The tale of Nathan Goldkind's restless spirit has been circulating throughout old Shreveport since his death over a century ago. The tale begins with the arrival of Goldkind, a Polish Jew, to America in 1872. Like most immigrants of the time, Nathan sought his fortunes in the vast American continent, but his addiction to the card tables resulted in him being run out of many towns before eventually settling in Shreveport, where he founded a successful dry goods business. Unfortunately for Nathan, old habits die hard. Soon after establishing his business, Nathan soon fell back into his gambling addiction, and his store became a hotbed of illicit dealings and all night card games. With his legitimate business making money during the day and his skills at poker raking in the cash at night, it seemed that Nathan had finally found his niche. But on the morning of June 14, 1885, Nathans luck ran out. Gus Logan, whom Shreveport historian Eric Brock describes as a small-time hood, had just lost all of his money to Nathan and accused him of cheating. When his demand to have his money returned to him was denied, Gus took one of Nathans own revolvers from behind the counter and shot him in the eye, killing him instantly. Gus Logan was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to die, but Governor McEnery commuted his sentence to life imprisonment, and Gus Logan was eventually pardoned. There are conflicting stories about whether or not Gus Logan came from a well connected family, but the fact that Gus Logan got away with murder is undeniable. Despite his reputation as a gambler and associate of criminals, Nathan was not without friends. Outraged over the miscarriage of justice, Nathans friends commissioned a zinc grave marker. The marker, as shown in both pictures above, reads: "Nathan Goldkind, a native of Plotsk, Poland, Killed in Shreveport, Louisiana by Gus Logan, June 14, 1885, Aged 36 years. In God He Trusted." For over half a century, Nathan Goldkinds restless ghost had been spotted in his old dry goods store. The building was torn down in the 1980s, but rather than move on to the next life, Nathan continues to haunt the area around his grave. Nathan pays particular attention to the ladies, and has been noted by Shreveport Spirit Tour guides Kathryn Usher and Katee Fontane to play with the hair of some of the women whom they take on their ghost tours.
Grave of Nathan Goldkind. Note the mocking epitaph "In God He Trusted."
Here lie the remains of Cora Lee Wilson, dead at the age of 22. It has recently been determined that she died around 1880, but the circumstances of her death have yet to be discovered. Investigations are currently underway to ascertain exactly who Cora Lee was and how she died. Oral tradition states that Cora Lee was a socialite in early Shreveports history. It is assumed that she was not married when she died, for she was buried by her mother and father.
Perhaps the biggest mystery of all, and the reason why her grave has the reputation for being haunted, is the condition of her aboveground grave. Look in the picture above and compare the condition of Coras grave with that of the surrounding ones. Her grave is a crumbling pile of rubble, yet the surrounding graves, which are about as old as hers, are still utterly intact! Furthermore, her grave has been restored on more than one occasion, complete with fresh mortar for the bricks, only to have it mysteriously fall back apart. Cora Lees metal coffin can be clearly seen through the large hole in the back of the grave. There are no signs of vandalism on the grave or the loose bricks surrounding it, and climate can be ruled out since the surrounding aboveground graves are still in excellent condition. Could it be the restless spirit of Cora Lee, breaking free of her grave to be the busybody socialite once more?
There is a difference between a cemetery and a graveyard. In addition, the oldest burial at Oakland predates the cemetery itself. Want to know why...TAKE THE TOUR!
All photographs by Brandon Beckham.