|New Years Day, January 1, 1935
The Tulane Green Wave defeated the Temple Owls, 20-14, in the first Sugar Bowl
game at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans today in 1935. The game had been the
brainchild of Colonel James M. Thomson, publisher of the New Orleans Item, and Sports
Editor Fred Digby. The Mid-Winter Sports Association of New Orleans was formed in
1934 to formulate plans for an annual New Year’s Day football classic. The Association
selected Tulane and unbeaten Temple to play in the first game, after considering
Columbia and Colgate to represent the east.for his proposed football game. 22,206
fans watched Temple take a 14–0 lead before Tulane came back to win.
January 2, 1860
Today in 1860, the Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy in Pineville
(pictured) held its first day of classes, after being established by the legislature in 1856.
The faculty included Superintendent William T. Sherman, and classes were offered in
engineering, chemistry, Latin, Greek, English, and mathematics. Classes would be
disrupted the following year after the outbreak of the Civil War and resume in 1865. In
1869, fire ravaged the campus and the school was forced to move "temporarily" to
Baton Rouge. One hundred years later, LSU would return to Rapides Parish when LSU-
Alexandria registered its first students in 1960. In 2001, LSU-A would begin offering four-
January 3, 1959
Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus began his Saturday night broadcasts from the House of
Shock in New Orleans today in 1959. During breaks in science fiction and horror
movies, Dr. Morgus (New Orleans actor Sid Noel) and his trusty sidekicks Chopsley
(Tommy George) frequently conducted ill-considered experiments “guaranteed” to
make a vast fortune to satisfy the insatiable back rent demands for of Morgus’s
landlady Alma Fetish (Janet Shea). Since the original show went off the air in the late
1980’s, Dr. Morgus has taken time from representing Earth before the "Higher Order", a
super-scientific secret society developing higher intelligences throughout the universe,
to revive his television career on various outlets.
January 4, 1853
Today in 1853, Solomon Northup finally gained his freedom from slavery by proving that
he had been born a free man of color in New York in 1829. In 1841, he had been
kidnapped near Saratoga Springs, New York, and “sold south.” Under the name of Platt,
he was enslaved on plantations in Rapides and Avoyelles Parish. After he was
released, he returned to Glen Falls where he worked as a carpenter until his death in
1863. His memoirs, published in 1853, were made into the film Twelve Years a Slave,
which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2014.
January 5, 1815
Today in 1815, Captain Henry Miller Shreve's steamboat Enterprise entered the Red
River, sailing as far as Alexandria. Within a few years of this voyage, Shreve would
begin clearing the “Great Raft”, a one-hundred-mile long build-up of fallen trees and
other vegetation that had impeded navigation of the Red River for over five hundred
years. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Raft extended from Campti in
Natchitoches Parish to the area around Shreveport. Shreve concluded this work in
1838, having removed the last impediment to navigation on the Red River. For his
efforts, the city of Shreveport was named after him.
January 6, 2005
The Louisiana peach industry took a hit this week in 2005 when the federal
Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the use of methyl bromide to control a wide
variety of pests in agriculture and shipping. For decades, the rich farmlands of North
Louisiana had been famous for the production of juicy and delicious peaches,
prompting their celebration at the annual Ruston Peach Festival. The owner of Mitcham
Farms, the largest producer of Ruston peaches, said that the orchard's production had
dropped 20 percent in the ten years following the ruling. Producing trees were starting
to die at an earlier age and fruits from still-productive were much smaller than normal.
January 7, 1985
Mer Rouge native Lou Brock was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame this week in 1985.
Brock had become the all-time major league stolen base leader in 1977, when he broke
Ty Cobb's career record of 892 stolen bases, which had been one of the most durable
in baseball history. After finishing high school in Mer Rouge, Brock attended Southern
University and tried out for the baseball team to secure an athletic scholarship. In his
second year as a Jaguar, he hit for a .500 average. Southern won the NAIA baseball
championship during his junior year, and “Sweet Lou” was selected for the 1959 Pan
January 8, 1815
Nobody knew it at the time, but the War of 1812 was already over when the Battle of
New Orleans was fought today in 1815. The peace treaty had been signed at Ghent in
Belgium on December 24, 1814, but by that time a dangerous British army had already
been put ashore in St. Bernard Parish and was working its way to the River Road it
would take into the center of New Orleans. An American army, under the command of
Andrew Jackson and supplemented by local militia, pirates, free men of color and others
erected fortifications near Chalmette and turned away the British.
