Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Proud of Our Beautiful Bossier

Nickel Collection: 2004.019.036
Every year, since 1958, the Louisiana Garden Club Federation, Inc. sponsors a statewide “Cleanest City Contest.” According to its website, “The aim of the contest is to instill civic pride in the individual citizens and thus, improve the appearance of towns and cities.”

When a village, town, or city enters the contest, they are placed into categories based on their size and population. Bossier City has often been the proud recipient of the “Cleanest City” award over the years. But, even before these contests, community organizations, the city government, business owners, and residents often worked together to clean up and to beautify the city, which is the key to Bossier’s success, teamwork. The great citizens of Bossier Parish have always taken civic pride in their community. 

In 1966, a proclamation was issued by Mayor George L. Nattin at the behest of the Bossier Garden Club, a unit of Keep Bossier Beautiful, he declared March as “CLEANUP MONTH.” In the proclamation, Mayor Nattin called on the citizens of Bossier City to “cooperate fully with the Bossier Garden Club in making this a successful project.” The declaration was issued along with an announcement that the Bossier Garden Club had again entered the “Cleanest City” contest. 

In The Bossier Tribune, on Mar. 30, 1966, it was announced that a “candid camera approach” would be used “to promote the civic campaign to win the ‘Cleanest City’ competition which will be judged April 26.” Residents were urged to make their homes and businesses “neater in appearance because a roving photographer is on the loose snapping pictures of places with untidy appearances.” 

A poster contest was also announced, “Members of the sixth grade classes in the Bossier Elementary Schools are making posters to be used in the ‘Cleanest City’ competition. Posters will be ready for judging Friday.” The posters had to pertain to the beautification of the city, and prizes were awarded to the top three posters. 

“To encourage citizens to do their part to help win” in an editorial written by Mrs. W. E. Piper, chairman of the “Cleanest City” contest, she ended her message with, “...Our cherubs and their off-springs twenty or thirty years from now will see the interest we took in 1966. So in 1986 they can be proud of our Beautiful Bossier City!” 

This desire came true because thirty years later, Bossier City won the “cleanest city” award for 1996. In presenting the award to Mayor Dement, the president of the Louisiana Garden Club Inc., Bera Smith declared that “This is getting to be a habit, I hope you have room left on your wall.” 

It is safe to say that we all can be grateful for the interest everyone took not only in 1966 but in all the years before then and ever since. 

While the annual Louisiana Cleanest City Contest had to be canceled this year, we can still do our part in keeping Bossier Beautiful. With today being Earth Day and with so many of us home during the COVID-19 shelter in place orders, it is a great time to get in the yard and tidy up. 

By: Amy Robertson

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