Saturday, January 24, 2009
Bossier City, LA
Bossier City (French: Ville de Bossier) is a city in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, United States.
This plantation mural is located across Barksdale Boulevard from Tri State Printing and Bindery Company.
As of the 2000 Census, the city had a total population of 56,461. Bossier City is closely tied to its larger sister city Shreveport, located on the western bank of the Red River. The Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area is the center of the region known as the Ark-La-Tex.
Welcoming sign on Bossier City water tower
Bossier is pronounced: Bōz-zher. It is not the parish seat. The parish courthouse is located instead in Benton to the north of Bossier City.
The story of Bossier City has been one of growth and development. This story comes into light around the 1830s when Bossier City was known as Bennett's Bluff. Bennett's Bluff was named after William Bennet, who with his wife and business partner James Cane, owned a plantation near the Red River, in now south Bossier. The Cane & Bennett Trading Post had printed paper money and was successful, even though both Cane and Bennett died before the Civil War. Bennett's wife, Mary Ciley, would later remarry to her husband's business partner James Cane. The plantation then became known as Cane's Landing. Cane’s Landing had a ferry, and served as a shipping point. The post was run by the widowed Mrs. Cane. Steamboat loads of cotton, corn, and sweet potatoes were shipped to markets in the south and east, from the plantation port. Later on Cane's Landing would become known as Cane City.
Red River Blues sculpture (2002) by James Daniel Borders on Arthur Teague Parkway in Bossier City
In 1843, a section of land was divided out of the Great Natchitoches district and Claiborne Parish areas and was called Bossier Parish. The section of land was named in honor of Pierre Evariste John Baptiste Bossier. Pierre Bossier was a former creole general, who became a cotton farmer in Bossier Parish. He is considered one of the first settlers in the area.
Hikers on Teague Parkway on the eastern side of the Red River in Bossier City
In the 1840s, the Great Western Migration began and the parish grew in population. Many early settlers passed through the region on their way to the wild west. By 1850, over 200 wagons a week passed through Bossier City. Some of these settlers stayed, attracted by the soil and river valley. In 1850, the census listed the population at around 6,962.
The Red River from the Arthur Teague Parkway in Bossier City
During the American Civil War, companies of Confederate soldiers left Cane's Landing aboard steamboats for the distant battlefields. Mrs. Cane hosted hundreds of Confederate officers and troops who were heading off to war. Mrs. Cane’s plantation was fortified to protect Shreveport by three batteries with Fort Kirby Smith in the center. The others were: Batteries Price, and Walker & Ewell.
Bossier High School off Barksdale Boulevard
Fort Smith stood near the now Bossier High School and protected the area from an eastern invasion. The Civil War hit Bossier Parish in 1861 and ended in Shreveport four years later, when the Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered.
A mural off Barksdale Boulevard drawn by Buddy West celebrates the history of Old Shed Road.
Shed Road, the first all-weather turnpike in the American South, was constructed in the 1870s and operated from 1874-1886. It extended for nine miles (14 km) from Red Chute to the Red River. There was a plantation at the end of the elevated and covered roadway, which was reached by a ferry boat. The covered road made the transportation of goods easier before the arrival of the railroads.
Classification as a city
Anna B., granddaughter of James and Mary, felt the area would prosper and began promoting the idea of a riverfront city. Anna B. and J. J. Stockwell sold lots in 1883. The area grew quickly, as did transportation through it.
Cane City was said as being incorporated by former Governor N.C. Blanchard and renamed as the Village of Bossier City. It has grown from an area of one square mile to a city containing over 35 square miles (91 km2) and 25,000 acres (100 km2). Continued growth led to Bossier City’s classification being changed from village to town by Governor John M. Parker. Later, Governor Earl Kemp Long issued a proclamation classifying Bossier City a city.
