by hand! It's easier said than done.

Here's a REAL bale of cotton, at Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins near Ferriday, LA in Concordia Parish.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Festival 2010

This Saturday, May 22, join the Bossier Parish Library at the Louisiana Boardwalk from 10 am - 3 pm for our Spring Festival!

The Historical Center will have a booth with games and photos.

For more information, please view our flyer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Preservation Pointers

To celebrate Preservation Week, we'll be listing some quick steps you can take to protect your collection.

Many people have old photo albums and scrapbooks in their collection. The vast majority of these are not photo-friendly and will permanently damage your family photos. Scrapbooks were frequently made with an acidic black paper that deteriorates quickly. You'll notice that the edges of this black paper start to break and flake away, often leaving fragments behind on shelving and in boxes. Glue and tape were commonly used to adhere photos and other items to scrapbook pages. These adhesives can cause yellowing and may also embrittle the photos. Generally, you will want to keep a scrapbook intact, especially if the creator has handwritten labels on the pages. It can be helpful to place acid-free tissue paper between the pages. This will prevent items from pressing directly against one another and causing discoloration.

Magnetic photo albums have pages lined with thin strips of glue and covered with a clear plastic covering. The glue will discolor photos - sometimes after only a decade of storage. If you are able, slowly and cautiously peel your photos away from the glue backing for proper storage. Unfortunately, this glue can be very sticky and you need to be sure that your photos will not tear. If you can't remove them from the pages without rips, then it is better to leave them in the album. Scan the photos while they are in the album so you can make copies. Keep these copies in polyethylene photo sleeves.

Acid-free tissue paper and polyethylene photo sleeves can be found at most archival suppliers. Check with local craft stores, too. Always read the product specifications, as some products may be called "archival" when they really are not preservation-quality.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Preservation Week

Mark your calendars!

The first national collections Preservation Week, themed "Pass it On!" takes place May 9-15. Preservation Week will inspire actions to preserve personal, family and community collections of all kinds, as well as library, museum and archive collections. It will raise awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation information.

The Historical Center is celebrating Preservation Week with an exhibit, "Practical Preservation", that will suggest simple steps to help you make sure your treasures and memories last a lifetime and are passed on to future generations.

Pam Carlisle, Local History and Outreach Specialist at the Historical Center, will be presenting a FREE workshop, Practical Preservation - Making Family Memories Last, at 5:30 on Tuesday, May 11 at the Bossier Central Library meeting room at 2206 Beckett Street in Bossier City. Registration is not required.

For questions, call us at (318)746-7717 or email

You are invited to bring documents, photographs, and objects to the Historical Center to receive tips on storage and handling. Please consider allowing us to scan any Bossier-related photographs and documents so that we may have copies for our collection. With your help, we can pass Bossier Parish history on!

Visit the American Library Association's website for more information on Preservation Week.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Mothers Day!


Photo of “Grandma Dalrymple” with Harry Gray and Della Gray Cavells. Grandma Dalrymple went to France as a Gold Star Mother to visit the grave of her son, Henry H., who perished in World War I. Gold Star Mothers are mothers whose sons or daughters died in the line of duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or its Allies, starting with World War I. A gold star replaced the blue star families displayed to show they had a soldier overseas. In the late 1920’s, the War Department of the United States compiled a list of mothers and widows of WWI soldiers killed and buried in Europe and offered to take them to their loved ones’ graves. Between 1930 and 1933, 6,000 women traveled on these “Gold Star Mother Pilgrimages”. A rare act of public support for private grief, they were entirely paid for and planned by the U.S. Army.


Johnette Dalrymple Parham Collection

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kirklin family wheelchair

In April of 2006, a wheelchair more than a century old was donated to the Historical Center. In keeping with our mission of collecting Bossier Parish historical material, staff learned that the wheelchair had been used by several members of the Kirklin Family of Bossier Parish. The donor included a note saying, “The wheelchair was for James Albert Kirklin (b. 18 Oct 1903 d. 2 Nov 1915). I don’t know if anyone used it before him or not. He suffered from a high fever (age 3 or 6) and [was] thought to have inflammatory rheumatism — maybe polio? Never walked again. In 1936 James Robert Kirklin - father of James Albert was feeding the stallion he had and the stallion kicked him and broke his leg. He used the wheelchair until he died of thrombosis — a clot went from his leg to his heart."

The wheelchair had been stored in the attic of a house that was being used by hunters. When the hunters discovered it, they pulled it from the attic onto the second floor of the house where it remained until April of 2006 when the donor learned of its whereabouts and brought it to the Historical Center. The wheelchair was in bad condition, with the cane backing and seating badly cracked, the third wheel (a small wheel behind the chair) broken and with numerous other preservation issues. The donor and two other family members paid for the wheelchair's restoration, which was completed by a local company.

