|April 16, 1952
The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate and State-Times sponsored its annual “Thrifty
Kitchen Cooking School at the Baton Rouge High School Auditorium tonight in 1952.
According to reports, the crowd was enthralled when Miss Rossie Anne Gibson,
home economist, whipped up the featured dish, a Bologna Cups-Hot Potato Salad,
which would appeal even to “the most finicky eater.” Miss Gibson told the crowd that
she had gone through ten pounds of bologna before she discovered the secret to
preparing the dish, which was to leave the casing on the bologna while it was
browning in the skillet. She assured the audience that the concoction would make an
excellent Sunday night dish.
April 17, 1837
Dr. Tichenor was born in Ohio County, Kentucky, today in 1837. George H. Tichenor
had served in the Confederate Army as an assistant surgeon. While at this post, he
developed the original Dr. Tichenor's antiseptic formula. In 1863, he was wounded in
a battle near New Albany, Mississippi, and saved his leg using the formula.
Tichenor's reputation would later suffer from his intransigence in not allowing his
methods to be used on Union soldiers. After the war, he was encouraged to
manufacture and sell his amazing germ-killing formula. He practiced medicine in
Baton Rouge from 1869-1887. He died in 1923, and is buried in Innis in Pointe
April 18, 1862
The first shots of the Civil War in Louisiana were fired today in 1862. After the
outbreak of the war, the Confederates had hastily fortified Forts Jackson and St.
Philip at the mouth of the Mississippi River. On April 18th, 1862, a Union fleet under
the command of Admiral David Farragut would begin the shelling the forts and
continue the bombardment for the next five days. On the 24th, Farragut and the fleet
would sail past the forts. As Farragut had hoped, the aim of the Confederate gunners
was poor, and his fleet suffered little damage. The fleet reached New Orleans the
following day, and the forts surrendered on the 28th.
April 19, 1979
In 1825, the Louisiana Legislature chartered four public colleges. One of these was
the College of Louisiana at Jackson. In 1839, the Methodist Conference of
Mississippi had established a college in Clinton, Mississippi. In 1845, the College of
Louisiana lost its funding from the legislature, so Centenary purchased the campus,
moved to Jackson and took a new name, the Centenary College of Louisiana. The
college would continue to struggle, and move to Shreveport in 1905. Centenary’s
1825 founding gives it the distinction of being the oldest liberal arts college west of
the Alleghenies. The abandoned campus in Jackson was added to the National
Register of Historic Places today in 1979.
April 20, 2010
Today in 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the Macondo Prospect
oil field about forty-five miles southeast of Plaquemines Parish. The explosion and
subsequent fire resulted in the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the deaths of
eleven workers. Seventeen others were also injured in the blowout that caused a
massive offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. , considered the largest accidental
marine oil spill in the world, and the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. By
2013, criminal and civil settlements and payments had cost the company $42.2
billion. In July 2015, BP was fined $18.7 billion, the largest corporate settlement in
U. S. history.
April 21, 1939
Sister Helen Prejean was born today in 1939 in Baton Rouge. She joined the Sisters
of St. Joseph of Medaille (now the Congregation of St. Joseph) in 1957. She began
her prison ministry in 1981, when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans.
While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she began correspondence with
Patrick Sonnier, the convicted killer of two St. Tammany Parish teenagers, who had
been sentenced to die in the electric chair at Angola State Prison. Sister Helen’s
story and her relationship with Sonnier was dramatized in the 1995 film Dead Man
April 22, 50,000 BCE
If there had been an Earth Day in Louisiana 50,000 years ago, it would have been
celebrated at the bottom of a pre-historic sea. The first man to discover fossil proof
of this sea was Judge Henry Bry, an amateur geologist-paleontologist from Northeast
Louisiana. In 1829, he found the fossil remains of a large pre-historic sea mammal
embedded in the sides of a steep hill running along a creek near Columbia. The
fossil ran along a 400-foot long curved line. Paleontologists would decide that Bry
had discovered a whale-like mammal of a size and type never seen before. It would
be called, "Zeuglodon cetoides".
