From the Lafayette Gazette of October 22nd, 1898:
Lafayette Sugar Refining Co. Nearly Completed.
Those who have visited the refinery which is being completed near this town have been impressed with the magnitude of the enterprise.
The building of the refinery is of great importance, not only to the the town of Lafayette, but to a large area of surrounding country. The discouraging results obtained from the cultivation of cotton have caused many of our farmers to turn their attention toward sugar-cane. Hence, the satisfaction with which our people have heard of the determination of a wealthy corporation to build right at the gates of our thriving little city, one of the largest and most modern sugar mills in the State.
Three years ago Col. Gus. A. Breaux, realizing the necessity of a refinery in this section, started a movement to build one. He was considerably handicapped by adverse circumstances, but succeeded in surmounting numerous difficulties, and saw his efforts crowned with a certain measure of success. The mill was rather small and the enterprise struggled along the best way it could. But this modest beginning was the means of attracting large capital, and now Lafayette can boast of one of the most thorough and complete sugar manufacturing and refining plants in Louisiana.
The heaviest stock-holders in the new corporation are Messrs. S. Gumbel & Co., of New Orleans, a firm well and favorably known throughout the South. The other stock-holders are men who also possess unlimited capital.
About the 20th of last June work was begun on the mill. Since that day a large force of men has been employed in building the houses and putting up the machinery. At times as many as 200 men were at work and the weekly payments for labor averaged fully $2,000. It is fair to suppose that the greater portion of this money has found its way to our town. The "ghost," as the men call the fellow who handles the "dough," made his appearance every Saturday evening and there was unalloyed joy in many hearts and the merry jingling of silver coins was heard among the workmen. The merchant got his share of this pile, the hotels got some of it, the restaurants, the lunch-stands, the saloons, the sovereign of the "seven or eleven: table, all got a whack at it.
We will not attempt to give a minute description of the refinery and the process of sugar-making. Reference to a few points of interest will give one an idea of the size of this plant. There is a main building, 300 feet long by 90 feet wide with an all extending 60 feet on each side, four scale houses and three boarding houses.
There is a pump house at the bayou which is connected with the tower-tank by a 10 inch pipe. The tank is at a height of 90 feet and the water is supplied by either steam or electricity. The same can be said of all the pumps in the refinery as they can in an emergency be operated by electrical or steam power.
With a capacity of 800 tons a day our farmers can depend upon a sage home-market. As the bearings are of the unusually large dimensions of 20x14 inches a break-down is not within the range of probabilities. The machinery is modern in every way particular. Especially so is the clarifying apparatus which has been arranged under the efficient direction of Mr. L. von Treschow, the manager. Mr. von Tresckow is not only a good chemist, but has had much experience in the management of sugar estates in Europe and America. A new double effect and vacuum pan, centrifugals and three crystalizers are among the important parts of this magnificent refinery.
A cane carrier 250 feet long will be fed this season by hand as owing to quarantine restrictions it was impossible to get the necessary appliances for a better system.
As the work of putting up the machinery required the services of a thoroughly competent machinist, Mr. John Walters, of New Orleans, was engaged for this portion of the work.
The houses and the yards are lighted by electricity, there being ready for use 200 incandescent and eight arc light. Two K. W. generators furnish the light and at the same time are utilized to run certain portions of the machinery.
It is believed that on the 1st of November the refinery will make its first run.
Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
The Hog Ordinance.
At a meeting of the Municipal Board of Health held the 19th instant, the following action was taken the hog ordinance recently adopted by that body.
It having come to the knowledge of the Board of Health that there was a municipal ordinance already in existence covering the ground for which an ordinance was passed and relative to the keeping of hogs in the corporation of Lafayette, and not wishing to conflict with ordinances already in existence, we hereby instruct the sanitary officer of this body to postpone the execution of the order for removal of hogs from the town, and we request the authorities to rigidly enforce the municipal ordinance already existing on the same subject. Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
New Restaurant. - Lee Walker wishes to inform the public that he will open a restaurant on the 1st of November in the Racket building. He will run a first class establishment and will remain open day and night. Read his advertisement in The Gazette next week. Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
Stuck in Lafayette. - About forty Texans, employed on the Louisiana Western and running between Houston and Lafayette, have been here for some time being prevented from going to their homes by the quarantine regulations enforced by the State of Texas. It seems unfair to inflict this hardship on these men, as they have not been exposed to the fever and could not be the means of spreading it. But Texas quarantined against the whole State of Louisiana and there is no use to kick.
Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
Mosquitoes. - The following tip is for those who are worried by those very troublesome creatures, mosquitoes: - "Throw a bit of alum, about the size of a marble, into a small bowl of water, and wet the hands and face and any exposed parts lightly with it. Not a mosquito will approach you. They hum about a little and disappear. I never had any occasion to use a mosquito curtain, and am glad to think that I can perhaps benefit others (travelers in particular) by this little bit of information."
From the Bombay Guardian and in the Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
Time to Begin. - Upon two or three occasions we stated that the municipal authorities had made certain arrangements by which the streets would be worked. We have failed, however, to see any evidence of the Council's determination to repair our public thoroughfares. We have been treated to a superfluity of promises, but that's all. It is useless to speak of the condition of our streets. They are in an awful shape and unless attended to at once they will be impassable. After a rain they look more like vast ponds than anything else. Something must be done at once or it will be too late. Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
Selected News Notes (Gazette) 10/22/1898.
We are reliably informed that there was frost Tuesday morning, and from a source not as reliable we learned that there was a light freeze Friday morning.
The Lafayette Board of Health met Wednesday night and considered the advisability of acceding to President Souchon's proposition to raise all quarantines on Oct. 25 or Nov. 1. The Board decided not to commit itself as to when it will agree to raise the quarantine and so informed Dr. Souchon.
The many Lafayette friends of Miss Florence Chase are pleased to learn that she has received the appointment as adjustor at the United States Mint in New Orleans.
John A. Hunter, of Rayne, was in Lafayette Wednesday.
Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.
A NATIONAL QUARANTINE.
The indecent flight of the extremely timorous chief executive of Mississippi, the exhibition of pigheadedness by the unreasoning health officer of the great State of Texas, and other remarkable incidents which have transpired in the South during the present epidemic of yellow fever, have convinced many sensible people of the advisability of a national system of quarantine. Independent State action, it is clearly evident, is not only ineffective, but greatly injurious to the commercial interests of the whole country, and when we say commercial interests of every man, rich and poor.
It is needless to speak of the mildness of the present type of yellow fever, and it serves no purpose to dwell upon the question of whether it is exotic or recrudescent. Its unquestioned mildness does not prevent the people from being afraid of it, while few care to know if it is a home product or foreign foe. Scientific education on the origin and nature of the disease will not do much toward enlightening the people in this matter, for the physicians themselves are as far apart as the antipodes on anything that pertains to Yellow Jack, his origin, habits and natural proclivities.
With the annexation of Cuba and Porto Rico, and the unrestricted commercial relations which will follow, the danger of the introduction and propagation of the disease will be largely enhanced. There is no question about this. They may fumigate and disinfect to their hearts' content, but those familiar with the characteristic obstinacy of this particular microbe know that it will take a long time to persuade it to abandon its favorite haunts in the Antilles. With the bright light of experience to illuminate our path, and viewing the future as people with ordinary common sense should view it, we ought to prepare to meet the foe in a sensible manner and make the best of its invasion. To paraphrase Ex-President Cleveland the people of the South are "confronted with a condition and a multiplicity of theories." They must meet them in a practical way and deal with them as practical men should.
The most perfect system of State quarantine, in the hands of competent and patriotic officials, can not be depended upon to give the people the relief which is so badly needed. What avails the wise policy of one State when the adjoining commonwealth pursues a course both unreasonable and unnecessary? Had the Louisiana Board been composed of modern Solomons and the health laws be the quintessence of legislative wisdom, could they have accomplished anything, handicapped as they were, by the panic-stricken authorities of Mississippi and the stupid obstinacy of the wild medical mustang of the Texas Pan Handle? Without the intelligent co-operation of the Boards of Health of the adjoining States, our State Board was absolutely helpless, driven to the painful necessity of throwing itself upon the tender mercies of unreasoning mobs, backed by the unbending arms of State governments, directed by narrow-minded and time-serving officials.
The Democrats of the South are loath to look to Washington for relief; but in the present instance what are they to do? The principle of State's Rights is as dear to them as it was to the fathers in the good old days of Jackson and Benton, but the dire consequences of an absurd quarantine have made them think with Senator Caffery that only the Federal power can give them a system, which, while affording reasonable protection to the people, will not block the wheels of the car in progress, which will not only be retarded in its march by the existing methods, but will be set back to where it started after the crucial period of reconstruction.
Lafayette Gazette 10/22/1898.