June 16, 1934
It was called the Central America Hurricane, but it came ashore in Louisiana over
Berwick Bay today in 1934 and inflicted significant damage on the central area of the
state. The worst-hit area from the storm was Honduras, though other parts of Central
America were affected. In Louisiana, the storm killed six people, including two children
who were killed when they were swept off a makeshift raft in the heavy seas. Abbeville,
New Iberia and Lafayette registered significant damage. In Baton Rouge, electric
power was cut, windows were blown out at the new State Capitol and the LSU
Campanile, and 20,000 acres of corn were destroyed.
June 17, 2008
In June, 2008, Freddie and Dianna Cooks purchased the Bloom’s Arcade in downtown
Tallulah. Bloom’s Arcade was built by “Uncle Mertie” Bloom of Caldwell in 1927 and is
believed to be the first indoor mall in the United States. Prior to its purchase by the
Cooks, the building had been an empty blight for almost twenty years. But it would be
reborn as Bloom’s Apartments, a project of the Brownstone Group, a construction firm
specializing in the renovation of historic buildings and new construction apartments.
The Brownstone Group worked with the city to create a cultural district in Tallulah that
allowed them to apply for historic and low-income housing tax credits.
June 18, 1895
Legendary LSU Band Director Castro Carazo was born in San José, Costa Rica today
in 1895. Carazo, the son of the chief justice of supreme court of Costa Rica, opted not
to follow his father into the law and opted to study music in Barcelona. Eventually, he
would become the music director at the Roosevelt Hotel. According to legend, he was
conducting an orchestra in the Blue Room, when he was approached by Huey Long
who said, “Come with me. You’re the new band director at LSU.” He took the gig and
moved to Baton Rouge, where his collaborations with Long included Long’s theme
song, Ev’ry Man a King.
June 19, 1838
In June 1838, Fr. Thomas Mulledy, a leader of the Jesuit community in Maryland and a
recent president of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, agreed to sell 272
African American men, women, and children to Henry Johnson and Jesse Beatty of
Louisiana. The articles of agreement identify the people by name and set out the
terms of the sale. At Georgetown, slavery and scholarship were inextricably linked.
The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to help finance its operations, and
slaves were often donated by prosperous parishioners. Most of the slaves from the
1838 sale were placed on plantations in West Baton Rouge and Iberville Parishes.
June 20, 1905
Lillian Florence Hellman was born in New Orleans today in 1905. During most of her
childhood, she spent half of each year in New Orleans, in a boarding home run by her
aunts, and the other half in New York City. She studied for two years at New York
University and then took several courses at Columbia University. As a playwright,
Hellman had many successes on Broadway, including The Autumn Garden, Toys in
the Attic, Another Part of the Forest, The Children's Hour and semi-autobiographical
The Little Foxes. She adapted The Little Foxes into a screenplay for a 1941 film which
starred Bette Davis and received an Academy Award nomination.
June 21, 1981
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the state of Louisiana and to the motto for which it
stands: A state, under God, united in purpose and ideals, confident that justice shall
prevail for all of those abiding here.” In June of 1981, the Louisiana Legislature
approved the state’s official Pledge of Allegiance. If you didn’t know that Louisiana had
a Pledge, or if you thought it sounded like it had been written by a bunch of third-
graders, you’re right. Mrs. Chris Murphee and her class of third graders at Jefferson
Terrace Elementary in Baton Rouge wrote the pledge as a class project and submitted
it to the legislators.
June 22, 1942
Grambling State and New York Knick all-time great Willis Reed was born in the Lincoln
Parish community of Dubach this week in 1942, and he grew up on a farm in nearby
Bernice. Reed showed athletic ability at an early age and played basketball at West
Side High School in Lillie. He attended Grambling State University, where he amassed
2,280 career points, averaging 26.6 points per game and 21.3 rebounds per game
during his senior year. Reed was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall
of Fame, and in 1996, he was voted one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History."
St. John's Eve, June 23, 1860
Today in 1860, the party was over for legendary New Orleans vodou queen Marie
Laveau. Fearing unrest among slaves and free people of color in the last tense
months before the outbreak of the Civil War, New Orleans Mayor John T. Monroe, who
was in his first week on the job, outlawed Laveau's long-running seance on Bayou St.
John, which had been tradition among Laveau and earlier queens for generations.
Little is known with certainty about the life of Marie Catherine Laveau. She was a mix
of uniquely New Orleans blend of African, Native American and white cultures and was
reputed to be the wealthiest black woman in New Orleans.
