Skip to main content
Learn More

Bill Jones: Louisiana Cowboy

Bill Jones: Louisiana Cowboy


     The story of the cowboys who drove cattle across bayous, marshes, and rivers through the vast grassland prairies and marshes of south Louisiana. Known mainly for its sugarcane, oil, and seafood resources, south Louisiana has rarely been recognized for its cowboys. This illustrated account tells the largely undocumented history of migratory cattle ranching in Louisiana from colonial days up to the present, from the trail drives of the 1760s to the few existing modern-day ranches.

     An attorney and former Louisiana state senator, Bill Jones participated in the family business of ranching and learned to cowboy at an early age. Following college, he worked for two years in the cattle business then attended law school at LSU. Despite his other business pursuits, Jones never quit cowboying, having worked cattle from the Louisiana marshes to the rolling plains of Texas and the Rocky Mountains. He lives in Ruston, Louisiana.

     Ranching was the dominant economic pursuit in southwest Louisiana for more than a century. Throughout the state's history, the tallgrass prairies and 
the coastal marshes enabled people to make a living from the earth. While working on Gray Ranch in Ged, Louisiana, author Bill Jones gathered stories that link locals to the first settlers of the area and reveal the struggles and successes of Louisiana's cowboys. This illustrated account tells the history of migratory cattle ranching in Louisiana from colonial days up to the present, from the trail drives of the 1760s to the ranches of the 1970s. The Acadians' love of horses begat their success as drovers, and they quickly became the largest ethnic group in ranch work.

     The 
firsthand accounts of the twentieth-century vachers who worked the grass reveals the last vestiges of the open range. Celebrating the prairie life and the "sea of grass" that makes cowboy life possible, Bill Jones reminds us that the reason for the cattle industry's longevity in Louisiana is the landscape. He introduces us to the dangers inherent in the Louisiana marshes such as snakes, treacherous bogs, and hurricanes. Filled with interviews, vintage and contemporary photographs, cultural history, anecdotes, and a sincere appreciation of the land itself, Louisiana Cowboys recounts a little-known side of the state by showing the rugged lives of ranchers. 

Details
Instructor Bill Jones
Location Business Conference Center
McNeese State University
Dates Mon, September 29
Time 3:00-4:00PM
Price $49 Until September 26 for the SAGE Series
$55 After September 26