October 16, 1890
Today in 1958, Metro Councilman Woody Dumas withdrew his proposed ordinance to prohibit alcohol at
football stadiums. The ordinance had originally been aimed at LSU Stadium, but then it was pointed out that
the stadium was in the city limits and not subject to a parish ordinance. As it was written, the ordinance
prohibited liquor at only the stadiums at Southern University and Central. When asked why he was introducing
the proposal, he said, “A lot of others like to go to a stadium to see a football game.” His stated reason for
withdrawing the proposal was that no one at Southern or in Central had asked for it.
October 17, 1968
Today in 1968, Southern University star Willie Davenport took the gold medal in the 110 hurdles at the Mexico
City Olympics. Davenport took part in his first Olympics in 1964, but injured his thigh and was eliminated in the
semifinals. In Mexico City in 1968, he reached the final and won: "From the first step, the gun, I knew I had won
the race." In 1972 he finished fourth, and in his third consecutive Olympic 110 m hurdles final, in 1976, he won
a bronze medal. At his last Olympics in 1980, he was a four-man bobsleigh runner, and his team finished 12th.
October 18, 1969
Today in 1969, Goudchaux’s at 1500 Main Street reopened after a renovation of its flagship store. To reflect
the change, Ripley's Believe It or Not would credit the store's 961-foot lengh with being the "world's longest
purpose-built department store." The original Goudchaux’s had opened on Main Street in the early twentieth
century. In 1936, as the Nazis continued their ascent to power, Erich Sternberg smuggled $24,000 out of
Germany and came to America, going first to Philadelphia, then to Jackson, Miss., before settling in Baton
Rouge. In 1939, Erich bought Goudchaux's, which at its height in the 1980’s employed over 8,000 workers in
Louisiana and Florida.
October 19, 1970
Today in 1970, Metro Council Roland Stevens said he asked Police Chief Eddie Bauer to assign a police
officer to attend each council meeting and committee meeting “to protect the council from the mayor.” Mayor
Woody Dumas had appeared on a radio show earlier in the day and commented on the actions of the
councilmen. Stevens met him in a hall later and told him to lay off. Stevens said the he feared that Dumas
would strike him. Commenting on the situation, Councilman Joe Delpit said that it should not be necessary for
intelligent men to have to protect councilmen from each other. “I didn’t come here for this.”
October 20, 1970
The Billy Graham Crusade came to Tiger Stadium this week in 1970. Speaking to a crowd estimated at 30,000
on the first night of the crusade, Graham said “We have false gods in America today—sex, drugs—even
education.” In reference to campus violence, Graham said that what is happening on some of our college
campuses today could lead to what has happened in Latin America, where universities had become a hotbed
of political rebellion. In addition to Graham’s remarks, a Cliff Barrows led a 3500-voice choir in “How Great
Thou Art” and 73-year-old Ethel Waters also sang. Miss America Phyllis George would appear at the Thursday
October 21, 1932
Today in 1932, the 'Personals' column of the Morning Advocate featured a notice that Miss Helen Wurzlow had
motored to Houma recently to visit her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Wurzlow. At the time, Calvin Wurzlow was
the mayor of Houma, and his daughter Helen had recently moved to Baton Rouge to take a position as "official
hostess" of the newly-completed State Capitol. Her responsibilities included giving tours to visiting dignitaries
and ordinary citizens who flocked to Baton Rouge in the thousands to tour the magnificent building which had
been dedicated five months earlier. Helen would eventually take a staff writer position for the New Orleans
October 22, 1942
Today in 1942, the keel was laid for the destroyer, U.S.S. Kidd at the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. in
Kearney, New Jersey. The Kidd would be launched five months later and commissioned on April 23rd, 1943.
On its inaugural cruise across New York harbor, the Jolly Roger pirate flag was run up the mast. One New York
newspaper writer spied the flag and joked that it was the first time that pirates had been spied in the harbor
since the 1700’s. The crew liked the joke and opted to keep the Jolly Roger. Throughout the remainder of the
war, the Kidd would bear the nickname, “Pirate of the Pacific.”
October 23, 1940
Today in 1940, Jitters the Circus Mule was the star of an animal auction at the Owen Brothers stockyard on
Choctaw Drive. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus was auctioning off horses and other
animals that had been used in the 1940 edition of the circus, which had recently closed. Bidding for Jitters was
fierce, and he was eventually sold to a New Orleans man who planned to use him in advertising. Gold Dust, a
full-blooded, five-gaited Palomino brought the highest price at $200, and “Master of the Dance” Jiggs, whose
ability to rhumba and cake-walk made him a feature of the show, were also sold.
