December 1, 1947
“Jingle, jangle, jingle…Here comes Mr. Bingle!” The lovable snowman whose hat was an ice cream cone made
his debut this week in 1947 at the Maison Blanche Department Store in New Orleans. Mr. Bingle, voiced by
Oscar Isentrout, was the star of his own show performed at the Canal Street Maison Blanche each day in the
weeks before Christmas. After the Baton Rouge department store Goudchaux’s purchased Maison Blanche, Mr.
Bingle would make his Baton Rouge debut during the 1982 Christmas season. While Bingle-mania would never
be as intense in Baton Rouge as it had been in New Orleans, he remained an everlasting symbol of the
December 2, 2007
Perkins Rowe Cinema opened this weekend in 2007, one of several businesses to open in the $170 million
complex at the intersection of Perkins Road and Bluebonnet Lane. Developers had foreseen a $350 million
development with more than eight hundred condominiums and apartment units, offices, a hotel and trendy
national retailers, including a department store. Baton Rougeans had been particularly titillated by the
possibility that the center would contain a branch of New Orleans’ famous Camellia Grill. But the development
was stifled by the recession, which saw retail chains dramatically cut back on their expansion plans that would
see fewer than three hundred residential units open at the complex.
December 3, 1894
Today in 1894, LSU played its first on-campus football game on its old downtown campus. The university’s first
football game ever had been played the year before, a 34-0 loss to Tulane that had been played in New
Orleans in Sportsmans Park and was LSU’s only game of the season. In 1894, the Tigers, played a three-game
schedule, the first game being a 40-0 win on the road against the Natchez Athletic Club. They came home to
play their first game at State Field against Ole Miss. The result was a 26-6 loss, and LSU’s only touchdown in
the game was scored by the head coach, Albert Simmons.
December 4, 1943
Author Frances Parkinson Keyes (rhymes with “skies”) was the guest of honor at the LSU Campus Club’s
annual Christmas Tea this week in 1943. Ms. Keyes had been a long-time resident of New Orleans, but in 1943,
she was in Baton Rouge and about to take up temporary residence at a house called “The Cottage” on the
river south of the LSU campus. While in residence, she would work on a book called The River Road about
ante-bellum plantation society. Today, her work would be called insensitive at best, or perhaps racist and anti-
semitic, but it was invocative of a specific time and place in American history.
December 5, 1948
Today in 1948, the Southern University Jaguars made their post-season football debut when they travelled to
San Francisco to participate in the second annual Fruit Bowl game, played at Kezar Stadium (pictured). The
opposition would be provided the hometown San Francisco State College Beavers, but they would be no match
for the powerful Jaguars, who never allowed the Beavers inside their 34-yard-line and prevailed, 30-0. The field
was wet, and the crowd of 5000 or so was damp, but the Jaguars completed an undefeated season in which
they outscored their competition, outscoring their opposition, 335-21. With their win, the Jaguar's claimed the
National Black College Championship.
December 6, 1946
Today in 1946, The Male Animal, the first production of the Baton Rouge Civic Theater, premiered at the
Woman's Club House on East Boulevard. The Civic Theater had grown out of a discussion among dedicated
theater fans about the popularity of little theater groups across the country. John Wray Young of the
Shreveport Little Theater urged the Baton Rouge group to follow that trend, and the Civic Theater was born.
With no performing or rehearsal space, Civic Theater used space at Building 326 at Harding Field for the
purpose and would remain there from 1948 until 1961, when it moved into a permanent building at the Bon
December 7, 1810
This week in 1810, the Stars and Stripes are raised over Baton Rouge for first time when 43-day-old
independent Republic of West Florida became part of Louisiana Territory. The West Florida flag had been
hastily stitched together in September by Melissa Johnson, wife of Isaac Johnson, one of the rebels who had
seized Fort San Carlos. The flag she sewed was a single white star on a blue field. The West Florida flag was
put away after December 7, 1810, but it would make another appearance years later at the outbreak of the Civil
War when it would be called the Bonnie Blue Flag.
