Former musketeer gambles fortune on sugar

New Orleans, Louisiana, November 12, 1794: Wealthy local plantation owner and former French musketeer in the services of Louis XV of France, Etienne de Bore, 53, has given up his drought stricken, bug infested indigo crop and is gambling all he owns on a crop he has never raised and knows little about—sugar cane.

De Bore recognizes that indigo is a valuable dye plant and has meant so much to our local livelihoods most of this century. But, de Bore insists that indigo has faded dramatically as a means of making a living because of our “current two year drought in Louisiana and those exasperating insects that have feasted on our indigo plants for the past several years and have stripped our crops absolutely naked.”

The axeman murderer threatens to kill us all, if we don’t play jazz

New Orleans, Louisiana, March 14, 1919: The savage serial killer from “Hell,” known to us as The Axeman, who has murdered or horribly wounded 9 New Orleanians with his ax since May of 1918 and is still on the loose, has now sent a letter to this newspaper and issued a diabolical threat to everyone in our city. In the letter below, The Axeman taunts our police for their inability to track him down; he threatens to hack more of us to death; and, he fiendishly has instructed all of New Orleans to play jazz music in our homes on Tuesday night, March 18th—or else! Here are excerpts of The Axeman’s open letter, listing his address as Hell:

Gamblers putting it all down on the steamboat race of the century

New Orleans, Louisiana, July 1, 1870: Both steamboats—the Robert E. Lee and the Natchez—promote themselves as “the fastest steamboat on America’s rivers.” Even though neither boat has ever lost a race, one of them is wrong. And, the day of reckoning has arrived.

At 5:00, yesterday afternoon, just off the New Orleans docks, a brief silence of anticipation filled the air. Each proud steamboat idled side by side, poised and ready. The starting pistol shot rang out. Silence vanished. Boat whistles blew. The paddle wheels churned. Passengers on both boats cheered and clapped. Thousands of spectators lining the banks of the Mississippi began whooping, shouting, dancing, and jumping. The noise of excitement crushed normal conversation, as the race of the century was on. The din dimmed only as the boats disappeared around the first bend.

Over the next few days, thousands of more spectators will be in every river port and thousands more on levees between those ports, both night and day, as the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee speed their way along the 1200 miles of the twisting, treacherous Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Louis.

Cajuns turn oil bust into tourism boom

Houma, Louisiana April 17, 1986: Jimmy and Betty Provost, who live in the Gibson community about 20 miles northwest of here—just like their ancestors more than 200 years ago–have chosen to stand their ground and fight for their livelihood, as our current depressing and devastating economic downturn, known as the “oil bust,” threatens to crush so many of our futures here in the bayous of south Louisiana. We have largely depended on oil for jobs for the last three generations. Now, those “good times” seem to be over.
The Provosts have decided to make a living the old fashioned, ancestral way. They didn’t run for a job in another oil patch somewhere. They didn’t run to the government for handouts. Instead, they rolled up their sleeves, reached deep in their souls for strength, and risked their entire family’s future on saving the past and living off the land, but not exactly in the same way as their ancestors.

The couple officially opened Wildlife Gardens, a nature preserve, bayou farm, and bed & breakfast, right in the middle of Bayou Black Swamp, at 5306 North Bayou Black Drive in the Gibson area, yesterday at noon, surrounded by all sizes of alligators, giant 150 pound alligator snapping turtles, deer, raccoons, muskrats and comfortable room accommodations on stilts out over the murky waters of the cypress swamp itself.

Hadacol health tonic brings big stars to small towns

Hank Williams sings about having “The Love Sick Blues;” Bob Hope delivers his famous one liners; Carmen Miranda shows her samba moves; Jimmy Durante does his signature “Inka Dinka Doo,” and every movie star one can imagine—Lucille Ball, Dorothy Lamour, Cesar Romero, James Cagney, Judy Garland, even boxer Jack Dempsey– comes out on stage to talk live to the regular folks and sign autographs. Is it a big-time Hollywood movie extravaganza? Nope. It’s the Hadacol Caravan! And, it could be stopping in your area really soon! Price of admission? Only one Hadacol box top per person.