Page 1

SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 1: 1817-1870 A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1650

1700

1699

The Expedition

1750

1721

Europeans settle the area

1800

1779

Spain takes control of Baton Rouge

A CITY IS BORN A REDDISH CYPRESS pole festooned with

Europeans settlers moved in in 1721,

bloody animals and fish was one of the

when a military post was established

first things French explorer Sieur d’Iber-

by French colonists. Baton Rouge was,

ville spotted as he led a party up the Mis-

at various times, governed by France,

sissippi River near Scott’s Bluff, on what

Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida

is now the campus of Southern Universi-

Republic, the Confederate States and

ty. It marked the boundary between the

the United States. The city itself was

Houma Tribe and the Bayougoula hunting

incorporated in 1817.

grounds. Thus “Baton Rouge” was born.

1846

5,500

THE YEAR THE STATE LEGISLATURE DESIGNATED BATON ROUGE TO REPLACE NEW ORLEANS AS LOUISIANA’S CAPITAL

POPULATION OF BATON ROUGE BEFORE THE OUTBREAK OF THE CIVIL WAR.

Cover images courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections, from the collections of Dr. Chet Coles, Gaiennie, Friends of Historic Spanish Town and Foundation for Historical Louisiana.

1882

NEW ORLEANS SERVED AS THE SEAT OF THE RECONSTRUCTION ERA STATE GOVERNMENT. WHEN THE BOURBON DEMOCRATS REGAINED POWER IN 1882, THEY RETURNED STATE GOVERNMENT TO BATON ROUGE.


1800

1812

Louisiana is admitted to the Union as a state

1850

1817

1900

Baton Rouge is incorporated

1950

1846-1848

The Pentagon Barracks are a major command post throughout the Mexican American War

THE 90-DAY REPUBLIC WITH THE 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the Unit-

Republic of West Florida, known as the Bonnie

ed States gained the former French territory in

Blue. St. Francisville served as its capital.

North America. But Baton Rouge remained part of Spanish West Florida—virtually surrounded by the United States and its possessions. The Spanish fort at Baton Rouge became the only non-U.S. military post on the Mississippi River.

The republic was short-lived, however. President James Madison ordered W. C. C. Claiborne to move north and seize the fledgling republic to annex into the Territory of Orleans. The rebels—comprised largely of American set-

On September 23, 1810, rebel inhabitants of

tlers—did not resist. For the first time, nearly

West Florida overcame the Spanish garrison at

all of the land that would become the state of

Baton Rouge and unfurled the flag of the new

Louisiana lay within U.S. territorial borders.

FAMOUS MONIKERS

GALVEZ In 1779, Spanish Governor Don Bernardo de Galvez led a militia of nearly 1,400 soldiers and a small contingent of rebellious colonials from New Orleans toward Baton Rouge. They captured the recently constructed Fort New Richmond in the Battle of Baton Rouge. They renamed the site Fort San Carlos and took control of the city.

ESSEN AND SIEGEN A colony of Pennsylvania German farmers who settled to the south of Baton Rouge after a series of floods in the 1780s named these two major roads after cities in Germany. The Kleinpeter and Staring families were among the most prominent of the early German families in the area.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

THE CAPITAL CITY EMERGES FEARING A concentration of power in New Orleans, the Louisiana Legislature—dominated in number by wealthy rural planters—decided to move the seat of government to Baton Rouge in 1849. New York architect James Dakin was hired to design the new capitol in Baton Rouge. Rather than mimic the federal Capitol Building in Washington as other state designers had done, he conceived a neoGothic medieval castle, complete with turrets and crenellations, overlooking the Mississippi River.

Energy devoted to jobs For more than a century, industry and Baton Rouge have grown together. ExxonMobil has been a leader in connecting Louisianians to jobs, everyday products and community service. We invest where it counts by creating thousands of quality, long-term careers for both employees and contractors, which contribute to the quality of life of residents in the Baton Rouge area.

In 1909, the original “engineering corps team” for the construction of the Baton Rouge Refinery was made up of a diverse, local workforce. Using mule-driven machinery and local labor, the first few units were built in just months and processing crude oil by November 1909 with 1,000 employees onsite.


FAMOUS MONIKERS

SPANISH TOWN

LAFAYETTE STREET

The Spanish administrator, Don Carlos Louis Boucher de Grand Pre, in 1805 commissioned a plan for the area today known as Spanish Town. In 1806, Elias Beauregard led a planning commission for what is now known as Beauregard Town.

In 1825, Baton Rouge was visited by the Marquis de Lafayette— French hero of the American Revolution—as part of his triumphal tour of the United States. To celebrate the occasion and honor him, the city changed the name of Second Street to Lafayette Street.

FULWAR SKIPWITH A Baton Rougean who took part in the 1810 West Florida rebellion against Spain and served as president of the short-lived Republic of West Florida.

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 2: 1871-1900 A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1870

1875

1880

ANDREW D. LYTLE COLLECTION/LSU LIBRARIES

1865

1869

LSU moves to Baton Rouge

1876

Leon Jastremski, instrumental in keeping state government in Baton Rouge, is elected mayor for first of three terms

1877

Federal troops withdraw from the South, ending Reconstruction

EMERGING FROM WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION THOUGH IT WASN’T as wealthy as it had been before the Civil War, the city regained its status as capital of the state, and commerce returned. The St. Louis School, the city’s first public school, was built in 1867. In 1879, a deeper shipping channel was created in the Missis-

5,429 POPULATION OF BATON ROUGE IN 1860

sippi River, aiding industrial development. The City Council authorized the creation of a waterworks in 1887. In the late 1880s, construction of the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway, which ran through Baton Rouge, also boosted the economy.

11,269

POPULATION OF BATON ROUGE IN 1900

$837

TAX DOLLARS COLLECTED BY THE CITY FROM GAMBLING HOUSES IN 1886

$25,383 TOTAL SPENT BY CITY GOVERNMENT IN 1886

On the cover: Old State Capitol being restored after Civil War damage (1880), courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections, from the collection of Friends of Historic Spanish Town; Baton Rouge’s Main Street (late 1800s), Andrew D. Lytle Collection, Mss. 893, 1254, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge; Texas & Pacific Railroad ticket office, Third Street (circa 1890-1900), Andrew D. Lytle Album Photograph Collection, Mss. 3708, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, Baton Rouge; Postcard, “1875 view of Baton Rouge from the Mississippi River,” courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections.


1890

1895

LSU PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION/LSU LIBRARIES

1885

ANDREW D. LYTLE ALBUM PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION

1880

1882

1890

State government returns to Baton Rouge

Mule-drawn streetcars begin to run

1893

LSU plays first football game; loses to Tulane

YELLOW FEVER IN THE SUMMER of 1878, an epidemic of yellow fever swept through the city. Residents fled to St. Francisville, Clinton or Denham Springs. Shotgun-toting vigilantes manned roadblocks in and out of the city. Local leaders, including businessman and future governor Henry Fuqua, enforced a quarantine at the homes of those stricken by the disease. At the time, no one knew it was carried by mosquitoes. By the time an October frost killed off the offending insects, some 2,415 residents, about a third of the city’s population, had been affected, and at least 160 died.

