He did many things to improve Morehouse Parish, maybe as simple to him as delivering your baby, or bringing championship horses to this area. He served on many civic organizations, donated his time for others and was always in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. But, he grew up in South Louisiana, and you can’t take the French-Cajun out of anyone. This man did many improvements for Morehouse Parish and many will remember him, Dr. W. V. Garnier.
William Victor Garnier was born August 29, 1903 in LeCompte to Marslia Garnier and Margaret Jones Garnier. His father was born in France and came to Louisiana as a small boy, and his mother was a native of LeCompte.
Garnier studied medicine at Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans, graduated at the age of 21 and was said to be the youngest doctor at the time to finish medical school.
He was interested in the Ouachita Territory, one reason he settled in this area. Later the doctor was engaged in collecting data for a history of medicine in this area.
In 1932 he went to Vienna, Austria to study surgical procedures. He was a member of the American Medical Association, Louisiana State Medical Association, Fifth District of Louisiana Medical Association, Morehouse Parish Medical Association and the International College of Surgeons, the International College of Surgery and served as president of the Louisiana State Board of Health in 1941.
He founded Garnier Clinic in 1926. He was the examining physician for International Paper Co. and at one time owned a clinic in Springhill. Dr. Garnier was active in community and civic affairs and took part in the growth of the community during the 45 years he resided in Bastrop.
The doctor loved horses and was instrumental in bringing to Bastrop the International Walking Horse Championship Show for eight years beginning in 1955. He had a stable of fine horses including the well known White Star and Dark Glory along with others which were shown throughout the United States.
Today the Garnier Stables still stand. The farm is gone, so are the peacocks that strutted around the property and of course a number of horses, all missed by those who had the opportunity to visit Garnier Farm, either with family or on a school field trip.
It is at this time to reflect on one of Garniers proudest possessions -- White Star. Here is the background of the world famous horse that Garnier loved so much.
White Star was named the World’s Grand Champion Walking Horse in 1954, living most of her life in the limelight. She was born in April 1949 at Willow Oak Acres in Prescott, Ark. The dark-colored colt was named Strange Gal by her original owners. However, the name no longer fit as the horse grew older and her coat changed to a brilliant white. Dr. Garnier found Strange Gal at a Shreveport horse show in December 1953 and bought her as a Christmas present for his family. She was re-named “Garnier’s White Star.”
Along with White Star came her trainer, Percy Moss. He became the youngest rider ever to win the Grand Champion title in 1954. As her fame grew, White Star traveled all over the country. Having won all the honors available in the horse show world, White Star continued to draw a crowd and was never officially retired. Her sudden death made front-page news December 29, 1961.
Dr. Garnier was a member of the American Horse Show Association, the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association for which he served as director. He was also interested in hunting dogs and was a director of the National Field Trials, a member of the Southern Field Trials Association and was co-organizer of the Pelican Field Trials Association.
He was credited with the discovery of the disease of heartworms in dogs and perfecting a cure for it.
Dr. Garnier was active in community and civic affairs and had taken part in the growth of the community. He died in Bastrop on Saturday, September 18, 1971. Garnier was survived by his wife Mabel; daughters Sally Burks of New Orleans and Dianne Miller of Monroe and five grandchildren. He and his wife are buried in Christ Church Cemetery in Bastrop.