Shreveport funeral home is family owned, one of oldest in the state

Shreveport funeral home is family owned, one of oldest in the state
J.S. Williams Funeral Home is a family-owned business and operated by African Americans. The business opened 123 years ago and remains in the same family to this day. (Source: Google Maps)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - J.S. Williams Funeral Home has served generations of families in Shreveport, and is one of the oldest funeral homes in the state.

Balistine Hopkins, Jr.
Balistine Hopkins, Jr. (Source: Domonique Benn)

The family-run business is owned and operated by African Americans. The business opened 123 years ago and remains in the same family to this day.

It’s now run by Balistine Hopins Jr., the namesake of the funeral home.

“I am proud of the history because it started back in 1898 and my grandfather has a license of #13 in the state for embalmers,” Hopkins said. “They brought so much to this area a sense of dignity and respect to funerals.”

According to the Louisiana Regional Folklife Program at Northwestern State, J.S. and Carrie Williams were community and educational activists and were members of the NAACP.

BLACK HISTORY MOMENTS: Balistine Hopkins, Jr. - J.S. Williams Funeral Home

Hopkins’ mother, Balistine Hopkins Sr., took over the business at a time where there were not many Black women in the funeral service industry.

Hopkins credits her faith for sustaining the business to this day.

“That is one thing I want people to know about J.S. Williams, not just the business or funeral home, but tell people you got to know who you are and that what you do is important and if you are going to do it, do it right.”

Hopkins adds that death is non-negotiable, but you can change the response to death by delivering compassion, dignity, and honor to family members.

Click here to visit J.S. Williams Funeral Home’s website.

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