October 24, 1965
The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair got its start this week in 1965 when the Baton Rouge Jaycees expanded
a trade show at the Bon Marche Mall (now Bon Carre Technology Center) and added a carnival midway at the
corner of Airline Highway and Evangeline Street. J.H. Martin was the first fair chairman. In the last ten years,
the Fair Foundation has given $1.175 million of grants to sixty-two different local nonprofits. In addition, the
Fair Foundation has funded $500 scholarships to area students chosen by their schools for exemplary
community service—that’s more than $300,000 to individual high school students over the last twenty years.
October 25, 1958
Today in 1958, the Southern Jaguars defeated the Jackson State Tigers in the first of their annual battles that
would go on to be called the "Boombox Classsic." The teams first met in 1929, a 98–0 blowout by Southern.
They did not play again until 1958, when Jackson State joined the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Since
then, the conference rivals have played each other every year, and twice in 1999, when Southern defeated
Jackson State 31–30 in the SWAC Championship Game. Both teams went into the game at Memorial Stadium
undefeated on the young season. Southern’s prolific offense would run wild in the game, and the Jaguars won,
October 26, 1953
Today in 1949, Mary Hill was on trial for her life in Baton Rouge in one of the grisliest murders in the city’s
history. Shadrack Chandler, a tenant in her mother’s house on South 13th Street had been butchered with
twenty-eight whacks with a hatchet on August 25th. Three hundred spectators packed the courtroom to hear
testimony from several of Hill’s friends who said she’d asked them to drop a body-shaped bundle she called a
“dummy” off the Mississippi River Bridge. Testifying in her own defense, Ms. Hill said it was a crime of passion.
After two-and-a-half hours of jury deliberation, the 63-year-old Hill was convicted of murder without capital
October 27, 1810
Today was the last day of Fulwar Skipwith's 43-day term as the first and only governor of West Florida in 1810.
On December 10, West Florida would become a territory of the United States. Skipwith was a distant cousin of
U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and left college at the age of sixteen to enlist in the army during the American
Revolution. In 1809, he moved to Spanish West Florida and served as a member of the West Florida judiciary.
He was a leader in the rebellion against Spain in September 1810 and would serve as governor until West
Florida was annexed to the United States.
October 28, 1923
This week in 1923, Leland College was reestablished in Baker. The college had originally been chartered in
New Orleans, but the campus had been destroyed by a storm in 1915. It would take the college eight years to
assemble the resources it needed to reopen on the Baker campus. Enrollment on the Baker campus would
never exceed 100, and the school would struggle until the Baptist churches and the American Home
Missionary Society of New York, which had been sustaining the college during its residency in Baker, withdrew
their funding in the late 1950's. The school would close permanently in 1960.
October 29, 1942
Today in 1942, American was nearing the end of its first year of its involvement in World War II. A front- page
editorial in the Morning Advocate admonished children that if they planned to go out on Halloween night and
have fun, they'd be helping Hitler win the war. Letting the air out of the neighbor's tires was sabotage, ringing
doorbells and running away ruined the sleep of war workers, soaping window wasted valuable wartime
materials, and wearing a mask was something that only a saboteur would do. The paper advised children that
if they wanted to hobnob with hobgoblins, they should stay home and make faces at each other.
October 30, 2005
On this Sunday afternoon in 2005, the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins played the first regular season
NFL game at Tiger Stadium. Hurricane Katrina had rendered the Louisiana Superdome unusable in the first
week of the season, and the Saints would be compelled to divide their home schedule among Tiger Stadium,
the New Jersey Meadowlands and the Alamodome in San Antonio. Throughout the season, there was a
pervading fear that the Saints would never return to New Orleans, and the anxiety must have affected the
teams play. The Saints would play the Dolphins, Bears, Buccaneers and Panthers in Baton Rouge, and they
would lose all four games.
October 31, 1959
On Halloween in 1959, trick-or-treating had been moved from Saturday to Friday night so that parents could
go watch the most famous game in Tiger Stadium history. LSU and Ole Miss were ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in
the country, and they would play an epic game in Death Valley. The Rebels were leading 3-0, when Billy
Cannon took a punt on his own 37-yard line and ran it into the history books, giving the Tigers a 7-3 victory.
The Sugar Bowl Committee thought the game was so good that they scheduled a re-match for New Year’s Day
in New Orleans. It was a mistake. The Rebels won, 21-0.