Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Lunchtime at Bossier Elementary c. 1930

 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.

According to an oral history interview with Mrs. Yarborough’s son, Col. Neill Yarborough, Baby Yarborough ran the cafeteria for the whole four years he was in high school, and a couple of years before that. According to Col. Yarborough, the school board furnished the building, on Traffic Street according to Mr. Yarborough, and that was all. Mrs. Yarborough paid all the utilities, bought the food and sold it, and hired the school kids to help her work. When he was in school, every day at recess and lunchtime he went to the cafeteria building and helped her. After Neill and his sister and youngest brother got out of school, she’d hire other kids and had an adult helper, too.

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.

Mrs. Gloria Daigle Roberts’ mother Mrs. Cora Daigle, ran a cafeteria after Mrs. Yarborough. Mrs. Daigle was a widowed mother living in her parents’ home at 500 Wyche Avenue in Bossier City who needed a job. In interviews, Mrs. Roberts recalled the day that Mr. Kerr, the Superintendent of Schools, came to tell her mother that she had gotten the job as a school cafeteria "lady." “She jumped up and down…She was crying. We were all so excited because Mother got the job as cafeteria ‘lady.’" “Mr. Kerr gave her a start in the business. Back then women didn't have their own business and this was considered her own.” She ran the cafeteria from a tiny shotgun house on Peach Street, and first week's profit was $19.00.

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

Images: 

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 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Louisiana Lottery Company: A Nineteenth-Century “Golden Octopus”



With last week’s unprecedented two-billion-dollar Powerball lottery in the books after an eager audience around the U.S. watched as a winning number belonging to a California ticket holder made lottery history, let’s now look back in time at an early attempt at a nationwide lottery: The Louisiana Lottery Company. The Louisiana Lottery Company (not to be confused with the present-day Louisiana Lottery Corporation) has been largely forgotten, which is perhaps lucky for last week’s two-billion-dollar winner. The Louisiana Lottery Company, which for a time was the nation’s only legal lottery, became so corrupt and powerful that once it was shut down by the end of 1893, the idea of bringing back a legal lottery was unthinkable for decades to many Louisianans and Americans.

The Radical Republicans, in power during Reconstruction in Louisiana’s state legislature, were open to the idea of a legal lottery because they were desperate for a way to get money in the state budget following the Civil War without raising taxes. Charles Howard, a former agent for the Kentucky Lottery offered Louisiana Governor Henry Clay Warmoth a $40,000 annual payment for the state treasury in exchange for the exclusive right to operate a lottery in Louisiana for 25 years. On Dec. 3, 1868, the Louisiana Lottery company opened in a former New Orleans bank.

The drawings were held daily, monthly, weekly, or semiannually, with the largest case prize of $600,000 (close to twenty million dollars in today’s money) for the semiannual lottery. Tickets could be purchased through the mail, allowing the lottery to become popular throughout the country. If you could attend the drawing in New Orleans, though, you’d be rewarded with some of the most elaborate spectacle around. Popular ex-Confederate generals, Jubal Early and P.G.T. Beauregard were hired at today’s equivalent of $200,000 a year to add celebrity and an air of honesty as on-stage supervisors of the drawing. (Their signatures also appeared on the back of the tickets testifying to how “honestly, fairly, and in in good faith” the operation would be conducted.) Blind-folded young boys removed the winning ticket from the drum, and would hand the capsules they pulled to the generals. Young ladies dressed in hoop skirts posted the numbers on a large board for the audience to see.

Lottery officials made a showing of their civic mindedness too. Whenever the Mississippi River broke through a levee, the lottery company had its own ship that could deliver men and materials to repair the break and distribute food and money to flood victims. When there were outbreaks of yellow fever, the company would pay to employ people to collect and bury the bodies.

