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Louisiana Eminent Domain Corruption

Watch a 10 minute video: Toye Taylor the Reckless Politician.
"I agree, you shouldn't turn expropriation powers over to anyone who is not elected".

Problems: If Dialup internet, or Pausing: Continue playing & use slide bar to start over.
See more Articles below about Sen. Ben Nevers Sb 639, and Thompson's statewide land grab scheme.
Click here to View Movie on You Tube

As a resident and voter in Washington Parish, I wish to go on record in opposition to Senate Bill 639 sponsored by Sen. Ben Nevers that will create to Washington Parish Economic Development District.

Senate bill 639 creates yet another Political Subdivision much like the Washington Parish Reservoir District with a board of appointed Commissioners that are not accountable to the people of Washington Parish, but shall wield enormous powers of Expropriation of Private property. This power is in the name of Economic Development.

Every property owner in Washington Parish has cause to be very concerned about this bill. This Legislation was not put to a vote by the voters in Washington Parish. It is yet another stealth bill designed to circumvent the voting process.

If this Economic Development District is so good for the people and Land Owners of Washington Parish why not let us decide for ourselves by giving us a chance to vote on the bill. The landowners in the unincorporated areas of Washington parish will have no representation on the proposed Economic Development District or the Commissioners if this bill is passed.

Over 200 years ago our forefathers fought the revolutionary war over taxation without representation. Now the landowners of Washington Parish face expropriation without representation by a gang of 7 appointed Commissioners who may decide our say with their pockets if this bill is passed.

Please return the democratic process to Washington Parish and allow the votes or Washington Parish to have a say in our future. As voters we elected you to represent our interest.

We are not opposed to Economic Development; we simply believe it should remain in the private sector where buyers and sellers work out their own agreement.
Government should be in the business of governing and not in the business of Expropriation of private property for the Economic Development of others.

Mary Ettel

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Indictment of Reservoir Official fuels Questions

BOGALUSA - The indictment of the man who serves as consultant to the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission has raised concerns among commission members and given new life to opponents to the project.Michael Thompson, 58. of Delhi, who served as executive director of the Poverty Point Reservoir District and is a paid consultant on at least a half-dozen reservoirs proposed for construction around the state, was indicted by a federal grand jury alleging he illegally took money from the district while acting as director.

The indictment is based on the Hobbs Act and was returned in Lafayette on Tuesday.
It alleges that between Sept. 26, 1997, and June 20, 2002, Thompson obtained funds of Poverty Point Reservoir District to which he wasn't entitled while acting in his official capacity. The maximum penalty could be 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Reservoir commission member Bill Jenkins of Angie said late Thursday that he had been in communication with commission chairman Huey Pierce, who is out-of-state on vacation, and that Pierce was aware of the indictment.

"We're not real sure how it might affect us," Jenkins said. "We're aware of the indictment based on the news article, but we need to figure out what we need to do."

Jenkins said the commission would have to get together and see what action they needed to take.

"We've had (commission) members we've had to ask to step down in the past," Jenkins said, "but this looks like it may be a little more serious. We know there will be a lot of questions to answer ... we'll have to post and hold a public meeting and sit down and put together everything we've paid to him."
He said the commission had just been audited and that commissioners had just recently met and reviewed the audit.

For members of the Pete Pittman family, as well as others who live in the area targeted to become lake bottom, it substantiates their concerns over misuse of public funds.

Family members said Pete Pittman, currently hospitalized with a fractured vertebrae in his neck following a fall, "expressed relief" that someone had taken note of what they called "the wrongdoing that was apparently going on with the reservoirs across our state."

His daughter, Jalon Pittman Beech, said "Those of us who have been crying foul are not surprised at the indictment of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission's very well paid consultant, Michael Thompson.
We expect more indictments to follow, possibly in our parish as well. We welcome the presence of the FBI in our parish."

Her brother, Winford, asked, "Should Thompson continue to get paid $100,000 per lake for six lakes while he is under indictment? Shouldn't he be dismissed and his pay cut off until the charges against him are cleared or he is found guilty?
Would you continue to pay or keep one of your employees in the same predicament?"

Thompson's indictment is the second in quick succession connected to Poverty Point. The first involved Kathy Cleveland, a former executive assistant for the district, who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $150,000 from November 2000 until September 2005.

Cleveland, 55, of Epps, forged the name of the district's president on checks she wrote to petty cash, her husband and to herself for alleged reimbursement for mileage, meals, office supplies and other expenses to which she was not entitled, federal prosecutors said.

Michael Thompson is a former mayor of Delhi and brother of state Rep. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, who authored the legislation allowing the creation of reservoir districts and ultimately created work for his brother.

Michael Thompson is "absolutely innocent," his lawyer, J. Michael Small, declared in a faxed statement.Small said the main witness against Thompson, Joe Cleveland, is trying to bargain for a light sentence for his wife, Kathy.

What is the Hobbs Act?

The Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. ¤ 1951) prohibits actual or attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce. Although the Hobbs Act was enacted as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, the statute is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption, commercial disputes and corruption directed at members of labor unions.

INDICTMENT: Document in pdf format

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Poverty Point trial rescheduled

By Johnny Gunter • jgunter@thenewsstar.com • July 9, 2009

Trial for three prominent northeastern Louisiana residents charged in U.S. District Court with conspiracy and mail fraud in a case involving land they purchased at Poverty Point Reservoir in Delhi has been reset to April 12 so the U.S. Supreme Court can hear a similar case.

It was set for Jan. 11.

