Although so far in 2014 we haven’t seen many signs of spring, an article in the March 14, 1940, issue of The Bossier Banner heralded the coming of spring that year.
“There are at least three spring flowers that are becoming more appreciated with the passage of the seasons. We refer to dog wood [sic], red bud and the iris.”
“Of recent years we have watched with a great deal of gratification the efforts of our Home [Demonstration] Agent, Miss Lettie Van Landingham, and the good women of our parish in interesting people in the planting of red bud trees, a native shrub or small tree, and Iris bulbs.”
“Because of our French heritage in Louisiana, we, no doubt, have a keener appreciation of the Iris than the folks of any other state in the Union. Through the Women’s Home Demonstration Clubs and garden clubs of this parish, our Home Agent has led the way in planting Iris in home gardens, around churches and other public buildings, in cemeteries and along highways. If this annual planting of Iris continues in Bossier Parish we’ll be attracting tourists, who’ll want to see the glory of our section when the Iris is in bloom. Such a long-time program of planting blossoming plants has wrought wonders in many sections of the country during recent years.”
“As for the red bud, red bud trails in other sections have received national recognition and nation-wide acclaim. Thousands of spectators throng the highways and byways in sections where extensive, successful plantings have been undertaken. The same thing would hold true in our parish, if enough of us became interested.”
“Then, there is the native dogwood, one of the most beautiful wild flowering trees in our local woodlands. It costs little or nothing for us to plant these trees around our homes, public buildings and along the highways. At least one large East Texas town annually draws crowds from every section of the nation to see its multitude of dog wood [sic] trees in bloom. Bossier Parish has the trees and the opportunity. Let’s hope we’ll follow the lead of our enterprising neighbor to the west.”
“Yes, Iris, red bud and dog wood [sic] offer us opportunities for improving the appearance of our parish and we ought to be ready to avail ourselves of the chance to attract people from far and near.”
It was not until the 1950s that “Dogwood Drive” in Plain Dealing became a reality and began to “attract people from far and near.”
To find out more about Lettie Van Landingham and her Home Demonstration Club projects and about Dogwood Drive, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org