FAMOUS MONIKERS

HOO SHOO TOO

Today, it’s a street with a silly name. But in the late 1800s, the Hoo-ShooToo Club was where men escaped the city life to the shady banks of the Amite River to eat, drink and play music while wearing white pajamas and straw hats.

KORNMEYERS

Jacob Kornmeyer opened a general store in 1854. But it was the furniture store, added in 1880, that was a Baton Rouge institution until it closed in 2007.

DID YOU KNOW? THE SOCIETY OF St. Vincent de Paul founded Catholic High School, originally called St. Vincent Academy, downtown in 1894. It moved to its current location in 1957. IN THE SCHOOL’S first-ever football game, LSU’s players wore purple and gold ribbons. When searching for colors to brighten the grey uniforms, LSU’s chemistry professor/head coach Charles Coates went to S.I. Reymond’s on the corner of Third and Main to buy colored ribbons. The store had plenty of purple and gold, but the other Mardi Gras color, green, was not in stock. LSU lost the game to Tulane 34-0.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

THE FLAGSHIP ARRIVES

FRIENDS OF HISTORIC SPANISH TOWN

LSU BEGAN AS an all-male military school near Pineville in 1860. After a fire in 1869, it was moved to the State Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind in Baton Rouge. For the first several years, the school shared the large building with the institution. Financial woes and a revolving cast of presidents and faculty caused instability throughout its early years. In 1886, the school moved to a former military site where the current state capitol is today, and a major building program ensued. By 1915, the 200-acre downtown site was maxed out; classes were being held on the current site by 1926.

Energy devoted to jobs In the early 1900s, Baton Rouge—a town of only 14,897—was reeling from boll weevil devastation of the cotton industry. Eager for new business, it welcomed Standard Oil of Louisiana employees who envisioned what the Daily StateTimes called “The Greatest Oil Refining and Distributing Plant in the South.” Soon after, the first barrel of crude oil was processed, beginning the partnership between the city and our company. Today, one out of every eight jobs Standard Oil, the precursor to ExxonMobil today, one of the first large companies to diversify its in the Baton Rouge area can be traced back was workforce and provide a livelihood for many who lived in Baton Rouge. to ExxonMobil. —Photo provided by Judge Melvin & Marna Shortess from the collection of John Adam Bechtold.


FREE AT LAST? FREED SLAVES SOUGHT opportunity and safety in urban areas like Baton Rouge. After the Civil War, the federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands created “home colonies” for former slaves that provided schools, stores and health care, including the McHatton Home Colony at the site of a former plantation, where LSU is today. The former owner, James Alexander McHatton, was a Confederate spy who fled to Mexico during the war. Leon Jastremski, a newspaper editor and three-term mayor, perhaps was Baton Rouge’s foremost proponent of white supremacy and suspicion of “Yankees.” In 1890, whites were said to engage in a “reign of terror,” shooting and whipping blacks who refused to sell their property. As the city evolved and more Northerners with money arrived, racial

hatred and fear of outsiders abated, according to historian Mark Carleton, although forced segregation continued for decades.

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Your local connection to endless opportunities. © 2016 JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. “Chase” is a marketing name for certain businesses of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its subsidiaries (collectively, “JPMC”). 289012


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 3: 1901-1929 A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1909

1912

Standard Oil arrives

The Mississippi River overflows and floods the city

1915

COURTESY OF THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, FROM THE COLLECTION OF DR. CHET COLES

1910

JOHN B. HEROMAN, SR. PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION, MSS. 4951, LOUISIANA AND LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES, BATON ROUGE

1905

FROM THE ALBUM OF FRANK C. READ

1900

1914

Southern University moves to Baton Rouge

LSU IN WW1

rine Corps. An LSU professor, Maj. WHEN THE UNITED STATES enGen. Campbell B. Hodges, served tered World War I in 1917, almost with distinction and went on to the entire LSU Cadet Corps be Commandant of the Cadets volunteered. Former LSU at the U.S. Military Academy, student Lt. Gen. John military adviser to PresiA. Lejeune (right) was dent Herbert Hoover and the first commander of president of LSU. When a Marine Corps comthe university moved from bat division and later downtown Baton Rouge to became Commandant its current location at a former LIBRARY OF of the United States MaCONGRESS

cane field and plantation, among the first facilities to be erected was the Memorial Tower (below), dedicated to the memory of all Louisianans who gave their lives during World War I.

COURTESY OF THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, GIFT OF ED REED/PHOTOGRAPH BY EWING

ICONIC ARCHITECTURE

HEIDELBERG HOTEL (1927)

ROUMAIN BUILDING (1913) Sometimes described as Baton Rouge’s first skyscraper, the downtown commercial building measures a towering six stories.

PRINCE HALL MASONIC TEMPLE (1925) A center of black society, it hosted top entertainers like Duke Ellington, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Ike and Tina Turner, as well as NAACP meetings and voter registration schools.

The luxurious tenstory hotel, now the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, was a favorite haunt of Huey Long; supposedly he wrote the song “Every Man a King” in his suite.

On the cover: Parade in the 300 block of Third Street (1914) courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections, from the album of Frank C. Read; Baton Rouge riverfront (1923), courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections, from the collection of Foundation for Historical Louisiana; Huey P. Long campaign flyer (1928), Louisiana Research Collection, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University, New Orleans; Flood relief (1927), courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections, from the Arbour Photograph Collection. Iconic Architecture: All images courtesy of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Special Collections. Roumain Building: Gift of Ed Reed; Heidelberg Hotel: Gift of Ed Reed/Photograph by Ewing.


1925

1930

1924

1926

First game is played in Tiger Stadium

LSU officially opens at its current location

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LSU PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION

1920

1928

Huey Long is elected governor

SOUTHERN AND SCOTLANDVILLE FOUNDED IN New Orleans in 1880, Southern University and A&M College was relocated to Scott’s Bluff at the edge of Scotlandville in 1914, over the objections of nearby white residents. The influence of Southern, still the flagship campus for America’s only historically black

university system, helped transform a former cotton plantation and entry point for the slave trade into a bustling African American community. Many Southern University faculty members moved

into Scotlandville, and the town’s first professional offices and financial institutions were opened with the university’s assistance. A thriving business district developed around the intersection of Scenic Highway and Scotlandville Avenue.

FUN FACTS

MOVIE MANIA

On Christmas Day 1907, LSU’s football team played in Cuba, winning the Bacardi Bowl against the University of Havana 56-0. The 1908 team completed a 10-0 season that was clouded by Tulane’s accusations of professionalism, but was retroactively awarded a co-national championship by the National Championship Foundation many years later.

The movie business came to Baton Rouge in 1926 with the filming of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a silent film starring Margarita Fischer and James B. Lowe. It was one of Hollywood’s first mixed-race productions, and some 200 locals served as extras.

COURTESY OF THE EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, ARBOUR PHOTO COLLECTION

THE GREAT FLOOD Baton Rouge’s levees held up against the great Mississippi River flood of 1927, allowing locals to participate in the relief efforts.

