Morgan City Daily Review

St. Mary Parish

Morgan City, Louisiana, in coastal St. Mary Parish, was originally named Brashear City in honor of one of the area’s earliest settlers, Dr. Walter Brashear, who arrived there in 1809 from Kentucky. It was renamed in 1876 in honor of Charles Morgan, a railroad tycoon who invested in the struggling town. The 1880s and 1890s saw the rise of two industries that would form the basis of the local economy for decades: lumber and seafood. The cypress industry fell into decline around 1920, and by the 1930s, the area’s oyster beds had virtually disappeared. Shrimp remained, however, and by the mid-20th century, Morgan City would proclaim itself the “Jumbo Shrimp Capital of the World.” Unsuccessful efforts to drill for oil in 1901-02 and 1918-19 deprived Morgan City of the wealth that the petroleum industry was bringing to other parts of Louisiana, but in 1917, during the First World War, the town was awarded a government contract to build warships, a deal that provided several hundred jobs. By 1925, Morgan City’s population was about 6,000.

The Morgan City Daily Review was founded in 1916. A weekly edition, the Morgan City Review [LCCN: sn88064291], had been published since the 1870s. The Daily Review’s managing editor was Charles Edwin King (1882-1969), a native of Missouri who would become one of his adopted city’s most tireless boosters and an early promoter of flood control and waterway improvements, including the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Published in four to six pages, the newspaper was independent in politics. The earliest issues focused mainly on local news. With America’s entry into World War I in 1917, the paper expanded its scope to cover international topics in greater depth, but continued its local focus, reporting in detail on the war’s effect on life in Morgan City and St. Mary Parish. War-related reporting ranged from local shipbuilding, rationing, and Red Cross activities to rumors of German submarines and saboteurs on the Gulf Coast. After the war, the Daily Review did its part to help retain Morgan City’s shipyards, as well as enlist local support for European war relief efforts (the paper was particularly supportive of the Jewish War Relief Society).

Another major focus of the Daily Review was entertainment. Morgan City in the 1910s boasted several movie theaters, and advertisements for films can be found in virtually every issue of the Daily Review. In 1917, the paper reported on one of the first movies filmed in Louisiana, Tarzan of the Apes, which was shot in the swamps near Morgan City as a stand in for the African jungle.

The Review’s weekly and daily editions were consolidated in 1920 to form the daily Morgan City Review [LCCN: sn88064294]. Charles King continued to be associated with the paper until 1960. Three years later, its name was changed to its current title, the Daily Review [LCCN: sn88064295].