The late Sam Hanna‘s legacy of journalistic success in north Louisiana is well documented. We are fortunate that time put the then 28-year-old writer in the right spot to be covering the beginning days of Lake D’Arbonne from the position of Outdoor Editor of the Monroe Morning World back in the early 1960’s.
The first real “press” about the coming lake came from the pen, ok., keyboard (Royal typewriter, I am sure) in a full page story on the front of Section D, Sunday, November 26, 1961. Thanks to the Ouachita Parish Library and it’s extensive collection of microfish* of the old newspapers (explanation below), we can read his words again today. The story’s headline nailed what Lake D’Arbonne would become:
“HAVEN IN THE HILLS”.
“Cradled in a canyon in the heart of tall hill country, a haven is being created by man. It’s like a flashback to America’s frontier days when the settlers set out the make a better life by conquering a wilderness. Because life should be better in northeast Louisiana when D’Arbonne Bayou Lake is completed at a cost of several million dollars. You say it is only a lake, this D’Arbonne project north of Monroe; but you can’t appreciate it fully until you’ve drive to Farmerville, parked on top of a towering Union Parish hill and visualized a clear blue lake below.
“Then you’ll get the impression that the outdoor trend in recreation minded America began with D’Arbonne Lake in mind – where people can play in a lake fed by pure hill streams and breathe fresh pure air, in a countryside that must have been painted by an artist who wanted to outdo the rainbow.”
Well said, Mr. Hanna. And spot on.
We will have more on Hanna’s look at the future lake in the next two day’s writeups.
* Its actually ‘Micro-fiche’ and before the advent of computers, important documents and articles were copied and reduced onto a sheet of film (similar to xray). thus large amounts of information were able to be stored easily. Micro-fiche were viewed in special electronic magnifying machines.