Natchitoches Enterprise

Natchitoches Parish

The Natchitoches Enterprise was founded in 1888 in Natchitoches, Louisiana, a small but historically significant town near the state’s western border with Texas. Though few issues survive from before 1913, the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana (1890) described the Enterprise as a “newsy, spicy sheet.” It was originally one of several newspapers devoted to fighting the Louisiana Lottery, a revenue-raising scheme widely regarded as a corrupting influence on state politics.

Hopkins Payne Breazeale (1856-1893) established the Enterprise. A native of Natchitoches, he was a grandson of William Winter, one of the most prominent early landowners in what is now Arkansas. Before entering the newspaper business, Breazeale held various roles in local government. When he died at the age of 36 in 1893, the Enterprise was taken over by his wife, Cammilla Lachs Breazeale (1866-1956), a child of German Jewish immigrants. She would edit and manage the paper for more than 50 years, almost singlehandedly until 1915, when her daughter, Carmen Breazeale (1889-1980), became business manager. In 1947, around the time of Cammilla’s retirement, an article in the Pelican Press Messenger, the bulletin of the Louisiana Press Association, referred to her as the “Grand Old Lady of the Louisiana Press.”

A Democratic newspaper, the Enterprise was published weekly in four pages. In addition to its anti-Lottery views, it supported the prohibition of liquor; in the 1890s, it carried a Women’s Christian Temperance Union column edited by Mrs. A. P. Douglass and Mrs. L. E. McCook [MLT1] of Natchitoches. Cammilla Breazeale served at one time as district chair of the Woman Suffrage Party of Louisiana and used the Enterprise to report debate over the 19th Amendment. The Breazeales were related by marriage to novelist and short story writer Kate Chopin, best known today for The Awakening, an important early example of Southern feminist writing. Chopin lived on a plantation in nearby Cloutierville. At least one original review of her writing appeared in the Enterprise.

In addition to miscellaneous local, national, and international news, the Enterprise carried general-interest articles copied from other sources, advertisements and charters for local businesses, tax sale announcements, town ordinances, personal notes, agricultural advice, local sports news (mostly baseball), and the minutes of the Natchitoches Parish police jury, the governing body of the parish. During World War I, it published news of the local Red Cross chapter, in which Cammilla Breazeale was active, and other stories related to the war’s effect on Louisiana. The Enterprise is also a source of information on the Louisiana State Normal School (now Northwestern State University).

The Natchitoches Enterprise was published until 1965, when it was purchased by the Natchitoches Times [LCCN: sn82014155].

 [MLT1]No more info on these women.