February 1, 1944
Today in 1944, Tandy Hannibal Hamilton purchased the small Piccadilly Cafeteria on Third Street in downtown
Baton Rouge from the original owner, Thomas J. Costas, for $65,000. Before coming to Baton Rouge, Hamilton
and his wife Julia had been living in Kansas City, where he was serving as general manager of a cafeteria
chain. Hamilton began building the business immediately, despite the wartime difficulties imposed by food
rationing and equipment shortages. He contacted several friends and associates, some still in the service,
encouraging them to join the operation. Over the course of the next fifty years, Piccadilly Cafeterias, LLC would
grow to more than sixty cafeterias in twelve states.
February 2, 1952
On this Saturday morning in 1952, the kool kats and kittens-250 of them anyway-were flocking to the BREC
recreation center on St. Louis Street for the weekly radio broadcast of Teen Town Rally on WIBR radio. Teens
were encouraged to take part in the talent portion of the broadcast by either singing or playing an instrument.
The rally also featured "five instrumental recordings by popular orchestras with an explanation of the
techniques involved" and a special appearance by the Istrouma High School Pepsters. From its founding in
1948 until the 1990’s, pop music found a home at WIBR, the “Shack by the Track in Baton Rouge.”
February 3, 1990
Today in 1990, the Loyola Marymount high-scoring Loyola Marymount Lions from Malibu came to Baton Rouge
to take on Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Jackson and the LSU Tigers. Seven LSU players were in double figures as
LSU played to the Lions’ tempo. Jackson had 34, Vernel Singleton 22 and O'Neal posted 20 points, 24
rebounds and 12 blocks. Despite several blocks, the late Hank Gathers kept forcing his way to the goal and
would finish with 48 points of his own. The final was LSU 148, Loyola Marymount 141 in overtime, and many
think it remains the greatest game ever played in the history of the Maravich Center.
February 4, 2012
This weekend in 2012, Madonna was the headliner of the half-time show at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, but
the real entertainers on stage were the Fabulous Dancing Dolls of Southern University who performed with her.
The Dancing Dolls have been a mainstay of performances for the Southern University Human Jukebox since
1969, when Isaac Greggs was named band director at Southern. He was adamant that he wanted “a lot of
pageantry, excitement and precision maneuvers.” He also wanted some pretty young women to add pizzazz to
his all-male band. He brought in Gracie Perkins, who was doing her practice teaching at the Lab School, to
organize the Dancing Dolls.
February 5, 1940
Today in 1940, Jimmie Davis recorded "You Are My Sunshine" for the Decca record label. The song had been
first recorded in August of 1939 by the Pine Ridge Boys of Georgia and would serve as Davis's campaign
songs for his successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1944 and 1960. It’s one of the most commercially
programmed numbers in American popular music and has been covered by so many different types of
musicians that it’s lost its original country music identity. In 1941 alone, the song was recorded by Gene Autry,
Bing Crosby, Mississippi John Hurt, Wayne King and Lawrence Welk. In 1977, it would be named Louisiana’s
official state song.
February 6, 1973
Before there was Tigerland, there was Tigertown. Before real estate, traffic and parking patterns lured students
to the retail areas south of the LSU campus in the 1980’s, the area north of campus was the place to go for
students, faculty and staff. One of the most popular destinations was the White Horse Tavern at 2353 Highland
Road which opened today in 1973. The White Horse caused a sensation later in 1973 when Metro Councilman
Stanley Gross suggested that the bar was owned by a company with suspected ties to the Mafia. Owners Allen
Boudreaux and Frederick Pou denied the charge.
February 7, 1970
On this Saturday afternoon in 1970, Pete Maravich set an NCAA Division I record with 69 points in a 106-104
loss to Alabama at Memorial Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. Pistol Pete, who would be named the Associated Press
Player of the Year at the end of the season, connected on 26 of 57 field-goal attempts and went 17 of 21 from
the free-throw line. He’s still the all-time leading NCAA Division I scorer with 3,667 points scored, and his
accomplishments were achieved before the three-point line and shot clock were introduced to NCAA basketball
and despite being unable to play varsity as a freshman under then-NCAA rules.
