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KRANDOM NOTES ABOUT
OLD OPELOUSAS TOWN
Written by "A. Bruf" of The Clarion Staff
from Facts Furnished by Old Citizen .
Now and then, in the study of
Louisiana history, the reader
sees some mention of Opelousas.
It is true that the mention is but
a casual one; nevertheless, Ope
lousas has played quite a con
spicuous part in the development
of our commonwealth. It is one
of the oldest towns in the State.
The exact date of its founding
is unknown. It is certain, how
ever, that long before the admis
sion of Louisiana, it was a trad
ing post where the Indians ex
changed their paltries for the
goods of the pioneers. A garri
son was also stationed here for
the protection of the settlers.
Opelousas was the scene of
much action during the Civil
War. It was here that Tay
lor colleced thousands of men
from all over Southwest Louis
lana to fight for the Confeder
acy. It was near here that the
battle of Bourbeaux was fought,
in which the Confederates killed
and captured some six hundred
Yankees, and took a number of
goods and a bounteous supply of
food. It was here that the Yan
kees encamped with 30,000 men
to meet Taylor's army. The
State capital was at Opelousas
for a while, and the building
still stands where the govern
mental affairs of the State were
administered. The building is
still in excellent condition, and
has been used, in turn, as a drug
%:atore, a hotel, a plumbing shop
and a store. It is now lavishly
furnished and used as the Elk's
During t h e reconstruction,
Opelousas was the scene of much
trouble between the true South
ern whites and the allied carpet
baggers, disloyal whites and ne
groes. After the war, the coun
try was overrun by scheming
carpetbaggers who resorted to
all sorts of methods to incite the
igporant negroes to action
against their former masters.
Foremost among these negro-lov
ing whites was one ---, who
was later driven from the place I
and settled at Donaldsonville, or
thereabouts. -- was largely 4
instrumental in transforming the 4
affairs of justice of St. Landry
Into a negro minstrel farce. On i
one occasion he organized some
two thousand negroes and I
mrached them to Washington, 1
six miles distant, where a large I
mass meeting of negro sympa
thizers was scheduled to be held. 1
A wagon load of rifles and an i
abundant supply of]
ammunition was brought r
along to guard against t
the interference of disfran
iATHER AT CROWLEY
Continued from page one i
At the night meeting H. M.
Mayo of the Sou. P. delivered '
an eloquent address, pledging his
company to every movement for
the uplift of the commonwealth, u
and especially drainage and rec
lamation. Mr. Chevis called on
Dr. Mayer to discuss the problem h'
from the health end of it. The d
former took the position that the
one paramount inhibita to the Ik:
proper development of the un- ir
rivaled resources of the Attaka- 1
pas county, the Eden of Louisi- o
ana, was defective drainage; that
it did not have reference to sur- hi
face drainage at all, as that was l
not a debatable question; that the le
I.speedy ridance of excess surface ti'
water was a fact patent to all, ia
both as breeding grounds for n
!mosquitoes and as an interfer
e::ece with agricultural opera- re
tions and the building and up- 1p
ei-ep ofroadu, but that he had th
reference to the ground water th
evel; that it was axiomatic that
le lower the ground water level tit
the healthier the community; es,
chised Southerners. The meet
ing started w.th wild rejoicings.
Savage yells rent the air. Senti
mental speeches of mullatoes and
their white leaders stirred to a
frenzy the great army of grin
ning, pe-like blacks. At last
one or their number mounted the
platform and soon his stentorian
voice burst forth in wild and vile
denunciation of the vanquished
heroes of the South.
"Gemmun," he was saying,
"Ah tells to' de time am comin'
when dars a-goin' ter be wah.
An' dat wah ain' gwinter be
'tween white and white-hit's
gwinter be 'tween us cullud
fo'ks an' white trash. We's
tired ob bein' bossed. We's got
ter fight dese heah white - ,
an' now's de time. Dey's got
ter be kilt."
And just at this juncture,
eighty white men burst into the
hall. Every one of the leaders
on the platform was covered
with one or more guns. Eighty
men were ready to fight to a fin
ish against this great multitude
of "freedmen" and their leaders.
It is needless to say that the
speaker was panic-stricken.
