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HISTORY OF THE LOUISIANA TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION
Most independent telephone companies began as family organizations, often including a few friends. The companies had their beginnings in an effort to provide service where none existed, and Louisiana was no exception. One company in Louisiana got its start by running a wire to a remote oil well in the swamp, another came when it was found necessary to keep men on irrigation canals informed when to open and close flumes on rice fields, but most were formed or an area was extended to give telephone service to people where there was no telephone company to give them service.
In 1947 there were 35 telephone companies; small ones, middle-size ones, and bigger ones, all part of the telephone network. It soon became apparent that the companies needed to form an association for the good of their businesses and in order to provide the telephone service the public had come to expect. So in 1948 at a meeting held at the Bentley Hotel in Alexandria, Louisiana, the Louisiana Telephone Association was chartered and the first officers were:
President - John A. Brady, Sr.
First Vice-President - J. M. Nelson
Second Vice-President - J. E. Shultz
Treasurer/Secretary - Al M. Cobb
Today there are 20 telephone companies in Louisiana, of which 19 are classified as independent telephone companies, with over 20,000 employees, providing telephone service for over 2,100,000 access lines. Out of these 2,100,000 access lines in Louisiana, service for one out of every eleven is provided by an independent, home-owned telephone company. All of these employees and subscribers - along with all adult members of their families - are Louisiana taxpayers and voters.
The lines and services of the independent companies are so smoothly integrated with those of the Bell System that telephone users are unaware of this combined, automatic service.