“Hosston to Bastrop”

Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)
WRITTEN BY: F.D. LEONE

I used to make my livin’ drivin’ a log truck
Hauling timber for the pulp paper mill
Take Highway 2 Hosston to Bastrop
Double back and unload at Springhill

The paper mill shut down, jobs all dried up
That stink it made, naw we sure don’t miss
Hear they gonna bring in a cross tie plant
Now we can smell them creosote pits

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Gets real hot ’round here in the summer
August heat will melt that asphalt
Didn’t even hurt Randy Boucher when he got run’d over
His head was hard, th’ road was soft

Like to take my truck out One-Fifty-Seven
Stop at the Shongaloo Dairy Cup
Three-Seventy-One to Coushatta, then One to Powhatan
Just drive around where my daddy grew up

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Betty Broussard got her fiddle and bow
Someone gave a washboard to Nancy Thibodaux
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Continue reading “Hosston to Bastrop”

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.