Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Celebration: The Birth of a City and Its First Flag

Did you know, following New Orleans and Shreveport, Bossier City was the third municipality in Louisiana to have an official flag?

By the middle of the 20th century, census figures revealed that Bossier City was the fastest-growing municipality in the state. On August 9, 1951, Louisiana Governor Earl K. Long issued a proclamation changing the municipality of Bossier City from a town to a city. “By this proclamation, ‘A City Was Born,’” headlined in the papers and plans were set in motion for a celebration.
Proclamation making Bossier City a city

Hoffman L. Fuller
Bossier City's sixth mayor
In planning for the celebration, Mayor Hoffman L. Fuller appointed Bossier civic leader, Arthur Ray Teague, to head a committee to conduct a design contest for the first official Bossier City flag. Another contest sponsored by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and the Planters Press was for a slogan for the newly formed city.

Initially, the celebration was scheduled for the end of September, but Mayor Fuller announced that the ceremony was postponed, “until the polio situation clears up and the parish schools open.” Before long, it was announced that the celebration would take place on October 16 at the Bossier High School Memorial Stadium dedicated in 1948 to the memory of the local high school students that lost their lives in World War II.

The celebration started with a parade at Fort Smith park and moved through the stadium. Chief of Police Burgess McCranie and State Trooper Capt. H. H. Hollenshead led the parade on horseback. Each parade float reflected one of the chief industries which aided in the growth of Bossier City; cotton, oil, agriculture, and Barksdale Air Force Base (a significant factor in the growth of Bossier City). The parade also included a marching contingent from Barksdale Air Force Base along with Bossier City’s police and fire departments, honor guards, and the bands of Bossier High, Byrd, Fair Park, and BAFB.

There was a pageant of Bossier City written by Ira Harbuck and Kenneth Green, a short history given by Arthur Ray Teague, and Mayor Fuller read the proclamation. Bossier City’s first mayor, Ewald Max Hoyer and Ellen Lowe Sims, a pioneer resident having lived in Bossier City the longest, were both honored in the ceremony.

Bossier City Chamber of Commerce manager Bob Conwell awarded the slogan contest winner, Irene Vinson, for “Next Door Neighbor to World’s Largest Air Base,” a $15 cash prize. Arthur Ray Teague, master of ceremonies, awarded the flag contest winner, Velma Hagert, with a $10 cash prize, who then presented the flag to Mayor Fuller.

Velma Hagert is holding her entry of the flag of Bossier City
and Miss Hall, A. R. Teague's secretary holds the entry of
runner-up W. E. McFarland.
The winning design consisted of a gold star in the middle of a green flag with a magnolia blossom centered in the star and circled with the words “Bossier City, Louisiana.” According to the rules of the contest, changes to the selected entry were allowed. Only two changes were made one replacing the magnolia bloom with a cotton boll and the other changing the star to a circle. Robert H. Rogers of Shreveport made the flag out of rayon with gold braid lining.

The Official Flag of Bossier City.
(L to R) Clyde Nelson, Jr., C. L. Madden, Jr., and acting
Mayor John Ford (Times Photo by Langston McEachern).
The flag was donated by the Louisiana Municipal Association and the Bossier Tribune, and the flagpole was donated by Arthur Ray and Albert Hugh Teague. The flagpole was dedicated in memory of their brother Lt. Edward Teague who was a graduate of Bossier City High School and a veteran of WWII. Lt. Teague was a flight instructor in the Air Force at Goose Bay, Labrador, where he died in an airplane crash on March 13, 1947.

The flag was raised in the stadium in memory of the deceased high school students that died in WWII: James O. Avery, Luther Bedingfield, William Bedingfield, James Francis Brown, Jr., Robert Edwards, Alfred D. Bond, Harold M. Valentine, Burton McCallum, Jake Maniscalco, Jr., Francis Peters, Jr., Edward Teague, and Sedric White.

This flag remained as the official emblem of Bossier City until 1986 when, through another contest, a new flag design was selected, which has not changed since.

To learn more about the history of Bossier City, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City.

By: Amy Robertson

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