New book offers more personal view of Bogalusa’s creation

Published 9:26 am Friday, June 20, 2014

Bogalusa Mayor Charles Mizell became one of the first to get his hands on John Gallaspy’s book, “The City That Refused to Die: Bogalusa’s first hundred years,” when the retired attorney and author presented him with a personalized copy Thursday at City Hall.

The more-than-300-page, spiral-bound tome provides a wealth of information about the city’s storied past, but in a way that has not been done before.

“As we all know, we have a rather unique history. The industrial aspects of it have been documented a good bit. Our sawmill has made history all over the world,” said Gallaspy. “I wanted to do something that would give readers a glimpse into the personality of the community.”

Gallaspy said the book was something he had been kicking around in his mind for some time.

“I thought about it for years,” he said. “I started writing it about Christmas.”

He added, “I’m not accustomed to deadlines.”

But with the Centennial date of July 4 rapidly approaching, Gallaspy had to buckle down to get the book completed in time for the celebration, even closing his law office at the very end of last year to get the job done. He admitted the time constraint forced him to make certain compromises.

“It’s not as well organized as it should be. I hope it will serve its purpose,” he said.

Despite any perception of shortcoming from the author himself, the book is a cornucopia of photos and stories about not only the history that everyone already associates with Bogalusa, such as that of the paper mill, but also the lesser-known aspects of local lore, such as the influence of the Italian community.

Gallaspy said his wife put a card table by the side of the bed, “and when I wasn’t snoring, I would write.” And although his determination got him through the experience, he is not sure another book is on the horizon, joking that the next thing he would write would be his obituary. He did, however, say that a topic he thought worthy of a book is the genetically-enhanced loblolly pine, which was engineered in the area and can produce about 20 percent more pine pulp for paper production.

The book will be available for purchase beginning the afternoon of Monday, June 23, at Delta Printing, Gayle’s Jewelers and the Green Goat on Columbia Street for $30. Gallaspy has asked that those wishing to purchase the book do so with a check made payable to John N. Gallaspy Trust Account to ease the bookkeeping but added that cash will be accepted, as well. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Centennial Fund “and one or two others of the charitable program benefitting all the Citizens of Bogalusa.”

Gallaspy personally paid for the initial printing of the book.

On Sunday, June 29, Gallaspy will be available to sign copies of the book and answer questions during the South Border Drive Stroll Through the Past.