|Birth: ||Sep. 24, 1966|
|Death: ||Nov. 30, 2011|
Historian and author Eric J. Brock, who captured the ghosts of Shreveport past and its citizens in a lively series of articles and books over the course of more than 20 years, died Wednesday afternoon as the result of a heart attack and stroke suffered Thanksgiving night. He was 45.
Witty and urbane, a meticulous researcher and a bon vivant, he was a frequent contributor to area newspapers and magazines and also collected a vast amount of material, much of it primary, on Shreveport, Caddo Parish and the surrounding area, particularly the period from the Civil War to around World War I.
"The passing of Eric Brock represents a loss not just to his family and to the community but to the larger world and the body of knowledge of Louisiana history," said his friend and fellow historian-author Gary Joiner. The two worked together on the book "Red River Steamboats."
"Many academic scholars cannot match the volume of work and information that Eric was able to produce, relating information about the people, places and things that define who we are and where we have been," Joiner said. "He was wise beyond his years. He had the innate capacity to link things and people and places that most of us might overlook. He was a superb researcher, an excellent writer and a wonderful chronicler."
Brock, a Centenary College graduate, was the author of numerous books, mostly illustrated with historic photos often drawn from his personal collections, which were published under the Arcadia, Pelican and Ritz imprints.
His books include "Centenary College of Louisiana," "Shreveport." "Shreveport: Faces of the Past," "The Jewish Community of Shreveport," "Shreveport in Vintage Postcards" and "Eric Brock's Shreveport." He also wrote a brief, illustrated history of Shreveport's red light district.
What may be one of his most lasting contributions to the history of Shreveport was the 2001 CD release of a speech the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Shreveport's historic Galilee Baptist Church in 1958.
That was in collaboration with Shreveport dentist and civil rights icon Dr. C.O. Simpkins. There was a chemistry between the men, one who had survived having his house firebombed in the 1960s, the other a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Simpkins on Wednesday said he felt like he had "lost a brother, a good friend. He was ... a very brilliant person. Creative, innovative and caring. Words really cannot express my sorrow over the loss."
Brock also was instrumental in placing a tombstone on the grave of former Louisiana Lt. Gov. C.C. Antoine, who also served as a captain in the Union Army, and researched Antoine's life and work in Shreveport's Allendale community.
Joiner noted Brock's dry sense of humor and unwillingness to suffer fools.
"Eric lived life large," Joiner said. "He expected everyone to uphold his high standards and he did not mind telling those in power what he thought they should do, how they should behave."
Funeral plans are pending, but his family and friends hope to bury him in Oakland Cemetery, a place he researched extensively, visited often and knew better than just about any other living person.
Brock's survivors include his widow, the former Shannon Glasheen, who helped him with much of his research since their marriage six years ago; his mother, Victoria Berg Brock; and his father, Robert Brock.
By John Andrew Prime
The Shreveport Times
(Published Dec. 1, 2011)
Created by: John Andrew Prime
Record added: Nov 30, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 81273428