January 9, 1867
Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune, 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was
born in Pointe Coupee Parish this week in 1867. He earned a B.A. degree at LSU and
secured an appointment as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, from which he
was graduated in 1888. During his more than forty years of service with the Corps, he
led the famed Second Division (Army) in World War I, and served as Major General
Commandant of the Marine Corps from June 1920 to March 1929. Camp Lejeune, North
Carolina, now bears his name, and he is often referred to as "the greatest of all
January 10, 1811
The “German Coast Uprising,” the largest revolt of African American slaves prior to the
Civil War was finally suppressed by local militia and planters today in 1811. The
uprising had originated on the east bank of the Mississippi River in what are now St.
John the Baptist and St. Charles Parishes. Between 64 and 125 enslaved men marched
from plantations near LaPlace in the direction of New Orleans, collecting 200-500 men
along the way. During their twenty-mile march, the men burned five plantation houses,
as well as several sugarhouses, and crops. Two whites and ninety-five blacks were
killed in during the course of the two-day march.
January 11, 1877
This week in 1877, both Democrat Francis T. Nicholls and Republican Stephen B.
Packard claimed victory in election for governor and were sworn into office. The
outcome of the gubernatorial election in November, 1876, had been disputed after
Nicholls had garnered a majority of 8,000 votes, but the Republican-controlled State
Returning Board cited irregularities and declared Packard the winner. The conflict
would eventually be resolved as part of the Compromise of 1877. In return for collecting
the ten electoral votes needed to elect Republican Rutherford B. Hayes to the
Presidency, Hayes recognized the Democrat Nicholls as the winner of the gubernatorial
January 12, 2004
Louisiana's first elected female governor, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, was sworn into
office today in 2004. Blanco had been born in New Iberia, where her grandfather and
father had been small businessmen. She attended Mount Carmel Academy and later
graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1964. Following college,
she taught business at Breaux Bridge High School and held several public offices,
including a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. In 1988, she became the
first woman elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, and prior to running
for governor, she had served as Lieutenant Governor from 1996-2004.
January 13, 1992
Today in 1992, Melinda Schwegmann was sworn in as Louisiana's first female
lieutenant governor. She was born in Austin, Texas, attended LSU, and completed her
bachelor's degree in education at the University of New Orleans. Her marriage to Public
Service Commissioner John F. Schwegmann of Metairie brought her into the worlds of
politics and groceries. She served on the Schwegmann Giant Supermarket board of
directors. In the 1991 election, she upset incumbent Republican Lieutenant Governor
Paul Hardy by calling herself "a housewife and a nonprofit volunteer.” Some speculated
that she benefited from coattails of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Edwin Edwards,
who won his fourth term over David Duke.
January 14, 1893
Desiree's Baby, a short story of miscegenation in antebellum Louisiana by Kate Chopin,
scandalized America when it was published in Vogue today in 1893. Kate
O'Flaherty had been born in St. Louis in 1851, where she attended school before
marrying Oscar Chopin and moving to his native New Orleans in 1870 and then to
Cloutierville on the Red River near Natchitoches in 1879. From 1889 until 1902, she
wrote numerous short stories for children and adults published in magazines such as
the Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, The Century and Harper's Youth's Companion. Desirée's
Baby was her best-known work and is still in print.
January 15, 1949
Today was moving day for Isabella the Ghost of Northwestern State University in
Natchitoches. According to legend, Isabella was a beautiful maiden who lived in the
original Bullard mansion on campus. On the eve of her marriage, he was killed in a duel
and she went mad from grief and mourning and plunged a dagger into her heart. Her
spirit roamed Bullard mansion, East Hall and the Music Hall until they were torn down.
Just before the Music Hall was dismantled, a group of young men, dressed in sheets,
coaxed Isabella from the doomed building to her next residence in Caldwell Hall on
January 15, 1949.