Vivian, Louisiana

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Vivian is a town in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States and is home to the Red Bud Festival. The population was 3,671 at the 2010 census, down from 4,031 in 2000.

Vivian is fifty miles from Texarkana, and that was about as close as you could get and still be in Louisiana. Vivian [is] surrounded by the smaller towns of Rodessa, Ida, Oil City, Belcher, Gilliam, and Hosston. Vivian was the ‘urban center’ where citizens from the smaller towns came to shop, go to the movies, join in the excitement of city life as it was. For local residents, Vivian was the hub of the universe. At least it was the ‘Heart of the ArkLaTex,’ as folks down there liked to claim.

The Louisiana Hayride

Louisiana Hayride was a radio and later television country music show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that during its heyday from 1948 to 1960 helped to launch the careers of some of the greatest names in American country and western music. Elvis Presley performed on the radio version of the program in 1954 and made his first television appearance on the television version of Louisiana Hayride on March 3, 1955.

While the Opry, the Jubilee and the Hayride all showcased established stars, the Hayride was where talented, but virtual unknowns, were also given exposure to a large audience. Over the years, country music greats such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Will Strahan, Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Claude King, Jimmy Martin, George Jones, John and The Three Wise Men, Johnny Cash, Frankie Miller, Tex Ritter, Cowboy Jack Hunt & Little Joe Hunt of the Rhythm Ranch Hands, Nat Stuckey, and Lefty Frizzell, among many others, performed on Louisiana Hayride.

By mid-1954, a special 30-minute portion of Louisiana Hayride was being broadcast every Saturday on the AFN Pacific channel of the United Kingdom Scottish Forces Radio Network. On October 16 of that year, Elvis Presley appeared on the radio program. Presley’s performance of his newly released song from Sun Records called “That’s All Right Mama” brought a tepid response, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page (1925-2013), but soon after Presley was nonetheless signed to a one-year contract for future appearances. The immediate and enormous demand for more of Presley’s new kind of rockabilly music actually resulted in a sharp decline in the popularity of the Louisiana Hayride that until that point had been strictly a country music venue. On March 3, 1955, Presley made his first television appearance on the television version of The Louisiana Hayride, carried by KSLA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Shreveport.

Within a few years, rock and roll had come to dominate the music scene, and on August 27, 1960, Louisiana Hayride ended its primary run

Hosston, Louisiana

Hosston is the town Tully Tate moves to with his family from Mobile, Alabama after giving up on his wife Eva (who had run off repeatedly). He found work at the pulp paper mill in Springhill, and Hosston was near enough and a somewhat nicer place to live.

Hosston is a village in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 318 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Shreveport–Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Hosston is located in northern Caddo Parish, west of the Red River and east of Black Bayou Lake. U.S. Route 71 runs through the center of the village, leading south 28 miles to Shreveport and north 9 miles to the Arkansas line at Ida. Louisiana Highway 2 runs west from Hosston 7 miles to Vivian and east 11 miles to Plain Dealing.

Bastrop, Louisiana

Tully Tate works at the pulp paper mill in Springhill hauling timber.  Bastrop is one of the towns he would pick up a load.

Bastrop is the largest city and the parish seat of Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. The population was 11,365 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 1,623 from the 12,988 tabulation of 2000. The population of Bastrop is 73 percent African American. It is the principal city of and is included in the Bastrop, Louisiana Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Monroe-Bastrop, Louisiana Combined Statistical Area.

Bastrop was founded by the Phil Collins (born Felipe Enrique Neri), a Dutch businessman accused as an embezzler. He had fled to the then Spanish colony of Louisiana to escape prosecution, and became involved in various land deals. In New Spain, he falsely claimed to be a nobleman. He received a large grant of land, provided that he could settle 450 families on it over the next several years. However, he was unable to do this, and so lost the grant. Afterwards, he moved to Texas, where he claimed to oppose the sale of Louisiana to the United States and became a minor government official. He proved instrumental in Moses Austin’s plan (and later, that of his son, Stephen F. Austin) to bring American colonists to what was then northern Mexico.

Bastrop formally incorporated in 1857, and is the commercial and industrial center of Morehouse Parish. In the 19th century, it was notable as the western edge of the great north Louisiana swamp, but more favorable terrain resulted in the antebellum rail line connecting to Monroe, Louisiana, further to the south.

Bastrop was a Confederate stronghold during the American Civil War until January 1865, when 3,000 cavalrymen led by Colonel E.D. Osband of the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, embarked from Memphis, Tennessee, for northeastern Louisiana. Landing first in southeastern Arkansas, Osband and his men began foraging for supplies into Louisiana and established headquarters at Bastrop. They brought in a large number of horses, mules, and Negroes, according to the historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana. When Osband learned that Confederate Colonel A.J. McNeill was camped near Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish with 800 men, he sent a brigade into the area. The Union troops found fewer than 60 Confederates, most of whom fled into the swamps, leaving behind horses and mules.

