Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bossier Parish History: Bossier’s Earth Day Heroes: Alice Jeter

by BPT Staff
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Earth Day is around the corner (Monday, April 22nd), and March, Women’s History Month, is now over. But when it comes to stewardship of the environment, local women are front-of-mind. Last year in this column, we featured two women in Bossier whose names especially seem synonymous with the goals of Earth Day, a celebration of clean air, land, and water: Dianne Chandler and Ruth Tupper. Here is another local woman who believes in being a steward of her environment and her community, and has done so for decades, Alice Jeter of the Barksdale Annex neighborhood in south Bossier City. 

Pam Carlisle | Bossier Parish History Center

As a concerned citizen and leader on many civic boards, including Keep Bossier Beautiful, the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Bossier Council on Aging and the Barksdale Annex Neighborhood Association where she serves as President, Alice Jeter has worked tirelessly to make Bossier City’s Barksdale Annex neighborhood a cleaner, safer place. She helped bring a park and recreation center to the Annex, and to enlarge its Hooter Park. She organizes National Night Out parties, prayer marches and back to school clothing and supplies drives, to name just a few of her projects. 

On February 22, 2023, Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler made a Proclamation for Black History Month to recognize the day as “Black American Leadership Recognition Day” in Bossier City, asking Bossier citizens to honor “Black American Leaders whose lives have shaped our community.” In particular, he asked the community to honor Alice Jeter.  

Mayor Chandler noted that Alice Jeter was born in Bossier Parish in 1944. As the oldest of twelve children, she had to quit school to help support her family. She worked as a domestic worker in Bossier Parish until 1971. In 1972, she took a job as a cafeteria worker at Parkway High School where she worked for 35 years. Following her years of paid employment, Alice Jeter became a fulltime volunteer for her community (and also resumed her education, earning her high school equivalency diploma). Mayor Chandler accoladed Ms. Jeter for “Seeing value where others saw insignificance, planting hope when many around her felt hopeless. This beautiful commitment to make life better for those around her made her dreams about community a reality. “ 

In cleaning up her neighborhood, Alice Jeter has worked with folks from all ages and walks of life, including the environmental team of the Halliburton company, that cut back overgrown areas in the Barksdale Annex, Boy Scouts who planted trees, and individuals under court order who picked up litter. These community service teams  got special attention from her, as she personally supervised them and walked and talked with them as they worked. Recently Ms. Jeter worked with an Eagle Scout in her neighborhood,  Parkway High School sophomore, LaMarcus Harris, whose Eagle Scout project was completed last August after he led 26 family members and friends in a gateway enhancement project for the Barksdale Annex subdivision in Bossier City. 

Ms. Jeter has also focused on the importance of home ownership in her neighborhood, saying in the February 6, 2006 Shreveport Times, “When a person owns his own home, it makes him feel good about himself, and gives him pride in caring for his house and yard…It gives them goals and something to look forward to. They’ll want to improve their neighborhood.” She also stressed the importance of the older generation being an example to the younger generation. “If you see some paper, pick it up. Get them [young people] thinking it can be the best neighborhood it could be. If we let them know, as role models, what we want and what we expect of them, then everybody will fall into line.” 

This impulse to be a good neighbor has not gone unnoticed in Barksdale Annex. When various Shreveport-Bossier civic organizations sponsored a contest called, “2,000 Reasons Our Neighborhood is the Greatest,” residents of Barksdale Annex put down Alice’s Jeter’s name as their reason they loved their neighborhood. Thus, in the announcement of the contest’s awards on March 20, 2000, Alice Jeter was named, “Neighbor of the Year.”

In concluding his 2023 Black History Month pronouncement honoring Alice Jeter as a Bossier City leader, Mayor Chandler concluded, “WHEREAS, every community has a hero and Bossier City has Alice Jeter. Her servant leadership is matched only by the twinkle in her eye. The City of Bossier City is honored to recognize Ms. Jeter.  Thank you, for making our community a better place.”

If you have stories or photographs of some of the area’s civic-minded women, or environmentally-minded citizens, we’d love to see or hear them, and perhaps make copies for our collection, with your permission. We are located at 2206 Beckett St, Bossier City, LA and are open M-Th 9-8, Fri 9-6, and Sat 9-5. Our phone number is (318) 746-7717 and our email is [email protected]

For other fun facts, photos, and videos, be sure to follow us @BPLHistoryCenter on FB, @bplhistorycenter on TikTok, and check out our blog http://bpl-hc.blogspot.com/.

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