UNIVERSAL PICTURES

LSU PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION (1908)

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

SOUVENIR EDITION OF THE LOUISIANA  CHRONICLE DEMOCRAT (1916)

STANDARD OIL BRINGS NEW INDUSTRY TO TOWN

STANDARD OIL OF New Jersey’s construction of an oil refinery on 225 acres of cotton fields just north of the city has been called by historian Mark Carleton “the most historically significant event that

occurred in Baton Rouge during the early twentieth century— perhaps ever.” When it opened in November 1909, it employed 700 and could process 1,800 barrels of crude per day. Within two

Energy devoted to jobs In 1917 the Refinery increased capacity for gasoline, once considered a waste product, to help fuel military efforts in WWI as well as the thousands of “horseless carriages” chugging across the nation. By 1923 the plant area had tripled, and mobile units were needed to feed a workforce that exceeded 2,000. By 1929 the Baton Rouge Refinery was the largest of its kind in the world; today it remains the fourth largest refinery in the nation and the largest manufacturing employer in Louisiana. Standard Oil of Louisiana, the original company name, issued the first paychecks in 1926; the monthly payroll was nearly $1 million. Today ExxonMobil’s payroll is $491 million annually, with area residents earning $1.3 billion via the economic ripple effect. The Baton Rouge Complex provides 35,742 indirect jobs for Louisianans—greater than the total employment in 49 of the 64 parishes in the state. —Photo provided by Judge Melvin & Marna Shortess from the collection of John Adam Bechtold.

years, Standard Oil controlled the state’s transportation of oil and its refinement, in contrast with Texas, where local independent oilmen produced oil. By 1920, the refinery employed 3,000 men.


ENTERING THE 20TH CENTURY TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY Mayor Robert Hart issued bonds to build schools and improve roads, sewers and drains. By 1920, more than 17 miles of paved and hard-surfaced roads crisscrossed the city, and 28 miles of sewer lines served its residents. In 1926, the Municipal Dock was completed at a cost of $550,000 on the east bank of the Mississippi River near the current I-10 bridge, enabling ocean-going vessels to offload heavy cargo onto barges for upriver transport. As the city grew after Standard Oil arrived, there was more ethnic mixing; Italians, Cajuns, whites and East Asians often lived in the same neighborhoods. However, blacks still were segregated in Scotlandville, Eden Park, Old South Baton Rouge and Catfish Town.

STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 4: 1930s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1932

1934

Huey Long is elected to the U.S. Senate

1932

WJBO, Baton Rouge’s first commercial radio station, begins broadcasting

ISTOCK

1930

1934

STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA

LSU LIBRARIES, HUEY P. LONG PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM

1930

The new State Capitol is completed

THE LONG-SIMMERING resentment between the Baton Rouge establishment and Huey Long boiled over on January 25, 1935, when the anti-Long Square Deal Association launched an armed revolt and took over the courthouse. The former governor—then a U.S. senator but still running the state—had Gov. O.K. Allen call in the National Guard and declare martial law. The Square Dealers relinquished the courthouse, but guardsmen later used tear gas and bullets to disperse a crowd at the Baton Rouge Airport. Gun

COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

THE KINGFISH VS. BATON ROUGE

sales, press criticism of state officials and public gatherings were banned in East Baton Rouge Par-

ish until July. A Long spy reported a plot to kill “The Kingfish,” impugning several prominent Baton Rouge men. Not on that list was Dr. Carl Weiss, whose Sept. 8 attack led to Long’s death two days later (the details remain controversial). While Long succumbed to his injuries at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Baton Rouge churches were “filled with people praying he would die,” a Long opponent claimed. Some 175,000 people attended Long’s funeral; his casket was buried in front of the State Capitol he had built.

COUNTING HEADS

BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1930

1940

30,729 34,719

EAST BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1930

1940

66,208 88,415

On the cover: Young man with automobile noting “Baton Rouge Seventh Port” on the grill (1930) courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, from the scrapbook of Velma Poche; Junior League Follies (1933), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, from the collection of the Junior League of Baton Rouge; interior view of the Southern Bell Telephone Company switchboard room (1930s), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library; Willard Foley Jr. and his Pursuit Plane with family and friends at the Baton Rouge Airport (1932), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, from the Foundation for Historical Louisiana Collection.


1935

Huey Long is assassinated

1940

COURTESY FRIENDS OF HISTORIC SPANISH TOWN

WPA PHOTO BY EARL S. MARTIN

1938

COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY, COLLECTION OF DR. CHET COLES

1936

1936

The Baton Rouge streetcar system shuts down

1939

Gov. Richard Leche resigns amid a corruption scandal; Lt. Gov. Earl Long succeeds him

THE GREAT DEPRESSION ed gardens to compensate for fruit and vegetable shortages. Wealthy matrons laid off their servants. But thanks to New Deal spending, Huey Long’s welfare state and salaried bureaucrats, LSU, and the oil industry, Baton Rouge weathered the Depression reasonably well, according to historian Mark Carleton. Federal funds and programs such as the Works Progress Administration contributed new roads, sidewalks and university halls, built the original Alex Box Stadium and expanded Tiger Stadium, restored

STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA

AS WAS THE case in the rest of the nation, the economy in Baton Rouge suffered after the 1929 stock market crash. More than 2,000 properties were sold for nonpayment of taxes during the first four years of the 1930s. Of the five prominent local banks, only Louisiana National Bank survived under the same name. Twohundred unemployed residents set up the Unemployed Workman’s Association, which ran a cannery, garage, general store, shoe shop and beauty parlor. Locals cultivat-

The Works Progress Administration at work at LSU

the Old State Capitol, and drained the swamp that became University Lake.

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

THE CLARK MEN The first president of Southern University at Baton Rouge, Joseph Clark, retired in 1938. Under his leadership, enrollment grew from 47 to more than 500. He was succeeded by his son Felton Clark; between father and son, the Clark men led Southern for 55 years.

VICTORY IS OURS In 1932, the U.S. government appropriated land at Victory Park for a new U.S. Post Office and Courthouse on Florida Street. In exchange, the feds donated the old post office and courthouse on North Boulevard, which housed local government until 1957 and is now home of the City Club of Baton Rouge.

THE TUITION HERD Elena Percy of West Feliciana Parish drove nine head of cattle from her home to LSU in 1932. She used the cattle to pay her tuition. EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY, ERNEST GUEYMARD COLLECTION

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY, GIFT OF ED REED

FROM THE VAULT


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

DESPITE THE Great Depression, Baton Rouge’s oil-refining facility continued to expand, and Solvay Process, Consolidated Chemicals and Ethyl Corp. arrived by the end of the 1930s. Industrial, professional and state government workers drove urban and suburban neighborhood development. Buses and automobiles became the favored means of transportation, and by 1936 the city’s streetcar system was shut down. Downtown, particularly Third Street, was a bustling shopping and entertainment district. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus was a popular annual visitor. University faculty

HARRIS NEWS AGENCY, COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY, COLLECTION OF DR. CHET COLES

LIFE BETWEEN THE WARS

and refinery brass brought out-ofstate perspectives to a provincial town, although racial segregation and Jim Crow laws ensured blacks remained second-class citizens.