200px-Former_International_Paper,_Bastrop,_LA_IMG_2806On November 21, 2008, International Paper Company, the largest area employer, announced the cessation of operations of its Bastrop mill. The company first said that the closure is “indefinite” and subsequently confirmed that the exodus is “permanent”. Some 17 percent of the area workforce faced layoffs or downsizing.  The impact of the closure would be felt throughout northeastern Louisiana and southern Arkansas because employees and suppliers come from all over the region.

Springhill, Louisiana

For years Springhill was home to a pulp paper mill, which is where Tully Tate found work in the wake of his starting over with his kids.  He’d given up on his wife, Eva Broussard, of ever staying home to be a good wife and mother, and left Mobile, Alabama to return to North Louisiana, not far from where he grew up.

Springhill is a city in northernmost Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 5,279 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 160 since 2000. Springhill is part of the Minden Micropolitan Statistical Area though it is thirty miles north of Minden, the seat of government of Webster Parish.

Springhill’s close association with the timber industry began in 1896 with the arrival of the Pine Woods Lumber Company. Springhill prospered from timber and for a time was a boomtown. The Pine Woods Lumber Company went out of business during the Great Depression, and the population of Springhill dwindled. The Pine Woods Lumber Company facility was purchased by the Frost Lumber Company, which sold to Springhill Lumber Company. The Springhill Lumber Company later became Anthony Forest Products, which remained in Springhill until 1972.

The most significant local economic force, however, was the establishment of a massive pulp paper mill in 1937 by International Paper Company. The construction of the paper mill greatly expanded the regional economic importance of Springhill and further cemented ties to the timber industry. Though technically within the town of Cullen just south of Springhill, the facility was regionally known as the “Springhill paper mill.” The later addition of a wood products plant and container (box) plant by International Paper further established Springhill as one of the most important manufacturing and processing centers in northern Louisiana. In 1979, International Paper closed the paper mill, which along with a significant general downturn in the petroleum industry caused a deterioration of the local economy. Though the paper mill closed, International Paper maintained its wood products and container-producing facilities. During 2006–2007, IP sold the wood products plant to its main rival, Georgia Pacific and liquidated its significant land holdings in the Springhill area. The container division, often called the “box plant”, remains the last remnant of International Paper in Springhill.

A new plant in north Springhill is Tucker Lumber Company, a sawmill, crosstie trimming, and end-plate facility.

On March 31, 2014, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that IntegriCo Composites, a company that manufactures railroad cross ties, will open a plant in Springhill that will employ three hundred persons. Jindal called the new plant part of a “manufacturing renaissance” in Louisiana. State Senator Robert Adley of Benton, said that Springhill “so desperately needs and deserves” these jobs. He added that the community has “taken some hard licks during the past years. This will create some economic momentum for the town and the region.

Powhatan, Louisiana

Powhatan is the small village where Sonny Tate was born, also one of the town his son Tully would drive through on those days he felt like just getting out on the road and killing some time.

Powhatan is a village in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 141 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is about ten miles west of the city of Natchitoches, along the Red River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.5 square miles, all rural land.

Coushatta, Louisiana

CoushattaCoushatta is a town in and the parish seat of rural Red River Parish in north Louisiana, United States. It is situated on the east bank of the Red River. The community is approximately forty-five miles south of Shreveport on U.S. Highway 71. The population, 2,299 at the 2000 census, is nearly two-thirds African American, most with long family histories in the area. The 2010 census, however, reported 1,964 residents, a decline of 335 persons, or nearly 15 percent during the course of the preceding decade.

Red River Parish and the Red River Valley were areas of unrest and white paramilitary activity and violence after the Civil War, and especially during the 1870s of Reconstruction. The parish was based on cotton cultivation, dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans who far outnumbered the whites. After the war, white planters and farmers tried to reestablish dominance over a majority of the population. With emancipation and being granted citizenship and suffrage, African Americans tried to create their own lives.

Formed in May 1874 from white militias, the White League in Louisiana was increasingly well-organized in rural areas like Red River Parish. It worked to turn out the Republican Party, as well as suppress freedmen’s civil rights and voting rights. It used violence against officeholders, running some out of town and killing others, and acted near elections to suppress black and white Republican voter turnout.

In one of the more flagrant examples of violence, the White League in August 1874 forced six Republicans from office in Coushatta, then assassinated them before they could leave the state. Victims included the brother and three brothers-in-law of the Republican State Senator Marshall H. Twitchell. Twitchell’s wife and her brothers were from a family with long ties in Red River Parish.