The state, for its part, required no licenses or fees, no audits of the books, and no taxes on the company’s earnings. Without audits, the amount of profit is not recorded but estimates are that ticket sales in the 1880s amounted to nearly 23 million dollars and the Louisiana Lottery Company got nearly 43 percent of that. In addition to these earnings, all the unsold tickets went into the hopper too, meaning frequently enough, the holder of a winning ticket for the Louisiana Lottery was the Louisiana Lottery Company! With a 25-year charter, a trail of bribed politicians, judges, newspapers and banks, and no oversight, the Louisiana Lottery could operate just as it wanted. Some historians call the Louisiana Lottery Company, of the 19th century one of the two most corrupt of enterprises in modern history (the other being the Juan PerĂ³n rule of Argentina).

However, where’s the corruption, there eventually come folks trying to reform or eradicate it. At first, the Louisiana Lottery Company had little to fear because the Louisiana State Treasurer Edward A. Burke protected it. But when the State Treasurer himself was implicated in the lottery’s corruption, he fled Louisiana for Honduras with one million dollars of State money. It was perhaps the single largest case of

political corruption in Louisiana. (Burke was convicted of embezzlement but never returned to Louisiana to stand trial. He stayed in Honduras and became an important political figure there.)


In Bellevue, then the Parish seat of Bossier an Anti- Lottery League chapter was formed on May 30, 1890, in a meeting held at the courthouse. Col. J. A. Snider (an attorney and former state representative) was selected as chairman and B.A. Kelly selected as secretary. A committee prepared and presented their resolutions, which included: Lotteries are morally wrong and politically a curse; We prize above all the honor of our State; We oppose the re-charter of the Louisiana Lottery Company: We form ourselves as a League and pledge to use all means to prevent the continuance of lotteries in the state; As citizens of faith and as patriots, members of the Democratic party, and fathers and mothers, we unite to “rid the State of a moral and political evil and to destroy a monster which seeks to purchase a State for its own pecuniary project and to make a people its thralls, morally and politically.”


Because it could extend its ‘tentacles’ and reach into every American home using the U.S Postal Service, the Louisiana Lottery Company earned the name the "Golden Octopus". However, this use of the U.S. Postal Service is also what aided in its dismantling. In 1890, the U.S. Congress banned interstate transportation of lottery tickets and advertisements, targeting 90% of the company's revenue. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this statute in 1892. In March of that year the Louisiana constitutional amendment to renew the charter passed the State legislature, but it was defeated when it did not get the required voter approval. Voters also elected an anti-lottery candidate for Governor, Murphy J. Foster and a majority of anti-lottery legislators. During that year all lottery operations were banned, and the Louisiana Lottery Company’s charter expired in December, 1893.

If your family has any local stories to tell or photos to share, please visit us at the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center and let us know. We are located at 2206 Beckett St, Bossier City, LA and are open M-Th 9-8, Fri 9-6, and Sat 9-5. Our phone number is (318) 746-7717 and our email is history-center@bossierlibrary.org

For other fun facts, photos, and videos, be sure to follow us @BPLHistoryCenter on FB, @bplhistorycenter on TikTok

Article by: Pam Carlisle

Photos: Louisiana Lottery Company ticket for February 11, 1890, front and back. Note the signatures of Confederate Generals Jubal Early and P.G.T. Beauregard on the back.

Hon. J.A. (Jacob Adrian) Snider of Bellevue, Bossier Parish. Portrait is from the directory of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1898:  “The Convention of '98 : a complete work on the greatest political event in Louisiana's history, and a sketch of the men who composed it”

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Wall of Faces – Remembering Vietnam Veterans

 In February of 2017, the History Center received one of its most poignant, and challenging, research requests via a phone call from Hawaii. Janna Hoehn, a volunteer researcher, was helping to find photographs for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) Wall of Faces, the online “Virtual Wall” to pair with each name engraved in the Vietnam Wall memorial in Washington D.C. When Ms. Hoehn called us, she had the names of four veterans whose address of record was “Bossier” or “Bossier City” and for whom she had no photo for a proper visual tribute.  

