The Bogalusa Story

I have absolutely no idea how I stumbled across this scanned book, Bogalusa Story by C.W. Goodyear, or why it so fascinates me, but I've been obsessed with this illustrated account of Bogalusa, Louisiana, for months. Maybe it's the epic sweep of the story presented, the melancholy throughout or my dream that Terrence Mallick would take up the trajectory of this town for his latest film.

First, there were trees:

Then modest homes with modest people. This was one of the grandest homes in town, owned by the preacher:

(Note the exemplary picket fence, with long, slender pickets arranged symmetrically. Very simple and handsome. You can also see all the way through the house -- I'm betting this was a shotgun style.)

People from outside the area come prospecting for trees, and see how good they are in Bogalusa, how fine and plentiful:

Logging operations are established, exactly like this one in Pennsylvania, and owned by the same family who cleared Bogalusa, the Goodyears:

Trains, to carry people and lumber:

(Who do you suppose this is? All things seem to revolve around him.)

And along the way, a flowering, a windfall of money that gave rise to a temporary and short-lived gentility. Horse shows at the country club:

It took a while, but in a few decades virtually everything had this appearance, of nakedness and loss. Hillsides denuded of trees:

But elsewhere, on the grounds of the Goodyear Estate, things seem to be going well. The title of this photo is "A Favourite Spot for Madam," and Mrs. Goodyear can be seen seated in the foreground of this terrace:

Who wouldn't love herringbone bricks and a row of doric columns? But my favorite is the table:

What do you supposed it is? The lion resembles column supports found in the cloisters of monasteries in Spain, but it also resembles a classical sarcophagus support. It's probably about as old as the trees that paid for it. At any rate, rest assured it was not born in Bogalusa.

And when they were done, they were nice enough to hang a plaque:

Thirty years.

But where do you think the table from the terrace is now?


Mlle Paradis said...

Great week of posts Nick!

Daniel-Halifax said...

Great post.

And i suggest you head down to savers in warwick right now. I just purchased some beautiful old Bernard Shaw, Wilde and Irish lit.

nil blur said...

Beautiful photos. I'm not a big Terence Mallick fan but can see the connection. Have you ever seen "Come and Get It", crazy film with Frances Farmer and Walter Brennan, set in northern timber country? Includes incredible documentary (?!) footage of early 20th c. logging. Then it gets crazier. And it made me understand FF's allure. Not to mention rousing frisbee fight with saloon trays. Yes. Kurt and Courtney must have seen this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing with us these beautiful pictures. I have to see tables and chairs way back in the day and how they differ from ours now.

-Zane of ontario honey

Anonymous said...


I'm interested in buying your copy of "Bogalusa Story" by C.W. Goodyear. Is there any chance you would consider selling it?

Please email me back at murphykm62@hotmail.com if you're willing to consider it.

Thank you very much, and thanks for the pictures!



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