March 1, 1721
Today in 1711, the French ship "Les Deux Freres," reached the Louisiana colony from
France with passengers which included the colony’s first forty German immigrants.
Some of them would eventually settle in communities in the Côte des Allemands, or
German Coast, in St. Charles Parish. With the incentives offered to them by John Law
and the Mississippi Company, twelve hundred German settlers had boarded five ships
in France during 1710-1711. In the course of their travels to the colony, one thousand
of them would fall victim to mistreatment, tropical diseases, pirates and second
thoughts, while only two hundred would eventually settle in the Côte des Allemands.
March 2, 1855
The town of Kenner was incorporated in 1855 and named for Stephen Minor Kenner
who subdivided his family’s three plantations in Jefferson Parish and sold them as
residential lots in 1853. Kenner’s only known political involvement was being elected in
1835 to the Jefferson Parish Police Jury. In 1853, his brother and neighbor, William
Butler Kenner of Oakland Plantation, died leaving a debt-ridden estate. Minor
attempted to save the family holdings by subdividing it and his own two plantations,
Belle Grove an Pasture. In the beginning, Kenner called the settlement “Kennerville”,
but by the date of incorporation, the named had been abbreviated to Kenner.
March 3, 1794
Le Moniteur de la Louisiana, Louisiana's first newspaper, began publishing today in
1794. The paper, whose motto was "Bombalio. Clangor. Stridor. Tarantantara.
Murmur” remained in business until 1815. Over the centuries, Louisiana has been the
home of newspapers with names as colorful as the Avoyelles Pelican, Louisiana Cotton
Boll (Lafayette), the Lumberjack (Alexandria), the Homer Illiad, the American Patriot
(Columbia); L'Ami des Lois (New Orleans); the Country Visitor (New Orleans); Gris-Gris
(Baton Rouge); La Lanterne Magique (New Orleans); Le Polyglotte (New Orleans); St.
Tammany Farmer; the Donaldsonville Chief; The Caucasian; The People's Vindicator;
The Louisiana Capitolian (Baton Rouge); The True American; and The Comrade.
March 4, 1940
Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture Harry Wilson got into a bragging match today in
1940. A recent statement by Wilson that Louisiana produced a wider variety of crops
than any other state brought a swift response from J. E. McDonald, his Texas
counterpart, citing among other things that tobacco was the only crop grown in
Louisiana that was not grown in Texas. In response to the response, Wilson unleashed
a barrage of jabs including, “Almost every fur coat you see in Texas is made from the
pelts of Louisiana muskrats,” and in response to McDonald’s comments about the
Texas spinach crop, McDonald replied, “we discourage our farmers from producing
that obnoxious weed.”
March 5, 1766
France had ceded Louisiana to Spain in the 1763 Treaty of Paris, but it would be three
years before the Spanish sent a governor to oversee the colony. Don Antonio de Ulloa
arrived in New Orleans today in 1766 to take up his responsibilities from the acting
French Governor Philippe Aubry, but when the French troops refused to recognize his
authority, Ulloa didn’t try to publicly acknowledge the formal transfer of power. Instead,
he decided to execute his orders through Aubry, the acting French governor,
preserving the appearance of continued French rule. French officer revolted in 1768,
forcing Ulloa to flee to Havana without ever taking charge of the colony.
March 6, 1836
While our neighbors in Texas are remembering the Alamo which fell today in 1836,
Louisianans can recall that one of the martyrs of the day was Jim Bowie, who’d been
born in Tennessee in 1795 and moved to Louisiana in 1802, living in Concordia and
Catahoula parishes. Bowie farmed and logged in the Bayou Boeuf area in Rapides
Parish, and later lived in Opelousas and Thibodaux, where he introduced state's first
steam mill for grinding sugar cane. According to legend, while recovering from a
dueling challenge in 1827, he had the weapon known as the Bowie Knife designed for
future challenges. He 1828, he moved with his family to Texas.
March 7, 1816
Today in 1816, the state legislature addressed immigration issues by enacting
legislation to require that "an individual coming into the state from a foreign country, or
from any one state of the United States and desirous of acquiring residence therein,
shall give notice in writing to the judge of the parish where he proposes to reside, of
his intention to acquire residence, and in which notice shall also be stated, his age, the
country or state from whence he came, the trade, profession or pursuit which he
designs to follow.” Seven thousand Europeans had emigrated to Louisiana in the
1700’s, and the number would increase twenty-fold in the 1800’s.
