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The histories behind the Federation

Louisiana Press Women History

Arm candy. For decades, that was the only role Louisiana newswomen were allowed to play at the annual Louisiana Press Association conference. While they could attend the conference, they could only take part in its social events, as adornments.

And it rankled. A lot. By the early 1950s, three Louisiana newswomen had had enough, and the idea for their own professional organization was born. Frances Vernon, Frankie McCarthy and Gladys Case - all employees of the Daily Iberian and the Jeanerette Enterprise newspapers - contacted Margaret Dixon of the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate and Max Thomas, president of the LPA and publisher of the Crowley Daily Signal for help. A letter-writing campaign was launched, and newswomen all over the state were contacted and invited to join the fledgling organization.

When the LPA met in New Orleans in May 1953 for its annual conference, the women were ready to meet as well. As the men conducted their meeting, the women organized Louisiana Press Women. While the affiliate was established in 1953, it took 17 more years for it become formally incorporated in the state.

LPW began meeting every year in mid-March - selecting a different city each time. The annual meetings featured workshops, panels, business sessions and entertainment. LPW also held an annual editorial contest - named the Margaret McDonald Memorial Writing Contest in honor of a Shreveport Journal reporter who died the year she was to become president of the affiliate.

purple jagged-edged circle with text 80 years in black and in white, around the edge above 80, dates of the orgnization.

Since its formation 64 years ago, LPW has had the honor of hosting two National Federation of Press Women Conferences - in 1955 and 1970 in New Orleans. The affiliate also has had two national Communicator of Achievement winners - Margaret Dixon in 1958 and Lynn Stewart in 1980 - while lending the talents of two of its members to the position of NFPW president - Jo Cart (1983-1985) and Marsha Shuler (2007-2009).

Today, LPW remains committed to helping the state's media professionals further their careers and to strengthening the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

group photo looking at the camera.
LPA incorporation document.