December 8, 1942
Bob Love of Southern University and the Chicago Bulls was born today in 1942. After starring at Morehouse
High School in Louisiana, Love played basketball for Southern, earning All-America honors in 1963. When he
turned pro, he flourished while playing for Dick Motta's Chicago Bulls. In 1969–70, he became a full-time
starter, averaging 21 points and 8.7 rebounds. He appeared in his first two NBA All-Star Games in 1969 and
1970, and earned All-NBA Second Team honors both seasons. He would average at least 19 points and six
rebounds every season until 1976–77. His #10 jersey was the second jersey number to be retired by the Bulls.
December 9, 1872
Today in 1872, Lieutenant Governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback was sworn in as Governor after the
resignation of his predecessor, Henry Warmoth. Pinchback was the son of a white Mississippi planter father
and slave mother, and was the first African American governor of any American state. Pinchback’s thirty-five-
day term would be short. State law had required Warmoth to step aside as his case was being tried in the state
senate, but he was never convicted. After his brief term as Governor, Pinchback served as a delegate to the
1879 state constitutional convention, where he was credited with gaining support for the establishment of
December 10, 1953
Today in 1931, the Good Fellows appealed to the citizens of Baton Rouge to remember needy children at
Christmas. City firemen had been busy for weeks, repairing and repainting slightly worn toys. King Knox had
donated space at 345 Main Street, and the Southern Bell Telephone Company and Baton Rouge Electric
Company had donated their services. Walker C. Young in charge of wrapping presents for 800 children. Mrs. L.
U. Babin led the organization and took time out of her busy schedule to tell the children of Baton Rouge that
she’d be happy to deliver their letters to Santa, if they’d just get them to the office by December 20th.
December 11, 1934
Today in 1934, Radio station WJBO went on the air in Baton Rouge, becoming the city's first radio station.
WJBO had actually begun life in New Orleans in 1922 with the call-letters WAAB. It was licensed to Valdemar
Jensen of New Orleans who operated it from his basement. It was the first station to receive a 4-letter call sign
in 1922. In 1925, he obtained a federal license for the station, and in 1926, the call letters changed to WJBO
and it became the first commercial station in the South. In 1932, he sold the station to the Manship family, who
relaunched the station in December 1934 in Baton Rouge.
December 12, 1786
Today in 1786, the property where Magnolia Mound Plantation on Highland Road would be built was granted by
the Spanish crown to a man named James Hillin, HIllin sold it a short time later to John Joyce of Mobile, who built
what is now the oldest part of the house on the property. The property had fallen into disrepair by 1966, when
the City of Baton Rouge exercised its right of eminent domain to purchase the house and sixteen acres to
preserve the house. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and a visitor’s
center opened in 1990.
December 13, 1977
Baton Rouge audiences flocked to see Saturday Night Fever when it in theaters this weekend in 1977. After the
movie and throughout the disco era, people in Baton Rouge who wanted to dance wanted to go to del lago on
Constitution Avenue. It was the hottest nightclub in town, and its ads referred to it as "the Magic Kingdom for
Adults," which was probably as good of a description as any. But by 1979, del lago—like America—had moved
on. It cut dancing back to weekends and wanted Baton Rougeans to start thinking of it as a restaurant—and
they did—but only after it eventually closed and became Ninfa’s.
Decmber 14, 1965
Today in 1965, Mack Lee Hill of the Kansas City Chiefs suffered severe knee injury in a game against the
Buffalo Bills in Kansas City. Hill had played football at Southern from until 1963, and in 1964, his determination
and skill impressed the coaches and he made the Chiefs as a rookie free agent. After suffering his injury, he
underwent surgery at a local hospital. In the operating room, his temperature suddenly spiked to 108 degrees,
triggering severe convulsions and death. To reflect Hill's inspiration, the Chiefs created the Mack Lee Hill
Award, given each season to the team's most outstanding rookie. His Number 36 jersey has been retired.
December 15, 1961
Two thousand people, mostly Southern University students, marched from campus to the EBR Courthouse to
protest segregation at twelve downtown counters. Police arrested 49 and used tear gas and dogs to disperse
the peaceful crowd. The legislature had previously passed a law stating that college students arrested in such
disturbances must be expelled from school. So later that night, when three thousand Southern students
marched on the home of President F. G. Clark, he promised that those arrested would not be expelled. The
next day he called off classes for the rest of the semester, and when the January term began,
seven students were expelled for their participation in the march.