The Making of North Louisiana’s Boomtowns, 1901-1930
216 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 15 b&w photos
Sales Date: May 7, 2024
How international oil companies navigated the local, segregated landscape of north Louisiana in the first decades of the twentieth century.
In 1904, prospectors discovered oil in the rural parishes of North Louisiana just outside Shreveport. As rural cotton fields gave way to dense, industrial centers of energy extraction, migrants from across the US—and the world—rushed to take a share of the boom. The resulting boomtowns, most notoriously Oil City, quickly gained a reputation for violence, drinking, and rough living. Meanwhile, North Louisiana’s large Black population endured virulent white supremacy in the oil fields and the courtrooms to earn their own piece of the boom, including one Black woman who stood to become the wealthiest oil heiress in America.
In Oil Cities, Henry Wiencek uncovers what life was like amidst the tent cities, saloons, and oil derricks of North Louisiana’s oil boomtowns, tracing the local experiences of migrants, farmers, sex workers, and politicians as they navigated dizzying changes to their communities. This first historical monograph on the region’s dramatic oil boom reveals a contested history, in which the oil industry had to adapt its labor, tools, and investments to meet North Louisiana’s unique economic, social, political, and environmental dynamics.
- A Note to Readers
- Prologue: The Savage-Morrical No. 1
- 1. The Boom
- 2. The Communities
- 3. The People
- 4. The Racial Violence of “Bloody Caddo”
- 5. The Courts of Bloody Caddo
- 6. The Land
- 7. The City
- Epilogue: The Bust
The publication of Water in the Middle East was made possible by the support of the Peter T. Flawn Endowment in Natural Resource Management and Conservation.