Each year, since 1987, March is designated as Women's History Month by Presidential proclamation to honor women's contributions to history, culture, and society. This year's theme is a continuation of 2020s, recognizing the battle for women's suffrage. For almost 100 years, women fought for the right to vote. But the right to vote is not the only thing women have had to fight for. While women continue to fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, they also continue to break barriers in many areas such as sports, politics, the military, and the workplace.
The women of Bossier Parish are no exception as we have a very long list of women who have and continue to break barriers set before them. There are so many that it is not possible to list them all here now. The following are a few of the Bossier Parish women that have broken barriers making their contributions to history, culture, and society.
Rebecca LaBorde holds the distinction of being the first female firefighter for Bossier City, joining the department in 1984. She was the fifth woman to attempt to join the department but the first to pass all of the tests, including the agility test. She passed the test because she trained hard, running and weight training to meet the requirements. The agility test had applicants set up a ladder, climb up and down it, then dismantle it, carry two different types of hoses, and finish by carrying 100 pounds up two flights of stairs, all within a time limit.
|Marshall Esther P. Watkins|
Esther Parker Watkins became the first Bossier City Marshall when Judge Louis Lyons appointed her in 1965. Her appointment came after her husband O.L. "Slim" Watkins' sudden death. She served as his deputy during his sixteen years as City Marshall, making her the perfect fit. He was the first Marshall elected when the Bossier City/Ward two court was established in 1950. When election time came in 1966, she was elected by the people running against T. R. Kay and Arthur C. Townsend.
Bossier Parish women have also made their mark in the armed forces. Haughton native Glenda Rhodes-Hood enlisted in the Navy in 1973. There she became a lithographer, and in 1984 she became the Navy's first female chief lithographer. A lithographer is one who prints from a flat stone or metal plate, parts of which are treated to repel ink. They were the Navy's version of a Print Designer, running print shops and producing printed material used by the Navy, such as magazines, newspapers, forms, and training materials. This job no longer exists in the Navy.
|Brig. Gen. Fred W. Borum presents|
the Air Medal to Lt. Elsie Ott
Here at the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center, we have many ongoing projects, including a list of first Bossier Parish females to ___. To learn more about these firsts, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center, 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City. Can't come in, call 318-746-7717 or email email@example.com with your inquiry.
By: Amy Robertson