February 8, 1993
Louisiana State University presented Lady Margaret Thatcher with an honorary degree Monday, almost three
years after her ally Ronald Reagan received the same honor. At a special convocation in the Assembly Center
attended by about twenty-five hundred people, LSU awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters to
Thatcher, the former prime minister of Great Britain. Thatcher told the crowd that despite the recent fall of
communism, the United States, England and other democratic countries cannot relax their guard. "We must not
fall into the trap of thinking because communism has collapsed, we're automatically going to get a successive
democracy and successive enterprising economy."
February 9, 1923
Inventor and botanist George Washington Carver made his fourth and last appearance at Southern University
today in 1923, when he spoke to a large group of students and others about new uses for cabbages and
beans. Carver's prominence as a scientific expert in the late 19th century had made him one of the best-known
African-American intellectuals of his time. President Theodore Roosevelt admired his work and sought his
advice on agricultural matters. Carver used his celebrity to promote scientific causes for the remainder of his
life. He was a frequent visitor to Southern University, and from 1923 to 1933, Carver toured white Southern
colleges for the Commission on Interracial Cooperation.
February 10, 1763
Sixty-four years of French possession of Baton Rouge came to an end today in 1763, when the Treaty of Paris
ended the French and Indian War between Great Britain and France. France gave up all its territories in
mainland North America, effectively ending any foreign military threat to the British colonies. Britain would gain
all French territory east of the Mississippi, while Spain would retain Cuba in exchange for handing Florida over
to Great Britain. New Orleans and French territories west of the Mississippi would become Spanish. The British
would remain in Baton Rouge only sixteen years, as Spanish troops seized the British fort here during the
February 11, 1861
Today in 1861, the legislature of the recently seceded state and new Republic of Louisiana adopted their
national flag while in session in Baton Rouge, and it was something to see. Its thirteen stripes alternated red
and blue stripes with white stripes, and the upper left hand corner featured a pale yellow star on a red
background. Officially, the flag would remain in use until the end of the Civil War, but by the end of 1861, the
familiar blue flag with pelican and state motto of “Union, Justice, Confidence” was already put into unofficial
use. It would named the official state flag in 1912.
February 12, 1955
After a disappointing record 5-5 record in 1954, LSU Head Coach Gaynell Tinsley stepped down and the
search was on for this replacement. Most of the conversation centered around Frank Broyles and Ray Graves
who were assistants at Georgia Tech and Coach Don Faurot at Missouri. Then a dark horse entered the race,
and today in 1955, Paul Dietzel, a native of Ohio and an assistant coach at Army interviewed for the job. Dietzel
would eventually be hired and coach the Tigers for eight years, highlighted by a national championship in
1958. In 1962, he would leave LSU to return to West Point as head coach.
February 13, 1899
The coldest day in Baton Rouge in history was recorded on February 13, 1899, when the the thermometer
plunged to 2 degrees above zero. During the Great Blizzard of 1899, record low temperatures were recorded
across the South, including Baton Rouge. The port was completely iced over by February 13, with ice floes
reportedly floating out of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico. On February 14, the New Orleans
experienced its coldest-ever Mardi Gras reading of 7 degrees. The Krewe of Rex Parade was delayed while
snow was removed from the route. The second coldest was recorded during winter freeze of 1989, when 8°
February 14, 1928
Worst Valentine Day Gift Ever. The first five electric traffic signals in Baton Rouge were switched on today in
1928. Four signals along Third Street at North Blvd., Convention, Florida and Main Street and another at the
intersection of Florida and Church Street, which we now call Fourth Street, were the first four to be erected.
Setting a really bad precedent for future generations of drivers, motorists were advised to disregard the signals
if they didn’t think they were working properly. The next two signals would be placed on Church Street at
Convention, and on North Blvd. at St. Ferdinand Street.
February 15, 1910
The Boy Scouts of America were formed this week in 1910, and the first Boy Scout troop west of the Mississippi
was founded in 1912 in Lake Charles. Later in 1912, Rev. T. M. Hunter of the First Presbyterian Church of
Baton Rouge established the first troop here and affiliated it with Boy Scouts of America two years later. The
Istrouma Area Council, serving the Baton Rouge area was established in 1919. In the days of segregation, the
Istrouma maintained a separate summer camp for African-American scouts at Camp Chenier. By 1967, Camp
Chenier had been closed and the regular councils camps were integrated. (In this photo, Boy Scouts are
distributing cigarettes to refugees of the 1927 flood in Baton Rouge.