Arthur N. Welch
Dennis Black
 Right after talking to us, Ms. Hoehn was able to   contact a girlfriend of Bossier veteran Alton D.   Kellogg and within minutes the girlfriend scanned   and emailed his military portrait. Within a couple of   days, History Center staffers were able to provide   Ms. Hoehn with photos for two more of the Bossier   names:  yearbook photos of Bossier High School   alums Dennis B. Black and Arthur N. Welch. Arthur   Welch a little bit of detective work by Marisa   Richardson at the History Center. At first, she passed   over the yearbook photo of the student listed as “Buddy Welch”. Once back at her computer, she decided to dig a little. She found through an online memorial tribute by a boyhood friend that Arthur N. Welch was indeed known by the name “Buddy.”  

The last remaining veteran to find was Herbert Walter, who died in September of 1969 at the age of 23. As an African American who would have attended high school around 1960-64 and whose home of record was Bossier City, we figured he likely attended Bossier Colored High (or possibly CH Irion High School in Benton. He is buried at Longview Baptist Church cemetery, northeast of Bellevue).  We did not have a complete run of yearbooks for the schools for black students. The yearbooks we do have or have seen tended to be paperback, less likely to last than hardbound books. Some of the schools were not able to put out a yearbook each year. We also could not locate an obituary for Herbert Walter, so we had to widen our search for Herbert Walter’s photo. I wrote in the Spring 2017 History Center newsletter that we were seeking the public’s help.   

After reading that newsletter, local researcher and genealogist, Isabelle Woods, along with researcher and retired “Shreveport Times” reporter John Andrew Prime, whose reporting included local military history, became determined to find a photograph of Herbert Walter. They were determined that his picture could be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s Wall of Faces.  

Herbert Walter
Mrs. Woods and Mr. Prime searched for records that could lead to family members. After they found the soldier’s obituary which listed him as Herbert Walters, instead of Walter, Mrs. Woods was then able to get the names of his family members. However, his widow’s name was not given on the obituary, and it did not contain a photograph.  

Mrs. Woods located and contacted a different family member and learned the names of Herbert Walter’s widow and daughter and that they had long ago moved out of the state. Knowing just their names and a general location that they had moved to decades prior, Mrs. Woods continued her search. Incredibly, Isabelle Woods successfully located and contacted Herbert Walter’s widow, who was happy to share photographs of him. 


In summer of 2022, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund made the announcement that at least one photo had finally been found for each of the 58,281 service members listed on The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. This effort was completed by volunteers, like Jana Hoehn, from across the country, and by the attendant efforts from local institutions and volunteers who stepped up in cities and small towns and rural areas across the country. 

We remain grateful to Isabelle Woods for her time, her determination and her research expertise. We are thankful for John Andrew Prime, whose assistance was crucial in finding the trail that led to the visual reminders of the short life of Herbert Walter. It is because of their efforts that not one but three photographs of Herbert Walter were added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s “Wall of Faces.” You can virtually visit the wall of faces here: http://www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces/ 

For research requests like Ms. Hoehn’s that we receive from around the country, we are delighted to take donations of yearbooks or to borrow one to carefully scan or photocopy. If you would like to add to or explore our collection of Bossier veterans’ stories or photos, please stop by or contact the History Center. We are located at 2206 Beckett St, Bossier City, LA and are open M-Th 9-8, Fri 9-6, and Sat 9-5. Our phone number is (318) 746-7717 and our email is history-center@bossierlibrary.org


For other fun facts, photos, and videos, be sure to follow us @BPLHistoryCenter on FB, @bplhistorycenter on TikTok

Article by: Pam Carlise

Images: 

Arthur “Buddy” Welch 1950-1969 Bossier High School yearbook 1967, his junior year. He is not in the yearbook his senior year.

Dennis Black 1947-1968 Airline High School yearbook 1966

Herbert Walter 1946-1969

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Printice A. Darnell, a Veteran for Veterans

 In honor of Veterans Day coming up on November 11th, this column is dedicated to Mr. Printice Darnell, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in June of 2014, about two years before he passed away. Interviewing him was recommended to me by our patron, Lynda Methvin, the daughter of Mr. Darnell’s former roommate at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Bossier City. Mr. Darnell, a World War II Veteran who served in the U.S. Army from 1944-46 in New Guinea, Philippines and Japan was a passionate advocate for Veterans in Louisiana.

