Seasons at Lakeside Dairy
Family Stories from a Black-Owned Dairy, Louisiana to California and Beyond
A brilliant storytelling showcase of the enduring legacy of a Black-owned dairy and its impact across generations
Opened in 1907 in Shreveport, Louisiana, by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins’s grandfather, Black dairy farmer Angus Bates, Lakeside Dairy was a rarity in the post-Reconstruction South. The dairy thrived despite the time's challenging, racially oppressive, and hostile social and political climate. While Lakeside Dairy closed in 1943, Angus’s life and work legacy echoed through the Bates family for generations.
Author LeFalle-Collins structures her narrative around familial creative storytelling heard as a child, supported by family ephemera about the dairy and the family’s social and community engagement. These documents directed her historical research as Seasons at Lakeside Dairy tracks life on the farm through the year, showing how the family worked, lived, and cooked and how they made a sustainable living in a climate of pervasive racism. Survival in the farming community was mainly due to the influence of George Washington Carver, who disseminated innovative recommendations for farmers, and Booker T. Washington, who advocated for Black entrepreneurs to remain and rebuild the South to make it their own. Angus Bates passed in 1935, and his spouse Carrie D. Bates, who had always been the dairy's partner and financial manager, rebranded the dairy in her name with her sons until closing. Realizing Shreveport held few opportunities for her children, she encouraged them to move west, a migratory route followed by many Black Louisianans.
Family members’ voices are interwoven into each chapter with direct quotations, creative storytelling, historical contexts, ephemera, and healthier recipes based on family favorites. Seasons at Lakeside Dairy offers unique insight into their persistence, sustainability, self-sufficiency, and joy. Migration tales also open a window into the complex history of race and identity, continuing as they became homeowners in the West.