March 16, 1992
After casino gaming came to Louisiana in 1991, Louisiana Casino Cruises, Inc., of Baton Rouge, “won” one of
the eight casino licenses for the state today in 1992. LCCI would open Baton Rouge's first casino, Casino
Rouge in 1994, and later be rebranded "Hollywood Casino Baton Rouge." In 1994, it would be joined on the
riverfront by the Argosy Casino, which would be rebranded as the Belle of Baton Rouge. By law, casinos were
required on actual boats that actually cruised on lakes or rivers. Often, this requirement was disregarded or
ignored, and eventually the law was changed to allow casino boats to remain in port.
March 17, 1699
On this St. Patrick’s Day in 1699, Pierre LeMoyne d'Iberville was leading a French flotilla up the Mississippi
River and came to the first high grounds he’d seen since entering the delta. At a place where a small stream
entered the river, he found a settlement of Native Americans of the Bayougoula and Houma tribes. The
outstanding feature of the village was a tall red pole or cypress tree that may or may not have been festooned
with dead fish and animals that the Native Americans called Isse Trouma or Istrouma. The French would
translate the word to “Baton Rouge” or red pole or red stick. The name stuck.
March 18, 1972
In 1959, Tony Pizzolato began boiling crawfish and selling shrimp at his open air fruit and vegetable stand and
realized that the demand for seafood in Baton Rouge was practically unlimited. The store was enclosed and
Tony’s Seafood Market was born. In 1972, the Pizzolatos moved to their new location in an abandoned service
station next to Delmont Village Shopping Center. According to the company brochure, the store has been
known to sell as much as 50,000 pounds of live and boiled crawfish in one day. Today, Tony's Seafood
occupies most of the block at 5215 Plank Road and is the largest seafood market in the Gulf South.
March 19, 1993
History was made today in 1993, as the Southern University Jaguars won their first NCAA Tournament game
with a 93-87 win over Georgia Tech in Tucson, Arizona. After the Jaguars missed its first seven shots from the
field, the Yellow Jackets raced to a 10-point lead. Then the Human Jukebox started playing. Half-interested
Arizona fans liked the sound so much, they began to cheer for a team they hardly knew. They relished TV
timeouts when the Southern band played. The Jaguars cut the deficit to five points at the half, then took control
down the stretch. The Jaguars scored 32 of the final 49 points to win going away.
March 20, 1945
In the early 1900’s, the sale of alcohol within a one-mile radius of LSU was prohibited. Just outside that
perimeter lay Alesce’s Grocery store, which had opened in the 1920’s on the Corner of South Blvd and a gravel
road that later became Nicholson Drive. The grocery store grew into a bar and restaurant, and in 1945
changed its name to The Pastime. Due to its proximity to LSU and the Mississippi River Bridge, which would be
built overhead in 1968, success was assured, and the Pastime became a familiar and popular hangout. Today,
it is Baton Rouge’s oldest bar and restaurant—as well as one of its most popular.
March 21, 1963
Today in 1963, Zachary was honored as an "All American Town". An article in the Louisiana Municipal Review
gave the history of the town, and praised it as an ideal place for industrial workers in Baton Rouge. One tragic—
yet oddly hilarious—milestone in the city’s early history was a fire that devastated the city in 1903, supposedly
caused by a grocer trying to flame-ripen his bananas. The historic village at the center of town is composed of
buildings which either survived the fire, or were built shortly after it. Zachary was the first city in Louisiana since
the Reconstruction Era to elect a Republican as mayor, Jack Louis Breaux.
March 22, 1988
Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" came under scrutiny by the East Baton Rouge School Board's
Instructional Material Reevaluation Committee today in 1988. Brenda Forrest, the mother of a student at
Central High School submitted a formal complaint to the board, stating that the book was tasteless and vulgar.
The book had already been banned in a number of places, including the public schools in Oakland County,
Michigan, for being "depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar and anti-Christian" in 1972. In Baton Rouge, about
fifty parents, school librarians and students listened to an extended and sometimes bitter discussion before the
committee voted 11-0 to keep the book on the shelves.
March 23, 1971
After nine years of being one of the top shows on television, the last episode of The Beverly Hillbillies on CBS,
featuring Baton Rouge’s own Donna Douglas as Elly May Clampett. She was born Doris Ione Smith in 1932,
and attended St. Gerard Catholic School. In 1957, she pulled off the interesting feat of being selected as both
“Miss Baton Rouge” and “Miss New Orleans” before moving to New York to pursue a career in show business.
Following her acting career, Douglas became a real estate agent, gospel singer, inspirational speaker, and
author of books for children and adults until she passed away on New Year's Day of 2015.
