What is typically frowned on by most, is the featured Artifact for the Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum this month. It is nothing more than a name and a date scrawled in Creosote on pieces of wood, yet this simple scrawling aids in telling the story of Camp Beauregard and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Camp Beauregard was the site chosen for District Four Headquarters (HQ) of the CCC. This HQ administered 100 plus odd camps located in three states. Their purpose was to contribute to Works Projects Administration (WPA) projects by participating in activities such as the planting of trees for the US Forestry Service, constructing roads, bridges and military facilities, many of which still stand today. Camp Beauregard is the home of several of these building to include Supply Building #214, where our featured Artifact, Pritsen’s graffiti, was located.
Pritsen’s selection of writing materials and location, a dark corner in a supply building, surely resulted in the longevity of his markings as it remains extremely legible nearly 80 years after it was created. A records search has indicated that during that time period there was a “P J Pritsen” on the Camp Beauregard CCC Supply Company roster, strengthening the provenance of the piece, however the rest of the story behind this gentlemen’s signature remains a mystery. What prompted him to leave his mark? Did he put it down in the hopes that one day he would return to see it or was it simply a statement of “I was here” along the same venue as what became the famous “Kilroy was here” from World War II. Did he act out of malice, or was he trying to impress his buddies? Answers we may never know.