April 23, 1910
A terrible fire destroyed seven blocks in downtown Lake Charles today in 1910. it
began in a small trash can behind Blaske's Soft Drink Stand, or the "Old Opera
House Saloon" on North Ryan Street. Firemen were no match for the gusty winds and
the highly flammable construction, mainly wooden buildings. The fire spread quickly,
engulfing block after block, consuming more than 100 buildings. Among the structural
causalities, were the Immaculate Conception Church, City Hall and the Calcasieu
Parish Courthouse. A new red and white Spanish Baroque-style City Hall with high
arched windows and a campanile would open the following year and serve the city
April 24, 1877
Francis T. Nicholls was sworn in as Louisiana’s twenty-eighth governor today in
1877. He was born in Donaldsonville in 1834, and attended West Point, graduating
in 1855. He lost his left arm commanding the Second Louisiana Brigade at the first
Winchester battle on October 15, 1862, and he lost a leg at the second battle of
Fredericksburg. During his first administration, he worked to rid the state of
carpetbag rule. In his second administration, he was instrumental in defeating the
Louisiana Lottery Company. In 1892, he was appointed chief justice of the Louisiana
Supreme Court. Nicholls State University was established and named for him in 1948.
April 25, 1831
The first railroad in New Orleans began carrying people and goods between the
Mississippi River front and Lake Pontchartrain today in 1831. The Pontchartrain Rail-
Road was chartered in 1830 and closed more than one hundred years later. The six-
mile line connected the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood with the town of Milneburg
on the Lakefront. The route of the railway ran down the center of what is now Elysian
Fields Avenue. It was the third common carrier railroad to officially open for service to
the public in the United States, following the Baltimore and Ohio and the South
Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company.
April 26, 1988
This week in 1988, an artist's exhibition at the Upstairs Gallery in Beverly Hills,
California, launched a world-wide sensation. Cajun artist George Rodrigue had been
acclaimed as a Louisiana painter for the better part of a decade, and in preparation
for the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans, he painted a painted a series of Louisiana
images. One of those images, a loup garou, looked suspiciously like his own terrier-
mix, Tiffany. The painting was not immediately beloved and was still unsold four years
later when it was shipped to California for the Beverly Hills exhibit. California critics
would be enchanted and begin referring to it as the "Blue Dog."
April 27, 1970
The first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, better known as Jazzfest, opened
this week in 1970. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit
organization, was established to oversee the Festival and hired George Wein, the
father of the Newport Jazz Festival to design and produce a unique festival for New
Orleans. Wein’s concept of the Louisiana Heritage Fair was a large daytime fair with
multiple stages featuring a wide variety of indigenous music styles, food booths of
Louisiana cuisine, and arts and crafts booths, along with an evening concert series.
Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Fats Domino and others
would perform at the first festival.
April 28, 1960
Tens of thousands cheered Charles DeGaulle when he visited New Orleans today in
1960. New Orleans had been the last stop of the French President’s official visit to
the United States, and after a triumphal entry parade, DeGaulle spoke at Jackson
Square, saying (in English), “I am aware not only of the historical links between this
city and France, but also of the present and future for us together.” He concluded his
remarks with, “Long live New Orleans! Long live the United States! Long live France!”
On the following day, there would be another parade and a ceremony
commemorating the Louisiana Purchase in Jackson Square.
April 29, 1785
John James Audubon was born in Haiti this week in 1785. In 1803, he settled on
father's estate "Mill Grove" near Philadelphia and began studying and drawing birds.
After failing in other businesses, he decided to attempt to publish a collection of
paintings of American birds. Audubon and his wife moved to St. Francisville and
1825, where he taught music and drawing. Birds of America, his four-volume work
was published between 1827 and 1838 and received favorable reception by
European publishers, after meeting a cool reception from American publishers and
critics. In 1841, he moved to New York and settled on the estate "Minnie's Land", now
April 30, 1812
Happy Birthday, Louisiana! On the ninth anniversary of the agreement was reached
on purchase of Louisiana from France, Louisiana was admitted to the Union as the
18th state today in 1812. The State of Louisiana would be something new for the
United States. It was the first state west of the Mississippi River to seek statehood; it
would be admitted to the United States with no fixed borders as the Adams-Ona
Treaty establishing the Sabine River as the western edge of the state was still seven
years away; it would have political traditions were not outgrowths of British colonial
experience, but of the monarchies of France and Spain.