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William (Bill) Day was born in Louisiana in 1933, and was destined to lead an eventful life. As a child, Bill performed opera. He won the 4-H talent contest when he was eighteen, representing the state of Louisiana in Chicago. After finishing high school, he attended Northwestern State University, where he graduated with a BA Degree in Anthropology. But his interests did not stop there, as he taught astronomy classes at LSUA and closely followed the manned space program. His love of space and flying may be one of the reasons he became a licensed pilot. He was also an avid sportsman, as he was a Catahoula Lake duck hunter, an expert fly fisherman, and lifelong conservation activist.
Bill Day worked as a radio personality for various stations in central Louisiana, and at WAFB radio in Baton Rouge. His broadcast career lasted over thirty years, as he worked for NBC’s KALB and ABC’s KLAX in Alexandria. He was News Director for KALB Radio and well known for his “Great Day in the Morning” show and newspaper column, “Both Barrels”. Because Mr. Day has left his mark, he has received countless awards, citations and proclamations for his work in broadcasting and with both local communities and national organizations.
Mr. Day held many positions in his lifetime. He worked in the rites, repatriation and conservation of Native American history and artifacts and was the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama and the Jena Band of Choctaws of Louisiana. He was the founder and Director of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, the Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Chairman of the Culture and Heritage Committee of the twenty-four Tribes of the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. He designed and constructed the only full scale Artifact Conservation laboratory on an American Indian Reservation staffed by its tribal members. He also oversaw the design of the Tunica Treasure Museum and served as its Director for ten years, participating in the successful legal battle to recover the Tunica Treasure, one of the largest collections of Colonial period Indian Trade goods, from Harvard University. He was the president and owner of Chief Consultants, Inc., a consulting firm that specialized in American Indian government relations.
He was the Chief Warrant Officer in the Louisiana State Guard, and in 1971, he led a delegation to the Paris Peace Talks to secure the release of Vietnam POWs.
Mr. Day was as much a conservationist as he was a humanist. As a past president of the Rapides Wildlife Association and Ducks Unlimited, he successfully campaigned against the indiscriminant pollution of Little River, large scale clearing of Central Louisiana’s bottomland hardwoods and illegal netting of the Saline-Larto complex. He was also the owner and Publisher of “Southern Outdoors”, one of the largest outdoor magazines. Because of his lasting influence, William Day was inducted into the Louisiana Folklife Center’s Hall of Master Folk Artists in 1984.
Researched and rewritten by Samantha Sullivan.