Bonnie and Clyde.
Bonnie and Clyde, I think in this world, everyone at least once heard about this criminal couple. Maybe not everyone knew the history of them, but to hear… It’s passed been more than 80 years, from May 23, 1934 when Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and were shot by the Texas Rangers and officers from Louisiana on a rural road in Bienville, Louisiana, United States.
And most surprisingly, that the memory of them alive to this day. In a small village Gibsland, Louisiana located two museum dedicated to the history of Bonnie and Clyde. One Public museum, and the second one commercial. In Gibsland every year they hold a “Bonnie and Clyde Festival”.
The invitation to the festival.
Bonnie and Clyde were American criminals, they robbed banks and killed policemen. All the action takes place during the Great Depression. Both came from poor families and were native of Texas.
When I found that near the city of Shreveport, Louisiana located the place where were shot Mrs. Parker and Mr. Barrow, I decided to visit it. But before, I read on the Internet about them, and I looked of the same name film, shot in 1967.
Arriving in Gibsland, first of all I visited the Public Museum. Friendly speaking, these two houses is hardly to call museum. In fact this is two small old buildings that stand by the road next to each other. Inside of them you will find newspaper clippings, photographs, some of the things previously owned by Mrs. Parker and Mr. Barrow.
After, I went into the second museum, a commercial one. The first room, was a shop and ticket office. In the store you can buy all sorts of souvenirs with the image of Bonnie and Clyde, from ballpoint pens, finishing T-shirts and cups. In the second part of the room, let’s call this room divided into sections, it is the main part of the museum.
Before the trip, when I was looking for addresses of these museums, I came across a user rating, in which they recommended to talk with the owner of a commercial museum, pointing out that he has a unique information.
That is why, when I finished view first part of the museum, I immediately turned to the only guy which was there with a question: “He’s the famous museum owner?”. I was lucky it was him, let’s call him John (not his real name).
We had an interesting conversation. It turned out that John was born in these places and the story of Bonnie and Clyde he know from firsthand. He knew personally, neighbors, relatives and some acquaintances which were in touch with the criminal couple. John was a godsend for me!
Here is the story of Bonnie and Clyde, told by John.
E.R.: John, please tell me what you know about Mrs. Parker and Mr. Barrow?
J.: Well, first of all what you have seen it is not true in the 1967 film. The only thing that there was truth so it is a gun battle with the police when they caught them by surprise at the apartment.
Do not believe the stories written in newspapers and magazines. Stories of life of this pair of bandits and history described in the media have nothing in common. Media, just wanted to make money by transforming the story of two criminals in a romantic adventure. Bonnie and Clyde did not want to be famous, they just wanted to rob and kill. But the hype around them which raised at that time, brought them worldwide fame.
E.R.: What was true in this case?
J.: For example, according to the film criminals die almost immediately after the escape from the gun battle. In fact it is not true, because after the escape they had almost a year to engaged in robbery and murder.
In general, Bonnie and Clyde were engaged in criminal activity for 25 months.
All crimes were committed at night. Clyde climbed on the roof of Bank and waited for his opening. When arrived the first employees of the bank, he robbed a bank and escape.
They were in constant motion, during the day Clyde could drive the car several hundred miles. Their main idea was: never stop. The drive and drive. They don’t robbed banks all the time, they did it only when they finish the money.
Everyone thinks that Bonnie committed criminal acts with the Clyde, in fact, she even didn’t know how to keep a weapon in her hand and shot only once in her life, just in air. She never went to the crime scene.
Their car was always full of weapons.
Bonnie was shot several times, but all these bullets were obtained at the time when the police tried to catch them at home. By the end of the life of Bonnie she could not walk because she was shot in the leg.
After the advent of photography, where Bonnie is standing with a gun and a cigar in his mouth, many people have come to believe that she smokes cigars. In fact, Bonnie was a drug addict, never smoked cigars, but smoked cigarettes Marlboro.
The scene of their death was this: they were driving on the highway and one truck blocked the way to them. Clyde asked driver of truck move the truck and release them the way, and at this time the police started to shoot at them from the bushes. The man who was driving the truck, in fact, was the father of one of the accomplices of crime, as shown in the film.
Bonnie and Clyde were dead after the first bullets, but the police continued to fire, because they did not know about it. According to the story, nothing foreshadowed trouble for them that day and during the shelling Bonnie ate a hamburger, and Clyde was sitting relaxed behind the wheel.
What said newspapers about it:
E.R.: Why did they do criminal activities?
J.: As I said, Clyde came from a poor family. His father worked at a petrol station, and Clyde worked in the store, which sold some furniture. Once in the store whre was working Clyde was a robbery and police think it was Clyde. They put him in the jail, but he was not guilty. Then Clyde vowed to take revenge on the police for this act.
It seems that life pushed him to the crime.
E.R.: Where did they meet? And is it true that Bonnie was married before meeting with Clyde?
J.: They met at house of a friend of Clyde brother. Bonnie went there to take care of a sick person. They fell in love at first sight, and after she made him chocolate cupcakes they never parted. (smiling).
It is true that Bonnie was married, but by the time they met, she no longer had anything to do with her ex-husband.
E.R.: For you, the story of Bonnie and Clyde, is a love story, or a story of two criminals?
J.: For me it is a sad love story. Bonnie and Clyde loved each other from the moment of their first meeting, they were always together and frequently visited his parents in Dallas.
E.R.: And how people treated them?
J.: Farmers from this neighborhood, loved them, because Mrs. Parker and Mr. Barrow gave them a lot of money. The rest of the people were afraid. And there was a reason for that. Clyde was an aggressive guy, if you had to meet him face to face, he would have shot you without hesitation.
People loved and feared them, but they understood that someone had to stop criminals.
It’s been a crazy couple. They were young and daring. They loved each other, but always knew and expected sad end of this story.
E.R.: And who today are Bonnie and Clyde for Americans are the bad guys, or heroes?
J.: It all depends on the opinion of a specific person, for someone they are heroes, and for someone bad guys.
And then he added: About 20 years ago in these parts were afraid to utter the names of these criminals, but now openly 2 museums, memorial plaques, opened a bar in their honor. When I asked what has changed? The owner of the museum said that just died the last people who were somehow involved in to this event, and the local population has decided to earn money for this story.
Thanking John for his generous answers, I went to see the museum.
Some pictures from museums.
Some old very famous photos of criminals.
And then I went to the place where was finished the story of the criminals. According to the story, on the site of earlier buildings museums were a grocery store and café. And if you drive from the museums to the highway, where is located a memorial stone in memory of the slain criminals, you have a chance to exactly repeat the last path that Bonnie and Clyde traveled May 23, 1934.
Road from the Gibsland.