Traveling Hwy. 80 is always a treat to me especially if I’m doing it in an antique car. The third Tuesday in October I found myself doing that exact thing. My destination on this day was Gibsland, Louisisana. The town of Gibsland started in 1884 because of its location as a railroad junction, its lumber trade, fertile land and good water supply. It was originally the plantation of Dr. Jasper Gibbs. His old home still stands about one mile east of Gibsland, on the old Mt. Lebanon-Athens-Homer stagecoach road and is locally known as “the Reno place.”
In 1998, local citizens formed the Revival 2000 Committee whose focus is to improve, expand and beautify the town. They also strive to preserve and honor their town’s rich history. This organization branched out and formed the Jonquil Jubilee Committee to attract visitors to see the beautiful jonquils and heirloom daffodils that bloom in March. Held the first Saturday in March, the festival offers tours of local historical homes and gardens and is now host to a wide collection of artists, craftsmen, musicians, food vendors, and master gardeners plus a beautiful driving tour of naturalized daffodils and jonquils. In 2001, Gibsland was named Daffodil Capitol of Louisiana.
My goal was to make it to the Gibsland Grill for the monthly reunion lunch. Olivia my ‘37 Buick was ready to start the journey so away we went. The Gibsland Grill opened in February of 2001 by owners Marsha and Charlie Andrews. Marsha grew up in Gibsland but had moved to Shreveport with husband Charlie. The couple made the decision to slow down the pace and move back to “Gibs” (as it is affectionately called by locals). The plan was to open a restaurant serving good home cookin’ and give the local folks a gathering place. The idea for slowing down didn’t quite work the way they thought it would. The couple is open for business Monday-Friday serving breakfast and lunch plus they also handle special party events such as wedding receptions, reunions, meetings and etc. Friday night is fish night and folks are standing in line to get a taste of some of Charlie’s great catfish.
We arrived around 11:00 A.M. ahead of the crowd so we were able to park right in front of the local restaurant. The grill is a wonderful place right on Hwy. 80 across from the “Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum.” The grill was in full cooking mode as I arrived and the smell as I hit the door was wonderful. It’s just like stepping into your mama’s kitchen. You know whatever is served is going to be GOOD!
The “Third Tuesday Class Reunion Lunch” was the idea of Carolyn Lyons several years ago. It has grown now to include several graduating classes of “Dear Ole Gibsland High.” The day I visited we had graduates from the early 1940’s – 1950’s. We even had one teacher and the wife of the former principal Mrs. Bennett on hand. This folks are a true example of the saying “you are as young as you feel.” The practical jokes and costumes were a real treat to see. We had the “Red Hat Society” ladies showing their stuff and the ring leader of the crowd Mrs. Betty Francis showing her backside so to speak as you can see from the picture. The room filled with about 40 people and you could feel the love and caring that came in the door with this crowd. These are old friends that truly care about each other. They are forever a part of each others lives past and present. They remember vividly the times they enjoyed many years ago in a small town located along Hwy. 80.