"Fo' Gawd's sake, gemmun,
don't shoot!" he cried, and sank
to his knees in humble and earn
The eighty white men stood
firm. The meeting was quickly
adjourned by unanimous con
sent, and the crowd of negroes
's This is but one incident of re
construction days. On another
n, occasion a party of sixteen white
h men fought a pitched battle with
h- twenty-one negroes. The ne
t- groes were jailed. On the fol
e- lowing night they were taken
2- out by unknown parties and
g brought to a nearby grove,
to where they were hung and their
ie bodies riddled with bullets.
n The Opelousas of to-day is, of
3. course, quite different. With its
r- 6,000 inhabitants, all working
to for a better city, it bids fair to
:e become one of the South's most
)r progressive small cities. Vari
y ous manufacturing plants are in
Le daily operation; three railroads
y enter the town: there are many
n miles of paved streets and side
.e walks; a modern sewerage sys
d tem has been completed; one of
i, the finest high schools in the
e the State has just been turned
L- over to the people by the con
tractors; and various other im
n provements are contemplated.
f But, with all her progressive
t ness, she still retains the air of
t the typical Southern town that
-was founded before the war.
that this was so true that even
the tile drainage of a limited
area around the home would im
prove its health conditions; that
many years ago, at a farmers'
institute, he had advised Crow
ley, in view of its high ground
water level, to dig a mote around
the town and bleed into it so, as
to lower the ground water level
until they were financially able
to properly drain the ward; that
now that this purpose had been
accomplished by drainage canals
into the Plaquemine and Queue
de-Tortue, he was interested to
know whether there had been a
reduction in the morbidity and
mortality rate. Mr. Medlenka,
of the Board of Trade, and Dr.
Mimms, Health Officer, assured
him there had. The general
lowering of the ground water
I level was proven by the exhibi
tion of a magnificent bunch of 1
alfalfa, over 18 inches high, only I
ninety days old. I
The doctor pointed out that the i
relation of drainage to health ap- 1
plied to stock as well as to man; I
that Southwest Louisiana was
the finest natural stock range in
the United States, in the quan
tity and succulency of its grass- J
es, and the fact that stock could k
range all winter without shelter,
but that these possibilities were
absolutely inhibited by the dread
charbon, now universally distri
buted by buzzards, dogs, and the
indifference of farmers in the
proper sanitary disposal of char
bonous carcasses; that there was
no hope of reclaiming these vast
infected areas until thoroughly
drained and put under culture,
not only on account of the exist
ence of insect life, serving as
transmittors of the disease, but
that the spores remained indefi
nitely in the soil which might be
purified by drainage and cultural
treatment, a question, of course,
which would have to be decided
by Federal or State experiment
Mr. Switzer, before adjourn
ment, called on all to 4e their
influence to secure memLprs for
the Southwestern La. DJevelop
ment Bureau, engaged int a work
of incalculable benefit, and that
such work required the sinews of
war to carry out its labors to a
We take this opportunity of
saying that the presence of Mr.
Chevis as head of the Bureau is
an earnest, that its labors will
never be prostituted to any pri
vate ends, and that it will keep
steadily in view the development
of the Attakapas region along
high, ethical grounds. It is the
duty, therefore, of every good
citizen in this section to affiliate
with it, so as to make it a tre
mendous engine for good in the
exploitation of the resources of
Southwest Louisiana. To do this,
to get out bulletins and litera
ture, and to call conferences that
will attract outside capital and
interest the timid, wary and
elusive dollar of our own people
requires funds to keep the pot
e Mr. Gerrac, of Lafayette, sug
, gested that the scheme of Mr.
Bradford should be endorsed by
resolution, in which he was sus
tained by Mr. Medlenka, but the
chair took the position that such
a motion would be out of order,
as it would be the endorsement
of a private operation planned
for irrigation, whereas this con
s ference was called solely ip the
interest of drainage.
The concensus of opinionof the
t engineers present, voiced by Mr.
Reed, was that it was a waste of
time and money to institute local
drainage schemes; that what was
needed was a comprehensive plan
that would include the water
sheds or entire basins. The en
gineering committee was in
structed to create basin districts
with no regard to political lines,
with the idea of protecting the
lowlands from the excess of
water from the highlands, and
also its final dispersion of waters
of the Gulf.