Energy devoted to service Employee outreach to area youth began as early as the 1930s. The refinery began to support the Istrouma Boy Scout Council, and the company helped improve Camp Istrouma by building its first swimming pool, drainage system and new cabins. Beyond growing the refinery, employees were encouraged to volunteer and help make Baton Rouge a better place to live. In 2016, ExxonMobil employees and retirees donated 40,000 volunteer hours to local causes—the equivalent of 1,667 days in just one year. Visitors tour the refinery. Standard Oil of Louisiana (early name of ExxonMobil) President Fred Weller believed that employees were company ambassadors. He said, “To the personnel is due great credit, not only for the work accomplished but also for the standing of the company in the community.” —Photo provided by Judge Melvin & Marna Shortess from the collection of John Adam Bechtold.


GROWTH AND SCANDAL AT LSU for high faculty salaries when most universities were laying off professors, allowing LSU to recruit top scholars. Not coincidentally, the Southern Review, Journal of Southern History, and LSU Press all were founded in 1935, the same year the university awarded its first doctoral degree. The largesse came

LSU LIBRARIES, FROM THE HUEY P. LONG PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM; LOUISIANA RESEARCH COLLECTION, LEON TRICE LOUISIANA POLITICAL PHOTOGRAPHS

BY 1932, the state had spent $24 million at LSU’s new 3,000acre campus. “If there’s any title I’m proud of, it’s Chief Thief for LSU,” Huey Long (bottom left image, with LSU cheerleaders) reportedly once boasted. While a major booster of the football team and marching band, Long also called

with meddling: Seven student journalists were expelled after the Reveille published criticism of Long. James Monroe Smith (bottom right image, left, with Gov. Richard Leche), the Long-favored university president, was forced to resign in 1939 after embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars and went to prison. He was soon joined in infamy by members of the Long machine, after corruption in federal programs and at state agencies such as LSU led to dozens of indictments. Gov. Richard Leche resigned and was convicted of defrauding the state and federal governments. He was replaced by Huey’s brother, Earl Long.

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 5: 1940s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1944

1940

U.S. 190 Mississippi River “old bridge” completed

GETTY IMAGES

COURTESY NATIONAL ARCHIVES, PHOTO NO. 26-G-3422

1942

BERNARD F. HOLMES

1940

1941

United States enters World War II

1945

World War II ends

BATON ROUGE GOES TO WAR ana’s chemical industry provided octane boosters for war planes, synthetic rubber, aluminum ore and processed military fuels. LSU produced thousands of Army trainees. Baton Rougeans who served with distinction included prominent banker Ralph Sims and future legislator Charles Duchein, who eventually became a major general in the Marine Corps Reserve. Navy Ensign Rodney Foss, an Arkansas native and Baton Rouge resident killed in the Pearl Harbor attack, may have been the first member of the U.S. armed

forces to die in World War II. A destroyer escort was named the U.S.S. Foss in his honor.

A HISTORY OF: MEDICINE AND NURSING IN BATON ROUGE, LA; VOLUME 2

HARDING FIELD, dedicated on Sept. 28, 1941, was the first U.S. armed forces base in Baton Rouge since Reconstruction. After the Japanese military bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, officially bringing the United States into World War II, countless men and women trained at Harding; the Women’s Army Air Corps arrived in 1943. The Aluminum Company of America opened a Baton Rouge plant in 1942, and within two years it employed 800 and produced enough aluminum monthly for 2,000 fighter planes. Louisi-

2nd Lt. Russell Lobdell, a Baton Rouge native who trained at Harding Field, and was shot down over northern France, next to a fighter plane

COUNTING HEADS

BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1940

1950

EAST BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1940

1950

34,719 125,629* 88,415 158,236 *city limits expanded in 1949

On the cover: Poolroom on 21st Street across from the Standard Oil Baton Rouge Refinery (1947), courtesy Standard Oil (New Jersey), Photographic Archives, University of Louisville; Third Street looking north (1947), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library; First Communion at St. Francis Xavier Church (1949), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, scrapbook of Lionel Brown; and Wyandotte Playground (1946), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Junior League of Baton Rouge collection.


1948

Louisiana Legislature establishes BREC

Voters approve city expansion and city-parish government consolidation

STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA

1946

1950

1947

E.R. NILSON MAP SERVICE

JUNIOR LEAGUE OF BATON ROUGE COLLECTION/EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

1946

1948

Earl Long elected governor

A COMMUNITY TRANSFORMED more than 158,000 people lived in East Baton Rouge Parish, an 80% increase in only a decade. Black Americans, after fighting for their nation overseas, returned to make their case for equality at home. Black teachers in East Baton Rouge failed to convince the school board to equalize pay with similarly qualified white teachers, but the stage was being set for the broader Civil Rights movement to come.

EDWIN AND LOUISE ROSSKAM/STANDARD OIL (NEW JERSEY) PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES

LIKE THE REST of the nation, Baton Rouge made sacrifices during the war. Blackouts in the name of security were frequent. Shortages were common, so gasoline, tires and other goods were rationed. But the influx of federal money, the arrival of military personnel, and the war-driven expansion of the oil refining and chemical manufacturing sectors created an economic and population boom that reverberated after the fighting ended. By 1950,

AUSPICIOUS BEGINNINGS

IN 1944, T. H. HAMILTON

WTYLERALLEN, PICCADILLY RESTAURANTS

HUEY WILSON opened a

IL E

the Sternberg family bought the original Main Street Goudchaux’s, which they expanded until it was the world’s longest department store at 310,000 square feet. Goudchaux’s/ Maison Blanche would grow to 24 stores, making it the longest family-owned department store in America.

PH OT O

IN 1945,

bought the original Piccadilly Cafeteria with hopes of growing the business. The chain grew to include 60 restaurants and 80 food service locations across the Southeast.

F

downtown jewelry repair business in 1949 that grew into a catalog showroom and retail empire of 80 stores throughout the South, becoming the largest company headquartered in Baton Rouge and employing 10,000 people. Wilson went on to co-found Gulf Island Fabrication and become one of Baton Rouge’s most prominent philanthropists.

DAVID WOOD


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

BIRTH OF THE CITY-PARISH Parish Council did not officially merge and become the Metropolitan Council until 1982. Powers Higginbotham was the last mayor under the old system and the first mayor-president.

Energy devoted to fueling the war effort During WWII, Baton Rouge became the “Cradle of the Synthetic Rubber Industry,” building three 20-ton butyl units that helped supply each soldier with the 32 pounds of synthetic rubber gear required. The two first catalytic cracking units were quickly constructed—each 21 stories high with 100 miles of piping—revolutionizing the manufacture of high-octane fuel used in Allied planes and vehicles. And the face of the workforce changed as women filled the shoes of men sent to war. Some of the 1,000 employees who joined the patriotic effort were the refinery’s first female chemists, operators, lab techs and mechanical drafters. World War II spurred advancements in technology and created a culture of patriotism. Employees conserved materials, volunteered and increased their schedules to 48-hour work weeks to help increase production of Allied supplies.

The late Mayor-President Powers Higginbotham, the late Mayor-President Jack Breaux of Zachary, Gil Dozier, Commissioner of Agriculture, Sheriff Al Amiss and Mayor President Woody Dumas.

