The Louisiana Weekly

Contributors

The Louisiana Weekly is an African-American newspaper that has served as an outlet and a voice for the Black community. It was founded in 1925 by O.C.W. Taylor (who served as managing editor until he left the paper in 1927) and Constant Charles Dejoie Sr., and it remains in the Dejoie family to this day. Their entrepreneurial vision was to create a newspaper dedicated to “enlightening, ennobling and empowering people of color.” It addressed news that usually would have been swept under the rug by other media sources. [1]

Background

The paper first worked out of the Pythian Temple Building at 234 Loyola Avenue and moved to its current location in Gentilly [2] in 2001. It was originally called the New Orleans Herald, but after two issues, the name was changed to The Louisiana Weekly. The paper grew rapidly, amassing 4.500 subscribers after only one month of publication. Subscriptions were sold for an annual rate of $2, for six-months and one-month at $1.25 and $.20 respectively. Single issues sold for 5 cents each. Although the majority of the paper’s readers are local southern Louisianans, the Louisiana Weekly has subscribers worldwide. New Orleans is host to several annual events that garner masses if tourists, like Mardi Gras and music festivals, and many people discover the newspaper and subscribe to it after they leave. The paper is also popular in areas with large native-Louisiana populations, such as Southern California and Chicago. [3]

People

The Dejoie family was one of the most prominent black families in New Orleans; they owned the Unity Industrial Life Insurance Company [4] C.C. Dejoie helped establish the newspaper with a $2,000 investment and used his business contacts to help spread the paper throughout the city. [5] He also was a member of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association, [6] which met in March 1940 to discuss issues such as how black newspapers could survey their target audience and how to attract the attention of national advertisers. In June 1942, DeJoie was elected western Vice President of the association, [7] and continued attending the annual meetings for many years. This commitment to joining forces with other African American papers showed that The Lousiana Weekly was intent on reaching as much of their target audience as they could, while also furthering the efforts of other publishers. Dejoie remained the publisher of The Louisiana Weekly until 1969, and passed away in 1970.

His son, Henry Dejoie, became president and publisher of the paper after his father’s retirement.. In 1965, he co-founded Data News Weekly with Joseph “Scoop” Jones, one of the Louisiana Weekly’s first and most committed employees (he served as an excellent journalist, but also as a news boy, a reporter, columnist, and photographer). Even as a child Henry Dejoie helped distribute the paper. After his time serving his country in World War II, he returned to aide in “the mechanical aspect” of the paper, for example, the circulation department. His house fell victim to eleven feet of flooding during Hurricane Katrina, so he and his family were displaced to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania in the aftermath of the storm. Unfortunately, he did not live to return to his home city; on December 31, 2007 he died of a heart attack. [8]

Content

The Louisiana Weekly has been a witness to many different stages of African-American history in the United States. Accurate news coverage of the Black community was rare, and true to Dejoie and Taylor’s vision for the paper, the Louisiana Weekly became one of few reliable sources for information about the African-American community in the Deep South. [9] They published a column called “Editor’s Say,” which provided insight into their position on controversial issues such as war production in the city, violent crimes against Blacks [10] and the hypocrisy of racism in America during World War II, when our country was fighting the Axis powers for committing similar atrocities. One of the greatest accomplishments was a five-week series that ran in the paper claiming that defense training should be extended to public schools, [11] which was implemented by the Superintendent of Schools after the series ran.

Some of the most important stories they covered were the integration of Little Rock, [12] the Armed Forces, desegregation of buses, Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the formation of groups for the Black Power Movement, like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the 1963 March on Washington, and the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. Figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King Jr. and Philip Randolph published works in the Louisiana Weekly as well.Readers were encouraged to support the civil rights movement through organizations such as the National Urban League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. [13] Even today, the National Urban League has a strong relationship with the newspaper and supports current events and developments in the African-American community, such as the election of President Obama. [14] Front pages were frequently covered with news of lynchings, Black soldiers fighting in the war and injustices against African Americans. The sports section often featured stories of boxer Joe Louis, as well as college news featuring Xavier and Dillard Universities, and the “women’s interest” section held wedding announcements. Modern sections include business, health, education, entertainment, opinions and a city guide, showing that the paper has evolved throughout it’s history to suit the needs of its readers.

The Louisiana Weekly Today

Hurricane Katrina caused a sharpening of several recurring themes in the Louisiana Weekly’s articles, particularly displacement and government blame, but also self-help and unity to give the community hope. Self-help is a common belief in the African-American community, and it was emphasized during the aftermath of Katrina. [15] The Louisiana Weekly was temporarily displaced by the storm in 2005, so Executive Editor Renette Dejoie-Hall worked out of Houston, Texas for a short time. Their Gentilly offices reopened in July 2006. The paper was hit hard by the storm, and many of their subscribers dispersed throughout the country, from Atlanta to Los Angeles and New York. Displaced readers have come to depend even more heavily on the Louisiana Weekly for accurate coverage of New Orleans current events. Although they miraculously did not sustain any flood damage, the paper was without phones or internet for close to 11 months. With fewer businesses open post-Katrina, there are fewer potential advertisers, and keeping the business going is tougher than ever. [16] However, The Louisiana Weekly has been of the most influential and vital sources of news to the Black community of New Orleans, and it is easy to see that their revitalization is as important as the city’s.

Works Cited

  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • “About the Weekly”. 27 May, 2008. The Louisiana Weekly. http://host1.bondware.com/~Louisiana_Weekly/news.php?viewStory=25
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • Ingham, John N. African-American business leaders a biographical dictionary. Westport, Conn: Greenwood P, 1994.
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • “Publishers Organize at Chicago Conclave”. Atlanta Daily World. 8 March, 1940. (1932-2003), 1. Retrieved May 2, 2009. ProQuest Historical Newspapers Atlanta Daily World: 1931-2003 database. (Document ID: 1056566252)
  • “Scott Chosen Publishers’ Vice President: Press Group Ends Most Successful Meet in History. Atlanta Daily World. 9 June, 1942 (1932-2003),1. Retrieved May 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Atlanta Daily World: 1931-2003 database. (Document ID: 1061772652).
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • “Editors Say”. Afro-American. 6 May 1944. (1893-1988), 5. Retrieved May 2, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988) database. (Document ID: 1283949162)
  • Hoskins, Samuel. “New Orleans to Grant Defense Training”. 6 Sept. 1941. New Journal and Guide (1921-2003).5. Retrieved May 2 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspaper Norfolk Journal and Huide (1921-2003) database. (Document ID: 1160616852)
  • Copies of The Louisiana Weekly viewed on microfilm in the Amistad Research Center, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823
  • “President Barack Obama”. 17 November 2008. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=581
  • Dolan, Mark K., John H. Sonnett, and Kirk A. Johnson. “Katrina Coverage in Black Newspapers Critical of Government, Mainstream Media.” Newspaper Research Journal 30 (2009): 34-42.
  • “The Louisiana Weekly Celebrates 84th Anniversary”. 21 September 2009. The Louisiana Weekly. http://www.louisianaweekly.com/news.php?viewStory=1823

This page was last modified on 04 May 2012, at 09:36

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The Louisiana Weekly

2215 Pelopidas St, New Orleans, LA 70122, USA

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The Louisiana Weekly

234 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA