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Henry Watkins Allen Brought to Joor Rd.

Henry Watkins Allen Brought to Joor Rd.

JOOR ROAD — Only one person is buried on the grounds of the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge — Gen. Henry Atkins Allen, who served as the 2nd Confederate governor of Louisiana and was a much admired public figure.

On the sweltering day of the Battle of Baton Rouge — Aug. 5, 1862 — Allen was a colonel in the Confederate Army. Near the Magnolia Cemetery, his men met stiff resistance from Union artillery and the Confederate attack stalled.

But Allen took up his saber and led the charge directly into the cannon fire.  A blast cut him down but his men carried on and captured the position.  Allen, on the verge of death, was taken up Greenwell Springs Road to a home on Joor Road to be treated for his wounds.  [The house still stands today.]

Badly crippled, Allen returned to duty, although in November 1862 he was still unable to walk, according to Sarah Morgan Dawson.  He  was promoted to Brigadier General on Aug. 19, 1863, and was elected governor in 1864.

Allen served as governor when the State Capitol was in Shreveport.  During his 12 months in office, he work to develop manufacturing of base goods in the state and established a system of stores to serve the war torn countryside.

Shreveport was never captured during the war but Allen was declared an outlaw by the Union Army and was subject to death.

The frail Gov. Allen wrote a long letter to the people of Louisiana, urging them to submit to Union authority and promote peace.  He was able to make his way to safety in Mexico City, where be became editor of the English language newspaper.

However, he died in 1866.  His body was shipped back to Louisiana and buried.  Then in 1880 his remains were removed to the Old State Capitol.

There are reminders of Gov. Allen’s service all over Louisiana.  Allen Parish is named after him, as is the City of Port Allen.  The neighborhood where he lived in Shreveport is called Allendale, and there is a Henry Allen Elementary School in New Orleans.

A statue of Henry Watkins Allen is located in Memorial Hall of the State Capitol in Baton Rouge.


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