June 8, 2015

On this day in 1942, the World War II detention facility Camp Livingston opened its doors in Alexandria, Louisiana. At its peak, it held 1,123 internees of Japanese ancestry sent from the Department of Justice-run Fort Missoula internment camp and from the U.S. Army-run Fort Sill and Camp Forrest internment camps.

The internees were told that they could volunteer for work unrelated to the maintenance of the camp and would be paid ten cents per hour. Other internees were ordered to work in the nearby forest to cut pine trees to construct an airport.

Hot and humid summer months with temperatures up to 130 degrees, poisonous reptiles, and stinging insects added to the hardship.To gain some relief from the extreme heat, the internees of Japanese ancestry dug shallow depressions in the dirt under the barracks and rested there during the hottest hours.

Little else has been recorded or published on Camp Livingston. Help us expand our records about this little known Louisiana detention center. If you have information or sources that you can share, please help make the Densho Encyclopedia and archival holdings better by contacting us at editor@densho.org.