Defense attorney Mike Small of Alexandria, who represents Billy Coenen, district attorney of the 5th Judicial District, said another of his clients, former state Sen. Charles Jones, will be tried Jan 11 instead.
Coenen's co-defendants are Monroe-based engineer Terry Denmon and Delhi businessman Mike Thompson,

Jones was indicted in February 2008 on two federal counts of making and subscribing a false tax return and one count of tax evasion. The indictment alleges Jones intentionally claimed much lower amounts for his gross receipts or sales in 2000 and his earned income in 1999. He is accused of tax evasion for converting payments for his services as a lawyer into cashier's checks and cash, then purchasing property and a certificate of deposit to avoid paying income tax.

Small said Wednesday the trial dates were flipped because the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a similar case involving a legal issue that he and other attorneys have filed in the Coenen, Denmon and Thompson case. He said motions have been filed stating the indictments should be dismissed because the charges are alleged state ethics violations, which shouldn't be used as a basis for a federal mail fraud indictment.

He said all parties, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, agreed to put off the trial until the Supreme Court rules in the case from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He said that could possibly be a year away.

"If the Supreme Court rules as we hope, it would result in the dismissal of the Coenen case and those of the co-defendants," Small said.

No one with the U.S. Attorney's Office responded to an inquiry for comment.

Coenen, Denmon and Thompson pleaded innocent Aug. 8 to charges of conspiracy and mail fraud.

Outlook dim for reservoir project: Corps confirms

project was blocked, will review new application

Associated Press
Published/Last Modified on Monday, July 13, 2009 9:38 AM CDT

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Army Corps of Engineers has blocked the construction of a reservoir in the rural timber and pasture country of Washington Parish after the project ran into opposition from residents whose land would have been flooded.

On Friday, the Army Corps said it would not issue a wetlands permit for the reservoir, which the state had hoped to build by damming the Bogue Lusa Creek.

Plans called for building a 3,400-acre reservoir capable of providing 51,000 gallons of water a day and flooding land occupied by about 30 homes, three cemeteries and a church. The reservoir, though, is far from dead.

"This is not the end of the project at all," said Huey Long Pierce, the chairman of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission. "We're not going away."

Pierce said the commission has resubmitted an application for a wetlands permit to the Army Corps.

Mike McNair, the corps' regulatory branch chief in Vicksburg, Miss., said the permit process was scrapped because the project had undergone major changes since the reservoir commission first applied for a permit in 2005.

Initially, the commission said the reservoir would be for Washington residents, McNair said, but "the scope changed to industrial water supply for future industry."

He said another change was the commission's intention to supply water to other parts of Louisiana.

Another issue is whether there is a need for the reservoir. Data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows that the area's aquifer is in good shape.

Pierce, the reservoir commission chairman, said the Army Corps misinterpreted the original application.

"Our purpose and need has been identical from the beginning," Pierce said, "to furnish potable water. Potable water includes irrigation, economic development, recreation, a lot of things."

He added: "We're losing 1 foot to 2 foot a year in our aquifer. That is our long-term drinking water source."

Also, he said Bogue Lusa Creek is "drying up more and more by the day."

The reservoir project has run into stiff opposition from residents who would be affected, most of them from the small community of Oak Grove.

"The water is so plentiful here that there is no need for it," said Bogue Lusa resident Jalon Beech, a 47-year-old medical claims analyst who was raised in Oak Grove.

The reservoir, she said, "would benefit only a few, like real estate developers ... They don't even consider what they may destroy — the homes, the wildlife, the timber."

Beech and her relatives have a lot to lose if the reservoir is built: Her family's roots in Oak Grove go back to the 1830s, and the family still owns about 70 acres.

"The log home that my great-great-grandfather built is still there," she said. "It would be about 60 feet underwater."

McNair said the Army Corps would take a look at the commission's second permit application.

"We're a neutral party, neither for it nor against it," McNair said about the proposed reservoir project.

Scared to move to Washington Parish

I've been reading about the efforts of the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission for the last year or more and finally feel I must write this letter.
I just cannot remain silent any more. After having a dream of owning my own land for the last 25 years, I was finally able to save up enough money to have sufficient down payment to secure a loan and buy a parcel of land in Washington Parish in 2003. My intention was to work and improve the land, plant trees, build a retirement home there, get back to nature, etc.

I subscribe to the Era Leader in an attempt to integrate myself into the community before I move there and also to stay abreast of current events in Washington Parish. Even though I don't currently live in Washington Parish,
I spend considerable amounts of money there on gasoline, supplies, contract labor, equipment rental, etc.
I know my "to be" neighbors and find them friendly and good, decent folks.

I currently work in New Orleans for a major international oil company and look forward to a less stressful life when I am able to quit commuting. The issues relating to the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission
and the methods that are being used to make decisions regarding the appropriation of land from property owners scares me.

I am also scared and concerned because I hate to continue investing money in property that may be taken from me because of what I see as greed and self-serving interests that don't seem to care about the issues being raised by families that have lived on the land for generations. Based on my limited knowledge, most of these families seem to be fairly poor or without political connections, but have a passion for the land.
I can identify with this passion for the land and have worked long and hard to be able to finally get my own, even though it's only a small parcel.

The commission doesn't seem to care about families that will have to move or about loved ones dug up from graves that they chose to be buried in. What is the real issue behind what this commission wants to do?
Do I really want to move into such a community? If so, what might happen to me and my land?

I belong to a hunting club in Washington Parish that was forced to sell land for a State Park that is to be built along the Bogue Chitto River in Washington Parish. Thousands of acres of wetlands that flood every year were purchased in the name of Economic Development and the dollars that the State Park would bring.

