Friday, June 27, 2014

Poverty Point - Oldest Known Louisiana Civilization, 1650 B.C.E.

(Above) Color Photo: Poverty Point aerial view.

From the National Park Service website:

"Now a nearly forgotten culture, Poverty Point at its peak 3,000 years ago was part of an enormous trading network that stretched for hundreds of miles across the continent. It was - and is - also an engineering marvel, the product of five million hours of labor. Explore the culture of a highly sophisticated people who left behind one of North America’s most important archeological sites."

(Above) Color Photo: One of the mounds at Poverty Point.

From Poverty Point: A Terminal Archaic Culture of the Lower Mississippi Valley by Jon L. Gibson:

"Poverty Point is a major archaeological mystery. The mystery centers on the ruins of a large prehistoric Indian settlement, the Poverty Point site. There on a bluff top overlooking Mississippi River swamplands in northeastern Louisiana is a group of artificial mounds and embankments. It is not the earthworks themselves that are so mysterious. Eastern North America is, after all, the land of the "Mound Builders." These people once were thought to be a highly advanced, extinct race, but now are known to be ancestors of Native Americans, such as the Creek, Choctaw, Shawnee, and Natchez. The real mystery lies in the size and age of the earthworks. They are among the largest native constructions known in eastern North America, yet they are old, older than any other earthworks of this size in the western hemisphere.


(Above) Color Photo: Artifacts found at Poverty Point.

Radiocarbon dates indicate that the earthworks were built between fourteen and eighteen centuries before the birth of Christ. This was an eventful time throughout the world. In Egypt, Amenhotep IV, his queen, Nefertiti, and the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamen, were ruling, and the Canaanites were being enslaved. In Turkey and Syria, the Hittite Empire was expanding. In Iraq, Babylon and its lawgiver king, Hammurabi, were in power. In Crete and surrounding Mediterranean islands, Minoan civilization was reaching its peak. In Britain, Stonehenge was being completed, and in Pakistan, the great planned city of Moenjo-Daro was succumbing to flooding. In China, the Shang dynasty was flourishing, and in Mexico, the Olmec chiefdom was ascending.

At that time, almost all Indians living north of Mexico were small bands of migratory hunter-gatherers. Such societies do not ordinarily build huge earthworks like those at Poverty Point. Large-scale construction is possible when large numbers of people settle down in villages and after political forces grow strong enough to shift some labor from the hunt and harvest to the civic and ceremonial. In most of the world, these conditions--large, permanent villages and political power--are found among agricultural societies.

(Above) Color Photo: Arrowheads and spear tips found at Poverty Point.

Was it created by immigrants bearing maize and a new religion from somewhere in Mexico? Was it developed by local peoples who had been stimulated by ideas from Mexico? Did it arise by itself without any foreign influences? Did it come about without agriculture? Could hunting and gathering have sustained the society and its impressive works?

(Above) Color Photo:  Historical marker for Poverty Point.

These sorts of questions perplexed archaeologists. Limited data and disagreement over these issues made Poverty Point a real archaeological puzzle. New research has begun to clarify some of these things. We no longer regard Poverty Point as a geographic or developmental irregularity, but it remains one of the most unusual archaeological cultures in eastern North America."  

This Day In Louisiana History, June 27, 1951

From the official Louisiana Peach Festival website

History of the Peach Festival - Ruston, LA

"Few peaches were grown for commercial purposes in Lincoln Parish until the 1940s. Before then, most peach farming was done on a small-scale family basis.  In the late 1930s, several commercial peach orchards were located in Lincoln Parish.

In 1947, the area peach growers organized the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association. And in 1951, they voted to promote their industry by spreading word throughout Louisiana and surrounding states of the excellent taste of Lincoln Parish peaches.

Plans to hold an annual Louisiana Peach Festival were placed on the drawing board. For months preceding June 1951, Ruston citizens busied themselves preparing for the event. J.E Mitcham, president of the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association, and Walter Smith, chairman of the first Louisiana Peach Festival, spent many hours planning the celebration. Area merchants filled the local newspaper with advertisements offering special sales and savings to honor the first Peach Festival. The Association, with the cooperation of the city of Ruston, the Chamber of Commerce, civic clubs, garden clubs, merchants, and many other individuals, decorated the main streets, public buildings, banks and stores with banners and placards headlining the popular Dixie Gem peach.

The program of the First Annual Louisiana Peach Festival, which was held on June 27-28, 1951, consisted of "Peaches and Posies" flower show, a peach cookery contest, an art show, several athletic tournaments, and the crowning of the First Queen Dixie Gem and Princess Peach.

South Louisiana humorist, Justin Wilson, master of ceremonies for the pageant, entertained the audience in Howard Auditorium on the Louisiana Tech University campus with his Cajun dialect. In the final moments of the pageant, Louisiana state Sen. Dudly J. LeBlanc, the town of Abbeville’s famous Hadacol salesman, presented the crown and title of Queen Dixie Gem I to Ann Colvin of Bernice, La.  Lou Ellen Stevens was named the 1951 Princess Peach. During the ceremony, LeBlanc handed Miss Colvin a gold miniature bottle of Hadacol, his cure-all wonder drug that had gained him national fame and great wealth.

The first Peach Festival achieved far greater success than any of the sponsors expected. Crowds of people came to attend the events and to take advantage of the special sales held by local merchants. More important, however, the Lincoln Parish peach growers had started their most potent annual publicity event."

Friday, June 20, 2014

Greetings From New Orleans - Postcards From The Crescent City

(Above): Greetings from New Orleans.  This greeting card shows famous and familiar landmarks placed within the outline of the letters comprising "New Orleans."  Among them we see the St. Louis Cathedral, the Governor Claiborne House, and the Huey Long Bridge.  These sights provide a representation of both new and old in the city.  (Courtesy of Louisiana News Company, New Orleans)
From New Orleans in Vintage Postcards by Scott :

(Above): Greetings from the Crescent City.  This greetings card shows the St. Louis Cathedral, a traditional gas light, and the statue of Old Hickory in Jackson Square.

From the 1890s through the 1920s, the postcard was an extraordinarily popular means of communication, and many of the postcards produced during this "golden age" can today be considered works of art. 

Postcard photographers traveled the length and breadth of the nation, snapping photographs of busy street scenes, documenting local landmarks, and assembling crowds of local children only too happy to pose for a picture.  These images, printed as postcards and sold in general stores across the country, survive as telling reminders of an important era in America's history.

This fascinating new history of New Orleans showcases more than two hundred of the best vintage postcards available.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Albany Woodworks Sponsors This Old House, Spring 2014

Blogger's Note: After many years of advertising in print media, Albany Woodworks brings real antique wood to your home through a partnership with This Old House.

From the This Old House website:

"With 16 Emmy Awards and 79 nominations under its belt, This Old House, (is) the No. 1 rated home improvement series (which) still has audiences turning to America's favorite team of experts-host Kevin O'Connor, master carpenter Norm Abram, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook for a trusted and formidable source of expertise, along with wit, humor, and a great sense of camaraderie.

Twenty-nine years later, This Old House has grown into a multi-faceted lifestyle brand, inspiring and informing millions of adults every month about home improvement and renovation. It is the No. 1 multi-media home enthusiast brand, offering homeowners trusted information and expert advice through award-winning television, a highly-regarded magazine, a comprehensive line of books, and an information-driven Web site."