March 24, 1969
When author John Kennedy Toole died this week in 1969, he left behind a literary legacy that would become
the all-time biggest seller for Baton Rouge’s LSU Press. A Confederacy of Dunces would be published in 1980
and win the Pulitzer Prize in 1981. The LSU Press was founded in 1935 and publishes works of scholarship as
well as general interest. The Press publishes approximately seventy new books each year and has a backlist of
over two thousand titles in the fields of southern history, southern literary studies, the American Civil War and
military history. A Confederacy of Dunces alone has sold over two million copies in 18 languages.
March 25, 2001
Today in 2001, Baton Rougean Steven Soderbergh won Academy Award for Best Director for Traffic, a film that
also won Best Picture. Soderbergh's father had been dean of education at LSU and Steven discovered film-
makking as a teenager, directing short Super 8 mm films with equipment borrowed from LSU students. His first
major film, sex, lies and videotape, was shot in Baton Rouge and won the Palme d'Or at the 1989 Cannes Film
Festival. It was influential in revolutionizing the independent film movement of the early 1990's, and Soderbergh
would go on to direct such hits as Erin Brockovich and the Ocean's 11 films.
March 26, 1884
Isaac Campbell Kidd was born in Cleveland today in 1884. He graduated from the Naval Academy at the age of
eighteen and embark on a career in the Navy that would end on December 7, 1941, when he was killed on the
bridge of the USS Arizona, during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was the first U.S. Navy flag officer
killed in action in World War II, the first admiral killed in action against any foreign enemy, the highest-ranking
casualty at Pearl Harbor and received the Medal of Honor posthumously. In his honor, the Fletcher-class
destroyer, Kidd, now docked in Baton Rouge was commissioned on April 23, 1943
March 27, 1941
This week in 1941, the Southern University Men's Basketball team defeated North Carolina Central, 48-43, to
win the first annual National Collegiate Basketball Association Championship in Cincinnati, claiming the national
championship among African American colleges. The Jaguar Cats beat A&T in their first and last games in their
undefeated run through the double-elimination tournament. Emmett Taylor was the leading scorer in the
tournament with 84 points and was selected as the Most Valuable Player. Southern was coached by Arnett W.
"Ace" Mumford. In addition to leading Southern to a national championship in basketball, he also coached the
university's football team to five national championships.
March 28, 1960
Today in 1960, seven Southern University students, inspired by a recent sit-in protest against segregation in
Greensboro, North Carolina, were arrested at a sit-in at Kress Lunch Counter on Third Street in downtown
Baton Rouge. They were immediately arrested for “disturbing the peace” and sent to jail with a bail of $1,500
each. Reverend T. J. Jemison raised bail from students on campus, and the seven arrested students returned
to campus late in evening to cheers and gatherings. The following day, March 29, seven more students were
arrested for sitting in at Sitman’s lunch counter, and two more were arrested for sitting in at the Greyhound bus
March 29, 1970
Today was Easter Sunday in 1970, and Baton Rouge’s Bill Black's had a special reason to celebrate. For
years, “Buckskin Bill” had been signing off his popular children’s television program with the plaintive prayer
that "Baton Rouge Needs a Zoo!" In 1965, the taxpayers passed a millage election that provided more than
three-quarters of a million dollars to build the facility. Construction began in 1966 and BREC's Baton Rouge
Zoo first opened to the public today in 1970. In recent years, the Friends of the Baton Rouge Zoo was formed
to carry on Buckskin Bill’s work and supporting the Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts, fund raising, and creating
March 30, 1980
An art thief with rather eccentric taste was at work tonight in 1980. Four unusually large paintings of historic
figures in the history of LSU were stolen from the university’s David Boyd Hall by a thief or thieves who used a
razor blade to cut the paintings out of their frames. The stolen works included portraits of William T. Sherman,
the university’s first president, painted by the University’s first engineering professor, Samuel H. Lockett; Robert
E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; George Mason Graham, the first president of the LSU Board of Supervisors; and
Dr. George King Pratt, a member of the Board of Supervisors. The paintings have never been recovered.
March 31, 1807
Today in 1807, Governor William C. C. Claiborne approved a measure dividing the Territory of Orleans into
nineteen parishes. One of the nineteen was named Baton Rouge, which is now West Baton Rouge Parish and
the first parish courthouse was established in St. Michel, which is now Port Allen. The Territory of Orleans was
an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from 1804, until 1812, when it was admitted
to the Union as the State of Louisiana. East Baton Rouge Parish was not included in Orleans Territory until it
was formally annexed on April 14, 1812, two weeks before Louisiana became a state.