How many more of these projects are out there in the wings waiting to appropriate more land.
When will we see these dollars and will they be more than the dollars we would have had otherwise?
Are these dollars worth sacrificing our neighbors for?

Whose land will it be next and who will be benefiting from it? Now I see there is an effort to pass
another bill called SB 639 which will create an economic development district with another "commission" empowered like the Reservoir Commission was. Do you have any idea of whose land will be next?

Are you ok with it as long as it isn't yours? What if it's your neighbors or your son or daughter's?
What if it's your Mom or Dad or Grandparent's or Aunt or Uncle's?

Will you be proud to have stood in silence while this is allowed to happen? I am very disappointed there has not been more outrage expressed by the citizens in Washington Parish on this issue.

How can you sit by and let this happen? Will you act this same way when they come to take my land? What about when they take your neighbor's land or you or your relatives land? I understand and support appropriation of land when necessary for a school or housing for the poor or a hospital, etc. and no other suitable land can be found. These are certainly valid needs in some cases. The problem is, this is not for a school or for housing for the poor and other suitable land can be found and other landowners might be more willing to sell. Why not go that route? I don't know the folks in Oak Grove or the other small communities that will be affected and I also do not know Mr. Toye Taylor or his Reservoir Commission members.

What I do know as a Christian is that we are our brother's keeper and there is a God above that must be frowning right now. Why do I not see more outcries from fellow Christians who currently live in Washington Parish? Most of the letter's I see are from people who stand to lose the land they've held for generations or who stand to lose the graveyards their relatives are still buried in. I'm 53 years old and thinking "where do I want to be buried when I die?" Now I have to weigh that decision with the fact that in Washington Parish, just because you choose to be buried somewhere doesn't mean you'll stay buried there.

Washington Parish is full of Christians. I like that and I like the serenity and nature which is one of the reasons I chose to buy land and retire there. What I don't like is what you are allowing to take place. Why are you letting a handful of individuals take land from your neighbors in the name of progress when you know there are alternatives? If it was your land, would you be satisfied with the lack of support from your neighbors?

I read the advertisements in the papers by the Reservoir Commission and laugh.
A water shortage they say. Let's be serious, I say. How many wells do you have that are drying up?
Let's face it folks, you only have to go down less than 200' to hit good, quality drinking water in Washington Parish. The real number is probably 110' but I'm going to give the 200' number to be conservative. Think about it. Which way does all the surface water drain in the USA? The answer, for the most part, is North to South. That's why the Mississippi River caries so much water. It doesn't originate in Louisiana. The soil is very similar.

When we drill wells in the oilfield, we look for rock that has permeability because that allows the oil and gas to "travel" through the "rock" to the wellbore so we can transport it to the surface. What's the most permeable "rock" out there? It's sandstone or something you and I call "Sand". Is there much sandy soil in Washington Parish? Why, yes, there is. That's one reason why we don't have a water shortage in Washington Parish.
We have water traveling via gravity from up North through sandy soil and we drill water wells into this sandy soil in Washington Parish. We typically have problems with our water wells when we have screen failures, pump failures, etc., not because we're running out of water.

Some of you probably know of "live" or artesian wells that don't even require the use of pumps. Even if we were running out of water, why on God's Green Earth would we build a Reservoir that sits on top of land that is so close to the Choctaw disposal pits? If we want water for that area, a smarter solution would be to drill 2-3 water wells north of that disposal site and pipe the clean water to the locations desired.

When I share the concepts of "running out of water" with my Geoscientists, Geologists, etc. at work, they laugh and want to know who came up with this "story". They assume it's from people who have a vested economic interest rather than on science. I tend to agree with them, but even if I didn't, I would ask "Why there"? Why take land that people don't want to sell? Washington Parish is a big Parish. How about moving the reservoir to an area that is willing to sell? Laying pipeline from that point would be easy and also would stimulate the Washington Parish economy with pipe laying jobs, right of way fees, sales of pipe and valves, etc.

While I'm on the subject, who will benefit from the proposed project? Who owns the adjacent lands that might become "Lakefront"? Who owns the companies that will be doing the construction work and selling the supplies that will be used? Why aren't these funds being used to build housing for the disadvantaged or to help pay medical bills for the elderly and the poor or give your schoolteachers and public works people more pay?
Are the schools in Washington Parish without needs? Is there no value in addressing those issues?

Who decided a Reservoir is more important than these opportunities? Answer these questions and you might get a little closer to the real issue, which is why some of our neighbors aren't crying foul about this effort.
It may not be because they have a vested interest in the dollars the project may generate; it may be because
the issue doesn't affect them personally or perhaps they are busy with work and school and life.

It's good to be busy, to have property, to make money, to have a business that prospers, to create jobs, etc.
It's just a question of if it's good to do all those things on the backs of those who don't have the resources to fight back or who don't have the political connections or who happened to grow up in a certain community.

Is it ok to do these things even if it tramples on the backs and rights of our neighbors and the poor?
There is a God above and there will be a judgment for us all one day.

Kim Barbin Mandeville, LA.

A Community Lost

Back in the early 1800’s five families moved onto an approximate five to seven mile stretch of land along Bogue Lusa Creek (Bogalusa Creek) which means “Black water.” These five families were the Moores, the Jones, the Carters, the Williams, and the Resters.

They soon became related through different marriages that took place as the families got established. These early pioneers established the moral standards of an area that we now know as the Oak Grove Community.

