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Birthdays, fan mail and opinions, Part II

Birthdays, fan mail and opinions, Part II

Last week I wrote how thousands of my letters, postcards and telegrams received through the years were washed away in Hurricane Hilda’s flood, but the ones criticizing me were saved and hung on my wall.

Some were responses to “Letters to the Editor” sent by me which I kept records and newspaper clippings of, a total of 25.

They were ALL published, possibly because they were humorous and sarcastic about current issues or tributes to departed friends. They appeared in the Comet, Courier, Gazette, Billboard magazine and even the British journal “Blues Unlimited”.

I previously wrote how Joe Silverberg used one as his editorials of the week in the Daily Comet in 1968.

Only three were sent to the New Orleans Times Picayune or the New Orleans States-Item and all three were printed with pictures of the subjects added by the editors (see montage). For cleaner copies, send me a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope to 150 West 214 St., Galliano, La. 70354) and I’ll mail you all three.

One was about the “Filthy Rich”, an accusation that was hurled then as now, one about cancellation of the “L’il Abner” comic strip, and one about the New Orleans downtown Mississippi River bridges that had just opened.

They were satirical and not to be taken seriously. The editors understood this because they called to verify and informed me they enjoyed the humor. Many readers however did not and they responded pro and con. One letter printed by the Picayune called me “stupid” for my opinion. Many readers would probably “Amen” that but here are brief summaries.

“Crescent City Connection” bridges. That was a doozy. The name had been selected in a contest and the issue was settled and everybody knew it. I was just expressing my opinion as to what I thought it should have been called. The outgoing one the “Chep” span after DeLesseps “Chep” Morrison, New Orleans’ late, great mayor and three times unsuccessful candidate for Governor, and the incoming, the “Dutch” span in honor of Ernest “Dutch” Morial, New Orleans’ first African-American Mayor.

Perfectly innocent, right? You would have thought I shot the Pope! Pros and cons came in from both sides. The Picayune printed a few and the editor called me to share the humor.

POTUS, Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Human Resources Joseph Califano, Jr. stated that a bill in congress to help with college tuition would only help the “Filthy Rich”.

Since I had two kids in college it would help me so I listed my salary and sarcastically questioned if I could afford the yacht, mansion and Rolls Royce I needed to maintain my new status of “Filthy Rich”.

The editor printed a few responses which urged my boss, Lafourche Parish Assessor Hubert P. Robichaux, to raise my salary. I caught hell for that since he assumed I had publicly complained about my salary, which was not the case. I was forgiven.

The “L’il Abner” letter complained about the comic strip being cancelled because the paper considered cartoonist Al Capp too conservative. It was replaced by “Doonesbury” which was drawn by left wing activist Gary Trudeau. The news media supported liberal causes? So what else is new?

Many responses, pro and con to that one.

Through the years there were many favorable, positive, approving and commending comments about me in newspapers and heard on radio but I will not list them. Why? Well, maybe because I am humble and modest, but mainly because they were political ads when I was running for public office.

You need praise to win an election even if I had to pay for it myself. My dime! Well, they were probably all true anyhow. There were some not-so-nice ones about me also but I unselfishly let my opponents pay for those. Anyway, I prevailed!

Today I keep my political opinions to myself, well more than then anyway. But I will make one now. Quote “I am 100% sure that I am 0% sure that I haven’t a clue as to who’s going to win the Presidential election.” Unquote!

Next week, a letter on the wall and interviews of famous folks. Bye now!

Comments are welcomed at: leroymartin1929@gmail.com