Gardner, Louisiana Residents Confuse Hebrew Signs With ISIS Terrorism Messages

A sign written in Hebrew says "welcome home" in Gardner, Louisiana. (Via KALB)

A sign written in Hebrew says “welcome home” in Gardner, Louisiana.
(Via KALB)

Gardner, Louisiana is a small town in Rapides Parish, about 15 miles to the southwest of Alexandria. Like many other rural areas across the South, it is very conservative, very religious, and apparently extremely ignorant.

How bad could it be? Well, according to a local news report, residents of Gardner were freaked out about signs that suddenly appeared in the area written in a language they didn’t understand. So instead of thinking that maybe they should take pictures of the signs, and then go home to figure out what language it was and what they meant, a few citizens of Rapides Parish called the local sheriff’s department to report what they thought were signs written in Arabic supporting ISIS.


The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office says signs that have popped up in Gardner depicting a message written in another language are written in Hebrew.

RPSO and KALB were contacted by several residents who were concerned about the signs and that they might have been terror message written in Arabic.

The sheriff’s office says not to worry, they are actually “welcome home” signs written in Hebrew and not in anyway affiliated with ISIS. (Source)

As a person of Jewish descent, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. There are some very nice people who live here in Louisiana who would give the shirt off their backs to a stranger in need, and there are also a decent number of folks who are surprisingly progressive for a state that still allows creationism to be taught in schools.

Louisiana also has a strong Jewish history dating back to when it was still a territory held by both the Spanish and British, and it avoided much of the anti-Jewish sentiment that was present in the United States up until after World War II.

The free-wheeling atmosphere of the state, dominated by New Orleans, encouraged the full participation and integration of Jews; there was then little anti-Jewish prejudice, which seems to have gained momentum only in the late 19th century. Among Louisiana’s notable assimilated Jews were U.S. Senator Judah P. Benjamin(1853–61); Henry M. Hyams, Benjamin’s cousin, lieutenant governor of Louisiana in 1859; and Dr. Edwin Warren Moise, speaker of the Louisiana legislature at the same time and later state attorney general. It was apparently no accident that each of these men intermarried. In 1872, the first Rex, King of Carnival, was Louis J. Salomon, a great-grandson of HaymSalomon, the well-known Revolutionary War patriot. (Source)

Yet, for people who likely embrace the Confederate flag as “heritage not hate” and pride themselves on the history of the state, you would think they could at least recognize Hebrew writing – but apparently not. Jewish people even fought on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War, including my distant relative Colonel Abraham Meyers who was the Quartermaster General of the Confederate States Army.

Hatred, bigotry and ignorance are alive and well in Louisiana. The fact that people can’t tell the difference between Hebrew and Arabic writing is only further evidence of why the state ranks 44th in the nation in overall education performance.


Facebook comments

  • rg9rts

    Welcome to Jindalstan….Eat at Moishes

    • Paul Julian Gould

      Oog… rather, next time I’m in Los Angeles, it’s either Vickman’s or Cantor’s… Now THAT’s some nosh!

      Sorry… haven’t eaten yet today…

      • rg9rts


      • Paul Julian Gould

        Well… I figure that any deli that can boast a lot of old Chassids davening over their lunch has got to have great food… so I’ll agree to disagree, and stick with Vickman’s… My late uncle Dave was a regular, and was considered a token liberal, as he was a practicing Conservative Jew and belonged to that “liberal” org called B’nai B’rith… LOL

      • rg9rts


      • noah vail

        gotta love Cantor’s…

  • GimmeSomeTruth

    First it was the Adidas logo, and now this. Scary these folks are allowed to vote.. But not others based on their race.