These early settlers were, and are still known, for their hospitality and charity not only towards each other, but also towards strangers that would come into their midst. It was the custom in the early days that if someone was in trouble or needed help, surrounding families would come to that person or that family’s aid. Whether it was to help plant or harvest a crop, build a house (Thomas Moore was killed by a falling tree while helping to build a log house for another family), or a barn.

If anyone had a death in their family, the other families would put any personal feelings aside and come together and pitch in with whatever was needed. They would cooking, clean, or even help dig the grave.

If there was a family that needed food, all the other families along the creek would contribute what food they had - sometimes at the risk of cutting themselves short. Such was the way of life on the creek in those days.

Another significant thing that bonded these families together was their love of God. They would travel by walking, horses, or buggies once a month to someone’s house on a designated Sunday to hear what used to be called, “circuit riding preachers.” Those Sundays were an all day event in their lives. As years went by going to church once a month turned into twice a month. They stopped congregating at someone's house and started gathering on a hill over looking Bogalusa Creek that had a stand of red oak trees on it. Following the morning service beneath the shade of the trees, they would have what we would call, “dinner on the ground,” followed by an evening service. This tradition went on for a couple of years.

After the introduction of the car and real roads instead of trails, our families started holding Sunday services every Sunday. They soon decided that it was time to have a permanent meeting place.

On July 4, 1924, a name was chosen and a building was built on the hill over looking the Bogalusa Creek amongst the same stand of Oaks that once provided shade for their outdoor services. They called it Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Hence the stretch of land on Bogalusa Creek from the Bouey Moore Place up to and along the Choctaw Trail became known as the Oak Grove Community.

Over the years, the old plank church has evolved in to a beautiful, majestic building tucked into the Oaks. It stands as a beacon and serves as a reminder of the moral and spiritual standards that the members of Oak Grove Community still hold dear to this day.

The old church has seen its share of happy and sad occasions as evidenced by the graves in it’s cemetery that it fervently stands watch over. It has weathered many a stormy night but remains a strong historical symbol to the residents of the Oak Grove Community.

When you visit this church quietly nestled into the oaks, you can literally feel the peacefulness of the surroundings and appreciate the history of how it came to be.

Oak Grove is a rare community with deep-rooted integrity.If you travel through it and find yourself in need of assistance, you can stop at any house and be assured that they will go out of their way to help you in any way they can.

Treasured because of its old fashion values, people have come to our little community seeking out a secure place to raise their families or to live out their lives in a peace and harmony that only Oak Grove can offer.

We have little to no crime because we take care of each other. We watch out for each others children, and we respect each other. Oak Grove may have some challenges but they are ours and we own them and take care of them as they come up.

The Oak Grove Community has grown considerably over the years bringing in some of the best people this world has to offer. You could safely say that the Oak Grove Community is our little slice of heaven on this earth, and we like it just the way it is.

The residents of Oak Grove are peace loving and laid back. You will not here much from them in the way of writing editorials or being vocal about their opinions to the general public. Almost two centuries later, we are still known for our kindness, hospitality, and charity. We still practice coming to each other aid just like our ancestors did back in their day. It has become the signature of community strength not weakness.

Take heed, though we represent and live a peaceful life, we are prepared to and will defend our community when it’s threatened through every means available.

Very recently, the legislators of our great State of Louisiana, along with a handful of land developers have decided that a reservoir in this area and money is more important than the way of life that the Oak Grove has spent nearly two hundred years carving out for itself.

Should a reservoir be built in our community, it will wipe away all traces of our peaceful lives and our rich heritage. It will ignore the sacrifices that were made by our pioneer families who blazed the trail to create what we have today. Sadly, if the reservoir can not be stopped, then the Oak Grove Community will be forever, a community lost!

By Winford E. Pittman

Compliments of: Oak Grove Community

The History of the Bouey Moore Place

As told by his children, William Ernest Moore, Adolphus Moore, Edith Moore Strahan, and Lavada Moore Pittman

Located at 19068 Moore Road, Washington Parish, Louisiana, the old Bouey Moore Place is one of two log homes outside of the Miles Branch Settlement in Franklinton that is still standing, livable, and still being used today. The second home is privately owned and currently occupied.

This is a story not just about a family, but how a simplistic log cabin grew to become a home and the impact it has had over the years on many of the residents in Washington Parish.

Angus Bouey Moore was born around November 5, 1856 and is the fourth son of Thomas Jefferson Moore and Annie Eliza Morris Moore. Thomas and Eliza moved from St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana to the banks of the Bogalusa Creek in Washington Parish around 1838. Their union produced eleven children who grew up and scattered through out Washington Parish.

During April 1867, Thomas Jefferson Moore was unexpectedly killed while helping friends build a log cabin. They were falling timber when one of the trees fell on him crushing him to death instantly. The only family member that stayed on at the old place was, Thomas and Eliza’s son, Bouey Moore.

Bouey married Ms. Louisiana Trim. They lived as it was sometime the custom in those days with Bouey’s parents until they could build a house of their own.

No one knows or understands why Grandpa Bouey did not just build onto Grandpa Thomas’ log home as his family grew. Grandpa Bouey acquired a log cabin that had been abandoned from sources unknown. With the help of his oldest three or fours sons, they disassembled it, and moved it from its original location and reassembled it where it stands today. Grandpa moved his family into it. This all took place around the mid to late 1800’s.

We believe that the Bouey Moore Place is very unique in its architectural and engineering design. It is also a testament to the ingenuity of our early pioneers. You see, as Grandpa Bouey’s family grew, the old house had to grow as well. We believe the story of the family coincides with the story and evolution of the old house.