June 24, 1964
A ruling by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to print warning on cigarette packages a
victory for Dr. Alton Ochsner. Ochsner, former chief of surgery at Tulane and founder
of the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in Jefferson Parish. With his colleagues Michael
DeBakey and Paul DeCamp, he wrote of the parallel between the sale of cigarettes
and the incidence of bronchogenic carcinoma in 1952. In 1964, he advocated for the
immediate implementation of warning labels on all cigarette packs and advertisements.
His views put him in opposition to the American Medical Association, which joined the
tobacco industry in opposing label warnings when they were approved by the FTC
today in 1964.
June 25, 2008
Louisiana’s legislature proclaimed the Sazerac to be the official state cocktail this week
in 2008. Around 1850, Sewell T. Taylor sold his New Orleans bar, The Merchants
Exchange Coffee House, to become an importer of spirits, including a brand of
Cognac named Sazerac-de-Forge et Fils. Meanwhile, Aaron Bird began serving the
"Sazerac Cocktail", made with Sazerac Cognac imported by Taylor, and allegedly with
bitters being made by a local apothecary, Antoine Amedie Peychaud. Before his death
in 1889, Handy recorded the recipe for the cocktail, which made its first printed
appearance in William T. "Cocktail Bill" Boothby's The World's Drinks and How to Mix
June 26, 1973
Everybody's worst impressions of Louisiana were confirmed this week in 1973 when
Live and Let Die, the eighth film of the James Bond franchise (and the first to star
Roger Moore) was unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Pot-bellied sheriffs, voodoo
priestesses, sinister jazz funerals, swamp creatures of unusual size--Live and Let Die
had it all. It was released during the height of the blaxploitation era, and many
blaxploitation archetypes and clichés are depicted in the film, including derogatory
racial epithets like "honky", black gangsters, and pimpmobiles. It was set in African
American cultural centres such as Harlem and New Orleans, as well as the Caribbean
June 27, 1957
Today in 1957, the hurricane named Audrey reached peak sustained winds of 125
mph and moved ashore in Cameron Parish. The storm caused unprecedented
destruction across the region as damage from the surge alone extended 25 miles
inland. The rough seas killed nine people offshore after capsizing the boat they were
in. Further inland in Louisiana, the storm spawned two tornadoes, causing additional
damage. The hurricane also dropped heavy rainfall, peaking at 10.63 inches near
Basile. In the United States, Audrey killed at least 416 people, though the final death
total may never be known. Damage totaled $147 million, and it was the fifth-costliest
hurricane in the United States since 1900.
June 28, 1863
Today in 1863, the Union-held Fort Butler at the confluence of Bayou Lafourche and
the Mississippi River in Donaldsonville was successfully defended against a
Confederate attack in the Second Battle of Donaldsonville. Union forces had occupied
the city a year earlier, and in June, 1863, Confederates under Brig. Gen. Jean Alfred
Mouton attempted to retake the fort. The Confederates were progressing toward the
fort when the Union gunboat, USS Princess Royal, came to the garrison's aid and
began shelling the attackers. Key to the successful defense of the fort and the Union
victory were free men of color and fugitive slaves who fought as soldiers on behalf of
June 29, 1967
.Screen siren Jayne met a gruesome death tonight in on a lonely road near Slidell.
Mansfield had been in Biloxi for a nightclub appearance. Mansfield, her attorney Sam
Brody, their driver Ronnie Harrison, and three of Mansfield's children were traveling to
New Orleans in Stevens' 1966 Buick Electra 225. At approximately 2:25 a.m., on U.S.
Highway 90 west of the Rigolets Bridge, the Buick crashed at high speed into the rear
of a tractor-trailer that had slowed behind a truck spraying mosquito fogger. The three
adults in the front seat were killed instantly. The children, asleep in the rear seat,
survived with minor injuries.
June 30, 1928
Pontchartrain Beach opened today in 1928. The amusement park on the New Orleans
Lakefront was founded by Harry J. Batt, Sr., grandfather of actor Bryan Batt, and later
managed and owned by his sons, Harry J. Batt, Jr. and John A. Batt. When the park
opened, there was another amusement resort called Old Spanish Fort, just across
Bayou St. John. The park included a beach with a large art deco style bathhouse and
swimming pools and amusement rides including the Zephyr, the Zephyr Junior, Smoky
Mary, the Wild Maus, Musik Express, Log Ride, the Ragin' Cajun, the Bug,
Paratrooper, Scrambler, Calypso, Ghost Train, bumper cars, carousel and Ferris