Monday, December 9, 2013

Tangipahoa Parish First Black Medical Doctor "Dr. Walter A. Reed, MD"

Statue of Dr. Walter A. Reed
Hammond, LA
Dr. Reed, was born in 1879, a native of Crystal Springs, Miss., came to Hammond,LA
 in the early 1900s and remained until his death in 1954. Tangipahoa Parish's early physicians listed only white doctors. Dr. Reed dressed in his hat and three-piece suit when he made house calls to visit patients traveling by horse and buggy or his Model T car.

He had black and white patients that respected him as a medical doctor. When the outbreak of pneumonia happened, he worked hard to save the lives of so many people both black and white who were ill with pneumonia. He doctored on Dr. Gates when he had the pneumonia. Lettie Anderson who was his housemaid in 1918, became the nurse in his clinic and eventually nursed the doctor and his wife in their old age. Dr. Reed's oldest son Walter A. Reed Jr, was 87 years old when this interview took place. Walter, Jr, lived in Meridian, Miss. " I think I was in the fifth grade when I came to Hammond, " said Walter. My father established and had a house on Coleman Avenue. My mother was ill, and she passed away that year.

"My father married another lady, Ella Church from Crystal Springs. My stepmother took notice of the impoverished condition around Hammond and surrounding areas, she saw people spending money on good timing while their homes were in poor conditions. She convinced my father that I had to leave Hammond, La., so we took a train and went up to Jackson Preparatory School (now Jackson State University. It was part of the college and I lived on campus.

Dr. Reed's  first wife the former Lillie Loving, whom he had met at Jackson State. While he studied in New Orleans, his wife lived at Bogue Chitto and gave birth to their four children, W.A. Jr., Shellie, Edward and Lillie.

Available of many years at Central Drug was " Dr. Reed's Cough Syrup" he helped heal many people.