A member of the Opelousas Tales Fb Team page recently questioned about Ford Working day that was held in Opelousas in 1922. It was a single of the most important functions in town for the duration of that time.
Let’s converse about that.
The coming of the automobile to Opelousas was a large occasion. Local lore tells us the 1st auto rolled into town at the convert of the 20th century when Allie B. Pickett drove his equipment from Wisconsin to Opelousas. Numerous were delighted to see it many others have been scared of the horseless carriage. But it was not lengthy prior to some in town wished to individual one.
Quickly Bea Boagni and Andrew “Jack” Moresi every single had one. By 1909 Opelousas had an car organization when H.E. Estorge and John Lewis started off the Opelousas Automobile and Garage Co., Ltd., which turned the Estorge and Lewis Vehicle Business that bought Buicks.
The car rapidly became a well-liked manner of transportation in St. Landry Parish. But some people did not like that. It would seem a lot of had a dilemma with the speed of the new machine. In just a couple months, the St. Landry Parish Law enforcement Jury took motion and adopted an ordinance on Feb. 7, 1910, regulating vehicle velocity on all community streets to 15 miles for every hour.
As the need for cars increased in Opelousas, other automobile companies commenced to open together with the Teche Vehicle Company in 1911, and the Ford dealership opened by Joseph Bordelon and L.J. Dossman. This later on became Bordelon Motors. The Ford rapid became a popular automobile.
Car racing became a activity in Opelousas throughout that time with races held at the Haas Race Monitor. Other recreation pursuits ended up produced that revolved all around the auto. And persons started off making vehicle excursions to other towns, just as a way to experience about in this new device.
By the finish of the 1910, 10 years a great deal of these social situations slowed down when the Spanish Flu infected the area, killing several. Also the Wonderful War interrupted daily life as lots of of the area’s youthful men ended up identified as to struggle in that conflict.
As the 1920s 10 years began, there seemed to be a new hope and enthusiasm for fantastic moments to return to the old village. The city was moving ahead and those people challenges and ailments of the preceding 10 years and the devastating droughts that ended up plaguing the location were being element of the earlier. The Terrific War, later recognized as WWI, was above and community troopers who defended the U.S. have been back again in Opelousas.
1922 was last but not least a superior year for Opelousas. New situations and actions have been becoming organized, and small business was booming in the downtown. In July, the town celebrated with a huge Ford Day Parade, organized by Aaron Jacobs of Jacobs News Depot and users of the Opelousas Trade Extension Bureau.
Ford Working day was something that Henry Ford with the Ford Motor Business promoted as a way to get publicity for his new cars and trucks. Jacobs saw this as an chance to not just advertise the Ford vehicles, but to market the town. He encouraged the community Bordelon Motors Ford dealership to contact awareness to Ford Working day, and he supplied to assist.
In Might, he acquired the Opelousas Trade Extension Bureau involved and the group committee for Ford Working day went into action. Publicity about Ford Day in Opelousas built its way across the United States. Associates of the committee established up teams to distribute the phrase about Ford Working day to other South Louisiana communities.
Invitations were being sent to condition political leaders, additionally to countrywide celebrities of that time such as Henry Ford himself. Ford had a prior commitment and was not equipped to attend but did send a letter of support to the committee. Local and area newspapers promoted it, and ahead of very long all people was talking about the significant celebration planned for July 22 that calendar year.
The entrance web site of the Daily Clarion-Progress newspaper on Saturday, July 22, 1922, stated: “Every road prospects to Opelousas right now. All railroads are sending their engines, with crowded passenger coaches in the direction of Opelousas, all in a united effort and hard work to make Ford Working day the biggest day in the historical past of Southwest Louisiana.”
The Ford Day Parade led by Parade Marshall Leon S. Haas, rolled down Landry Avenue at 12:30 that afternoon. It incorporated local, parish and condition political leaders, civic companies, colleges, musical bands, horses and a huge collection of Ford cars and trucks from all all over Southwest Louisiana as effectively as Shreveport, Houston and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Hundreds of people entered the town to witness that parade on Ford Day. Between the fifteen thousand additionally were being 111-year-aged Auguste Jeansonne and his 92-12 months-aged daughter Celenia (Mrs. Jean Batiste Fruge). Jeansonne drove himself into town from his farm in St. Landry Parish in what was referred to as a flivver, outlined as a little, outdated, reasonably priced vehicle. It was also a slang name for the Ford Design-T, the 1st mass-created automobile in the U.S. He received the prize for staying the oldest individual in the parade.
Jeansonne speedy turned a real movie star on that day. Every person desired to meet him. The push preferred to interview him, and many reporters did which include a writer from the New Orleans Product newspaper. The Jeansonne posting also ran in the Literary Digest for Oct. 21, 1922. Titled “Opelousas’ Report Aged Pedestrian, Lover, and Thinker,” it is an intriguing browse that can be identified online by googling Jeansonne’s identify.
More than 27 prizes were awarded that working day which includes awards for the four prettiest ladies, the 4 heaviest adult men, the Ford with the oldest engine, the ugliest Ford, the car or truck coming from the longest length, and for the greatest essay on Opelousas.
Other than the grand parade and all the awards, a different highlight of the day was the drawing for the 1922 Ford Touring Auto. Little Marie Beah Andrepont, daughter of newspaper editor L.A. “Pete” and Mrs. Beah Andrepont pulled the lucky ticket offering the motor vehicle to Daniel Fisher, a well-known younger farmer who lived in between Opelousas and Lawtell.
Ford Day ended with a dance at the Knights of Columbus hall on Primary Road, right subsequent doorway to Bordelon Motors.
Ford Day drew 15,000 website visitors to Opelousas. In a letter sent to the American Stationer and Workplace Outfitters Magazine adhering to the celebration Aaron Jacobs wrote: “How the town held so many men and women is perplexing. The large promoting commenced the celebration grew much larger working day by day when nearing the close, which arrived off Saturday, July 22nd when most people in Southwest Louisiana pulled into Opelousas.”
The July 27 situation of the New Orleans Merchandise newspaper experienced a entire two-site unfold of pics of Ford Day in Opelousas. Useless to say, all the copies of that publication were bought out in Opelousas. Publications from around the U.S. ran stories on the thriving party as well.
Jacobs was the person who truly produced the party prosperous. He promoted it not only in Louisiana, but across the country and internationally as perfectly. Publicity about that Ford Day parade and the celebrating that went alongside with it was unfold in newspapers, magazines and even on film.
Opelousas bought a wealth of cost-free publicity from the party. Folks from Bogalusa and other towns who saw produce-ups in their regional papers started calling Opelousas citizens for assistance with possessing their have Ford Day. As a result of all the constructive publicity, additional folks started arriving in town, and new corporations were started.
Because of Ford Day’s good results, Opelousas wished additional of the very same for the community. A committee was structured to system a new harvest competition to honor cotton as the king of agriculture in the location. In October, the initially Cotton Carnival was held in Opelousas. That competition continued in 1923 and 1924.
Let us communicate Opelousas yet again.