The golden spike, commemorated the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad. It was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia "Pansy" Rule. It's the first such spike to be driven by a woman. The north-south Shreveport and Arkansas Railroad was completed on April 6, 1888. The Louisiana-Arkansas Railroad was completed on November 2, 1909. The Dixie Overland Highway from the east to west coast was built in 1918. These railroads and highways combined to make Bossier City a hub for future activity.
The discovery of petroleum crude oil, to the south, in 1908, thrust Bossier City into the nationwide oil boom. Bossier's central location to the rural oil fields made it a major player in the oil patch. Several international oil companies are located here. The advantages brought by black gold fueled many civic, social and economic improvements.
A fire on June 23, 1925, consumed one-half of downtown Bossier City. Local citizens were unable to battle the blaze. The loss spurred civic improvements including a modern water system, capable of fighting such fires, a new City Hall, a modern fire alarm system, modern sidewalks and the first city park.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Department offers the Young Marines program to youths ages eight to eighteen.
In the 1930s construction began on Barksdale AFB. The first unit assigned to Barksdale was the 20th Pursuit Group. Before World War II, Barksdale was a training school for the Army Air Corps. During WWII Barksdale trained pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. Later the base became one of the key bases of the Strategic Air Command in the new Air Force. Barksdale is the headquarters for the 2nd Air Force. The land that base is built was purchased by local residents who donated the land to the U.S. Army.
Around the 1890s Cane City had a population of around 600 and has now become Bossier City with a population that was 56,461 as of the 2000 Census. First a cotton exporting river landing, next a railroad town, then an airbase and oil-boom town, now known for it's tourism and recreational gaming.
Notable natives and residents
Malouf Abraham, Jr., a retired allergist and art collector from Canadian, Texas, was stationed at Barksdale during the middle 1960s.
Malouf Abraham, Jr. (born March 29, 1939), a retired physician, is a major art collector from Canadian, a community in the Texas Panhandle and the seat of Hemphill County. He is expanding his combination residence/art museum in Canadian called "The Citadelle". The Citadelle has been featured numerous times on Home and Garden Television. When the work is completed, The Citadelle will become a museum only, with regular hours open to the public. The Canadian Town Council approved the zoning for the work in February 2007. The project could be completed during 2009 at a cost in excess of $7 million. It will have a three-story art wing, lookout tower, furnishings, and gardens. Abraham is a third-generation member of a large immigrant family whose progenitors came to the Panhandle in the early 1910s from a village in Lebanon with the goal of obtaining the "American Dream".
Doctor talks about his art
By STEVEN BARRETT
A-J Plainview Bureau
PLAINVIEW - Malouf Abraham Jr. has a simple view on his urge to buy pricey pieces of art without his wife's prior knowledge: "It's easier to be forgiven than to get permission,'' he confides, only half-joking.
The 57-year-old native of Canadian well recalls his purchase in 1972 of a long-missing Norman Rockwell painting, "First Day of School.'' Abraham was sightseeing in New York City when he happened to enter the Bernard Danenberg Galleries. The day before, the galleries had bought the Rockwell piece from the estate of an engraver, and Abraham was only too happy to have the owner show it to him.
With a wet tissue, he wiped away some of the dust that had accumulated on the piece after more than 50 years in an attic. Beneath the grime was a painting that can be described only as exquisite. In it, a mother consolingly readies her reluctant son for school, while his eager sister bears an almost annoyingly perky visage.
"I had to have it,'' Abraham said in an interview Wednesday at Wayland Baptist University. "Brilliant colors. Fantastic emotion in each face. I was enchanted. My intuition was absolutely yelling at me saying, `Buy it! Buy it! Don't call your wife. Don't call the bank. Don't sleep on it. Just buy it right now!'°''
But while the young doctor's heart clamored for the piece - which cost in the tens of thousands even then - his head reminded him that he made only $7 per patient visit to his office.
"I bought it when I had no money,'' Abraham recalled with a good-natured grimace. "I bought it with no one's permission - especially not my wife's.''
In the intervening quarter-century, he has purchased a good many pieces without long periods of contemplation, resulting in a collection whose value he estimates to be in the millions.
