In 2023 Bossier Elementary School will be celebrating the 100th year of its original brick school building. It was the first brick (not wood) school building in Bossier City, built on ten lots on Traffic Street. It served as both high school and elementary school. In 1927 the student population was growing and a second two- story brick building was built on the campus for the elementary students. High school students stayed in the old building until 1941 when the Bossier High School building on Bearkat Drive near Fort Smith Park and Coleman Street opened. However, there was another outbuilding associated with the school that is largely forgotten but served an important purpose. A tiny building in the school’s neighborhood served as the school cafeteria, and it was nothing like the institution of a school cafeteria as we know of today. The school cafeteria was a “business” that was run first by one widowed mother, Mrs. Baby Yarborough, and then another, widowed mother, Mrs. Cora Daigle. This work even launched Mrs. Yarborough into a teaching career.
Neill recalled that the kids would be roughhousing in the cafeteria, just one big room including the kitchen, and she could just glance at them and with a couple of words, quiet them down. The other teachers would say, “I wish I could do that. I wish I had that knack“ and told Mrs. Yarborough she should be a teacher. Mrs. Yarborough took their advice. She became a teacher after going to school in the summertime, taking some classes at Centenary College in Shreveport and ultimately attending East Texas Baptist University.
Gloria Daigle Roberts worked for her mother from the time she was in the first grade by helping her serve lunch to the teachers. She remembered, “it was wholesome, homestyle food that Mother cooked and served that to the teachers on a lawn table with the table cloth… and flowers on it and silverware…. And I was excused ... from class so that I could take the menus around for the all the teachers to decide what they wanted to eat. And so … their plate would be ready.” According to Mrs. Roberts, that service was no longer offered once her mother left the cafeteria. Students still were served hamburgers, and “chipped barbecue beef, [which] was hamburger meat with barbecue sauce in it on a bun, and it was 5 or 10 cents for each one of those. “Mrs. Roberts’ other memories included, “Kids didn’t go through orderly… There were hands through the air and they wanted to give me their dime and they were getting their change and this, that and the other. And wanting that, ‘Give me a hamburger, give me a hamburger!’ It was so chaotic in this little house.” (The students ate inside too, at long tables.) She also remembers freezing her arms when helping her mother serve multiple cokes from the icebox, where you “put the cokes in and you chip up the ice and put it on there and you put your hand down in that cold water.” But, Mrs. Roberts recalled, “those were wonderful, wonderful days.”
The Bossier Parish Libraries History Center can provide an abundance of interesting facts and photographs about Bossier Parish schools. (We don’t seem to have any photos of these special cafeterias, however.) We would also love to hear your school stories and see your photos. With your permission we could scan them to add to our collection. Visit us soon at 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City. For our regular hours, we are now open: M-Th 9-8, Fri 9-6, and Sat 9-5. However, for this holiday week, we will be closed on Thanksgiving Day plus Friday and Saturday.
For more information, and for other intriguing facts, photos, and videos of Bossier Parish history, be sure to follow us @BPLHistoryCenter on FB, @bplhistorycenter on TikTok
1.) Bossier High School faculty, 1937. Many of these teachers likely enjoyed Mrs. Cora Daigle’s home-cooked meals during their lunch break, served on table cloths with silverware and fresh flowers with help from Mrs. Daigle’s daughter, Gloria.
2.) Gloria Daigle Roberts (right) with Pam Glorioso at the Bossier High Reunion for classes of 1940-1944 that was held in 1999.
Article by: Pam Carlisle