History: The history of Dogwood Drive

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Dogwood Drive in Plain Dealing was incorporated in 1951 and the Dogwood Drive Festival ended in 2004.  The Bossier Banner-Progress told the story of Dogwood Drive in its March 29, 1956 issue, pointing out how special the 1956 celebration was.

“It is a far cry from the idea suggested six years ago by a handful of nature lovers to a big event that annually draws thousands of visitors and wider and wider publicity, but that is the story of the Plain Dealing Dogwood Drive.  About six years ago John Watkins, a nature lover of Minden, who had wandered through the Plain Dealing hills and saw the blossoming dogwoods, wrote a letter suggesting that they be opened to public gaze.  This letter appeared in the Shreveport Journal and the Bossier Banner-Progress.”

“Out of this idea grew the movement and today the Dogwood Festival is gaining even nationwide attention.  It is recognized among the fairs and festivals of the state; it is listed among the tourist attractions in The New York Times.  It has received stories in magazines and in newspapers by the score.  Each year its importance grows.”

“Nearby radio stations have given it generous publicity and for three years now KSLA-TV has donated an advance telecast announcing the events.  On these programs the various Dogwood queens and other leaders have appeared.  But this year KSLA-TV went all out in giving the Dogwood Drive perhaps its biggest boost.  By photograph and sound it recorded the events of last Saturday’s queen’s coronation, the parade and scenes along the drive and rebroadcast to the station’s huge audiences Sunday night and Monday.  This was a great distinction to give to the Dogwood Drive and this paper feels that it expresses the attitude of every official of the association, every member as well as every proud citizen of Plain Dealing, and it expresses its gratitude to KSLA-TV, to Mr. Al Bolton, its genial announcer who served as master of ceremonies; to the Shreveport Times, Shreveport Journal and to all the other mediums of publicity that contributed so much to the success of the festival.”

The archives of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center contain many Dogwood Drive items including photographs, programs, pamphlets and news clippings.  To see and enjoy these items about a special time in Plain Dealing history, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us