The old house is the marrying of several different houses or parts thereof. They have all been connected together to make this place we call home. We will attempt to explain how all of this unfolded over time.

The Bouey Moore family were originally hunters, trappers, and farmers although they did work outside of the farm from time to time. They lived a self- sufficient lifestyle like many families in the 1800’s.

The first part of the old house is the log part. It measures 18’5” by 14’ and had a 6’6” by 3’6” clay fireplace where all the cooking took place. It was in used up to 1969 when Grandpa Bouey’s sons, Ernest and Adolphus “Doll” Moore had it replaced with a brick fireplace to alleviate the risk they felt existed that could have resulted in the house catching fire.

The logs that were used to construct the walls in what we now call the dinning room have not been pined. They are notch and made of Yellow Pine. They are still solid and fit tightly in to their notches. The roof has evolved from wood shingles to tin, but the pole rafters that held the wood shingles are still solidly in tact and in place. They now hold the present tin roof.

As was mentioned earlier, the old house grew as Grandpa’s family grew. With the growth of the family came the need for more space. Grandpa Bouey soon located another abandoned house. This one was made of planks of Yellow Pine instead of logs. Bouey used it to build the second part of the old house.

The second part consists of one bedroom measuring 7’4” by 21‘, which is attached to the end (or side) of the original log cabin. The door of the bedroom opens onto a front porch that also serves as an outdoor “hallway” to connect the two rooms. A lean to style kitchen was attached to the back of the original log cabin. The wood stove that was bought for the kitchen sits behind the old house. A person has been contacted to restore it, and once restoration is accomplished, the stove will be put back in its original place inside the house. The additions to the original house are constructed of Yellow Pine planks.

The third part of the old house is the family mystery. No one knows just how it became a part of the house. The family refers to it as “the house” when we are talking about the old place, because it stands out above the rest of the structure. It measures with the front and back porches 32’ by 20’2”. It includes a clay fireplace measuring 6’6” by 3’6” (which is currently undergoing restoration). This fireplace is also being used as a pattern for a shell to go around the brick fireplace in the log part of the house. The main part of the house measure 16’ by 20’2” without the two porches with the ceiling joists 16’ from the floor. This part of the house is connected to the rest of the old house by its back porch and roof. This clever design turned the whole house into a dogtrot style. Like the previous additions, it to is made of Yellow Pine planks.

The fourth part of the home is a single bedroom placed on the connecting porch of the house. It measures 8’10” by 8’1”. It is connected to the third part. There is still a breezeway between the two major parts of the old house. The old house grew from 18’5” to 51 feet by 20 feet 2 inches.

Back in 1971, Ernest Moore, Bouey’s son, who lived with his younger brother and sister Adolphus and Lavada, was cleaning the land like they did every year through controlled burning. Ernest was in his 80s. He got trapped in the fire and was seriously burned. His dying wish was to come home from the hospital to live out his to live out his days at the old house.

The doctor tending to Ernest called the family together and told them that Ernest could come home but some changes would need to be made to the old place. They said that the house would have to be sealed up and a full bathroom would need to be installed.

To honor Ernest’s wishes, the family was obligated to build a bathroom on the connecting porch across from the single bedroom. The bathroom represents the last addition made to the old house. One year later Uncle Ernest passed away in the house he loved so dearly.

Ernest Moore was the first person to man the Lookout Tower in Washington Parish. He stood the original Lookout Tower at Bogalusa, Louisiana and when the new tower at Sheridan, Louisiana was erected, he was the first person to be in charge of it. After his retirement, his nephew Nevels Pittman, (Lavada Moore Pittman’s son) took over the responsibility of the Sheridan Fire Tower.

Ernest mapped out many roads in the area. Many of those original roads are still being used today. Although once owned by the family, these roads are now owned and operated by the Washington Parish government.

Three weeks to the day after Ernest’s death, his brother, Adolphus Moore passed away. He lost his life defending his country when he was gassed in France. This left only their sister, Lavada Moore Pittman residing at the old house. There has never been any mention made of Grandpa Bouey having paid any money for the old house.

The out buildings, the dog trot style barn, the out house, and the smokehouse are still there and currently under renovation.

The Bouey Moore family has been well known conversationalists as far back as we can remember. Many local hunters know that the old house was a hunters meeting place. It was a place where they could get a good, hot meal, rest, and catch up on the news of the day. The hunters would often leave lost dogs that they found in the woods in the care of the family. The family would provide food and keep the lost dogs until the owners could be contacted or would come looking for them. This same practice is still exercised today. The old house remains a landmark to the hunters and parish residents.

April Jalon Pittman Beech, (the only daughter of Nevels Pittman and Betty Jean Schilling Pittman) moved into the old house after her Grandmother, Lavada Moore Pittman took ill and moved in with her son, Nevels. Jalon and her husband Carl Beech, enjoyed living in the old house for just over a year until moving away to accept a pastoral position in Mississippi. They later returned to Bogalusa and have full intent to retire at the old place one day.

Winford E. Pittman, (the only son of Nevels and Betty Pittman) together with his wife, Judy Ann Fincher Pittman lived on the old place for many years after they married. They currently have plans to build a new log home behind the old house. Angus Bouey Moore and Louisiana Trim Moore had fourteen children. It is believed that over half of the children were born in the old house. Many of their children stayed in Oak Grove. They started and raised their families there until they moved on.

We are certain that Thomas and Eliza Moore and their eleven children together with Bouey and Louisiana Moore and their fourteen children never realized the impact they would have over time in Washington or St. Tammany Parishes.