WOODY DUMAS COLLECTION, EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

IN 1947, East Baton Rouge voters narrowly approved a measure abolishing the parish police jury and replacing it with a consolidated city-parish government, while expanding the Baton Rouge city limits from about 5 square miles to about 30 square miles. City residents mostly voted “yes,” while rural voters largely voted “no.” A commission sponsored by the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce recommended the change, meant to cut costs, eliminate duplication and lead to the creation of a master plan for the rapidly growing parish. Dissenters feared higher taxes and domination by Baton Rouge. The new system was put into place in 1949, although the City Council and


LSU LIBRARIES

BATON ROUGE’S ‘FIRST CITIZEN’

LSU, A FORMER military institution affectionately known as “the Ole War Skule,” had produced 15 armed forces generals by 1943. But the most prominent World War II general from Baton Rouge never attended LSU as a student, although he

would eventually lead the university as president. Lt. Gen. Troy Middleton graduated from Mississippi A&M College and commanded a regiment in World War I. During World War II, he led the 45th Infantry Division in Italy and command-

ed the VII Corps in France, Belgium and Germany. An arthritic knee temporarily had him sidelined at Walter Reed Army Hospital, but Supreme Allied Commander Dwight Eisenhower had other ideas. “I don’t give a damn about his knees; I want his head and his heart,” Ike supposedly said. “And I’ll take him into battle on a litter if we have to.” Outside of his military career, Middleton served LSU for 38 years in six different administrative positions, including 11 as president, and historian Mark Carleton wrote that he was as much Baton Rouge’s “first citizen” as anyone possibly could be.

You’ve got plans, budgets, suppliers, employees, payables, receivables, and oh yes… customers. Do you have the right business team by your side? To see how our people and solutions can work for you, visit chase.com/ForBusiness or contact your local Chase Business Banker.

Rena H. Roy Vice President Business Banking Area Manager Baton Rouge, LA 225-332-4096

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 6: 1950s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL

PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1952

1954

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

1950

1953

African American passengers boycott Baton Rouge buses

1953

1954

WAFB, Baton Rouge’s first TV station, begins broadcasting

Port of Greater Baton Rouge construction begins

THE FIRST BUS BOYCOTT whites. “I thought that was just out of order; that was just cruel,” Jemison told NPR in 2003. About 80% of the bus riders were black. An eight-day boycott by black passengers forced a compromise: Blacks could sit in most seats but never in the front two. And if whites boarded the bus, blacks were supposed to move back, so no black riders were sitting in front of whites. Segregation was maintained, and whites remained in the dominant position. “The boycott had long-term implications for

the community,” Raymond Jetson, pastor at Star Hill Church, told 225 last year, “in terms of recognizing leadership and the potential to bring about change.”

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

THE 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott associated with Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the most famous civil rights protest in American history. But few people realize Baton Rouge’s seminal bus boycott predated Montgomery’s by two years and influenced King’s strategy. The late Rev. T.J. Jemison (pictured at right) would watch buses pass his Baton Rouge church and see black people standing in the aisles, banned from sitting in seats reserved for

THROW ME SOMETHING

Then as now, Baton Rougeans didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras with the enthusiasm of their New Orleans neighbors. But that doesn’t mean the Capital City didn’t have a carnival season, as these 1951 photos taken by the Baton Rouge Police Department show.

BATON ROUGE POL ICE DEPARTMENT/CO EAST BATON ROUGE URTESY PARISH LIBRARY

FROM THE VAULT

On the cover: East Baton Rouge Parish Library Bookmobile (1952), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library; postcard of Third Street looking north (1950), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, from the collection of Dr. Chet Coles; Miss Esso Contest (1953), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, from the Ernest Gueymard Collection.


1960

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

1956

1958

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY/ WOODY DUMAS COLLECTION

1956

1956

East Baton Rouge schools desegregation lawsuit is filed. It won’t be settled until 2003.

Mayor-President Jesse Webb Jr. dies in a plane crash; his wife becomes the first female mayor

1959

LSU football team clinches its first national championship with a Sugar Bowl victory

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT in 1954 ruled that state laws requiring separate schools for black and white children were unconstitutional. In 1956, black families and the U.S. Department of Justice sued the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in hopes of forcing the system to abide by the high court’s ruling. The board took no meaningful action until implementing a “freedom of choice” desegregation plan in 1963; the suit dragged on for 47 years. LSU’s first black undergraduate, Alexander Tureaud

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

EDUCATION AND INTEGRATION

Jr., enrolled in 1953 but soon was kicked out when the injunction that allowed him to attend was revoked. The university did not integrate its undergraduate stu-

Preservationists complain that Baton Rouge is inconsistent at best when it comes to protecting its historic buildings. Downtown’s Commerce Building, completed in 1955, was empty for many years before recently getting a mixed-use facelift. The Union Tank Car Company’s geodesic dome, which opened in 1958 and was large enough to enclose a football field, wasn’t so lucky; it was demolished in 2007.

EAST BATO COURTESY N ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY; EAST BATO BAYO N ROUGE PARISH LIB U NEWS AGENCY / RARY

WIN SOME/LOSE SOME

dent body until 1964. Federal court decisions forced white institutions to let blacks enroll in graduate school if a comparable program was not available at a historically black college, so several black students earned LSU graduate degrees during the 1950s. Southern University was allowed to open a graduate school partly to pacify white leaders and slow integration. Southern’s leaders were reluctant to challenge the state board that oversaw higher education.

SHOPPER’S CHOICE

While downtown remained a bustling retail district, Baton Rouge shoppers were finding new options outside of the city center. Delmont Village on Plank Road, University Shopping Center outside LSU, and Westmoreland Shopping Center on Government Street all opened during the mid-1950s.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

EARL LONG AND ‘LONGISM’ breakdown, “Uncle Earl” also expanded public benefits, improved state services, built roads and hospitals, and was relatively supportive of civil rights for a white leader of his day. Constitutionally barred from running for governor again, Long ran for lieutenant governor in 1959 and lost. He won election to Congress but died in 1960 before taking his seat. Other Longs would hold public office in later years, most notably longtime U.S. senator (and son of Huey) Russell Long, but the era of Longism died with Earl.

STATE LIBRARY OF LOUISIANA

FROM THE LATE 1920S until the end of the 1950s, politics in Louisiana was defined not by Democrats versus Republicans, as the latter were irrelevant, but by Longs versus anti-Longs. As a young man, Earl K. Long helped build the machine that ruled the state under his older brother Huey, and he would go on to serve three nonconsecutive terms as governor. While best known for folksy, often unhinged tirades, a very public affair with stripper Blaze Starr, and being briefly institutionalized after an apparent mental

Energy devoted to

economic development Wham-O! … With a new venture into the world of high-density polyethylene called GREX, the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant (BRPO) began in 1957 under the ownership of W.R. Grace Co. GREX was easily fabricated, remained stable in varying temperatures and was resistant to acids, alcohol, grease and solvents, making it instrumental in the facility’s success as plastics were just breaking into the consumer market. In 1958, the company made an arrangement with toy manufacturer Wham-O to provide the GREX resin as the plastic material for hula hoops. At its peak, Wham-O produced 20,000 hoops a day, with the Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant providing the resin. Today, BRPO produces 2.7 billion pounds of plastics yearly for products such as diapers, milk jugs, car parts and truck bed liners—all with a stellar safety record. The facility hasn’t recorded a single injury over the past five years.

