Treasure trove of pictures found at Bogalusa City Hall

Published 1:28 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The excitement level at Bogalusa City Hall kicked up a few notches last week when what was thought to be a long-lost stash of historic photographs was unexpectedly discovered in the Finance Department vault.

Personnel/Projects Assistant Judy Gray said she wasn’t even looking for the pictures but just happened to notice the words, “Old GS Lumber photos with Sullivan” scrawled on a cardboard box on the highest shelf in the vault.

She ran to ask nearby Public Works Director James Hall if he would get the box down for further inspection.

“I was just beside myself,” Gray said. “I was excited.”

She couldn’t wait for verification before spreading the word.

“She told me about the box while she was on the mission to get it down,” said Personnel Director Sandy Bloom.

Soon the women were snooping joyfully through photographs that stretch back through time to even before the city was incorporated. The box contained multiple photo albums, one of which is made of alligator hide, plus big envelopes containing loose pictures.

Idyllic rural scenes are captured in time. Landscapes and streetscapes look somehow familiar but softened in the distant blush of youth.

Soldiers stand proudly and handsomely. Lumbermen toil. City founders work and play. Citizens of all ages celebrate holidays and go about their lives not realizing that their images would be the charming, at once alien and kindred, stuff of magic for future generations.

Remarkably, the box also contained a list, written by hand in now almost forgotten cursive script, which provided identifying information about most of the pictures.

“We were giddy,” Bloom said. “We were so excited. We thought the pictures were lost. I’d been looking at Southeastern. They have collections for Bogalusa. But it’s quite expensive to get them copied. Apparently a lot of them came from this box.”

She said the discovery is especially timely since the city is now planning for its Centennial Celebrations next year.

Bloom encourages anyone who has historic pictures or other items related to Bogalusa’s past to give her a call at 730-4397. Old photographs can be scanned and the originals returned right away, she said.

For now, she and Gray are enjoying sharing the discovery with others at City Hall. Bloom is even thinking about taking a field trip to try to match some of the locations captured as they were in years gone by with their modern day realities.

“One day I’m going to take the pictures and go on a scavenger hunt,” she said, witch sounds like a great idea for next year’s Centennial.