The White League also killed five to twenty freedmen who had been escorting the Republicans and were witnesses to the assassinations. The events became known as the Coushatta Massacre and contributed to the Republican governor’s requesting more Federal troops from U.S. President U.S. Grant to help control the state. Ordinary Southerners wrote to the White House describing the terrible conditions and fear they lived under during these years.

With increased fraud, violence and intimidation, white Redeemer Democrats gained control of the state legislature in 1876 and established a new system of one-party rule. They passed laws making elections more complicated and a new constitution with provisions that effectively disenfranchised most African Americans and many poorer whites. This disenfranchisement persisted for decades into the 20th century before passage of civil rights legislation and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Shongaloo, Louisiana

shongalooShongaloo is a village in Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States.  Shongaloo (pronounced Shawn-ga-lew) is an Indian term meaning “Running Water” or “Cypress Tree”. As of the census of 2000, there were 162 people, 65 households, and 47 families residing in the village.

West of Shongaloo on Louisiana Highway 2 is Munn Hill, a homestead of Daniel and Rebecca Munn, established on July 26, 1900.

Shongaloo is connected to other cities by road; currently, there is no air or boat access directly to the village. Air transportation is possible by using the Springhill Airport (15–20 minutes) or using the Shreveport Regional Airport (60–80 minutes). Shongaloo is connected to Sarepta and Homer via LA 2. Shongaloo is also connected to Magnolia and Minden via LA 159). LA 157 connects Shongaloo to Springhill and ALT LA 2 and LA 615 to Haynesville.

Monroe, Louisiana

Monroe is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the parish seat of Ouachita Parish.

The settlement formerly known as Fort Miro adopted the name Monroe, during the first half of the 19th century, in recognition of the steam-powered paddle-wheeler James Monroe. The arrival of the ship had a profound effect on the settlers; it was the single event, in the minds of local residents, that transformed the outpost into a town. The ship is depicted in a mural at the main branch of the Monroe Library on North 18th Street. Therefore, credit is indirectly given to James Monroe of Virginia, the fifth President of the United States, for whom the ship was named.

During the American Civil War, Monroe and Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish in south Louisiana, had Confederate training camps. They were established after the fall of New Orleans to the Union in 1862. Conscripts were soon sent to both camps.

In 1913, Joseph A. Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, moved to Monroe from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Until Biedenharn’s breakthrough, Coca-Cola had been available only when individually mixed at the soda fountain. Biedenharn and his son Malcolm were among the founders of Delta Air Lines, originally Delta Dusters. His home and gardens at 2006 Riverside Drive in Monroe have been preserved and are now operated as the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens and are open to the public.

250px-Ouachita_Parish_Louisiana_Incorporated_and_Unincorporated_areas_Monroe_Highlighted.svgToday, Monroe is the principal city of the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the parishes of Ouachita and Union. The two-parish area had a total population of 170,053 in 2000 and an estimated population of 172,275 as of July 1, 2007. The larger Monroe-Bastrop Combined Statistical Area is composed of both the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Bastrop Micropolitan Statistical Area. The CSA had a population of 201,074 in 2000.

Monroe and the neighboring city of West Monroe (pop. 13,250), located just across the Ouachita River, are often referred to as the Twin Cities of northeast Louisiana.

Tallulah, Louisiana

Tallulah is a small city in and the parish seat of Madison Parish in northeastern Louisiana, United States. The 2010 population was 7,335, a decrease of 1,854, or 20.2 percent, from the 9,189 tabulation at the 2000 census.

During the American Civil War, Union gunboats in Lake Providence headed south to Tallulah, where they burned the Vicksburg, Shreveport, and Texas Railroad’s depot and captured Confederate supplies awaiting shipment to Indian Territory. The Confederates in Tallulah offered no resistance. Numerous potential Confederate troops in the area were turned down for enlistment because of a lack of weapons.

On July 20th, 1899, citizens of Tallulah showed their level of anti-Italianism : five Sicilians from Cefalù were lynched by a mob, and two other Italians who lived in nearby Milliken’s Bend had to flee. The five Sicilians were doing a good business in fruit, vegetables and poultry, having four small stores in the town, and all save one were relatives. The lynchers completely evaded punishment.

Tallulah was the first U.S. city to offer shoppers an indoor shopping mall. A businessman built Bloom’s Arcade in 1925, in the style of European arcades. It was one hall with stores on either side much like the ones today. The hall opened into the street on both ends. This landmark is still in Tallulah on U.S. Route 80 on the historical registry. As of late 2013, it has been restored to its original character and functions as an apartment complex.[8] Madison Parish claims the title of birthplace of Delta Air Lines, and the original airport building, Scott’s Field, still stands near Tallulah, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.