Since the beginning of Bossier Parish, keeping our land clean and beautiful has always been important. As far back as the mid to late 1800s the call to clean-up and beautify one’s farm, home, and waste-areas could be seen in The Bossier Banner and other local newspapers as time went on.
In 1879 The Bossier Banner admonished their readers to, “Clean up your yards.” In 1889 readers of The Bossier Banner were advised, “A few dollars invested in paint will not only add to the attractiveness of the farm, but will save wear and tear…” And, a few paragraphs down they were advised, “Clean up the front yard; tack on that loose board or picket, slick up and make home and its surroundings as neat and cheery as possible. You will live just as long, have just as good crops and feel a great deal better if you ‘tidy up a bit.’ Try it.” And, in 1890, The Bossier Banner recommended, “If you have a chance to beautify some of Bossier’s waste-places you should not let the opportunity pass.
Fast-forward 49-years to 1939 to an announcement in The Shreveport Times where the boys’ and girl’s 4-H clubs of Bossier Parish and the Home Demonstration Club of Bossier City sponsored plays at both Haughton High School and Bossier City High School. The Home Demonstration Club used their share of the proceeds to beautify Bossier City by planting shrubbery and iris on vacant lots.
In August of 1954, Mayor Burgess E. McCramie proclaimed “Bossier City Clean-up Week” in conjunction with the annual Bossier Junior Chamber of Commerce. Jaycee members invented a garbage rack that was highlighted during that campaign and was featured in the national Jaycee convention that year. This garbage rack was also adopted by the state clean-up project and could be purchased at all Pak-A-Sak stores during the Bossier City Clean-up Week.
February of 1955 the Women’s Study Club of Bossier City planted trees and flowers in front and alongside the City Hall. With the help of Capt. J. A. Jones of the Bossier Police thirty plants were set out including two crabapple trees, 13 azaleas, and a cherry laurel. The city paid for the plants and the club furnished the labor. Later in that same year, Bossier Parish worked to rid the parish and state roads of unsightly trash. This program was initiated and carried out by the Make Bossier Beautiful Committee and some 400 home demonstration club members.
Mayor George Nattin proclaimed March 2, 1967, as “North Gate Drive Beautification Day.” The City of Bossier, Barksdale, and the Bossier Parish Police Jury, teamed-up with the Bossier High School senior class, the National Bank of Bossier, the Rural Electrification Association, and many other Bossierites to plant tulips, daylilies, and crepe myrtles along the half-mile stretch of North Gate Drive into Barksdale Air Force Base where some unsightly buildings were bulldozed as well.
In 1986 Dianne Chandler organized the “Clean City Committee.” Under her leadership, Bossier City won the clean city district award from 1990-1999 and in 1996 the “State Clean City” award. In 2003, the committee became a non-profit and became an affiliate of “Keep America Beautiful” and changed its name to “Keep Bossier Beautiful” in 2004. This committee designed and installed five gateway “Welcome to Bossier City” signs. And, they installed the “Liberty Garden” at the Municipal Complex, which serves as a memorial to the police and firemen of Bossier City and to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Bossierites have always taken pride in keeping Bossier Parish beautiful. With Earth Day coming up on Monday, April 22, let us all do our part in keeping Bossier Parish clean and beautiful. This is a great time to plant a tree or some flowers and a great time to walk your neighborhood or any area that needs it and pick-up trash.
To learn more about organizations such as “Keep Bossier Clean” visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett Street, Bossier City.
Amy Robertson, Library Research Assistant at Bossier Parish Libraries History Center