To see the wheelchair in its newly restored state, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

The wheelchair as it appeared in 2006, having been stored in an attic for decades.

The wheelchair as it appears now, after restoration.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Curating birds

Things have been mostly quiet around here, history-wise. The reorganization of our vertical file is nearing completion and we will soon begin to inventory our map and aerial photo collection. Our aerial photo collection is quite large, with approximately 270 photos of Bossier Parish from 1939 and another 150 from 1955. We have an index available in our research area, so patrons can easily find the photos they need.

While everything is under control inside the historical center, it's been a challenging week outside for the birds that built their nest under our awning. We think they are house finches. Their nest fell down on a windy day last week, dumping the 3 little baby birds onto the grass. We quickly put the nestlings into a cardboard box and attached their new nest-box back to the awning with the power of duct tape. Mama and Papa Bird approved of the renovations and have resumed their care of the babies. Hopefully we'll see the babies testing out their wings soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Did you get our new quarterly newsletter?

We're excited to share the happenings at the historical center with our patrons. In addition to this blog, we are now mailing a newsletter full of articles and assorted historical tidbits. You'll be able to stay informed of new collections, exhibits, and genealogy news. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please call us at 318-746-7717 and provide us with your address.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Genealogy presentation

Join Pam Carlisle of the History Center at the East 80 Library Branch for "Genealogy and Preserving Contemporary History." Learn about preserving your family's history for the genealogists of the future and other descendants.

Wednesday March 24, 10-11 a.m. at the East 80 Library in Haughton - 1050 Bellevue Road.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March is American Red Cross Month and Women's History Month

Mary Rose Sciarra Bradford, Red Cross volunteer and wife of author Roark Bradford, with son Richard Roark Jr.

In honor of American Red Cross Month and Women's History Month, a new display is in the Historical Center, The American Red Cross and Hometown Women through 1950.
The American Red Cross was founded by a woman, Clara Barton in 1881 and continued to have much of its work and inspiration accomplished by women. American Red Cross nurses went to foreign war fronts or worked domestically as public health and blood drive nurses. “Gray Ladies” provided non-medical services at military, then civilian hospitals. Locally Gray Ladies volunteered the Veterans Hospital and the Defense Blood Center in Shreveport. Some women, such as Kate Carter Edwards of Haughton in 1948 (during decades of Red Cross service) organized in their neighborhoods raising funds for Red Cross disaster relief and a whole host of programs.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Homicide in Haughton

In its Feb. 14, 1887 issue, The Shreveport Times recounted the particulars of a deplorable altercation that had a fatal ending. William M. Mercer was killed by Haughton mayor Henry Bodenheimer.

Both men were described as well known through North Louisiana. Friendly and cordial feelings existed between them and they had even been in a prosperous business together. Bodenheimer was described as a married gentleman possessing a quiet and genial disposition. Mercer was "a kind-hearted man, aged about 37 years, and was married. His death was regretted by all who knew him."

The newspaper account relates that William Mercer came to Haughton heavily intoxicated and threatening to kill someone. He had two pistols with him and threatened the life of Bodenheimer several times during the day. One of Mercer's pistols was taken from him by a friend. On the evening of the shooting, Mercer called Bodenheimer to Griffin's Saloon where he grabbed Bodenheimer by the collar and, using abusive language, demanded the return of the pistol that had been taken from him.

The unfolding of the shooting is further described 4 days later when the preliminary trial took place. The trial was originally to be held in Bellevue, the parish seat at the time, but was changed to Haughton for the convenience of the witnesses and parties interested in the trial. Of the ten or twelve witnesses present, only L.E. McDade was called to testify. Mr. McDade was employed as barkeeper in Griffin's Saloon where the killing took place. He testified that Mr. Mercer insisted that Mr. Bodenheimer come in to the saloon and have a drink with him. Mr. Bodenheimer attempted to dissuade Mr. Mercer form drinking any more, advising him to go home and go to bed. Mercer became angry and broke a glass on the bar. Mercer told the bartender to take one of his pistols. McDade took the pistol and handed it to a Dr. Moody. Mercer then asked the doctor to give him the pistol. When the doctor refused, Mercer reportedly drew a knife and threatened to cut Dr. Moody's throat. When Mercer was given his pistol, he pulled off his coat, stating that he wanted to fight. After being assisted in putting his coat back on, Mercer continued to make a commotion, waving his pistol about. He then grabbed Bodenheimer and threated to throw Bodenheimer down and stomp him to death. As Mercer reached for the pistol he had put in the hip pocket of his pants, Bodenheimer pulled out his own pistol and fired four shots, all four shots taking effect and killing Mercer. (The February 17, 1887 issue of the Bossier Banner reported that only two took effect.) Accounts differ here as to how long Mercer may have lived after being shot, but he died shortly after in the saloon. According to McDade's testimony, Bodenheimer was not drinking and had several times tried to kindly persuade Mercer to go home.