Just about every family in Washington Parish can trace roots back to the old Bouey Moore Place. This family helped create the community we now recognize as Oak Grove.

Descendents of Thomas and Bouey Moore have since spread throughout, Washington and St. Tammany parish, and into other parts of the United States, but they still call this place home.

The Bouey Moore home holds both fond and sad memories not just for the family, but also for the residents throughout the area.

It has never influenced American History, but it clearly demonstrates the resourcefulness and creativity of the early American pioneers. The house proudly stands as a testament and symbol of our pioneer spirit, which still lives on in each family member today.

We respectfully ask you to help us preserve the honor and the admiration this old place has earned throughout the decades. We hope that you’ll join us in the fight to stop the frivolous and needless spending of taxpayer money to fund the proposed reservoir. We have plenty of recreational areas and fishing holes throughout our parish. To flush away such a fundamental part of Washington Parish history would be to make of a mockery of all those that came before us.

~ Written submission courtesy of Winford Pittman ~
~ Photographs courtesy of the Moore and Pittman family~

Compliments of: Washington Parish Community Preservation Alliance

Washington Parish Council Receives Awards

Community Preservation Awards were presented Monday night to Councilmen Ken Wheat, Marv Thomas, Relton Sumrall, and Clinton Miley for their service in preserving the community. These men saw through the spin of SB 639 and voted to protect the residents from the potential of further abuse of the Eminent Domain Law.

Had Sen. Ben Nevers SB 639 land grab scheme passed through the legislature, Washington Parish would have been underneath the power of another appointed commission with dangerous expropriation powers.

Sen. Ben Nevers and Rep. Francis Thompson are already abusing Eminent Domain by creating Reservoirs in a statewide land grab scheme.

Mrs. Beth Mizell read the following statement after presentation of the awards
Monday night July 24.

Ken Wheat, Marv Thomas, Relton Sumrall, and Clinton Miley.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is very rare that the spirit of our nation's fore fathers gets to shine through the smoke and mirrors of today's political systems. On the 22nd of May, it shown brightly through a single vote of these four men.

Through the smoke and mirrors they saw what could have been potential problems for the people of this parish, and they heard their cries.

The councilmen's vote of none support on May 22nd, sent a clear message to the people of Washington Parish, the state, and all of their political machines, that even in times when we need economic development, the rights and freedoms of the people of this parish will be protected. Also, that the spirit of our nation's fore fathers, though maybe dead in most places, lives on here in Washington Parish. Please accept this small token of our appreciation for the work you have done to help protect our homes, communities, and parish. We hope that your light, and that of our nation's fore fathers, will lead others in the same direction. Please notice that the eagle has been chosen because it is the symbol of America's spirit, her freedom, her morals, and her people's rights. Let it soar above you and live in your hearts.

Whenever you are in doubt, let it lead you. Follow it and you will never go wrong. Please continue to listen to the people who put their trust in you, for they are the communities that you serve and protect.

Gentlemen, for your efforts and service to this parish, we applaud you.

Also see: We saw that Washington Parish Council thanked
Post Compliments of
Oak Grove Community News.

Economic development discussions get under way

BY JOHN H. WALKER The Daily News, February 14, 2007

FRANKLINTON - Washington Parish President M.E. "Toye" Taylor confirmed Monday night he would ask parish council to approve a resolution of support for former bill SB 639.

SB 639, which was pulled last year when a vote of support failed 4-3 over wording that included powers of expropriation in the makeup of the Washington Parish Economic Development Commission it would have created.

But Taylor did a poor job of "playing dumb" when council member Kenneth Wheat told a full house, "I'll vote for it (economic development) as long as the language that created all the uncertainty (expropriation) is taken out. Taking that out will not change or alter a thing ... if there's uncertainty, leave it out."

Taylor then put both arms up in the air, looked at Wheat, who sits closest to him at the council table, and asked, "What's the language? What's questionable?" in what might be described as a sarcastic tone.

"Out of respect for the people," I'll stand my ground," Wheat said, "even against economic development" to a round of applause from the audience.

Wheat was the swing vote last year when the vote of non-support was cast, forcing Taylor to request SB 639 be pulled.

Discussion of economic development was opened by parish resident Winford Pittman, who presented council members and Taylor with a version of an economic development bill remarkably similar to SB 639.

It wasn't, however, a clone.

"There are some differences," Pittman, who was one of a number of vocal opponents of SB 639 said, reading them aloud.

The differences, he said, include the following:

  • The commission would have "no governing power over the parish, only over the property which it has bought."
  • The Washington Parish Council would have "sole authority to grant or deny expropriation for economic development inside the rural boundaries of Washington Parish." Expropriation could only be approved by a unanimous vote of the council after a public hearing.
  • A redirection of monies in the commission's general fund would support road construction, repairs and upkeep of roads the commission requires and would also put money into the school systems.
  • A parish industrial park would be created and include a farmer's co-op.

    During his comments, Taylor pointed out several times that expropriation was a part of the U.S. Constitution - a point he made during the initial arguments a year ago, even to the extent of pulling out a pocket edition of the document and slapping it against his open hand.

    "This commission's not going to take your property. It can't take property unless this council approves it," he said, adding that the argument over expropriation was unfounded.

    Yet, when Wheat said he would support economic development legislation if expropriation were removed, Taylor balked.

  • Taylor begins lobbying effort for commission

    BY JOHN H. WALKER The Daily News Jan 31, 2007

    BOGALUSA - While it remains to be seen if a bill creating an economic development commission in Washington Parish will be filed prior to the legislature convening on Monday, April 30, Washington Parish President M.L. "Toye" Taylor has begun a lobbying effort in support of such a bill.