A total of 33 pieces from that collection in Canadian will be on public display starting Saturday at the Malouf Abraham Family Art Center in the underground level of the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Learning Resources Center at Wayland. A by-invitation, black-tie reception tonight will herald the opening of the gallery. Members of the Texas Commission on the Arts and regional arts societies are slated to attend.
One unusual piece is a mosaic cross bought at the Vatican Mosaic School. Abraham and wife Therese bought the cross in the mid-1980s. It received an uncommon blessing, he said.
"We held it in our hands while Pope John Paul II blessed it,'' Abraham recalled. "It was wrapped in layers of paper, and we hand-carried it from Rome. It looked very interesting as it would go through the X-ray machines at various airport security checks.''
Perhaps the most whimsical painting is titled "Cat with Goldfish Bowl,'' by screen legend Tony Curtis.
"I didn't know he was an artist,'' Abraham said of his surprise upon finding the work at a gallery in Honolulu.
It may come as a surprise to many of the roughly 200 people at the reception today as well. But likely they'll be equally taken by the gallery itself. Abraham designed the gallery to facilitate elegant receptions and musical recitals, as well as traveling art exhibits, he said. The result is a spacious area with walls at various angles to enhance any exhibit.
"I see it as a study in balance and proportion,'' Abraham said.
His mother financed the project.
"We both had a pencil,'' he said. "With my pencil, I designed the art center. With her pencil, she wrote the checks. We didn't cut any corners.''
The Abraham family's generosity to the university came about quite by accident.
"We just came down here to be polite,'' Abraham said of his family's initial visit to the campus years ago at the invitation of WBU President Wallace Davis.
But they quickly sensed that something more than cordiality was happening on the campus.
"We were so impressed with the sincerity of the staff, faculty and students,'' Abraham said. "We could just feel the good work going on all around us.''
Not that the family had direct denominational ties to the Baptist-affiliated campus: Most of the family is Catholic, Abraham said, with a sprinkling of Presbyterians but no Baptists he knows of. Even so, appreciation for the campus's mission transcends those barriers, he added.
"We have philosophical bonds with Wayland,'' Abraham said. "These people are so sincere. They're so appreciative.''
The Abraham exhibit will be on public display Saturday through Nov. 1.
Robert Adley is a Bossier City native and businessman who is a Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate. A former Democrat, Adley also served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1980-1996. He resides in the parish seat of Benton.
One of Adley's state Senate office buildings is in downtown Minden
Robert Roy Adley (born September 3, 1947), a businessman and politician from Benton, is the newest Republican member of the Louisiana State Senate, having switched from Democratic allegiance effective December 10, 2007. Ironically, just fifty-six days earlier in the October 20, Nonpartisan blanket primary, Adley had defeated another Republican, Tyler Marx Nezat (born 1986), also of Benton, the seat of Bossier Parish, 24,371 (73 percent) to 9,004 (27 percent), to secure his second full term from historically Democratic District 36. Nezat's 27% was obtained with virtually no campaign or funding. Adley won all five parishes in the district: Bossier, Bienville, and Webster and portions of Red River and Claiborne parishes in northwestern Louisiana.
Henry Burns is a freshman Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 9 (Bossier Parish). He owns the Wooden Spoon bakery in Bossier City. A Haughton resident, he is also a former member of the Bossier Parish School Board.
Henry Lee Burns (born March 2, 1947) is a freshman Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 9 (Bossier Parish) in northwestern Louisiana. He also owns and operates the Wooden Spoon bakery in Bossier City and is a thoroughbred owner and breeder. A former member of the Bossier Parish School Board and well-known area raconteur, Burns often lectures at public schools on the keys to success in life, with a stress on perseverance.
