On Jan. 31, 1815, a few days after the Battle of New Orleans victory, the governor of Louisiana at the State Capitol, then in New Orleans, signed into law the creation of a new parish seat to be located in the center of the parish of Feliciana, according to “Journey to War’s Eve” by Michael F. Howell.
Two hundred years later, on Jan. 31, Jackson is poised to celebrate its bicentennial birthday with Founder’s Day activities.
Jackson officials along with the Bicentennial Bash Commission are set to celebrate Saturday.
“When creation of the town by the Legislature is put into context with the timing of the Battle of New Orleans, our history is even more interesting,” said Mary Jo Salmon, Bicentennial Bash chairwoman. “A contingent of men from this area fought in that battle.”
To celebrate Jackson’s 200th birthday, Founder’s Day kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday and ends at 4 p.m.
“This is to be a lovely day featuring the best of Jackson. Fortunately it falls on a Saturday and hopefully the weather will cooperate,” Salmon said.
Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes from the period, and men are asked to wear long sideburns, mustaches or beards, Salmon said.
Restaurants will be offering dishes such as “Old Hickory” roast beef sandwiches or Andrew Jackson catfish po-boys.
Downtown shops and artists will be promoting merchandise and artwork, and children will be invited to take part in a historic-themed scavenger hunt at Centenary State Historic Site where the Founder’s Day program begins at 3 p.m. on the front porch of the Professor’s House.
Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne will speak at 3:30 p.m. followed by cake and a souvenir remembrance for youth in attendance.
“On this historic occasion, we want as many people as possible, particularly citizens of Jackson, and those from other towns in East Feliciana and St. Francisville, to come out and enjoy the day with us,” Salmon said. “Help us create a worthy Founder’s Day celebration.”
Free admission will be granted to the Republic of West Florida Historical Museum, Greater Baton Rouge Model Railroaders exhibit and Centenary State Historic Site; parlor games, prizes, a family poker run and performances by the East Feliciana High School band and Whistle and Strings are scheduled; and free guided trolley tours and more will be featured throughout the day.
Some seating will be available at Centenary for the program and concert, but visitors are asked to bring lawn chairs. In case of rain, the ceremony will be moved to Jackson United Methodist Church, 1727 Sycamore St.
For information, call Salmon at (225) 978-9687 or Sandy Smith at (225) 634-7777.