Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide  
Getting Started With This Guide  
Study Guide Summary  
Outline of the Study Guide  
Study Unit I Defining Terms  
Study Unit II Fieldwork Basics  
Study Unit III Discovering the Obvious: Our Lives as "The Folk"  
Study Unit IV The State of Our Lives: Being a Louisiana Neighbor  
Study Unit V Oral Traditions--Swapping Stories  
Study Unit VI Louisiana's Musical Landscape  
Study Unit VII Material Culture-The Stuff of Life  
Study Unit VIII The Worlds of Work and Play  
Study Unit IX The Seasonal Round and Life Cycles  
Educator's Links  
Educator's Guide Glossary  
Educator's Guide Credits  
Educator's Opportunities For Professional Development  
Join The Community
Louisiana Folklife website Homepage  
Louisiana Folklife Program Home  
Louisiana's Living Traditions: Articles, Photos and Virtual Exhibits about Louisiana Folklife  



An Urban Legend: Workers Buried in a Concrete Piling of the U.S. 190 Mississippi River Bridge

From the Smiley Anders column, Baton Rouge Advocate, 2/5/99 (reprinted with permission)


After some readers said the story of a worker being buried in a concrete piling of the U.S. 190 Mississippi River bridge was true--I termed it an "urban legend"--I went back to our Aug. 10, 1940, special section published when the bridge was dedicated. In several long, detailed articles about the construction of the bridge, including descriptions of each of its six pilings, there was no mention of a worker being buried. Readers offered clues as to how the story started:

Bill Reid says, "While working on the construction of the old Mississippi River bridge, my father, H. M. Reid, fell off of the bridge and into a caisson of one of the support columns. The water had not been pumped out at the time, so he was not hurt. It was very cold that winter, and before they got him to the shore, his coveralls were frozen. He lived to finish that job and many others around the U.S. Dad never mentioned anything about anyone being buried there."

Alice Cobb of Port Allen says that years ago, before the new bridge was built, "at the same time each year we would see a wreath of flowers placed at the foot of the old bridge. My dad said it was for a worker who was killed during the construction of this bridge."

And Nelson J. Bourgeois of Fordoche says a worker named J.C. Brown, who "lived in Fordoche, where we grew up together," fell off a barge during construction of the old bridge. His body was never recovered, says Nelson.


National Endowment for the Arts.

Folklife in Louisiana Home | Living Traditions Home | Louisiana Voices Educator's Guide
Overview of Louisiana's Traditional Cultures | Folklife Program Introduction |
Planning and Funding Folklife Projects | Opportunities for Professional Development
Links | Credits | Contact Us/Link to Us
Louisiana Division of the Arts | Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
© 1999-2012 Louisiana Division of the Arts,
PO Box 44247, Baton Rouge, LA 70804, tel 225-342-8180

Questions about this site? Contact Maida Owens, folklife@crt.la.gov.