Until the latter 1980s, Burns was an independent petroleum and natural gas operator. When the business failed, he launched his bakery despite the odds against success and his having to learn the business from scratch. "I went from crude oil to Crisco oil," Burns said, noting that his accountant, bankers, and attorney told him that he had too much debt for his venture to succeed. Nevertheless, Wooden Spoon had some success: "No one knew I was down and out because I had a smile on my face and never stopped." Burns said that the bakery succeeded because "people respond to cookies . . . [as] a reminder of their childhood."
Burns received his bachelor of arts degree in upper elementary education from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and his master of arts in education administration from Pepperdine University, a Churches of Christ institution in Malibu, California.
Burns retired from the United States Army, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a Democrat, Burns served fifteen years on the school board. In 1998, he ran third as a Democrat in the jungle primary race for Bossier Parish property tax assessor; the victor in the ensuing general election was Republican Bobby W. Edmiston.
Burns switched parties in 2006 and entered the legislative race vacated by the term-limited Billy Montgomery, who ran instead, unsuccessfully, for the Louisiana State Senate, having lost to former State Representative B.L. "Buddy" Shaw of Shreveport. Burns won Montgomery's House seat by eighty-seven votes in the jungle primary held on October 20, 2007. In the GOP-oriented district, Burns defeated fellow Republican and fellow Haughton resident Richey Jackson, 5,225 (50.4 percent) to 5,138 (49.6 percent).
Burns is a member of these committees: (1) Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Rural Development; (2) Natural Resources and Environment; and (3) Transportation, Highways and Public Works. He is also affiliated with the Louisiana Rural Caucus.
George Carlin was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base and held a job in Shreveport.
George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an iconic American stand-up comedian. He was also an actor and author, and won four Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.
Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as insights on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate "indecent" material on the public airwaves.
The first of his 14 stand-up comedy specials for HBO was filmed in 1977. In the 1990s and 2000s, Carlin's routines focused on the flaws in modern-day America. He often took on contemporary political issues in the United States and satirized the excesses of American culture. His final HBO special, It's Bad For Ya, was filmed less than four months before his death.
Carlin was placed second on the Comedy Central cable television network list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians, ahead of Lenny Bruce and behind Richard Pryor. He was a frequent performer and guest host on The Tonight Show during the three-decade Johnny Carson era, and was also the first person to host Saturday Night Live.
Jared Leto was born in Bossier City on December 26, 1971. He is an actor (featured in various movies such as Requiem for a Dream, Lord of War, Fight Club, and Chapter 27, among others) and is also the frontman and rhythm guitarist of the popular alternative rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.
Jared Leto (born December 26, 1971) is an American actor and musician. His first major acting performance was as Jordan Catalano in the television series My So-Called Life. This led to a growing film career, including a critically acclaimed portrayal of a drug addict in Requiem for a Dream. Additionally, Leto is the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter of the rock band 30 Seconds to Mars.
Shannon Leto, drummer of 30 Seconds to Mars and older brother of Jared Leto, was born in Bossier City in 1970.
30 Seconds to Mars at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. From left to right: Tomo Milicevic, Jared Leto, Shannon Leto, Matt Wachter.
30 Seconds to Mars is an American alternative rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1998. The band features actor Jared Leto as the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter.
Craig Mayeux is a 1973 graduate of Parkway High School in Bossier City. His novel, Brothers Forever: An Orphan Story, was the Grand Prize Winner of the Creative Arts Council's 2008 Book of the Year.
Meatywand, a professional drunk and noted black metal scholar
Billy Montgomery, though a native of Natchitoches represented parts of Bossier Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-2008. He is a Democrat-turned-Republican.
Billy Wayne Montgomery, often known as Coach Montgomery (born July 7, 1937), is a former educator who represented the Bossier City-based District 9 in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988-2008. He was elected as a Democrat, but he switched affiliation to the Republican Party on October 3, 2006.
