About the Courier
Published: Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 3:40 p.m.
The Courier is Terrebonne Parish's oldest living newspaper. Its dedication to public service began in 1878 with the birth of Le Courrier de Houma - literally The Houma Courier.
The newspaper's founder, the French-born Lafayette Bernard Filhucan Bazet, first published a four-page, half-French half-English edition from his office on Main Street. The Courier's ownership changed hands several times in the years to follow. By 1887, F.N. Gray was listed as the newspaper's owner and editor. In 1890, Bazet's son-in-law, Rudolph L. Zelenka's name appeared the newspaper as its publisher. An investment group led by Easton B. Duval bought The Courier in 1892. Four years later, Duval and Robert B. Butler were listed in the masthead as owners.
Tristam B. Easton became The Courier's owner and publisher in 1909.
In 1937, Easton sold the paper to John B. Gordon and O.H. Lachenmeyer. Not long after, a group of Louisiana politicians attempted to corner the local newspaper market. The threat, according to historical accounts, was to raise the newspaper's taxes so high, there would be no way for the owners to pay them. The politicians offered The Courier's owners half the newspaper's value. The scheme died once a group of citizens, angry about the tax plot, bought stock in the newspaper to preserve it.
In 1938, The Courier, up until then a weekly, began publishing two days a week. A year later, it became a full-blown "daily," publishing five days a week. However, because of labor and supply shortages during World War II, Acting Publisher Ivy "Smitty" Smith - Gordon was drafted into military service -- scaled The Courier back to a weekly publication.
Gordon became the sole owner in 1948 when he bought out Lachenmeyer and the rescuing stockholders. Gordon also bought the competing Terrebonne Press, and the newspaper became a twice-a-week publication. "The Most Useful Citizen" award, honoring Terrebonne's outstanding community volunteer, was first presented in 1946, and The Courier continues the annual tradition to this day.
The newspaper remained in Gordon's hands until July 1970 when a group of 10 investors bought The Courier. One of the group, Ray F. Dill, was named publisher.
One of Terrebonne Parish's favorite items, the "Bayou Gourmet Cookbook," was unveiled in 1975.
In December 1980, Dill and the only other original partner, B. Carmage Walls, sold The Courier to the New York Times Company. Dill remained publisher for another year until retiring with fifty years of service.
Dill was succeeded by Robert Glafcke, who was publisher until 1983. John A. Lynch was named as publisher in May, 1983.
In 1984, The Courier moved from its School Street offices, where it had made its home since the 1930s, into its current building at 3030 Barrow St. The building's new equipment gave The Courier the capability to print in full color. Since 1987, The Courier's presses also have printed its sister paper, the Daily Comet of Thibodaux. Miles Forrest succeeded Lynch as publisher in January 1988, and he remains in that position today.
The Courier was active in the 1990s:
In 1994, The Courier, in conjunction with the Daily Comet, began producing The Source Book, a telephone directory for Terrebonne, Lafourche and Assumption parishes and Grand Isle. Each year, over 100,000 copies are distributed.
In 1997, The Courier and the Daily Comet established Bayou Business Review, a biweekly business-oriented tabloid. It has a circulation of 10,000.
On Jan. 3, 1998, The Courier published its first Saturday morning edition, making it a seven-day-a-week newspaper.
In the summer of 1998, The Courier unveiled Bienvenue, a quarterly publication for tourists.
In May 1999, The Courier unveiled Houma Today, its online edition.
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