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Gulf Coast community heritage writer, Dan Ellis' “Slidell – Camellia City,” was concluded after a year-and-a-half effort of research and writing that resulted in the first complete history of the Slidell area. Through research of courthouse and municipal records, newspapers, past publications, and intensive interviews with older citizens, including personnel who are involved with churches, institutions, and organizations, Ellis provides an in-depth chronology of the cities and eras he writes about. “Slidell was a natural selection,” he says, “because it is a natural part of the geographic West Florida heritage.” “The first family settlers moved between the old village settlements during the early stages of colonial growth through governmental changes under French to English to Spanish and eventually to the Americanization era,” he continues. The story of Slidell reveals how the Salmen family picked up their roots from Handsboro, now a part of Gulfport, and resettled in Slidell with the development of the Railroad. Ellis follows the trek of “kissin' cousins” as families and neighbors moved between New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and the North Shore regions in spreading out to finally establish their own private domains. The Haas family is a good example of movement around the Pearl River region and having settled at New Orleans, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Kiln, and at Slidell. The Dubuissons had originally settled in the LaCombe/Slidell region and Eugene Dubuisson is credited with the proliferation of that name in West Harrison and Hancock counties of Mississippi. Captain William Hardy is well known for his founding of Gulfport and Hattiesburg, but years before, he had built the railroad from New Orleans to Jackson, MS, which was the origin of Slidell and many other railroad towns. The book – liberally illustrated with photos, drawings, and maps – sweeps through West St. Tammany history from its first settlements in the Bonfouca region to the economic impact affected by NASA. Ellis describes the richness of Olde Town and the early leaders since the incorporation of Slidell in 1888. “Slidell has evolved through many evolutions as a CrossRoads community that has been ever challenged by new crossroad decisions in becoming a major Louisiana municipality today,” asserts Ellis.
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Writing Slidell's history was a natural selection because it is an integral part of the geographic West Florida heritage that is found in southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama -- from Baton Rouge to Mobile.About the Author:
Originally from New Orleans, in 1990, Ellis established permanent residence at his Pass Christian weekend home. His interest in writing lead to publishing vignette columns in local newspapers. Upon researching for his first community heritage book, he realized that a significant amount of misinformation abounded. This resulted in his seeking primary source information from archival records in Mobile, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, New Orleans, Louisiana, and from local courthouses and churches. Ellis's books are filled with treasured photographs and maps; and he takes special effort to seek out individuals, whether obscure or prominent — those who can add a touch of personal experience by revealing anecdotal interviews. Not being able to find a publisher, Ellis was determined to get his history books to the general public, so he learned to be a self-publisher and now distributes his history books through bookstores and gift shops and the Internet. He also publishes much information to his several web sites providing free access to information and photographs. Ellis's books are computerized in order to enable easy updating and error corrections. He calls himself an Historiographer and Scrutinier, which simply translates to a "writer of history with authenticity." Since Hurricane Katrina, Ellis has chosen Eureka Springs, Arkansas as his new home base.
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