Welcome to a new column which will be about people I have met and events I have encounted during my 47 years in the Lafourche Parish Court House and my lifetime in the music business.
In 1963 I wrote a column for the Lafourche Parish Press called “File Gumbo”, which lasted until the Lafourche Comet bought out the press and later became the Daily Comet. Thus ended my first venture in journalism.
I must have been good however, because here it is only 50 years later and I’m asked to write another one.
To begin, for the generations who don’t know me, or care, (must be a whole bunch), a short biography. I was born August 4, 1929, the year of the big crash. They still don’t know if I caused the Great Depression or the depression caused me.
My father Roosevelt (named after Teddy, not FDR) was a fisherman and my mother Helen, (named after her grandmother, Helen Cox), was a housewife. I have only one sibling, my sister Betty who now lives in Lafayette, and has three daughters, Vickie, Ann, and Amy.
In 1942, we moved to New Orleans where my dad worked at Higgins Industries building landing crafts during World War II. He left trawling during the 1938 shrimp strike that is depicted in Glen Pitre’s movie “$8.50”.
When the war ended, we moved back to Golden Meadow where I graduated from Golden Meadow High School in 1946. There were only 11 grades then.
The house I was born in was then in Golden Meadow. When they incorporated the town, we were left out by 2 city blocks. It later became Galliano, but our address then was Cut Off, so, technically I lived in three towns without moving more than 600 feet from where I was born.
Guess that didn’t hurt when I later ran for public office.
My first job after graduation was in the oil fields working for Jimmie Wood, wildcatter. The local boys did not get the better jobs, so one day, when I was 17, after hauling pipes knee deep in mud, I came home and waiting with my dad was Edless Ledet of General Seafood, a Boston company having a base in Golden Meadow with boats named “40 Phantom No. 1, No. 2,” etc.
I left a $50 a week job for $25 a week, but oh joy … out of the mud, and behind a desk as a filing clerk.
When General Seafood closed their base, I went to work for Golden Meadow Diesel, Mr. Joe Bagala and Harold Rome for $30 a week as a stock clerk.
In 1952, my best friend, Dick Guidry ran for State Representative and I played music and wrote campaign songs for him. He won by 17 votes and became and still was the youngest member ever elected to that body.
When he passed away recently, we lost a great public servant who did so much for our area. I miss him a lot.
Anyway, Dick had promised the people of South Lafourche to station a driver’s license examiner here so they would not have to go to Thibodaux.
Gov. Bob Kennon, a reformer, had passed a driver’s license law requiring written and oral exams to obtain a license. In the past, a license was only a revenue law and you could get one out of any deputy sheriff or state trooper from the front seat of his car. (More about that and my political and musical experiences in future columns.)
If you wish to comment, good or bad, I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. See, I don’t hide my age.
Join me next week and remember cher, you pinch the tail and suck the head, not the other way around!
Posted on Wed, July 30, 2014
by Leroy Martin, Contributing Writer