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A Janitor, a Saint and Swamp Poppers

A Janitor, a Saint and Swamp Poppers

In high school I got to know a unique individual, Mr. Leonce Plaisance. His title was janitor but he was everywhere and did everything.

The school was heated with coal, so he picked students to haul and shovel it into the furnace. After it was burnt out, the students would haul the residue unto the basketball court where the players could pulverize it. After a practice, the players would resemble the Harlem Globetrotters, but job accomplished.

He was also photographer for graduations, ball games, carnival balls and other campus functions. His dark room in the school basement was not to be opened while occupied.

He was also a coin collector. When students collected for cafeteria, student affairs or whatever, he would inspect the coins. If one caught his eye, he would exchange it.

Did he ever find a valuable one?

I met his daughter recently at the library and she said their living standards remained unchanged, so I guess he never did.

Mr. Plaisance was well respected and always pretty busy.

The Martin side of my family was livelier than the Callais, and I loved to visit. Grandpa Eugene spent a good part of his life dealing with his sons’ sibling rivalry, but that’s a common occurrence in most families, isn’t it?
Eugene and Odile struggled through life, being displaced from Cheniere, then Leeville by hurricanes before settling in Golden Meadow. They raised nine children in the depression era and I loved my “pay per” and “may mer”.

He was a tough but righteous individual and she could be kind or stern, depending on the situation. She cooked the best beignets around, but when I smelled tobacco on her breath, I only let her kiss me on the cheek. I must mention that the use of tobacco by the feminine gender was not unacceptable then. They lived through turbulent years and theirs was a pioneer spirit.

My musical talents, (and many doubt that I ever had any), must have been inherited from my uncle Victor Martin, who was musically inclined. His two sons, Lanny and Curtis, had their fifteen minutes of fame while sister Barbara cheered them on.

In high school, Lanny was an ace basketball player, so good that he acquired the nick name “Goose” after “Goose” Tatum of the Harlem Globetrotters.

With his wife Mary Lynn they raised three children, Cindy, Wendy and Matthew, and he became a successful businessman. He later ran for mayor of Golden Meadow and the election was so close that the local paper next day printed his picture and headlined “Lanny Martin New Mayor of Golden Meadow”.

He was not. After the final count, Jervis Autin had been re-elected … (shades of Harry Truman/Thomas Dewey).
In 1998, Lanny’s untimely death from cancer was grieved by the whole town.

Curtis also became an ace athlete so he was nicknamed “Chicken” to pair with his brother “Goose”.

Because he was a Cajun, it was pronounced “Chee-kin”, a nickname he carries to this day. Recruited by LSU, he became a star tight end for the Tigers and was our hero. When he ended his college career he was signed by the New Orleans Saints. People were ecstatic and happily anticipated his first game, the Saints versus the Pittsburgh Steelers.

A loud moan was heard from his countless fans in Cajun land when he suffered a knee injury and was carried off the field. His picture in the Times Picayune, being carried off the field was captioned “Martin suffered a knee injury and will be out for an undetermined period”. Unfortunately, that was the end of his pro football career.

Today he works at Port Fourchon for Edison Chouest Offshore and lives quiet contented with his wife Kathy and two boys, Beau and Jean Paul.

Curtis “Chee-kin” Martin will always be respected and will never out live his moments of glory, nor his nickname.

Tonight I’ll ponder great mysteries of life, like what’s another word for Thesaurus? Or why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways? Then its Pandora radio and Swamp Pop music with Rod Bernard, Warren Storm and maybe Lee Martin, but he’s kind of hard to digest after supper.

Bye now.

Any comments can be submitted to Mr. Leroy Martin at leroymartin1929 @gmail.com.

Injured Saint Curtis Martin