    Last Thursday, following Washington Economic Development Foundation President Mickey Murphy's closing remarks, he asked if anyone had anything they wanted "to share with the group."

    Taylor asked the group to support and push for another bill similar to SB 639 and to use whatever influence they may have to help get it passed. Taylor said the lack of such a commission "puts us behind our neighbors" in St, Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes.

    Murphy agreed, saying it was important that the parish have such a tool to help facilitate economic development with WEDF and the Franklinton Area Economic Development Foundation.

    Taylor told the gathering of about 75 persons that the lack of foresight by the Washington Parish Council when it cast a 4-3 vote of non-support for SB 639 last summer put the parish in a situation where it did not have the economic development tools to compete.

    Last May 22, council members Clinton Miley, Relton Sumrall, Marvin Thomas and Kenneth Wheat voted against SB 639 with Wheat casting the deciding vote.

    On Thursday, Taylor was again critical of that vote, prompting Sumrall, who was sitting two tables behind Taylor, to shake his head from side to side. Miley, who is now council chairman, was also seated behind Taylor but showed no visible reaction.

    The problem the four had with SB 639 was that it established powers of expropriation for the commission, a point that was vehemently opposed by a number of residents of the parish who feared the tool would be used improperly.

    Despite Taylor's best efforts to assure the citizen's group - and his council - that that would not be the case, he failed - and the bill was pulled.

    At the time, Taylor took the council to task for what he called "the worst vote I've seen this council take in my time" as he gave his president's report.

    He said despite support from both the Washington Economic Development Foundation and the Franklinton Area Economic Development Commission and despite support from mayors of all four incorporated areas in the parish, the council chose to take away a tool of economic development that he said could help the parish move forward.

    The board's action, he said, allowed a few to come into council chambers and make fear of expropriation an issue.

    At the board's next meeting, Winford Pittman, one of SB 639's more vocal opponents, gave Taylor and council members a copy of a draft of what he said was a "proposal for an economic development commission."

    Pittman told council members he was not against economic development.

    "I've talked to you before about this (economic development)," he said. "We need it, but we don't need it where folks' property can be taken."

    Sen. Ben Nevers, intimidator is Intimidated

    Mysterious Intimidating Flier will reveal voting record 4/28/05

    Beware Possible 2007 election mailer

    WBRZ Video

    Lawmakers complain about
    threatening flier

    Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, demands the identities of people behind a flier. The flier warns it could be a possible Mailer for the 2007 election.

    Scum Bags, we will smoke them out of their holes, and throw them out of our office.
    Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, called the mailers of the fliers scumbags . The flier was personalized with a picture of Nevers. The flier said, Sen. Nevers wants to tax us to the tune of $75 million just for being sick.

    The flier is about the governor's proposed sick tax and shows the Smith family, who got priced out of being able to afford health insurance.

    Flier says, How many more Louisiana families
    have to lose their health-care insurance before politicians learn?
    Take it from the Smith family vote NO to Sen. Ben Nevers.

    Moon Griffon talks on Fliers
    To listen to Scum Bags, and
    Smoke Um out of their holes

    The Dead Pelican Article


    Who is Shawn and Lee Kelley?

    Before deciding to write for "Hard Copy" I made a detailed study of owners Shawn Kelley, and his wife Lee. Here’s what I found:

    Shawn Kelley is originally from Detroit, Michigan. He retired from U. S. military as a Navy Chief after 22 years service. He speaks English and fluent Italian.

    Early in Shawn’s naval career, he went to Vietnam onboard a destroyer; the USS Cone. Shawn’s adventures with the Navy took him to many foreign locations. Serving his country included serving in Guam, Philippines, Japan, Italy, Spain, Greece, Canada, Portugal, and numerous other locations. Several of Shawn’s later years in the Navy were spent in Detroit where he served the Navy’s Recruiting District as Director of Advertising for the entire state of Michigan.

    During the Gulf War, Shawn was recognized as the "Lynchpin" (or pivotal person) whose main responsibility was moving cargo into the Middle East while operating a deepwater NATO port located in Sicily, Italy. This Port, Augusta Bay, was commonly referred to by logistics people throughout the American and NATO Forces as "Kelley’s Place" as a code name.

    Recognizing the intensity of the conflict back then, Shawn often arranged barbecues for entire ships on the pier. When ships came to port for more than a day, Shawn often arranged social events for the troops to relieve some pressure before they headed back into the conflict. None of what Shawn did to preserve troop moral was officially ordered.

    After Shawn and Lee’s move to Bogalusa, they decided to name their print shop after the nickname of that Sicilian Port where they had both established many long lasting friendships amidst the crisis.

    Working under heightened security risks, terrorist activity, and other intense pressure, Shawn together with the men that worked for him, strategically scheduled and tracked movement of over 315 million tons of repair parts, vehicles and supplies to ensure timely arrival at their destination to U.S. military bases in the Middle East. This later proved to be the largest total tonnage ever to be moved by the U.S. Military in such a short time frame. For this, Shawn received Navy Achievement Medal.

    Lee Kelley, born and raised for part of her life near Oslo, Norway, speaks four languages fluently: English, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish. In her youth, Lee’s family moved to a small village in the interior of British Columbia. This had earlier become the home of her dad’s oldest brother. Lee’s dad, an avid outdoorsman, originally moved to Canada because through his older brother a picture had been painted of Canada as the ‘Land of Opportunity’.

