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'Lost Minden' brings the town's past to life in pictures

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A Minden, La., historian has a new book of vintage photographs of his hometown. John A. Agan accumulated photos of Minden’s heritage over several decades. The book is titled “Lost Minden” because the town sustained a number of devastating fires, according to Agan. At the turn of the 20th century, a city ordinance banned wooden structures in its downtown. Agan says his book captures the businesses, town celebrations, storefronts and back streets that otherwise only remain in memories.

“We have had a habit of being quick on the trigger of tearing things down. I’m not sure why? Some of that could be a drive for advancement and modernization. Some of it was caused by the five or six major fires and one tornado,” Agan said.

Agan scans eBay in search of artifacts from Minden’s past. He found the most difficult thing was finding pictures of the African American townspeople. One photo in the book shows a young black boy shining the shoes of a white boy. From the scars of segregation to the town’s celebrated railroading history, Agan says, it’s all a part of “Lost Minden.”

“You have the lumber mill that came and went, the railroad, a very light touching on the ammunition plant. It’s how we made our living, how we survived, where we came from, the segregation. Pictures from the black community are so hard to pick up. I did manage to get three or four,” Agan said.

Agan teaches history and government at Bossier Parish Community College. This is his fifth book produced by Arcadia Publishing.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
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