March 8, 1876
After three years of debate and controversy, members of the U.S. Senate refused to
allow former Louisiana Governor P. B. S. Pinchback to take his seat today in 1876. In
1868, Pinckney Benton Stewart PinchbackPinchback had become the first African
American to hold the office of governor in any American state and served a thirty-five
day term from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873. In 1873, the Louisiana
legislature selected him to serve as one of Louisiana’s senators in Washington. After
three years of postponing and debating his acceptance, the Senate finally voted not to
allow him to take his seat.
March 9, 1971
The coming of the interstate in the mid-twentieth century may have doomed Shreveport’
s West End neighborhood, but Herbert and Marian Bass at the neighborhood’s iconic
“Herby K’s” kept on turning out gigantic Shrimp Busters po-boys. Herby K’s began life
on Pierre Avenue as the Flying Crow, named for a train engine, selling package liquor,
tobacco, and sandwiches. In 1936, Herbert J. Busi, Jr. turned the family owned
business into a restaurant bearing the nickname he picked up while attending LSU and
Herby-K’s was born. The shrimp buster was born in 1945, and today in 1971, Herby-K’
s received its business license from the State of Louisiana.
March 10, 1980
Louisiana’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction was inaugurated today in
1980. David Conner Treen was born in Baton Rouge in 1928 and grew up in Metairie,
where In 1945, he graduated from Alcee Fortier High School in New Orleans. After
college and law school at Tulane, Treen served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to
1952. After his discharge, Treen joined the law firm of Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles. He
ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1964, 1966 and 1968, before finally being elected
in 1972, as the first Republican elected to Congress from Louisiana in a century.
Earlier in 1972, he ran unsuccessfully for governor against Democrat Edwin Edwards.
March 11, 1832
Marie des Neiges Juchereau de St. Denis died today in 1832. He had been born a
slave in 1770, the son of a black slave and a white planter. He was purchased by his
father as a child in 1770 and manumitted at the age of 32 in 1802. In 1795, he had
received a royal grant of 1160 acres of land in Natchitoches Parish that is now Melrose
Plantation. An astute businessman like his father, he rapidly expanded his holdings,
while successfully waging an on-going legal battle to retain possession of his land
against the counterclaim of a prominent white colonist.
March 12, 1894
Today in 1894, President Grover Cleveland appointed Edward Douglass White of
Thibodaux to the Supreme Court of the United States. White was born in 1845, the son
of Edward Douglass White Sr., a former governor of Louisiana. He began his academic
career at Georgetown University before the Civil War and completed his law degree at
Tulane after the war. In 1910, President William Howard Taft (who would later become
a Chief Justice himself) elevated Douglass to the position of Chief Justice of the United
States upon the death of Melville Fuller. At the time, his was a controversial
appointment as White was a Democrat while Taft was a Republican.
March 13, 1971
The town of Henderson was incorporated this week in 1971. While few Louisiana
motorists would be surprised to learn that the town derives the vast majority of its
operating revenue from speeding tickets issued on the interstate, even fewer would be
surprised to learn that for the first seventeen years of the town's existence, it's mayor
was Pat Huval, founder, owner and operator of Pat's Fisherman's Wharf. Huval, started
selling hamburgers and sacks of crawfish from a stand he rented on the Atchafalaya
Basin in 1948. By 1952, Huval purchased the stand and the adjacent dance hall, which
he would mold into a nationally renowned Cajun restaurant.
March 14, 1820
The town of Monroe was established by legislature today in 1820. The first residents of
what is now Monroe were the Ouachita Indians who inhabited the area around 1350
BC. The site later attracted a transitory population of traders, trappers, and hunters,
but few permanent inhabitants. In 1782, the Governor of New Orleans sent Don Juan
Filhiol to establish a post along the Ouachita River. By 1790, this trading post, called
Ft. Miro, had evolved into a community of forty-nine families. Ouachita Parish was
established March 31, 1807, with Ft. Miro as the parish seat. In 1819, the town’s name
was changed from Ft. Miro to Monroe.
March 15, 1822
Today in 1822, the legislature authorized Ascension, Assumption and Lafourche
parishes establish a lottery to raise $8000 to improve Bayou Lafourche. Early settlers
explored a descending fork of the Mississippi River that mapmakers had named
"LaFourche Des Chitimachas," later shortened to “LaFourche.” In 1811 the first
steamboats began traveling along the Bayou Lafourche. Lotteries had been a common
way of generating public funds in the early 19th century, but the 1822 lottery would be
a bust, and the bayou would languish for almost a century. The discovery of oil in the
1920’s revived the region and set the economic trend of the Bayou Lafourche area
until the present day.