Bossier Banner

Bossier Parish

The Bossier Banner was a four-page weekly newspaper founded in Bellevue, Louisiana, in 1859 by William Henry Scanland (1842-1916). Born in Mississippi and orphaned at a young age, Scanland, along with his brother John, went to work for the Caddo Gazette [LCCN: sn83016488] in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the age of 11. In 1858, the Scanland brothers briefly published the Caddo Gazette, Junior, in their free time. William Henry then worked as a compositor for the Bossier Times [LCCN: sn88064461] before taking it over in July 1859, at age 17, and reissuing it as the Bossier Banner. Except for a period of service in the Confederate army during the Civil War, he would manage it until his death in 1916.

Now unincorporated, Bellevue served as the first seat of Bossier Parish from 1843 until 1888, when the parish government, along with the Banner, moved to Benton, which, unlike Bellevue, had not been bypassed by the railroad and was better connected to Shreveport, the commercial hub of northwest Louisiana. 

As a “home” newspaper, the Banner’s content was of a miscellaneous nature, ranging from local, national, and international news, to anecdotal stories, fiction, and poetry (including some written in the Lost Cause style). Many issues consisted heavily of advertisements and announcements of tax sales. The paper frequently carried religious stories and scripture, as well as sermons by Thomas De Witt Talmage, a popular late 19th-century American preacher. The discovery of oil in north Louisiana in 1908 and Bossier Parish’s subsequent transition from a cotton- to petroleum-based economy initially received little attention; the Banner did, however, carry the charters of local oil companies. The local Good Roads movement of the early 20th century was covered in some detail.

The September 27, 1900 issue of the Bossier Banner was a special souvenir edition, published as The Free State of Bossier. It contains profiles of prominent local men and a history of the parish, including a sketch of journalism.

From 1904 onward, Scanland was assisted by his son Abney Downs Scanland (1876-1950), who took over the paper after his father’s death. Publication of the Banner continued until 1952, when it was consolidated with the Plain Dealing Progress [LCCN: sn88064398] to form the Bossier Banner-Progress [LCCN: sn88064083].