The committee to investigate
and report on the advisability of
organizing the Mermentau Drain
age District is composed of J. G.
Medlenka, Crowley; Geo. Hath
away, Jennings; L. E. Littell,
Opelousas; J. G. Neelis, Guey
dan: R. P. Howell, Lake Arthur.
The appointment of the Calca
sieu and Vermilion Basins
will be taken up later. The
meeting adjourned and was pro
nounced a successful entering
wedge to open up the general
problem of the drainage of South
CAPT. K. A. DUNBAR.
Captain K. A. Dunbar, aged
70, expired at a sanitarium in
Eunice last Wednesday, follow
ing an operation. Captain Dun
bar was well known in all sec
tions of the parish and was a
member of a prominent family.
He was an old steamboat cap
tain and formerly operated a
large boat between Washington
and New Orleans. He is sur- 1
vived by a wife and two sisters.
The funeral was held at his 1
home at Mamou, La.
R. R. DUSON. t
At 5:10 Thursday morning, (
June 4th, R. R. Duson, familiarly F
known as "Rod" by his friends in t
To and from New Orleans
Two Through Trains
The ideal place for
summer. Reduced round
trip rates every day.
For information as to rates,
etc., write or phone
F. J. Tillotson, Agent.
Your Patronage is Solicited and Appreciated
Go Fishing at Second Lake and Half-Moon
M. C. BATSON J. W. JORDAN,
Local Agent Gen'l Freight and Pass. Agent
Phone 145 Opelousas, La
Your Vacation Trip
will be a pleasant one if
U properly arranged
Let Us Help You
June i, 1914 to September 30th, 1914
Cheap Round Trip Tickets will be on sale to the
Mountains and North and to
COLORADO and the PACIFIC NORTHWEST
For Rates, Illustrated Literature and Full Particulars, Ask
Any Southern Pacific Agent or write
W. H. STAKELUM, J. H. R. PARSONS,
Division Pass. Agent, General Pass. Agent,
Lake Charles, La. New Orleans, La
this section, joined the great ma
jority. Mr. Duson was the third
son of the lamented Curley Duson,
who was one of the most promin
ent men in Southwest Louisiana,
and was connected with some of
the leading families of this sec
tion. For several months Mr.Du
son had undergone much suffer
ing, and was an invalid at the
home of his sister, Mrs. L. H.
Mornhinveg, of this city, during
all April and May. His death was
not unlooked for, and to him it
came as a peaceful relief from a
life that was monotonous and
painful and sad.
Mr. Duson's wife preceded him
to the grave several years ago.
He is survived by his sister, Mrs.
L. H. Mornhinveg, of Opelou
sas; two children, Julia and Rod
ney; and two brothers, Dr. W.W.
Duson and George Duson. The
funeral services were held Fri
day morning at 10 o'clock from
the Methodist Church. The in
terment was at the Protestant
Cemetery, the last rites being
performed by Rev. Morgan, pas
tor of the local church. The out
of-town attendants were: Dr.
W. W. Duson, of El Campo,
Tex.; W. W. Duson, Gus. Fon
tenot, Mrs. F. Coleman, Mrs.
Hoffpauir, Mrs. Foreman, all of
Crowley; and Mrs. Clarence
Straus, of Chicago.
May he rest in peace.
Kandy Kitchen Changes
The popular Kandy Kitchen,
for several years operated by the
firm of Theodore and Ballas, has
undergone a partial change of
ownership. Owing Ato long
standing ill health, the senior
partner, Mr. A. D. Theodore,
has sold his interest to Mr. John
Mamalakis, who arrived here
with his family on June 1st to
take charge of his part in the
business. Mr. Charles Ballas
will remain here and will be as
sociated with Mr. Mamalakis,
while Mr. Theodore has departed
for Mineral Wells, Texas, in
search of better health.
Miss Julia Walker left Tuesday
for Lafayette, where she will
attend summer school.
and be refreshed!
Sip by sip here's pure
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-a contented palate.
Demand the genuine by full name
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