Saturday, July 29, 2017


The September 8, 1938 issue of The Bossier Banner boasted of the readiness of Bossier Parish high schools to open on September 12, 1938.  At the opening Bossier Parish would employ 108 instructors for its six high schools.

“Everything is in readiness for the opening of all six Bossier Parish high schools next Monday morning, September 12th.  Every school is expecting some increase in enrollment.”

“Superintendent of Schools R.V. Kerr said this morning that the pre-school institute for teachers will be held Saturday morning at Benton High School, and that all instructors for the1938-1939 session are expected to attend.”

Books and supplies for each school have been turned over to the respective principals ad will be ready for distribution Monday morning.  Lesson assignments will be made that morning and regular class work should begin next Tuesday.”

“This year he schools will be served by some 40 vans.  Of this number, ten are of the new all-steel type, lately adopted as standard equipment by state school authorities.  It is planned to replace all old wood-type bodies with steel ones as they wear out.  Within the next five or six years all of the old vans will be retired, it is estimated.”

“For the information of readers who missed the story last week, a complete list of the 108 teachers for the parish is listed elsewhere in this issue.”

In the previous issue of The Bossier Banner (September 1, 1938) the editorial column cautioned Bossier citizens not to rush into more bonded debts.  The column pointed out that Bossier had never voted against a school or road improvement tax.  It went on to say that bonds were readily bought for roads, bridges, good public buildings and a very good school system but stretching too far would endanger the secure standing of the parish.  The editorial concluded that “these words are not directed against the recent school bond elections which will enable us to avail ourselves of PWA [Public Works Administration] grants.”  Next week’s issue reported that “Five school projects in Bossier Parish have been awarded PWA grants totaling $355,901.”  The projects included “a high school plant in Bossier City and repairs to two existing buildings, a high school plant in Plain Dealing and repairs to two old buildings, a gymnasium-cafeteria for Benton High School, a gymnasium for Rocky Mount and construction of some 20 to 25 Negro schools, representing a total outlay in excess of $700,000.”  Bonds, of course, would need to be sold for these projects and the paper supported the sale of such bonds.

The history of Bossier Parish education is long and very interesting.  Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to discover more, as well as to see pictures of early schools here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The July 11, 1918 issue of The Bossier Banner defined rationing rules to be followed a little over a year after the United States entered World War I.
“New rules were recently adopted in New Orleans by the State Food Administrator to further conserve sugar and meat.  The open sugar bowl will no longer be seen on public tables and the coffee drinker is limited to one spoon for each cup.  The order reads as follows:”
“The great general rule for catering resorts which includes boarding houses and commissaries is the abolition of the open sugar bowl.  The resolutions were adopted at a meeting of hotel and restaurant men in New Orleans.  John M. Parker, Food Administrator, declares that the rules will be strictly enforced, even if he has to take command of the inspectors in the field.”
“The sugar plan for eating places is the same as for families, the allowance being based upon three pounds per person per month.  One teaspoonful is allowed for a small cup, two for a large cup, and three for a pot of coffee or tea.  Two teaspoonfuls is the measure for cereal or fruit orders.  A lump of sugar is counted as equivalent to a teaspoon.  Cane and beet sugar are barred from bakery and kitchen.  Meat saving is to be accomplished by using only eight or nine pounds for each ninety meals served.  Roast meat is limited to Monday’s mid-day meal.  Stewed, boiled or beef hash to Wednesday’s and Saturday’s mid-day meals, and steaks in any form, including hamburger, to Thursday’s mid-day meal.  Byproducts such as tongues, livers, etc., may be used as substitutes.  Further substitutes are fish, crabs, shrimp, sea foods of all kinds, rabbits and wild game.  There will be plenty to eat there will be a reserve built up for the soldiers.  The latter duty leaves this country with only a three-days’ supply ahead, and conservation is wisdom.”
“The United States Food Administration has already tied up the coming Louisiana crop of sugar by ordering that no deals ahead be made without permits.  The Sugar Control Committee is still confident that Louisiana will receive about a cent per pound more for her crop than last year.”
“The United States Food Administration has issued similar orders with regard to the sale of clean rice, and it is evidently the intent to first take the full supply needed by the Government before the product is made available to the public.  Rice has been greatly popularized as a food through the broad advertising given by the Government, and the price has virtually been fixed with all branches of rice production and selling.”

War times were not the only hard times over which Bossier Parish residents have had to overcome.  Learn more at the Bossier Paris Library Historical Center.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Shreveport Times’ May 16, 1941 carried the following story about an accidental bombing in Bossier Parish.
“The mystery of the big holes in a cow pasture between Koran and Lake Bistineau in Bossier Parish which flabbergasted at least five Negroes, was cleared today when it was revealed that it was just a case of a Barksdale student bombardier hitting the jackpot by pulling a lever which sent all of his practice bombs down at once instead of one at a time—and sent them down at the wrong time.”
“Henry Allen, Negro whose cow pasture was hit, thought the Nazis had arrived when he heard a whizzing noise late Monday and then found 10 holes in the sandy soil.  He told his wife and the two of them told Carrie Jefferson, Negro neighbor.  All inspected the ‘craters’ in the pasture and then told Willie Miles.  Next Willie Woodson was informed and all five Negroes were in a state of mystification until Barksdale officials came out yesterday.  The appearance of the fliers, in full uniform, duly impressed the Negroes and the assurance that no ‘attack’ had taken place was accepted.”
“The Barksdale student bombardier was mystified, too.  He had started out on the first flight on which he was entirely ‘on his own’ so far as bomb dropping was concerned.  A pilot and co-pilot handled the plane as he got ready for 11 trips over the target, on the Barksdale range, intending to drop one practice bomb at a time.”
“The plane swung out over Allen’s cow pasture to come back across the target, and something happened.  The bombardier had a mess of levers in front of him.  One lever would drop one bomb; another would drop others, et cetera.  The student in some way hit the jackpot by accidentally touching the lever releasing 11 at one time, long before reaching the target.  Two hit in one spot, explaining 10 craters from 11 bombs.”
“An official investigation is underway at Barksdale.  It is believed the bombardier may have caught a parachute strap in the bomb lever.”
“Anyhow, the bombs are harmless, being metal shells loaded with sand and one pound of black powder to make a smoke puff by which accuracy of the aiming can be determined.  They throw no fragments and the craters they make re merely from the weight of their own sand.”
“They might do damage by hitting someone in the head, but planes are not allowed to fly over Shreveport or any towns with the bomb bays open, so there normally is no danger.”
“With full explanation made to [those involved], all is quiet in the Koran and Lake Bistineau sectors tonight.”
Old newspapers can solve many mysteries.  Come to the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to get answers to your own history questions.