|Catalog Number||0000.011.008.001 D|
|Title||North Louisiana's Neglected History|
|Scope & Content||
"North Louisina's Neglected History"
It arouses my envy to visit other states such as Virginia and find the roadsides flanked with markers of historic spots. From the Shenendoah Valley to Jamestown the scenes to epoch-making events make the visitors recognize the historic importance of the Old Dominion.
In the archives of its Capitol as well in its cities end libraries are the data which make historic research for. every writer. South Louisiana has its historic archives and historians that glorify every .event of its historic past. It has always had its own historians whose accounts have made it a mecca of literary lights. Even the old cobblestones and drab buildings where shady occupations operate are tourist attractions, as the result of the magic pens of its ever ready coterie of literary glamorizes. From Lafcadio Morn to Lyle Saxon and Harnett Kane, New Orleans, the French Quarter and bayou regions are inexhaustible sources of historical drama. Meanwhile, ,win northern Louisiana sit amid id the maze and tangle of our unrevealed glory and wonder why the popular Conception is that alligators live in our back yards.
We neither demand our .fair share of historical recognition, nor realize its importance. The sources of information of those who wish to write any concise history are so fragmentary, scattered and hidden like a ---edle in a haystack, attics and jumbled courthouse records, that make the effort too expensive and discouraging. We have made no practical efforts to obtain archivists and researchers, and make no protest against the naturally lopsided Louisiana textbooks. We do not know our own history nor do we make it possible for our children to know it. We conduct fairs and festivals and try to attract visitors with as much tourist allure as a statistical brochure of a Chamber of Commerce.
I was amused as well as chagrinned some years ago when I came into possession of an official brochure entitled "Tourist Guide for Louisiana." About the only scene pictured in northern Louisiana was a stack of lumber at a sawmill at Minden and a road map which listed all the interesting spots at New Orleans, Baton Rouge and the Evangeline country.
This ended abruptly at - Alexandria. The only recognition northern Louisiana received was a couple of arrows pointing to Shreveport and Monroe. Not even Natchitoches, the oldest city in the Louisiana purchase, received mention in this tourist pamphlet. One futile protest was registered.
I have no quarrel with south Louisiana for I revel in her beauty and romance I enjoy the historic charm of old New Orleans; I have stood with awe and admiration on the banks of the Teche by the Evangeline oak and I am charmed by the soft accents, warm hospitality and romantic nature of the inhabitants of Bayou Land, and I have paid the highest tribute a "hillbilly" can to these people and their region. I like my coffee strong and black,; I married one of the prettiest girls on the banks of the Bayou Vermillion and we have a charming half Cajan who rolls her lovely eyes and cal me "Daddy." But I am not one who wishes to gaze at daisies in other fields while I ----- beautiful violets at lagoon feet. No moss-bound me that holds more beauty for carpeted a verdant hillside springtime flowers. Nor colors more dazzling of a woodland in my native region. And what can rival the loveliness of ice bound trees which glisten like diamonds when nature on her winter array amid our rocks and rills.
Age does not determine the value of history, but it .k must be gauged upon that basis then northern Louisiana can meet the challenge. In the beginning God created the heaven. i the earth and that included
our end of the state and something has been happy happening ever since. If my place has an older hi, tory lot it speak. Some of the hills of north Louisiana were formed during the Ozark upheaval which, according to Encyclopedia Brittancica, is among the oldest ranges In the world. In the pre Cambrian era and long before the Rocky Mountains or the mighty Himalayas were even pimples on the face of the earth, the Ozarks and its foothills which extend into Louisiana had risen to modest heights above the primordial sea. Time and erosion account for their diminutive size. These northern hills, the ruggedest and tallest regions of the state, were the habitat of many prehistoric animals. Fossils of mastadons, ancient elephants who ranged all over America, have been found in their formation. One such skeleton was unearthed a few miles from Shreveport and another in Bossier not far from Plain Dealing.
There is evidence, too, that a pre-Indian race populated this area for their artifacts, know as Folsum points which served as the heads of hand thrown spears, have been found in numerous place. These point were used before the invention of the bow, and according to some archaeologists, were used to slay mastadons which became extinct about fifty centuries ago. The existence of this ancient race is borne out by the legends of the Caddo Indians who told early settlers of their conquest of an earlier race.
One of the common misconceptions which results from our lop-sided history is that Louisiana was first explored up the Mississippi instead . of downstream. However, the fact remains that DeSoto visited northern Louisiana nearly one hundred and fifty years before European eyes gazed on the site of New Orleans. Not until LaSalle made his journey from Canada to the mouth of the Father of Waters late in the seventeenth century did the coastal regions and delta areas enter into the exploration picture.
Hernando DeSoto and his men were, no doubt, the first white men to visit northwest Louisiana. He landed near the site of Tampa, Florida', in 1542, and marched through Georgia westward burning more citadels of copper skinned Georgia crackers than Sherman did later on his march to the sea. DeSoto passed through northern Mississippi and inaugurated the timber slashing program by cutting down cypress trees to fachion rafts to cross the mighty riverwhich he discovered.
He entered Arkansas and wintered at Hot Springs, starting another old American custom. He headed south along the out bank of Red River in, the spring of 1543, just fifty-one years after the discovery of America. He entered Bossier Parish and got the first white man's sight of what is now Louisiana.
So Bossier has the destine honor of being the first area in the state that white man's eyes gazed upon. That he visited this region is well supported. The Caddo Indians told the early settlers the story of the visit of >hen who walked on four legs And had the ability to separate their bodies and make thunder. This, of course, -referred to the mounted Spanish explorers who thos their blanderbusses to ----
press the aborigines. Having never seen a horse before it was a strange sight to witness a dismounting and the Indians thought that the men and horse were single beings.
|Lexicon category||8: Communication Artifact|
|Lexicon sub-category||Documentary Artifact|