January 1, 1722
One of the first land grants in the Baton Rouge area was made to Diron d’Artuguette, who’d built a house
near where the State Capitol is today by the end of 1721. D’Artuguette had also built a chapel on his farm,
which was the first place of worship in Baton Rouge. The first mass was said in Baton Rouge on January 1,
1722, when Father Pierre de Charlevoix, best known for paddling around the Great Lakes stopped at d’
Artuguette’s farm while canoeing down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. We do not know if d'Artuguette’
s twenty-five slaves attended the service.
January 2, 1860
Today was the first day of classes at Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy in Pineville in 1860.
The faculty included superintendent William T. Sherman. The Seminary offered classes in engineering,
chemistry, Latin, Greek, English, and mathematics. Cadets submitted to military-style discipline and were
required to stand inspections, drill, stand guard, and attend classes. They were awakened by a bugler
sounding reveille and went to bed at taps. The school would close after the onset of the Civil War and
reopen in 1865. In 1869, fire ravaged the campus and the school was forced to move "temporarily" to Baton
January 3, 2003
The third time was the charm as Kip Holden, Baton Rouge’s first African American Mayor-President was
elected on his third attempt at the office and inaugurated today in 2005. in 20 The 2004 race was Holden's
third attempt to win the mayor-presidency. Holden's election was fostered through the support of his urban
black base but also with substantial support from suburban whites including many Republicans. Prior to being
elected, Holden had served two years as a state senator, fourteen years as a state representative, four
years on the Metro Council and Public Information Officer for the Baton Rouge Police Department.
January 4, 2004
LSU defeated Oklahoma, 21-14, today in 2004 to win the school’s first BCS National Championship in
football. LSU had defeated Georgia in the National Championship game in December, and at the end of the
season, three major conference teams had finished the regular season with one loss. The BCS put the
Tigers and Oklahoma in the championship game at the Sugar Bowl, while Southern California, which had
finished Number One in the Associated Press poll played Michigan in the Rose Bowl. LSU's top-ranked held
the country's most prolific offense to just one touchdown until midway through the fourth quarter.
January 5, 1973
Louisiana's eleventh and most recent constitutional convention was called to order by Governor Edwin
Edwards today in 1973. The state had gone a record fifty-two years since the last constitution had been
enacted in 1921. During 1973 and early 1974, 132 elected and appointed delegates met to work out the
language. The new constitution was adopted by the voters on April 20, 1974 and became effective at
midnight on December 31, 1974. The convention was chaired by Louisiana House Speaker E. L. “Bubba”
Henry, and met at Independence Hall on North Third Street, just north of the State Capitol.
January 6, 2005
Legendary architect and Baton Rouge resident A. Hays Town died in Baton Rouge today at the age of 101.
He designed commercial and governmental buildings in the style of modern architecture for the first forty
years of his career, but he became best known for his residential architecture, which was heavily influenced
by the Spanish, French, and Creole history of Louisiana. His work was featured in Time, Life, Southern Living
and other magazines. There are approximately a thousand homes that were designed and built by Town, and
his distinct style continues to exert an influence on modern southern architecture.
January 7, 1975
In the general election held in November of 1974, Republican Henson Moore defeated Democrat Jeff Lacaze
by 14 votes in a race to become the U.S. Representative from the Sixth Congressional District. When
malfunctioning voting machine cast the recount of the vote into doubt, a judge ordered a rematch election,
which was held today in 1975. Moore won with a large majority and went on to represent Sixth District until
1986, when he ran unsuccessfully for the U. S. Senate. Later he would serve as U.S. Secretary of Energy
and Deputy Director of the White House staff under President George Bush.
January 8, 1850
In 1850, the Jesuit order established a school for boys on North Street, between what are now Fifth and
Seventh Streets. In those anti-Catholic times, the Baton Rouge City Council approved a new street through
the middle of the campus to be called St. Hippolyte Street. Tellingly, St. Hippolyte led an anti-papal schism in
fourth century Rome before being burned alive. The school adjusted its plans and opened this week in 1850
as the College of Sts. Peter and Paul. It would remain open until 1853, when two faculty members succumbed
during a yellow fever epidemic. St. Hippolyte Street would eventually be called North Sixth Street.