Term-limited in his House seat, Montgomery was a candidate for the District 37 seat in the Louisiana State Senate in the November 17, 2007, general election to fill the position being vacated by Republican Senator Max T. Malone of Shreveport, who was also term-limited. Montgomery relocated from his previous residence in Haughton to live once again in Bossier City. In the general election, Montgomery was defeated by fellow Republican B.L. "Buddy" Shaw of Shreveport, 7,157 (57 percent) to 5,317 (43 percent). In the primary, Shaw and Montgomery had also faced two other Republicans, oilman Jay Murrell, a former Caddo Parish commissioner, Republican activist, and itinerant radio talk show host, and Barrow Peacock, Sheva Sims, an African-American female lawyer who came within six votes of beating incumbent Monty Wafford for the Shreveport City Council District "B" seat in 2006, was the only Democrat in the primary.
On October 9, 2007, the conservative Louisiana Prolife Alliance announced its opposition to Montgomery because of his past support for human cloning. LFF spokesman Dan Richey, himself a former state senator then of Ferriday, listed ten Senate candidates who have supported cloning in the past, eight Democrats and two Republicans, Montgomery and Sherry Cheek of Shreveport. Cheek, the successor to former Senator Ronald C. Bean, was elected to a second term in the primary.
Montgomery led the primary with 7,524 votes (29 percent) to Shaw's 6,676 ballots (22 percent). Under unique Louisiana rules, the two met in the general election even though both are of the same party. Shaw is considered the more politically conservative of the two. Peacock finished third with 4,620 votes (18 percent). Sims ran fourth with 4,564 (17 percent), and Murrell finished last with 3,951 (15 percent).
Montgomery graduated from Provencal High School in Natchitoches Parish. He obtained his bachelor's and his master's plus thirty semester hours from Northwestern State University (then Northwestern State College) in Natchitoches, the seat of Natchitoches Parish. He did graduate coursework at Louisiana Tech Universityin Ruston, the seat of Lincoln Parish, Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana State College) in Monroe, the seat of Ouachita Parish.
Montgomery served in the U.S. Army from 1959 to 1964. He began his educational career in 1960 as a teacher and coach while he was still in the Army. He was an assistant principal from 1970-1982 and a principal from 1982-1988, when he entered the legislature and retired from professional education. In 1991, Representative Montgomery was named to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Coaches and Administrators Hall of Fame. In 1970, he was named the "Acadiana Coach of the Year." For eight years he was cited as "District Coach of the Year."
The Louisiana Association of Educators named Montgomery a "Distinguished Legislator" in 1989 and one of the "Twenty Best Friends" [of Education] in the Louisiana legislature. The Louisiana Federation of Teachers cited Montgomery as the "New Legislator of the Year" in 1988.
In 2006, Montgomery and state Senator Lydia P. Jackson, a Shreveport Democrat, were co-recipients of the Christus Medical Center Health Award for their service in supporting health care issues in the legislature.
Montgomery has won all of his legislative elections thus far as a Democrat. He last faced an opponent in 1991, when he defeated the nonpartisan Kermit K. Westmoreland, 8,538 (74 percent) to 2,983 (26 percent).
In his first election in 1987, Montgomery almost failed to make the general election, sometimes called the "runoff" in Louisiana. Democrat Don E. "Don" Jones led the field with 7,673 votes (just under 50 percent) to Montgomery's 6,531 (43 percent), and 1,153 (8 percent) for Democrat Charles S. Whorton. Jones fell twelve votes short of an outright primary majority. In the general election, Montgomery surprisingly prevailed with 5,209 (53 percent) to Jones' 4,553 (47 percent). The turnout was much lower in the second race. Jones lost exactly 3,100 votes between the primary and the general election. Montgomery lost votes too, but only 1,322.
Montgomery said that his party switch was not particularly motivated by opposition to the Democrats but the expectation that he could more easily win the state Senate seat as a Republican than as a Democrat. The Louisiana Democratic Party issued this statement in regard to Montgomery's party switch: "It's unfortunate that he felt he had to switch parties to win that race."