ExxonMobilbRA


LSU FOOTBALL’S FIRST NATIONAL TITLE THE 1958 LSU football team was not highly regarded at the beginning of the season, but a talented 1956 recruiting class led by Baton Rouge native Billy Cannon (pictured at right) had gained experience and was ready to compete with the nation’s top programs. Head coach Paul Dietzel developed a unique platoon system to keep his players fresh, deploying a “white team” of two-way starters, a “go team” that mainly played offense, and the “Chinese

Bandits,” defensive specialists nicknamed after characters in a “Terry and the Pirates” comic

strip. The squad won all 10 of its regular-season games—the program’s first year without a loss or tie since 1908—before beating Clemson 7-0 in the 1959 Sugar Bowl. LSU would finish the season ranked No. 1 by both the Associated Press and the UPI Coaches Poll, earning college football’s unofficial national championship. The program won official championships after the 2003 and 2007 seasons, although neither team went undefeated.

U

LS

Jon Batiste Bandleader

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SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 7: 1960s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL

PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1961

Pope John XXIII establishes the Diocese of Baton Rouge

ISTOCK

ISTOCK

1960

Southern University students stage a Kress lunch counter sit-in to protest segregation

1963

East Baton Rouge Parish schools are integrated

LI N BR O AR TI Y, W EC OLL OODY C S A DUM

1964

S CO RI UR PA TE GE U SY E O AST BATON R

H

1962

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

1960

1965

Woody Dumas is elected mayor-president

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ON MARCH 28, 1960, seven Southern University students were arrested for sitting at the downtown Kress store’s whites-only lunch counter. The next day, more students were arrested for staging similar sit-ins at Sitman’s Drugstore and the Greyhound bus station, and on March 30 about 2,000 Southern students picketed all three locations. The student protest leaders were expelled. In 1963, a local biracial committee eased the nonviolent integration of East Baton Rouge Parish schools. When the U.S. Supreme Court declared

COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

BATTLES FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

segregated park facilities unconstitutional in 1964, Baton Rouge closed nine public swimming pools rather than integrate them, although five later were reopened. Gov. John McKeithen sent state police and the National Guard to protect a 1967 civil rights march

from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge. In separate 1969 incidents, two black men were shot in the back by police, leading to protests and a riot. Mayor-President Woody Dumas imposed a curfew and McKeithen once again sent the National Guard to maintain order.

COUNTING HEADS

EAST BATON ROUGE POPULATION

EAST BATON ROUGE POPULATION

1960

1970

230,058

285,167

On the cover: A 3-year-old Baton Rouge girl and 4-year-old Denham Springs boy carry anti-integration signs of protest (1963), The Associated Press/Ted Powers; Mayor Woody Dumas and L.W. Eaton cut the ribbon at the dedication of the new Wooddale facilities for Associated General Contractors of America (1969), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Woody Dumas Collection; a civil rights protest at the Louisiana State Capitol (1967), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library; Prescott Junior High cheerleaders (1962), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library, Prescott Junior High School scrapbook (1961-1962); Baton Rouge industrial billboard (1965), courtesy East Baton Rouge Parish Library.


1968

1968

COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

RO UG E

O N

T BA ST EA Y S COURTE

1968

Earl K. Long and Woman’s hospitals open

1970

PAR ISH LIBRARY

COURTESY EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY, “A REPORT TO THE PEOPLE FROM THE BATON ROUGE GOALS CONGRESS”

1966

1968

Baton Rouge elects its first black city councilman, Joseph Delpit

The I-10 Mississippi River bridge opens

F.G. CLARK’S LEGACY E LEG A&M COL

UN IVE RS ITY AND

RN

TS IP CR US TH E AR AN CHIVES AND M

to Abraham Lincoln’s during the AT THE DAWN of the 1960s, Civil War, preserving “the Union”— Southern University President Southern University—even if Felton G. Clark sympait meant expelling student thized with the growprotestors to satisfy state ing anti-segregation officials. In 1962, Clark movement among responded to demoncollege students, strations and class but had to answer boycotts by shutting to the Louisiana down the campus. Some State Board of D E EP students resigned, and Education, which opH AR UT TM SO EN Y, R T A , JO some protest leaders were posed integration. JourHN B. CADE LIBR not re-admitted. But after the nalist Louis Lomax wrote crisis, the university entered a that Clark played a role similar

growth spurt. Clark’s retirement in 1969 ended more than five decades of leadership by either F.G. Clark or his father, Joseph Clark, the first president at the Baton Rouge campus. Under their oversight, Southern grew from a cluster of former slave quarters and a $10,000 annual budget to a $60 million university system with a $12 million annual budget and branch campuses in Shreveport and New Orleans, according to The Southern Digest.

FROM THE VAULT JACK THORNELL/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

VOLUNTEERS ONLY Spurred by the Vietnam War, some 4,300 LSU students in 1968 signed a petition to end compulsory ROTC training. In 1969, the Board of Supervisors voted to make ROTC voluntary at the Ole War Skule.

BETSY’S WRATH PA RIS HL IBRARY

COURTESY “SPECIAL DELIVERY: A SHOWCASE OF LSU LIBRARIES SPECIAL COLLECTIONS,” LOUISIANA DIGITAL LIBRARY

LSU’s Free Speech Alley, established in 1964, frequently hosted civil rights and antiwar activism.

U G E

IN THE ALLEY

ON COU AT RTESY EAST B

RO

Hurricane Betsy, the first storm to cause more than $1 billion in damage, hit south Louisiana in 1965. A barge containing more than 600 tons of chlorine sank in the Mississippi River, requiring the evacuation of 700 people as it was brought back to the surface.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

PISTOL PETE

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LSU BASKETBALL fans didn’t pack the John M. Parker Agricultural Center during the 1966-1967 season to see the varsity squad that managed only three wins. It was the freshman team, featuring a lanky 6-5 guard with shaggy hair and long, baggy socks that brought the crowds to the “Cow Palace.” During the next three seasons, “Pistol” Pete Maravich became the all-time leading scorer in NCAA history, averaging 44.2 points per game. His records for total points and scoring average still stand, despite being

set before college basketball instituted the three-point shot, the shot clock (which speeds the pace of play), and freshman

eligibility. But the numbers only hint at the shot-faking, no-look-passing flair the Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, native brought to the court. Maravich didn’t win a championship in college or during his brilliant but injury-shortened professional career, and he was only 40 when an undiagnosed heart condition caused him to collapse and die during a pickup game in Pasadena, California. But he is memorialized by the LSU assembly center that bears his name—and by countless highlight reels and YouTube videos.

Energy devoted to

community outreach As the nation embraced civic and cultural activities, so did our employees. Esso and Enjay—earlier company names of ExxonMobil—sponsored community outreach, including participation in United Givers, Junior Achievement and other local efforts like the “Take it Away” Salvage Drive, pictured at the top. Former Refinery Manager Monroe J. Rathbone helped bring the Junior Achievement program to Baton Rouge and encouraged employees to volunteer, and then-current Manager Henry Voorhies, pictured at the bottom, became the first area JA chairman. ExxonMobil and its employees have historically been the largest contributor of time and money to the Capital Area United Way campaign. Employees and retirees volunteered close to 40,000 hours in the community last year, and their donations to area nonprofits and schools—combined with company contributions—totaled nearly $5 million.

