Tensas Gazette

Tensas Parish

The Tensas Gazette was founded in 1852 in St. Joseph, Louisiana, by Andrew Marschalk (1817-1878), son of Andrew Marschalk Sr., the “father of printing” in Mississippi. Publication was suspended from 1863 until the end of the Civil War. From 1868 to 1872, the paper was owned by Thomas W. Castleman (1845-1914), a Confederate veteran. During Reconstruction, it was issued as a “carpetbag” Republican newspaper under a new title, the North Louisiana Journal. It returned to Democratic hands in 1879 and was renamed the Tensas Gazette in 1886 when purchased by Robert H. Snyder (1855-1905), who retained it until his election as lieutenant governor of Louisiana in 1895. Subsequent editors included Hugh Tullis (b. 1857), Henry A. Garrett (1841-1901), and Abner E. Green, all prominent lawyers. Josiah Petit Scott (1875-1953) purchased the paper around 1912 and edited it until his death forty years later.

Tensas Parish is located in northeastern Louisiana along the Mississippi River. At the turn of the twentieth century, it had one of the largest African American populations in the state. Cotton formed the basis of the local economy. The Tensas Gazette frequently reported on agricultural conditions as well as the construction and maintenance of levees, which were vital to the flood-prone parish. Despite efforts to control flooding, the area was inundated by flood waters in 1912 and 1916. As the official journal of Tensas Parish, the Gazette reported on local government and printed the minutes of the parish police jury (the governing body of the parish, similar to county councils in other states). Important social issues reported on included immigration to north Louisiana and the development of parish liquor laws. In addition to news from throughout the state and region (printed in the 1890s in columns titled “Louisiana in a Nutshell” and “In our Sunny South”), the four- to eight-page weekly carried news briefs from other towns of Tensas Parish (chiefly Newellton and Waterproof), as well as nearby Natchez and Vicksburg, Mississippi. By the 1910s it was offering a wide range of reading material, including fiction, essays, sermons, domestic advice, and a farm and garden column.

The Tensas Gazette, one of oldest newspapers in Louisiana, is still in publication as of 2010.