Based on McDade's testimony, the verdict was that "Under the circumstances there is not a particle of doubt as to the nature of the homicide. It was one of those regrettable occurrences which could not be avoided and it was done in self-defense." Nonetheless, because of a dispute in town over the fact that it was "the first time a Jew had ever killed anybody in those parts," a lynch mob was organized. When the mob approached Bodenheimer's store, a boyhood friend of his, Ford Edwards, came to the door and announced to the mob that if they got Henry they would have to get him also, and the first man that stepped on the gallery would be fired upon. The mob dissolved and the next day Edwards rode with Henry Bodenheimer to Bellevue for the hearing.

Henry Bodenheimer and his wife moved to Shreveport in 1889 where Henry had several different businesses, the most successful of which was an insurance company. Today the Bodenheimer family still has interests in the insurance and security fields in both Shreveport and New Orleans.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Photos from the Scanland collection

The History Center has a wonderful collection of early 1900s photographs taken by Mabel Abney Scanland Jones. Mabel is the daughter of William Henry Scanland, Sr., the editor of the Bossier Banner newspaper. She used her Kodak Brownie camera to snap photos of her family and friends around Benton and Bellevue. Frequently, when people think of older photos, they expect to see the subjects with serious faces and stiff poses. This is not the case with Mabel's photos; rather, she captures candid images of laughing couples, her joking brothers, children playing with pets, and scenes of everyday life in Bossier.

In the above photo (0000.004.150) we see one of the Ogden sisters staging a hold-up of Mabel's older brother, William Henry Scanland, Jr., and another Ogden girl.

Above (0000.004.042), Mabel and her friends, Bess Wheless, Susan "Pearl" Dortch Colbert, and Octavia Hunter all pose with their hands on their chins. One girl is unidentified.

In this photo (0000.004.190), Mabel's younger sister, Mattie Belle (right), smiles with her friend Irma Stinson.

Mabel's oldest brother, Dr. John Milton Scanland, moved to Montana and became a physician and superintendant for the Montana State Hospital. The family traveled by train to see him and Mabel brought her camera along for the trip. She took pictures of several depots along the way and some snowy scenes - perhaps it was her first time seeing snow! John Milton married a doctor's daughter and was a frequent traveler, making transatlantic crossings aboard the Mauretania (sister ship to the Lusitania) and the Olympic (sister ship to the Titanic).

After researching census records, it seems like Mattie Belle stayed in Montana with her brother for a time around 1920. She met her husband, Ewing Montgomery, in Montana and the couple had moved to Los Angeles by 1930.

Mabel stayed close to home, marrying Dallas Jones.

Monday, February 8, 2010

It's Black History Month!

Get a Black History Button at the Bossier Parish Library’s Historical

Just bring in photos of African Americans in Bossier Parish to the Historical Center. Staff will scan up to 5 photos and make copies for the patron and possibly the Center’s collection.

Through February, Mon-Fri 9-4 or by appointment
Call 746-7717 for more information

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mardi Gras

The Shreveport-Bossier City area only recently started to hold large Mardi Gras celebrations with parades and Krewe activities. The cities of New Orleans and Mobile have long been popular Mardi Gras destinations with both cities having traditions dating back to the 1700s. In the late 1800s, newspapers were filled with advertisements for steamboat and railroad tickets to the coastal cities. The ad above is from the February 4th, 1877 issue of The Shreveport Times.

For those choosing to stay in Northwestern Louisiana, there were also a few festivities to enjoy. In 1877, Tally's Opera House on Milam Street hosted an exclusive masquerade soiree. Revelers wishing to dance had to wear masks until midnight, at which time they could show their faces.

To see these travel ads and other Mardi Gras memorabilia, check out the exhibit "Take Me to the Mardi Gras", located in the entrance of the History Center.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frozen Bossier

The recent cold weather prompted us to search through our collection to find other instances of chilly temperatures in Bossier Parish. Below is an unidentified girl bundled up for warmth on a snowy day. This photo (1997.054.081) is from the Plain Dealing area and was taken by John Allen in the 1910s. If she looks familiar, please let us know!

Next we have a photo (2002.032.001) from a snowfall in 1948. George Louis Johnson is standing next to his snow-covered automobile.