RUSTON’S CHAUTAUQUA: Louisiana’s Cultural Epicenter

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent Toma Lodge in Ruston is a quiet upscale neighborhood of fine homes, towering pine trees, and well manicured lawns.  Right away, visitors note the subdivision is unlike most contemporary growth in which lots are razed to facilitate construction and then replanted with spindly trees and shabby shrubs, giving the landscape an … Continue reading RUSTON’S CHAUTAUQUA: Louisiana’s Cultural Epicenter

1955: COLD WAR COMES TO LOUISIANA

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent The year 1955 saw American consumerism skyrocket with the opening with the first McDonald’s Restaurant and the debut of Disneyland. Fast food, including the first TV dinners, and canned Coca-Cola attested to the growth of the country’s standard of living since World War II. Ownership of a car became the … Continue reading 1955: COLD WAR COMES TO LOUISIANA

The First Shots Of Pearl Harbor

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent Most people who know about Pearl Harbor, the battle that brought America fully into World War II, believe that the Japanese attack was completely without warning.  The common misconception is that the first indication of attack occurred when Japanese bombs starting raining from the skies. But before the planes of … Continue reading The First Shots Of Pearl Harbor

1944: Navy Saves Small Town College

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent In 1944, the Navy rescued Louisiana Tech and its football program. World War II turned collegiate athletics upside down as young men swapped athletic uniforms for military ones, joining the service to fight in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific. Louisiana Tech was not immune. Student athletes, who would have … Continue reading 1944: Navy Saves Small Town College

Flatboat Incident On River At Lake Providence

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent Vigilantes Demand Immediate Justice for Murders by Rowdy Potato Boat Crewmen Although American railroads expanded rapidly after the Civil War, many goods were still transported through the nation's waterways. Barges loaded with coal, corn, cotton, lumber, and other goods and products moved slowly down the Mississippi and its tributaries to … Continue reading Flatboat Incident On River At Lake Providence

End of the Nightriders – Winn Parish Destroys Outlaws

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent After the Civil War, some men in Winn Parish banded together to form what was to be a home guard, serving as "regulators" to control the behavior of recently freed slaves and oppose the Republican government of "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags." Before long, some elements of the group turned to banditry … Continue reading End of the Nightriders – Winn Parish Destroys Outlaws

Marching Through Louisiana’s War History

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent North Louisiana’s Military Museums Exhibit Mementos of Area’s Participation One way to tour the great state of Louisiana is to plan stops around a theme. You can visit a selection of state parks, art galleries, or antebellum homes. A number of planned tour routes are available online, including at louisianatravel.com, a … Continue reading Marching Through Louisiana’s War History

West-Kimbrell Clan Terrorized North Louisiana

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent After the Civil War, some men in Winn Parish banded together to form what was to be a home guard, serving as "regulators" to control the behavior of recently freed slaves and oppose the Republican government of "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags." Before long, some elements of the group turned to banditry … Continue reading West-Kimbrell Clan Terrorized North Louisiana

Vigilantes Imposed Law in Post War Louisiana

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent March 12, 1872; Vienna, Jackson Parish, Louisiana Although every community in the South suffered deprivations and despair during the Civil War, some were spared the horrors of armies turning their cotton fields and pastures into battlefields. North central Louisiana, between Monroe and Shreveport and from north of Alexandria to the … Continue reading Vigilantes Imposed Law in Post War Louisiana

Fake News’ Is Not A Recent Development

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent C. C. Nash, Deputy Sheriff, Led Possie In 1897, when Mark Twain's cousin was seriously ill, reporters confused the two men,announcing the great writer had died. Twain famously responded,"The report of my death was an exaggeration." It was not the first time, nor would it be the last, that the … Continue reading Fake News’ Is Not A Recent Development

Mistrust of Justice Led to Lynching For Stealing

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent The end of the Civil War did not bring peace to Louisiana. Local and state governments, which had been controlled by white Democrats for decades, were held during Reconstruction mostly by the Radical faction of the Republican Party. To bolster local Republican loyalists, new parishes were created to provide them … Continue reading Mistrust of Justice Led to Lynching For Stealing

First, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent Louisiana Politics Wasn’t Always DirtySometimes It Was Just Deadly In Shakespeare’s Henry the Sixth, a largely forgotten character utters one of the writer’s most memorable lines: “First, let’s kill all the lawyers.” The oft-misinterpreted line was meant to praise attorneys and judges who impart justice in society. But in the … Continue reading First, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers

Villainy In Vienna

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent March 12, 1872Vienna, Jackson Parish, Louisiana Although every community in the South suffered deprivations and despair during the Civil War, some were spared the horrors of armies turning their cotton fields and pastures into battlefields.  North Central Louisiana, between Monroe and Shreveport and from north of Alexandria to the Arkansas … Continue reading Villainy In Vienna

Home Gardeners Helped Win Victory in the War

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent 1943. The world was at war. The needs of the American military diverted resources once devoted to building cars and feeding families to the war effort. People dutifully supported the fight by purchasing bonds, recycling scrap metal, volunteering, and knitting socks for soldiers. With much of the country's processed food … Continue reading Home Gardeners Helped Win Victory in the War

Man Fights to Bring His Brother’s Killers to Justice

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent After the Civil War, Republicans, with control of the federal bureaucracy and the military, took charge of local and state government in Louisiana and most of the South. Once the sole purview of the white Democrats, control of local politics was largely in the hands of those holding newfound power … Continue reading Man Fights to Bring His Brother’s Killers to Justice

Vermont Carpetbagger Barely Survives Resistance

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent In the years called Reconstruction after the Civil War, carpetbaggers and scalawags wrested political control of Louisiana long held by Democrats. Northerners who moved to the South to take advantage of the unstable social, financial, and political climate to make their fortunes were mockingly called carpetbaggers since they often arrived … Continue reading Vermont Carpetbagger Barely Survives Resistance

Stagecoach Once Ruled North Louisiana Travel

Wesley HarrisPiney Woods Journal Correspondent Long before railroads and superhighways crisscrossed America, boats and stagecoaches provided the primary means of commercial transportation. The Smithsonian Institution notes that mail contracts made up the bulk of the profits for most stage companies. The company awarded a contract from the postal service was the one most likely to … Continue reading Stagecoach Once Ruled North Louisiana Travel