There is some doubt in some quarters as to where and how our organization actually had its birth. There is some question as to why we were formed. But certain things we are sure happened and I will attempt to relate the factual part of our history as I have been able to assemble it, as well as to give impressions of the individuals who have made this history. It will of necessity be incomplete, but it will in some measure pay tribute to the purposes and aims of our founders, ar.d the endeavors of those who toiled toward these ideals.
There existed in the mid 30's organizations of florists and horticulturists who had banded together to work out mutual problems. We know that in the state of Texas an organization had been furthering the aims of the retail florists for 20 years; the New Orleans Horticultural Society was an active, virile organization and others. We know, too, that there was a horticultural law in existence, and that certain groups were working with the state in these endeavors.
It would seem that small preliminary meetings must have taken place, perhaps in various localities. Surely the Florists Telegraph Delivery Unit had its meetings in various parts of the State from time to time and on these occasions the proposed State Organization must have been discussed.
Problems there were, and some may remember the issues of the day - first, the bond then required for license, $10 per individual - the White-fringed Beetle - the peddlers on the streets selling flowers and plants from distant markets, and also, many of the very same problems with which the florist is today contending.
There were efforts made on the occasion of the concerted attack of the above and other problems by groups of retailers and horticulturists to form a truly state-wide organization on at least two prior occasion that failed. Undaunted, however, the officers of the Shreveport and New Orleans groups, and others interested primarily in the Baton Rouge are, with a sprinkling of representatives from Southwestern Louisiana, assembled for a meeting of the organization in Baton Rouge on May 25, 1939. Fifty persons there present signed up as members, appointed a group of officers and The Louisiana State Horticultural Association was 'in business'.
This meeting was held in the evening of May 25, in the Circuit Court Room in the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. Of the appointed officers, all save one was present; committees were appointed to further membership to every section of our state. Immediately the group seemed as if it were an old organization with experience, as the house was promptly put in order, bills were ordered, paid, rules were established and the president was authorized to proceed toward the incorporation of the association. The next meeting of the board was set for Lake Charles, Louisiana, to coincide with the Florists Telegraph Delivery Association meeting in June of 1939. Interesting to note is that this meeting began at 5:28 P.M. and ended at 5:55 P.M. a total of 27 minutes. It would seem that our early officers truly thought by the mile and spoke by the inch, as brevity was the word of the day.
The association, with the vigor of a toddler, spread through the state and less than one year later the Shreveport convention would take place. Prior to that, however, the formal incorporation took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on June 24, 1939. Our Articles of Incorporation were signed by Sam Scheinuk, Mrs. D.A. Newsham, D.A. Newsham, F.I. Heroman, F.I. Heroman, Jr., George P. Dupuy.
The Articles of Incorporation contained in general fashion the precepts of our present day rules, generally the same by-laws, and have been modified from time to time. These new stipulations were published in book form, along with a list of charter members.
Our thanks to Jim Durio, editor of the 25th Anniversary Convention Program, who compiled the information of the history of the Louisiana State Florists' Association and its Presidents from 1940 to 1965. We appreciate Don Stothart's assistance with the Presidents during the last twenty five years.