    Carrier Indians mainly populated this remote locale. Upon her arrival, Lee and her siblings spoke no English, nor were they prepared for what lay ahead – an adventure to say the least. After beating the language barrier, she was quick to engage in establishing relationships with the Indians and becoming very active in Sports. Lee learned to hunt, ice-fish, skin a moose, smoke salmon, and run from the bears. Winter activities like skiing, and snow-mobiling were her passion.

    In later years, Lee relocated to Vancouver Island. Very well educated, Lee’s outstanding athletic talent was ice figure skating. For over 15 years she competed throughout western Canada and participated in numerous ice shows.

    The Kelleys met on Vancouver Island while Shawn was stationed at a joint military test range. After marriage in Las Vegas, the Kelleys moved to Detroit, and later, to Italy.

    Because of her Norwegian citizenship, it was impossible to obtain employment in the civil service overseas. Lee bided her time volunteering for one of the world’s largest global non-profit organizations headquartered in the United States. Recognizing her talents and dedication to people, causes, and political injustice, Lee was soon hired in a counseling capacity. A short time later, promoted to management, then upper-management. Within a year of gainful employment, Lee was promoted to the Executive level and served as Senior Executive Director serving the Mediterranean and South East Asia working under and exclusive memorandum of understanding with the United States Navy and Marine Corps, carrying the rank equivalency of a two-star Admiral. Lee made numerous television appearances and worked in radio promoting quality of life.

    As a civilian, Lee had the privilege of serving with many of the Navy and the Marine-Corp leaders. Lee worked directly with Admiral Smith, Admiral Ryan, Admiral Redd, Admiral Johnson (now retired as vice-Chief of Naval Operations), Brigadier General Beans, Admiral Travers, Admiral Pappas, and Admiral Boorda’s staff, but her fondest and most respected memories are serving long term with Installation Commander, Captain Stephen R. Arends. Together they aggressively spearheaded issues and promoted a better quality of life for service families overseas by capturing the attention through leadership channels in Washington D.C., where Lee made numerous trips to reinforce the often gloomy position of service families and their needs.

    Lee was recognized worldwide for many of her positive accomplishments and is well known for her respected reputation for getting things done. In her stacks of letters and awards is one that particularly caught my eye. This was a letter of Commendation from Admiral John R. Ryan, Commander, Fleet Air Mediterranean and Maritime Surveillance and Reconnaissance Forces, U.S. Sixth Fleet. The letter recognized Lee for "superior performance" and strong professional leadership, managerial expertise, and training to prepare over 10,000 members of the armed forces for deployment to Bosnia. Lee’s efforts for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to Bosnia were paramount.

    Glancing through the correspondence from some of the military’s most prestigious leadership, I saw words describing Lee as "very positive", "she’s still doing great things", "extraordinary", and "hard charging", and "exceptional professional ability". And finally, at the end of her nine years with the military a letter that said, "loved and remembered by many, missed by all."

    Shawn and Lee met over 17 years ago and their 15-year marriage has produced two children. Shawn has three other children by a previous marriage and the Kelleys have a granddaughter, age 11. Why did the Kelley’s come to Bogalusa? After enduring both short and long term separations due to their respective careers, the Kelleys made a commitment to their children and being there with them to watch them grow up. The Kelleys had entertained Visions of "small town USA", wonderful climate, and convenience for a long time prior to relocating. They vacillated over the relocation for a long time, as their children spoke no English.

    At the time the decision was rendered, the Kelleys had deep roots in Sicily. They owned two stores (a bath and body shop and a business center), and a newspaper. They hired competent management, took the plunge and never looked back. The Kelleys still maintain a small "home away from home" in Sicily in a historic little town called Motta Sant’Anastasia.

    Recognizing the need for people to be heard in Washington Parish, the Kelleys started the Washington Parish Hard Copy. The weekly newspaper publishes, in detail, comments made at various parish political meetings plus letters to the editor, critical, informative or praiseworthy, signed or not, from the reading public. The paper's intent is to inform the public enough so that our elected officials will have overwhelming public feedback and finally receive the message that only good government is expected from them and that all records, itemized budgets and internal decisions formerly kept from public view are made available to parish residents.

    In addition to Hard Copy: Since 1994 Kelleys publish The Signature, for the Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Sicily. The Signature has received awards for being the #1 Civilian Enterprise newspaper throughout the Navy. This full-color paper tells Americans stationed abroad what’s going on in their Italian and Navy communities helping them cross language barriers and offering them opportunities to buy and sell. Annually, the Kelleys publish "Benvenuti A Sigonella," a 64-page award-winning full-color, softbound magazine giving a guide to Naval Air Station newcomers. Look them up at www.sicily.navy.mil/signature. The Kelleys originally started their publishing business in 1992 with The Broadside, like our Timberland, in that it had mainly classified and other advertising. It became so popular the Navy asked them to apply for the base publishing 5-year contract. They are now into their second 5-year contract.

    With Internet technology and a publishing manager in Italy they keep daily contact on newspaper operations from their Bogalusa business location. Their business, Kelley’s Place is well equipped to produce any graphic presentation. Specialties include: large format printing (5 feet by any length), digital color copies, photo enlargement and restoration, T- shirt printing, trophies, plaques, magnetic signs, graphic design, and web-site building.

    Advertisers originally shied away from Hard Copy unsure of readership potential, but that's quickly changing. This paper is here for the long term. Anyone with something to say will find plenty of readership exposure in this newspaper. Our Magic Touch of Health massage studio weekly ad has resulted in many phone contacts and several new clients. I’m very impressed with quality of readership; and public interest and I wanted to share my advertising results with you.

    Charles Rimes

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