Caroline Dormon

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Carrie Dormon
Caroline Dormon holding a flower.jpg
Born Caroline Coroneos Dormon
(1888-07-19)July 19, 1888
Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
Died November 21, 1971(1971-11-21) (aged 83)
Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.
Resting place Briarwood Baptist Church Cemetery near Saline, Louisiana, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater Judson College, Marion, Alabama
Occupation Botanist, artist, author, conservationist

Caroline Coroneos Dormon, also known as Carrie Dormon (July 19, 1888 – November 21, 1971), was an American botanist, horticulturist, ornithologist, historian, archeologist, preservationist, naturalist, conservationist, and author from Louisiana.

She was born in modest circumstances at Briarwood,[1] the family home in northern Natchitoches Parish, to James L. Dormon and the former Caroline Trotti. She was reared a Southern Baptist in Arcadia, the parish seat of government of Bienville Parish, in northern Louisiana. She never married.


As a child, Dormon developed a great interest in plants and wildlife. She was educated at the Baptist-affiliated Judson College, Marion, Alabama, from which she received a bachelor's degree in literature and art. She taught for several years in Louisiana schools, and then re-established her home at Briarwood in 1918. She began to collect and preserve native trees and shrubs.[2]

Diversified career[edit]

In 1921, she became a public relations representative for the Louisiana Forestry Department. She attended a Southern Forestry Congress in 1922 and persuaded the United States Forest Service to establish a national forest in Louisiana. U.S. Representative James B. Aswell of Natchitoches worked with Dormon to bring to fruition the Kisatchie National Forest, which was designated in 1930 during President Herbert Hoover's administration.[2]

In 1941, during the administration of Governor Sam Houston Jones, Dormon joined the Louisiana Highway Department (later the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development) as beautification consultant. She was later a landscape consultant for the Huey P. Long Charity Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana east of the Red River. She also served as consultant for Hodges Gardens.[3]

Dormon also proposed what became the Louisiana State Arboretum, located some eight miles (13 km) north of Ville Platte, the seat of Evangeline Parish, as part of nearby Chicot State Park.[4] The 301-acre (1.22 km2) site was dedicated in 1964. The Caroline Dormon Lodge opened in 1965, serving as a visitor center, library, and herbarium of native plants which grow within the boundaries of the arboretum.[5]

Her published works include: Wild Flowers of Louisiana (1934), Forest Trees of Louisiana (1941), Flowers Native to the Deep South (1958), Natives Preferred (1965), Southern Indian Boy (1967), and Bird Talk (1969).[citation needed]

Dormon was the only woman member of the De Soto Commission established by Congress in 1935 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Hernando de Soto's expedition across the American Southeast, which crossed northern Louisiana.

In 1965, she was presented with an honorary Doctor of Science award from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The Dormon Collection is located at the Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.

In August 2012, the Rapides Parish School Board opened Caroline Dormon Junior High School Woodworth. The school is located on a 33-acre (130,000 m2) site, off U.S. Highway 165. Land for the school was donated by the United States Forest Service from the Kisatchie National Forest.[6]

The K-8th grade school cost $6.5 million and is a “green” school with energy saving tweaks such as solar panels, building and roofing colors, and efficiency of the mechanical and electrical systems. The 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) school is expected to open with approximately three hundred pupils.

Death and legacy[edit]

Dormon died in Shreveport. She is interred at the Briarwood Baptist Church Cemetery near her home. Dormon willed her home, Briarwood, to the public. Located near Saline in southern Bienville Parish, it is the headquarters of the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve.[7]

Natchitoches attorney and philanthropist Arthur C. Watson organized the Foundation for the Preservation of the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve and served as its treasurer until his death in 1984. The Caroline Dormon Trail extending 10.5 miles (16.9 km) in the Kisatchie Bayou Recreation Complex within the national forest. The trail starts at the Longleaf Scenic Byway.[8]

In 1972, an art show named in Dormon's honor was formed in Shreveport by Emmett Elmo Rhodes. For twenty-six years, this annual art show and festival ran to promote nature art in "Miss Carrie's" name which eventually received entries from all over the state. The show had two divisions, Children's Division and Adult Division. It was held at different venues located in Shreveport and was first held at the R.S. Barnwell Art and Garden Center, then at Mall St. Vincent, then at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum.


  1. ^ "Home". Briarwood Nature Preserve. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Dictionary of Louisiana Biography - C - Louisiana Historical Association". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "About The Louisiana State Arboretum". 20 February 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  5. ^ Peak, Myra F. (ed.). Louisiana Arboretum. Governor's Office of Federal Affairs and Special Projects. 
  6. ^ "Kisatchie National Forest - Home". Retrieved 5 December 2017. 
  7. ^ Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) No. LA-1, "Briarwood: The Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve, 216 Caroline Dormon Road, Saline, Bienville Parish, Louisiana", 56 photos, 10 color transparencies, 85 data pages, 6 photo caption pages
  8. ^ " : Outdoor Recreation". 3 April 2007. Retrieved 5 December 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Holman, Fran (ed.). The Gift of the Wild Things. 
  • Holman, Fran (ed.). Adventures in Wild Flowers. 
  • "Caroline C. Dormon". A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. 1. 1988. p. 251. 
  • Rawson, Donald (1983). "Caroline Dormon: A Renaissance Spirit of Twentieth Century Louisiana". Louisiana History. XXIV.