Montgomery had worked closely with a Democratic colleague, Roy McArthur "Hoppy" Hopkins of Oil City. The two in fact were originally elected to the legislature on the same day, and both were among the more powerful legislators in the House chamber. Hopkins died of bone cancer on November 24, 2006.
Alex Porteau, a professional wrestler who worked for both WWE and WCW, was born in Bossier City in 1969.
Alexander Pourteau, also spelled Alexander Porteau, (born October 30, 1969) is an American professional wrestler best known for his stint with the World Wrestling Federation as Alex "The Pug" Pourteau between 1996 and 1997.
B.J. Ryan is a closer in Major League Baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League. Previously, Ryan played with the Cincinnati Reds (1999) and Baltimore Orioles (1999–2005).
Robert Victor "B. J." Ryan, Jr. (born on December 28, 1975 in Bossier City, Louisiana) is a closer in Major League Baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League. Previously, Ryan played with the Cincinnati Reds (1999) and Baltimore Orioles (1999–2005). He bats and throws left-handed.
In a career that has spanned eight years, Ryan has compiled an 18–23 record with 554 strikeouts and a 3.28 ERA in 458 innings pitched.
Eddy Shell (1937-2008) was in 1967 a founding faculty member Bossier Parish Community College and a Republican member of the Bossier Parish Police Jury from 1992until his death .
Edwin Taylor "Eddy" Shell (April 6, 1937 - May 2, 2008) was a prominent educator and politician in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana. In 1967, he was among the original five full-time faculty members to launch Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. The institution was then known as Airline Junior College. Shell taught speech there for a full four decades. In 1991, he was elected as one of the first Republicans ever to serve on the Bossier Parish Police Jury (equivalent of county commission in other states).
Lorenz Walker is the Mayor of Bossier City.
Todd Walker, a professional baseball player, graduated from Airline High School.
Todd Arthur Walker (born May 25, 1973, in Bakersfield, California) is a former Major League Baseball infielder.
Walker attended LSU where he led the Tigers to the 1993 national championship. He also earned the 1993 College World Series Most Outstanding Player award. In 2006, Walker was elected to the LSU Hall of Fame.
David Toms, a professional golfer, graduated from Airline High School.
David Wayne Toms (born January 4, 1967) is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He has spent a considerable amount of time in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings (over 175 weeks between 2001 and 2006) and ranked as high as 5th in 2002 and 2003.
Toms was born in Monroe, the seat of Ouachita Parish, in northeastern Louisiana, and resides in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish, in northwestern Louisiana. He is the son of Thomas E. "Buster" Toms (born 1946) of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish, in northwestern Louisiana.
He won the 15-17 Boys' event at the 1984 Junior World Golf Championships. After graduating from Airline High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, he attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge before he joined the PGA Tour in 1992. He has won one major championship, the 2001 PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club, and a total of twelve events on the PGA Tour.
His winning score of 265 in the 2001 PGA Championship is the lowest absolute 72-hole score ever recorded in a major championship.
Eric L. Taylor, humorist writer and cultural critic, was born in Bossier City.
Sports and gambling
Horseshoe Casino offers gambling entertainment in the Shreveport-Bossier metro area.
Bossier City is the home of the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings af2 arena football team as well as the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs of the Central Hockey League.
CenturyTel Center hosts athletic events in Bossier City
The city is a mecca of gambling, with casinos along the Red River and horse racing at Harrah's Louisiana Downs, which opened in 1974.
Harrah's Louisiana Downs off Interstate 20
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CITY OF BOSSIER CITY
By Clifton D. Cardin, Official Bossier Parish Historian
The area of Bossier City dates back to the 1830's when it was the Elysian Groves Plantation of James and Mary Cane. Steamboat loads of cotton, corn, and sweet potatoes were shipped to markets in the south and east, from the plantation port known to many as "Cane's Landing."
During the Civil War, several companies of local confederate soldiers left Cane's Landing aboard steamboats for the distant battlefields. During the war, the riverfront was protected from Union invasion by the artillery embankments of Battery's Price, Walker and Ewell. The confederate Fort Smith stood near what is now Bossier High School and protected the area from an eastern invasion.