    • Paul Julian Gould

      Hey, back in the day it was the Procter and Gamble logo idiocy… Saying that their corporate logo was a Satanic symbol… it got quite a lot of play, until that particular type of hysteria ran out of gas…

      • OMGface

        Thanks for this as well. I envy your patience. I must assume yr dad isn’t a fan of Likud.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        My beloved Pop passed away in 2004, but if anyone was prouder of his heritage than Pop, I’ve yet to see it… and if anyone wanted to piss him off immediately, all they had to do was call him a Zionist… let alone assume he was a Likud supporter.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        If this particular blog allowed posting of graphics, I’d post the photos of Pop, as well as my Nana at the age of 19 in, I believe, 1908… Don’t know if you saw the graphic shared on RS the other day of what scholars estimate Jesus looked like… looked more like my Pop to me… *gentle smile*

  • Paul Julian Gould

    One of the commenters above on the FB feed expressed surprise that there would be anyone speaking Hebrew in rural Louisiana… Please, why is that? One thinks of El Paso, as well, as being a traditionally Mexican town, yet there are many Jews buried in Concordia Cemetery, for about 200 years, and our current noble and decent mayor, Oscar Leeser is Jewish as well.

    Most towns in the south have synagogues, if not in town proper, at least the next town up the road… Some are simple storefronts, and then there’s the main synagogue in Birmingham, Alabama that is, to me, a gorgeous piece of architecture, and a lovely way to say, “We’re here, we’ve survived, and we’re good citizens.”

    • OMGface

      MANY thanks for taking the time to post these accurate data….and also for your underlying optimism that most of it will not fall on deaf or deficient ears.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        I honor the heritage of my father, I honor the memory of those related to my grandfather who didn’t come with him from Polish/Ukrainian Galicia and now fertilize the Polish soil, and, as with most faith-related topics, I have taken what speaks to my spirit, and left the rest… My beloved late Pop wouldn’t have had it any other way, I’m certain, and I wish I could have had the honor of meeting his father, who unfortunately passed 6 years before I was born. I think we would have gotten along quite well, from what I’ve learned.

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Oh, and one of my Pop’s amusements was having his very goyische-looking son (me) recite the Sh’ma in full voice and proper pronunciation in the Vickman’s deli related below… (he didn’t know the words, let alone how to pronounce it… pity that, as with that gorgeous deep-baritone courtoom voice, and if he practiced the faith of his father, he would’ve been a cantor that would’ve brought tears to your eyes) Pop had an interesting sense of humor at times… *smile*

      • Paul Julian Gould

        Pop was a deeply spiritual man, contrary to how many knew him, and was seriously proud of his heritage, but he really had no need to buy into any specific faith practice exclusively… and in that, he, as much as my late and loved Mama, raised me well…

      • OMGface

        I am impressed. Being spiritual, having character, empathy… is factory loaded or it isn’t; adhering to the doctrinaire tenets of any organized relgion is most often the the polar opposite….witness what is going on in the world right now.

  • Eg Kbbs

    Here’s an idea, what about putting up signs, IN ARABIC, that are versus from the New and Old Testament translated into Arabic ?

    Let the ignorant complain, tear them down, deface them. Then let these good Christian people know they have defaced the word of God (add in the dire warning from near the end of Revelations promising evil on anyone who would change as much as a jot or tittle).

    • noah vail

      the “book of revelation” is singular

  • OMGface

    As I Always say…ignorance is the ultimate enemy of everything good.

    • noah vail

      and when you look to louisiana you can find more than a lion’s share of ignorance and hardly any good

      • OMGface

        Hey, Noah. Indeed…..tho I have close friends who live in New Orleans and would not live elsewhere. I will never be one of those humans.

  • cluck

    never any shortage of ignorance and fear in the world

  • Flat Banana

    What a far reaching blog entry this was Manny. You are going on a tirade about a three sentence news article about a sign. A county in which is made up of 64% white and 32% black and the majority of residents are Christian based. I guess you didn’t look into that. Did you think for a second that the majority of these people haven’t been around Jewish or Arabic language before?
    Did you even look at the stats of Gardner, LA?? A population of about 1900 according to the most recent census. A little research would help you immensely.