Last week’s article related the visits of one of the paper’s reporters and Superintendent R. V. Kerr to several rural Bossier Parish schools. The article in the October 27, 1921 issue of The Bossier Banner went on to describe visits to more schools.
“The next school in order was the Club House School, five miles away [from the Lakeport School]. The roads all the way winding through fields of corn and cotton, the corn yielding forty to ninty [sic] bushels per acre and the cotton, in places nine feet high, interspersed with fine patches of ribbon cane, two or more farms on the way having as much as four acres each. The ride was down the banks of Old River a portion of the way, a famous fishing stream, to the school building, which is being taught by Miss Shines. She has an enrollment of twenty-two pupils.”
“The route then ran from the Club House to the Miller’s Bluff School, some four miles. After running through this rich farming country and reaching the foot of the hills, the Superintendent’s ‘tin lizzie’ stuck in the sand and failed to respond to Mr. John D. Rockefeller’s gasoline, so Mr. John R. Arnold, who was busily engaged in grading on the road nearby proposed to furnish mule power to the top of the hill, which was very much appreciated. Soon afterwards the Miller’s Bluff School was reached—a comfortable two-room building. Miss Ella Lee New if the principal of the school and Miss Athlene Cornish the assistant. Everything in and around the building was scrupulously neat and clean. Thirty-eight pupils are on the roll. The equipment was just a little better, apparently, than the other schools visited but was deficient. One could see at a glance that these energetic young teachers were taking an interest in their pupils.”
“The ride from this school on into Plain Dealing, six miles, was uneventful, with the exception of a bad stall in a sand bed when the gasoline refused to work the car, but by great good luck Dr. G. C. Lyon and a party of willing workers happened to be passing and by main strength shoved the car onto hard soil, causing our arrival in good old Plain Dealing at 5 o’clock that evening.”
“The reader will understand that this hasty sketch of these schools has no connection to the action or report of the Superintendent to his board, but is the view of the needs of these schools as seen by one who is an unprejudiced onlooker, and deepens the impression that before great sums of money should be spent on great state institutions, that we should look well to the needs of those who we should be responsible for.”
“The reporter feels assured that Superintendent Kerr will deal justly with these schools, and furnish the necessary equipment to render the pupils some relief.”
While the reporter’s details about these rural Bossier Parish schools are sketchy at best, the State Department of Education of Louisiana publishes an annual report of the public schools of Louisiana. These reports began in 1858 and continue today. Some of the early reports even document the number of blackboards, desks, maps and globes in each school. They are online and we can help you check them out. Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center soon.
Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org