Many, many early settlers passed through the region on their way to the Wild West. By 1850, over 200 wagons a week were passing through Bossier City. Some of these settlers stayed, attracted by the fertile soil and lush river valley.
By 1882, the plantation was at the center of the convergence of the infamous Shed Road, The Red River steamboat waterway and the soon to arrive "Iron Horse" railroad. The plantation was reached from the west, across the Red River by means of a ferryboat named the "Sterling White."
Bass Pro Shop
Anna B., granddaughter of James and Mary, together with her husband J. J. Stockwell, felt the area would prosper and began promoting the idea of a riverfront city. Anna B. and J. J. Stockwell started selling lots in their newly formed Bossier City on October 5, 1883. The area grew quickly, as did transportation through it.
The golden spike, commemorating the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia "Pansy" Rule. It was the first such spike driven by a woman. The north-south Shreveport and Arkansas Railroad was completed through Bossier City on April 6, 1888. The Louisiana-Arkansas Railroad was completed through on November 2, 1909. The Dixie Overland Highway from the east to west coast was built through Bossier City in 1918. These railroads and highways combined to make Bossier City a hub for future activity.
Bossier City's population expanded from 775 citizens in 1910, to 3,000 in 1930, 5,000in 1940 and 15,260 in 1950, with another 10,000 living just outside the city. By 1950, Bossier City attained the designation "The Fastest Growing City in Louisiana." In 1997, that population was approximately 55,000.
A devastating fire, on June 23, 1925, consumed one-half of downtown Bossier City. That tragedy found local citizens unable to battle the ferocious blaze. The loss spurred civic improvements including a modern water system, capable of fighting such fires, a New City Hall, a modern fire alarm system, modern sidewalks and the first city park.
An area south of Bossier City was chosen in 1928 to house a National Guard air squadron. Barksdale Field was officially dedicated February 3, 1933. It was later renamed Barksdale Air Force Base, and is home to the "mighty" Eighth Air Force. It's social and economic impact to Bossier City and Northwest Louisiana has never been questioned. From this, two major city arteries derive their names, Barksdale Blvd and Airline Dr.
By 1900, Bossier City was the domicile of several large factories. Hamilton's Cotton Oil Mill, from which Hamilton Road gains its name, is a perfect example of an early factory. The mill processed cottonseed and produced cotton oil; from which hundreds of items ranging from oil and animal feed to early plastics were made.
The discovery of petroleum crude oil, to the south, in 1908, thrust Bossier City into the nationwide oil boom. Bossier's central location to the many rural oil fields made it a major player in the oil patch.
Several international oil companies located here. The economic advantages brought by "black gold" fueled many more civic, social and economic improvements.
Bossier City's name has always been unique. First known as Cane's Landing, it was briefly referred to as Alexander’s Precinct and Caneville. It was first officially named and incorporated as the Village of Bossier City, then the Town of Bossier City and the City of Bossier City.
Texas Street Bridge
At one time, postal employees refused to deliver mail addressed to the Town of Bossier City, declaring it was just a town, not really a city. It took legislative action, initiated by Overton Brooks to have the United States Postal Service recognize the name of the Town of Bossier City. Thus the present name, The City of Bossier City. The ever-expanding city limits have grown to encompass the old railroad stations and communities of Brownlee, Barksdale, Bleinhem, Ferguson, Fosters, Fullilove, Hinkle and Shady Grove.
Bossier City has thrived because it is transitional. First a cotton exporting river landing, next a railroad town, then an airbase and oil-boom town, it now garners attention, tourism and an economic boost from the newest boom, recreational gaming. Three riverboats, Horseshoe, Casino Magic and Isle of Capri line Bossier City's developing riverfront.
Bossier's officials have repeatedly foreseen the future and worked for the improvements that forward striving people realize. It now stands ready to approach and face the new century and millennium.