Museum the New Llano Colony

Bondell (Norris Banta) Jenson Various spelling Blondell

Birth: She was born around 1908 in Louisiana.  

Family Information: Daughter of Wm. Henry Norris and Mary "Etta" (Norris) White.

Mother of Earl L. Banta and Marie Banta.

Her first husband must have been a son or grandson of Rufus and Elizabeth Banta -- in December 1935 an article in the "Llano Colonist" reports she'd brought her children from Sykes, Louisiana to the elder Banta's home which was referred to as "Grandma's".

Married George "Ikey" Jenson on October 6, 1936 - the ceremony took place at the Commonwealth Colony with the Reverend Irwin officiating. Her mother and two brothers visited the colony for the wedding.  


Pre-Colony History: In 1910 she was living in Grant Parish, LA with her parents and three siblings. In 1920, she (listed on the census as "Ider B. Noris") lived in Vernon Parish with her step-father, John M. White, her mother and three siblings, plus a step-brother.

In 1930, she was still living in Vernon Parish, Louisiana with her first husband, Roy Landry Banta, their son Earl, and her brother George Norris.  

Home in Colony: In 1936 it was rumored that she would move from her apartment in the "Apartments de Llano" into one of the large cottages in the residential section. After her marriage to Ikey, it was confirmed the Jensen's were to live in the "old Gaddis home" which was the last home on the south side of what is today Pershing St. in New Llano.  

Job in Colony: In January 1936 Sarah Murray and Bondell Banta were the dinner cooks, also helping, along with Mrs. Matz and Jane Lentz to serve the meal. Cy Horney was the dishwasher, Lucille Carr the wiper, Mrs. Murray did the scraping and Ruth Wooley cleaned the silverware.

In May 1936 Bondell was "back on the job" as manager of the kitchen and dining room. Both she and her mother, along with Mrs. Minnie Hewitt and Charlotte, Mrs. Hardy, Ed Mansfield, Harold Emery, and Ed and Ida Cole helped prepare for the first reception of the summer season that was held in the Roof Garden. She helped prepare the 1936 Thanksgiving meal at the hotel which consisted of sweet potatoes, roast beef and various other things.

In June 1937 she had planned to open the new colony coffee shop, but was ill on the day and it had to be postponed for about a week. After several days operating the shop, she said she was beginning to feel like a coffee shop operator, but the strain of getting up so early every morning was almost too much. 

Other Info: In May 1937 Doc Williams took Bondell, her son Earl and C.S. (Daddy) Thomas to the Shreveport Hospital -- Earl to see a doctor about an injury to his eye and Daddy because his vision had been getting worse. They arrived around 10 and as usual, the hospital was very busy and it required considerable time before the two patients were seen. Finally they were examined and told to wait. Around noon, Daddy, who had to have a slight operation was told to stay over and taken to a ward and so they completely lost sight of him. Earl was eventually taken to a ward on the third floor and put in a white robe. He didn't fancy that very much, as he didn't want to go to bed in the daytime. At 4 pm the Dr. finally came around and looked Earl over, deciding that there was no need for an operation. He had nothing but a scar on his eyeball and adding another would only make matters worse. Mrs. Jensen was very relieved and Earl was immediately ready to return home.

In July 1937 Bondell traveled to Seiper, Louisiana to get her mother who expected to stay in the colony for a time.  

Post-Colony History: In 1940 she was still in Vernon Parish, Louisiana, but now living with her second husband George (Ikey) Jensen and her two children from her first marriage.  

Death: She died in Caddo Parish, LA in 1963.  

Sources: US Census: 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940; "Llano Colonist": December 14, 1935, January 18, 1936, April 4, 1936, May 2, 1936, May 30, 1936, October 17, 1936, December 5, 1936, May 8, 1937, June 5, 1937, June 12, 1937, July 10, 1937; LA Statewide Death Index  

In the colony newspapers her name is almost always spelled "Blondell", however other, legal resources spell it as "Bondell".  

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