Printice A. Darnell was born Sept 21, 1918 near Arcadia in Bienville Parish. Soon after, his family moved to Bossier City so that his father could work at Louisiana Oil Refining. Printice became Salutatorian of the 1935 graduating class of Bossier High School. While in school he worked for Milady Cleaners with most of his business on Barksdale Airfield (now Barksdale Air Force Base). He was married with one daughter when he was finally drafted, as he had hoped, into the Army in 1944. When his prior work experience was discovered, he made Staff Sergeant from Private Frist Class in three days in order to run the military laundry on the island of Honshu in Japan.


Following a post-War divorce, he married Lois Lynn (to whom he was married for 63 years until her death in 2011) and had two more daughters. He had his own business, Darnell Cleaners in Bossier City, for 20 years. He ran for the office of Bossier City Marshal and for State Representative but lost by just a few votes to be in the runoff for marshal and by only twenty votes for representative, despite refusing to take any money at all in political fundraising, with the exception of $25.00 an acquaintance insisted he take, since he believed so strongly that public office should not be ‘bought.’


He became Post Commander four times at his local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and later State Commander and served on national VFW committees. For 15 years he held the position of Bossier Parish Service Officer for the Louisiana Veterans Affairs. Service Officers assisted veterans with their pension applications and other formalities. In 1981, Mr. Darnell urged Governor Roemer to allow the Veterans Affairs Commission to keep the Parish Service Offices when all but a few were slated to be abolished. Governor Roemer responded, ‘You want the job?’ and put Mr. Darnell on the Veterans Affairs Commission.


In 1988-1992 Mr. Darnell was appointed Director (now Secretary) of the Louisiana Division of Veterans Affairs. It’s not something Mr. Darnell, who quipped “I was lucky, I was not smart,” ever imagined he would be but he is proud of his accomplishments in that position. He was able to keep Parish Service Officers in every parish but one (that shared with a neighbor parish) when those positions were again threatened and to get an increase for veterans’ disability pensions.


The accomplishment Mr. Darnell is most proud of was establishing the Louisiana Veterans’ Home in Monroe (the second in the state, after Jackson’s) and establishing an honor guard available for Louisiana veterans’ funerals, not just for those of high-ranking officers, something the military branches said they had no funds to do. Though he described himself as one who ‘goes crazy’ if he’s not working (this was a man who asked for and got a job at Louisiana Downs at age 87), he did enjoy the “exemplary attention” when he became a Veterans Home resident at the Northwest Louisiana Veterans Home in Bossier City.





Mr. Darnell passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 97.







If you would like to see a transcript of his interview, or any other interviews in our oral history collection, please stop by or contact the History Center. We are located at 2206 Beckett St, Bossier City,

LA and are open M-Th 9-8, Fri 9-6, and Sat 9-5. Our phone number is (318) 746-7717 and our email is history-center@bossierlibrary.org

For other fun facts, photos, and videos, be sure to follow us @BPLHistoryCenter on FB, @bplhistorycenter on TikTok

Article by Pam Carlise

Photos: Printince Darnell in 2014

Campaign Card for Printice A. Darnell, Candidate for Marshal, Bossier City, La. And Ward 2





Tuesday, November 1, 2022

This Month In Bossier Parish History

 November: Through The Years


Nov.4, 1948:  On this day, a portable iron lung was presented by the Bossier City Civitan Club to the citizens of Bossier Parish.

            

Nov. 13, 1964: Bossier Bearkats and Airline Vikings face off for the first time. 

 


Nov. 25, 1929: Gov. Huey P. Long offers the construction of a new bridge (Texas Street Bridge) not only be free of cost to the communities but also free of tolls.

          

Weekly news from 100 years ago

  • Mrs. Julia Zachery received a broken arm and bruises from the buggy over turning.

 

                 

  • Mrs. John Love, Jr [Mary Bell]. made a trip to Plain Dealing.

    

  • Mr. Robert D. Whittington spent several days in Shreveport and Bossier City. 












  • While trying to crank his car, William E. Stinson broke his arm.