The Housing Committee, National Medical Association, 1935

Seated (left to right): Misses Ouida Harris, Lois LaBranche, Jeanne Bagneris. Standing: Yvonne Delay, Isabel Carter, Cecile Townsend.

These young ladies were clerks at the National Medical Association Conference held in New Orleans on August 11-17, 1935. They worked under Dr. Emile LaBranche, chairman of the housing committee, whose job it was to find housing for over seven hundred members in need of places to stay for the entire week. This was not an easy task, as one would imagine, since Jim Crow laws prohibited people of color from using hotels and other facilities designed for these purposes.

After much thought, it was decided that the best solution was to lodge attendees in the dormitories of Straight College, New Orleans University, Dillard University, and in private homes. Registration was held at Dillard University and headquarters was set up there also.  Dr. LaBranche even had special phones installed at Dillard in three locations: the men’s and women’s dormitories and the cafeteria. Assisting Dr. LaBranche were Dr. Charles Bowers, Attorney A. P. Tureaud, Dr. Joseph A. Hardin, W. H. Murray, Dr. Thomas B. Hayes, Jones Gayle, and George Longe.

One can imagine how much paper work these young female clerks must have had at a time when everything was done by typewriters and paper and pen. Fortunately, all their hard work paid off. At the close of the conference, many accolades came their way. Letters of praise from delegates and well-respected physicians were received. In light of his valiant handling of the task undertaken, Dr. LaBranche (proprietor of the LaBranche Pharmacy) was elected to the office of third vice-president. This office carried with it the directorship of all activities of the National Medical Association in this region. Congratulations, for a job well done!

Source: The Louisiana Weekly, 24 August 1935, page 1.


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