January 9, 1940
Happy Birthday, Joe Delpit! Delpit was born in Baton Rouge today in 1940, the son of Edmae Butler and the
late Thomas H. Delpit. He married to the former Precious Robinson in 1959 and they have five children and
eleven grandchildren. He attended St. Francis Xavier Elementary School and McKinley Senior High School
before attending Southern University. He was the first African-American to be elected to the Baton Rouge
Metro Council and he served briefly as Mayor Pro Tempore. In November 1975, he was elected State
Representative of District 67 in the first primary and served his district until his retirement in 1992.
January 10, 1947
Today in 1947, the State Board of Education approved establishing a law school at Southern University. Now
known as the Southern University Law Center, the school opened for instruction the following September. Its
concept was born out of a response of a lawsuit by an African American resident, Charles J. Hatfield, III,
seeking to attend law school at a state institution. In recent years, the school has received a number of
favorable rankings, including “Best Law Schools for Public Service" in 2012, and ranking first among law
schools awarding "Law Degrees With Most Financial Value at Graduation" in 2011 by U.S. News & World
January 11, 1924
James "Slim Harpo" Moore was born in Lobdell today in 1922. on January 11, 1922. He was a self-taught
harmonica player and was forced to quit school in the 10th grade after losing both parents. Supporting
himself and his family with manual labor, he began to pick up musical gigs and in 1957, he recorded "I'm a
King Bee" under the name "Slim Harpo." "King Bee" was a moderate hit, followed by an even bigger hit
"Raining in my Heart”. After Slim's next two albums bombed, he recorded "Scratch my Back" which turned into
his biggest hit. He died at the Baton Rouge General Hospital on January 31, 1970.
January 12, 1937
Today in 1937, the Works Progress Administration approved funding for the Capitol Annex across Third
Street from the Capitol. The Annex now serves as the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and other state
agencies and was designed by Edward F. Neild. It features exterior granite panels inter spersed with a floral
design and a Conrad Albrizio fresco in the lobby which illustrates the state’s industry, public construction, and
social welfare. Construction was completed in 1938 at a cost of $1.1 million. Throughout the 1930's, WPA
funds were used to build dozens of structures in Baton Rouge, including the old Mississippi River Bridge and
January 13, 1978
Former U. S. Vice President Hubert Humprey died in Waverly, Minnesota today in 1978. As a young graduate
of the University of Minnesota, he came to Baton Rouge to work toward a master's degree in political science
from Louisiana State University in 1939. Humphrey would later say that his experience shaped his views on
civil rights. "Everything you did in Louisiana -- study or work -- was, in a sense, conditioned by that
environment of often corrupt, usually bizarre, southern politics and race relations. Louisiana,” he wrote. “It
taught me something about American life that I barely knew in fact or in theory."
January 14, 1977
One of the most controversial murder trials in Baton Rouge history concluded today as Mister Donahue (that
was his real name) was convicted of the robbery and second degree murder of Zachary Council Marshall
Bond in August of 1973. No arrests in the case had been made in the fifteen months after the murder, and in
the week before Donahue’s trial, a second man, Kenneth Wayne Whitmore, was also convicted of the crimes.
During the trial, the central piece of evidence was a rusted bucket belonging to the victim found in a field
near Port Hudson. No murder weapon—suspected to have been a screwdriver—was produced.
January 15, 1793
First official legal act in Baton Rouge was recorded today 1793. Don Antonio de Gras and Genevieve Duler
of St. John the Baptist Parish. Don Antonio was a native of Majorca, Spain who settled in Baton Rouge in the
late 1700s. He was a merchant, shipper, philanthropist, and surveyor. In addition, he amassed significant
landholdings in and around the new town. The couple married Baton Rouge’s St. Joseph Catholic Church,
which was only fair as he had donated the land on which the church was built. The original name of the
church was the Church of the Virgin of Sorrows and later the Church of Our Virgin of Sorrows.