ExxonMobilbRA


CENTER FOR LOUISIANA STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE

GOV. MCKEITHEN RECRUITS AN INDUSTRY CHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS pay some of the highest wages in the Baton Rouge area, and when natural gas is cheap they help prop up the local economy during state and national recessions. While the industry was here before the 1960s, thanks to the region’s natural resources, south Louisiana’s chemical sector might

never have gotten as big as it is today without the efforts of Gov. John McKeithen, who took office in 1964. McKeithen pushed a package of “right to profit” business incentives for the industry through the Legislature and personally went globetrotting to recruit companies from all over the world.

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Learn more at chase.com/WayYouBank

Deposit products provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC © 2017 JPMorgan Chase & Co.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 8: 1970s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL

PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1972

ISTOCK

1970

Baton Rouge Zoo opens

ISTOCK

IA NA

IS OU RL FO CENTER

IA NA

1974

AT LAF AYETTE

1970

IS OU ST FL UD O IES, U Y NIVERSIT

1971

1972

Edwin Edwards is elected governor for the first time

Riots shock Baton Rouge

THE RIOTS OF 1972 IN JANUARY, a group of self-described “Black Muslims” from out of state, who said they wanted to “give Baton Rouge back to black people,” blocked North Boulevard with their cars. Law enforcement arrived to break up the demonstration. It is unknown who fired the first shot, but two of the black Muslims and two deputies were killed and a reported 31 were injured, including WBRZ newsman

Bob Johnson, who was beaten and suffered irreparable brain damage. That fall, about 2,000 Southern University student protestors took

over a campus administration building. Police responded with tear gas and bullets, and students Leonard Brown and Denver Smith were killed. While authorities initially blamed students for the riot, an investigation found that law enforcement incited the violence. A commission said Smith and Brown were unarmed, were not under arrest or resisting arrest, and were shot while running away. No one was ever charged for their deaths.

COUNTING HEADS

EAST BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1970

1980

285,167 366,191

CITY OF BATON ROUGE POPULATION 1970

1980

165,963 219,419

On the cover: Vietnam War protest at LSU (1970), courtesy “Special Delivery: A Showcase of LSU Libraries Special Collections,” Louisiana Digital Library.


1980

FILE PHOTO

1978

FILE PHOTO

1976

1974

A new state constitution is ratified

1976

Cortana Mall opens

1977

Riverside Centroplex Arena opens as part of the governmental complex

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

EDWIN EDWARDS AND THE OIL BOOM EDWIN EDWARDS ran for governor in 1971 as a reformer, and his Cajun heritage and record of racial tolerance helped him garner support from the state’s ethnic minorities. During his first term, he pushed for a new state constitution that banned racial discrimination. He also worked to change the structure of the state’s oil severance tax, pegging it to the value of crude pumped rather than the amount. As the

price of oil spiked during the 1970s energy crisis, Louisiana lawmakers happily spent the resulting windfall. The state budget ballooned 163% between 1972 and 1980, according to the website KnowLouisiana.org. The sharp-dressing, high-rolling playboy personified the go-go ’70s, and Edwards easily won reelection, even amid corruption allegations. But the good times wouldn’t roll forever—for Louisiana or for Edwards.

FROM THE VAULT

COMING AND GOING

LSU hired Dale Brown, who won more games than any head men’s basketball coach in LSU history and second-most in SEC history, in 1972. He led LSU to four regular-season SEC championships and two Final Fours. Charlie McClendon, or “Cholly Mac,” finished his 18-year run as LSU head football coach in 1979 with more wins than any coach in that program’s history.

Brown

McClendon

WE LOVED THE NIGHTLIFE

Chalet Brandt brought French cuisine to the provincial Baton Rouge restaurant scene in 1973. Del Lago was Baton Rouge’s favorite disco destination in the 1970s and into the 1980s. The Caterie, one of Baton Rouge’s most popular music venues, opened during the 1970s, as did the original Happy Note Lounge. Local blues legend Tabby Thomas (right) opened the original Tabby’s Blues Box in 1979.

TRAILBLAZER

In 1976, Pearl George became the first black woman—and second female—to be elected to the City Council.

‘BATON ROUGE NEEDS A ZOO’

Children’s TV host “Buckskin” Bill Black got his wish in 1970 when the Baton Rouge Zoo opened.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

WOODY DUMAS During his time in office, the city-parish budget grew from $15.3 million to $89 million. “I spent $1.6 billion in my four terms,” Dumas said in 1992, according to The Advocate. “I left office with an $89 million budget, a $6 million budget surplus and a $4 million revenue-sharing surplus. Not one auditor or member of the press was able to find anything I did that was dishonest.” Dumas came out of retirement to run again in 1984 and 1988, but lost both times.

WOODY DUMAS COLLECTION, EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

WOODROW WILSON “Woody” Dumas served as mayor-president from 1965 until 1981. No mayor before or since oversaw more growth or built more roads, sewers and public buildings. The Opelousas native often used the political slogan: “When others wouldn’t, Woody would.” He got a $50 million-plus bond issue passed that paid for a wide variety of road and drainage projects. Later, he pushed through construction of the $78 million Centroplex governmental complex.

Energy devoted to innovation Hallmark environmental improvements marked the 1970s, and the site invested in innovative technology to increase energy efficiency across the Baton Rouge Complex. Researchers developed hydrofining technology that reduced pollution, and employees led the way to install the nation’s first wet gas scrubber to help control emissions. In 1978, a tail gas clean-up facility allowed for 99.9% recovery of sulfur removed from processes. Into the next decade, a flare gas recovery system captured gas to be re-used in operations, and the Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) program began to detect small leaks and quickly repair them. In 1972, Standard Oil Co. became Exxon Corporation and Humble Oil became Exxon Company USA, once again changing the name of the Baton Rouge Refinery and Chemical Plant from Humble and Enjay to Exxon. During the summer of 1973, the refinery pushed production from 1.6 million barrels a day to a record 4 million barrels to combat fuel shortages, a trend which continued upward each summer during the ‘70s.

ExxonMobilbRA


EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

A CITY OF SUBURBS DOWNTOWN REMAINED a workday destination during the 1970s, as the 1974 opening of One American Place demonstrates. But the 1978 closure of the venerable Paramount Theatre, torn down the following year, showed the city center was no longer Baton Rouge’s beating heart. As the decade ended, historian Mark Carleton wrote that Baton Rouge arguably was more of a “federation of suburbs” than a city. He identified the Broadmoor/Sherwood Forest area as the mostly middle-class population cen-

ter. The rich lived in Bocage and Stone’s Throw, near the Baton Rouge Country Club, or south of the city limits, while much of the blue-collar population resided “north of Choctaw.” Black residents were concentrated in and around Scotlandville, Eden Park and Old South Baton Rouge. “The salesman residing in Villa Del Rey may never have been to Plantation Trace and might get lost attempting to go there,” Carleton wrote, “as might an LSU professor living in Plantation Trace attempting to find Villa Del Rey.”

