Business Person of the Month: Charles Elliot

Charles Elliot

Little Wars, Inc.

7517 Jefferson Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Charles Elliot - President of Little Wars, Inc.

“Don’t tell me about the law. I have a sword.” – Lucius Cornelius Sulla. 

Charles N. Elliot is president of Little Wars, Inc., a nationally recognized premiere game shop since 1988. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University, as well as took graduate studies in English Literature, and later, received his Master’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. Elliot belongs to the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and professional historical organizations.

Little Wars offers historical, fantasy and board gaming in a bright, clean, pleasant and safe environment. The business keeps in-stock a broad, deep and rich array of books, games, miniatures, paints and dice, while providing free in-store and late-night table-top gaming. Little Wars hosts the Baton Rouge Society of Ancients as well as a varied and constant cycle of war gaming campaigns and tournaments.

In 1972, Elliot’s Book Shop, the parent company of Little Wars, began selling war games and military miniatures as a profitable sideline at its initial South Baton Rouge location in Southdowns Shopping Center on Perkins Road. Moving to Village Square on College Drive in 1976, Elliot’s linked this war gaming sideline to an extensive science fiction and fantasy book section. Building on the incredible popularity of early Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing, Elliot’s reputedly became the first store nationally to sell individual gaming figures broken out of the standard multi-packs. For the Christmas Season of 1988, Elliot’s spun off an independent full-service game shop, Little Wars, named after H.G. Wells’ classic war gaming book of 1913 and managed by long-time employee Shane Petersen. With the ‘Wal-marting’ of Village Square, Little Wars moved to Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center in 2003, right across from the new and spectacularly successful Whole Foods extravaganza at Cedar Lodge Shopping Center at Jefferson Highway and Corporate Boulevard.

Elliot has been a military history enthusiast since childhood. “I’ve always wanted to know how generals and soldiers thought and fought, how battles, campaigns and wars really worked. Replicating and re-enacting battles in miniature can get you in the shield-wall or front-rank without the bother of personally charging about and getting wounded or killed. You can certainly recreate particular campaigns to see if your favorite general can actually win Hastings, Waterloo or Gettysburg, but you can also see the curious strategical, logistical, and tactical glitches leading to glorious victory or tragic defeat. You can also take some measure of yourself, seeing if you keep your head under stress, can respond quickly to a sudden change of fate (or dice roll) and if you really can play well with others! You can be, for an evening or a weekend, Caesar, Napoleon, Bedford Forest or Gandalf the Gray. And if your army or player-character loses, you can paint up a replacement and soldier on,” says Elliot.

Elliot believes that the East Baton Rouge Parish Library system opened up the world of history and military history to him. “I can well remember checking out Little Wars, Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, and that wonderful Confederate Arms, as well as a host of others, from the old downtown library when I was a kid. I used the Middleton Library when I was an undergraduate, Hill Memorial as a graduate student, and now Simms Library at Southeastern where I teach Louisiana History, but I still am a fan of the parish library system and I do have a library card (and paid all fines). I use the Main Library as my local, even teach LEA Louisiana History programs out of it as well as the Bluebonnet and Jones Creek branches. Public libraries provide a grand public service of offering such a selection of books, for every age, taste and interest, under the guidance of professional and personable librarians.

I read extensively and selectively for my academic life and eclectically for my private. I read multiples of books at one time, just finished books on pirates, Palestinian poetry, birch bark canoes, and North Renaissance art. Favorites are hard to call; I’d have to say Tolkien’s Hobbit, Dumas’ Three Musketeers, Renault’s The King Must Die, Feuchtwanger’s Power, Dickens’ Christmas Carol (the best book in the world), all the Flashman novels, and my childhood favorite, Bailey’s Old Man Rabbit’s Dinner Party. Of course, there’s Jane Austen and Thackeray, Ernst Juenger, Hans Christian Anderson, Tony Hillerman. Ah! So many books, so little time! I’ve read most of Shogun over the last three nights and eyeing this new biography of Louis XIV.”

I’m a National Geographic, Chronicles, and Vanity Fair kind-a-guy,” says Elliot.

Besides reading, Elliot’s hobbies include “trying to watch each and every segment of Law and Order, traveling to Munich (my favorite place in the world) and Northern Italy, and people-watching at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning.” 

Eliott sees the future of Baton Rouge as “continuing to grow at the expense of New Orleans, keeping the best, enduring the worst, while (hopefully) remaining the friendly small southern town it is underneath all our big city pretenses.” 

I’d like to see more trees, more statues, some memorial to the late Emerson Bell, and the simultaneous commemoration of Iberville’s landing here in 1699 that’s not drowned in all that green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. Throughout its history, Baton Rouge has always been described as green (as in trees, not beer) and I fear we are losing our sublime natural setting.” 

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