The Paramount Theatre (1971)

You've got plans, budgets, suppliers, employees, payables, receivables, and oh yes... customers. Do you have the right business team by your side? To see how our people and solutions can work for you, visit chase.com/ForBusiness or stop in your local Chase branch: Rena H. Roy Vice President Business Banking Area Manager Baton Rouge, LA (225) 332-4096

“Chase” and the Octagon Symbol are trademarks of JPMorgan Chase & Co. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Opportunity Lender. ©2017 JPMorgan Chase & Co.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

CELEBRATING

200 YEARS OF BATON ROUGE

PART 9: 1980s A 12-PART SERIES HONORING BATON ROUGE’S BICENTENNIAL

PRESENTED BY:


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

1984

1980

1981

Bluebonnet Boulevard opens

TO HO FILE P

Judge John Parker orders EBR school integration busing

1982

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

1982

ISTOCK

1980

Voters approve merging city and parish councils into Metro Council

FOOTBALL AND POLITICS are Louisiana’s two most popular spectator sports, and Pat Screen excelled at both. His gridiron high point came in the 1966 Cotton Bowl, where the quarterback helped LSU knock off unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Arkansas. He served on the East Baton Rouge Parish school board before winning the 1980 election to succeed Mayor/President Woody Dumas. During his two terms, Screen launched Emer-

FILE PHOTO

PAT SCREEN

gency Medical Services, guided riverfront improvements, and worked toward federally mandated sewer upgrades. He was described by friends and enemies

as intelligent and talented, yet abrasive and troubled. Screen sought treatment for alcoholism in 1981 and battled substance abuse throughout his life. In 1994, he was found dead in a French Quarter hotel room, killed by a mix of alcohol and other drugs. “The same things that made Pat strong made him weak,” a longtime friend told The Advocate. “He had an incredible desire and drive and push, but sometimes he didn’t know when to let up.”

REMEMBER WHEN…

O

Dolores Spikes, who was appointed president of the Southern University system in 1988, was the first T woman in the nation to head O PH LE I F a university system. She had been the first female chancellor of a public Louisiana university, holding that position at Southern’s Baton Rouge and New Orleans campuses. She was also the first black student to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from LSU. Richard Rodney Jr. in 1989 became the first black police captain in the history of the Baton Rouge City Police Department.

PENNINGTON BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER

Ground was broken in 1983 for the center, made possible by wealthy oilman C.B. “Doc” Pennington. Pennington scientists have achieved international recognition for their research in nutrition, obesity and related diseases.

FILE PHOTO

TRAILBLAZERS

On the cover: Baton Rouge Little Theater’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1981), Theatre Baton Rouge records; Mayor/President Pat Screen “conducts” a Fourth of July concert (1982), Junior League of Baton Rouge; Phil Brady at the Government Street venue he opened in 1979—now the oldest blues bar in Baton Rouge (1981), East Baton Rouge Parish Library; GOP presidential candidate Ronald Reagan in Baton Rouge to speak at LSU (1980), The Associated Press.


1988

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1986

1990

LO UIS IAN A

1986

1987

Gov. Edwin Edwards is acquitted of bribery charges

RY RA LIB STATE

1989

Charles “Buddy” Roemer is elected governor

Christmas Eve Exxon refinery explosion kills two, injures seven

WHITE FLIGHT

resistance and the immediate flight of white students away from public schools. Existing private

schools suddenly had lengthy waiting lists, new schools were established, and many families lit out for the suburbs. Though forced busing mostly ended in 1996, East Baton Rouge public schools remain overwhelmingly poor and black. The impact of Parker’s decision can be seen in the breakaway school districts within the parish, in the population growth outside of it, and in the daily gridlock of interstate commuters. ISTOCK

DAVIS ET AL. v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board was filed in 1956, and the case finally concluded in 2003. But the crucial turning point in EBR’s school desegregation saga came in 1981, when Judge John Parker mandated a plan whereby white and black schools were “clustered,” and students were bused to schools in their cluster to promote racial balance. Parker’s orders provoked mass

REMEMBER WHEN…

‘I HAVE SINNED’

MODERN CLASSIC

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PR ES S

THE INFORMANT

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Baton Rouge native and former airline pilot Barry Seal was a drug smuggler for Colombia’s Medellín Cartel. After an arrest, he began working as a federal government informant in 1984. He was murdered by a cartel hit squad outside of an Airline Highway halfway house in 1986. Above: the convicted killers in Lake Charles.

LSU Press published A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole in 1980. It won the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

LSU PRESS

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Superstar televangelist Jimmy Swaggart publicly confessed to his flock in 1988, after photos of him leaving a prostitute’s Metairie hotel room surfaced.


SPECIAL PROMOTIONAL SECTION

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ECONOMIC UPHEAVAL BATON ROUGE IS NOT an oil town, but it is a government town. And during the 1980s, Louisiana’s state budget was far more dependent on oil revenue than it is today, so the oil crash was pretty rough on the Capital City. The worst stretch was 19861987, when the region lost about 4,800 jobs. LSU and Southern University were slashed to the bone. And it wasn’t just oil prices causing economic upheaval. The federal Tax Reform Act of 1986 “sent the real estate industry into the tank,” economist Loren Scott told Business Report. Banking industry deregulation led to consolidation, and over time prominent names like Louisiana National Bank, American

Bank and Trust, Capital Bank and Trust, City National Bank, Baton Rouge Bank and Bank of the South were swallowed up. But by 1988, a weak dollar was boosting chemical industry exports, and things were starting to look up.

Energy devoted to education At ExxonMobil Baton Rouge, education is our passion. In the late 1980s, employees organized to form company-sponsored volunteer outreach efforts, and Istrouma High School was the first partner school. Over the next three decades of involvement with Istrouma, ExxonMobil employees contributed more than 7,500 hours of volunteer service at the school. Today, employees earn grants from ExxonMobil for the hours they work at area schools and agencies to better the community. Last year, volunteer grants totaled $740,000.

In 1988, ExxonMobil employees and Istrouma students joined together in the first food bank drive; employee Dianne Pullen contributes to the collection bin. Refinery employees Moses Williams (far left) and Harry Moore (far right) meet with Istrouma High School staff in 1985 to discuss the Adopt-a-School program. Istrouma High celebrates its 100th anniversary this year with a grand reopening at its historic campus.

ExxonMobilbRA


THE “FESTIVAL MARKETPLACE” that was Catfish Town reportedly welcomed close to a quarter-million people when it opened on July 4, 1984. Developers, boosted by favorable financing and federal money for the infrastructure, had turned a dilapidated riverfront warehouse district into 175,000 square feet of shopping, dining and entertainment. But the local economy was starting to turn south, and in subsequent years, foot traffic dwindled. By the end of 1987, lenders were foreclosing on the property. “We wound up with a seven-block historic restoration, local government came out roughly $2 million to the good, and all we lost was a slum,” Mayor-president Pat Screen said, putting a positive spin on the disappointment for The Advocate. Today, the Belle Atrium is all that remains of the project. But given the recent revitalization of downtown, perhaps Catfish Town was just ahead of its time.

EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH LIBRARY

CATFISH TOWN

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