Your Community Newspaper - Larose, LA

Serving Raceland, Gheens, Lockport, Valentine, Larose, Cut Off, Galliano, Golden Meadow, Leeville, & Grand Isle

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017



In A Small Pond

  • A fond farewell

    Goodbye and farewell are sad words and usual spoken when parting from a friend or discarding mementos of a failed romance. But when a dentist pulls out an absessed tooth or a podiatrist relieves you of an ingrown toenail you can usually sing “Na! Na!   Read More...

  • Drums and Farewell

    Next week will be my last column for the Lafourche Gazette. The reason: sickness. My readers got sick of me.   Read More...

  • Tragedy in Cajun Land

    I took a break from my column last week and nobody noticed. Well, maybe a few cooks and homemakers might have noticed they had one less newspaper sheet to wrap shrimp hulls the next day.There are columns in The Lafourche Gazette which are more substantial like Rev. Todd who can enhance your faith and Mr.   Read More...

  • The Photo Shoot

    I called Vin Bruce two days before the photo shoot for his first Swallow LP which had been released with a plain cover. 

    It was being recalled by the company to be rewrapped and reissued with a full color picture due to high volume sales.   Read More...

  • The Photo Shoot

    I called Vin Bruce two days before the photo shoot for his first Swallow LP which had been released with a plain cover. 

    It was being recalled by the company to be rewrapped and reissued with a full color picture due to high volume sales.   Read More...

  • Flat Town U.S.A.

    “Floyd’s Record Shop, Jin/Swallow Records and Flat Town Music Company were founded by Floyd Soileau in 1956 and 1957 respectively, and were cultivated from a part-time job selling records to supplement his radio disc jockey income at KVPI in Ville Platte, Louisiana. His record sales become so popular that he decided to leave the radio station to sell and produce records, and the rest, as they say, is history”. (John Broven, British author of “South to Louisiana” a h...  Read More...

  • Enter Doc Guidry

    Doc Guidry, fiddle in hand, met Vin Bruce and me at Orleans Theriot’s bar in Golden Meadow at 5 p.m. one Sunday in 1960.Vin had met him once at a Jimmy Davis rally in Golden Meadow and I had backed him with my band in the 1950’s at a St. Bernadette church fair in Gray, Louisiana, where he was the featured artist.Doc was at the peak of his fame then, having a Decca Records hit, “Chere Cherie”, backed with “Little Fat Man”, two songs he had written.   Read More...

  • The Recording Session

    We had to record 12 Cajun numbers for a Vin Bruce vinyl LP, all songs we knew so I thought it would be a walk in the park. Wrong!There was no fiddle player anywhere in our area capable of such a task, so Wilbur Robichaux came to mind. He once played with the Southern Playboys, a top country band from Houma in the 40’s/early 50’s, now long disbanded.   Read More...

  • Radio Daze IV - Enter Floyd Soileau

    For 25 years I was a part of the recording industry. A small, minor, irreverent, paltry, unimportant, minuscule part, but a part never the less. It’s more, but that’s my thesaurus limit describing insignificant.It started with Edison cylinders, then 10-inch shellac 78 rpm disks with a small hole to 7-inch 45 rpm discs with a large hole to 12-inch 33 rpm L.P.   Read More...

  • Radio Daze, III - Enter Roy Vicknair

    Roy Anthony Vicknair was born in New Orleans on January 24, 1937, then moved to Houma and finally LaPlace where he died at 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, 2015 of complications caused by Parkinson’s disease.He was survived by his wife of 55 years, Linda, and daughters Ann, Judy and Diane, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.I want to acquaint you with my good friend before I tell our story.He retired in 1999 after 40 years in radio broadcasting on KLFT AM Golden Meadow, KTIB AM T...  Read More...

  • Radio Daze, II

    K.T.I.B. had bought a studio on wheels for remote broadcast which contained an all-inclusive studio with a board, turntables and all equipment necessary to broadcast from anywhere, along with an audience-friendly back window through which we could stare and be stared back at. I rode it on its third remote but I forget where it was. There!  Read More...

  • Radio Daze

    I was the first announcer to broadcast a live remote from the Thibodaux Fireman’s Fair in 1955. It was held on a former baseball field the Evangeline League Thibodaux Giants played on from 1946 to 1952. This was before the firemen got their own fairground.I had done a few K.T.I.B.   Read More...

  • Housekeeping and Sports

    My column is often snail-mailed or emailed to friends and relatives I write about who do not receive the Lafourche Gazette. I often hear from them.Example: In a recent column about the tragic drowning at 19 of my grade school friend Curtis Leblanc, I lacked his picture. I later heard from his sister and relatives who were mailed the column and they kindly sent one.I always post the column on my Facebook page for friends who live outside TLG distributing area and I ask my many FB friends to do th...  Read More...

  • 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, Co...  Read More...

  • Another birthday, fan mail and opinions

    I had a birthday on August 4th turning 87. I didn’t turn it, want it, need it or request it, but I got it, earned it, passed it and accepted it … grudgingly!Being born in 1929 means that I had a toehold or a firm grip in ten decades. Inconceivable!   Read More...

  • A Special Editorial

    Today’s column is about an editorial, a true story about a special event in my “Musical, Political and Cultural Memoirs”.

    I’ve always had opinions about events of the day and was never afraid to express them on radio, newspapers or publically. Some of them came back to bite me.  Read More...

  • Listeners, Watchers and Readers

    Before I begin, I need to make a correction from last week’s column: The publicity director of the Gheens Foundation is Kathy Knotts, not Knox. 

    I guess her golden smile reminded me of where America keeps its gold. My bad.Parts of today’s column recalls and adds to earlier “In a Small Pond” articles I remembered new stuff about. I watched, again, “The Will Rogers Story” where Will is portrayed by his son Will, Jr.   Read More...

  • Charitable Foundations, Part II

    When recalling dining with Mr. & Mrs. C.   Read More...

  • Dining with the Gheens

    In America, millionaires often establish foundations to distribute some of their wealth to charitable organization. They are called philanthropists. I knew the meaning but not the spelling.   Read More...

  • Zip Code 70355

    Prologue:“Listen to a story about a man named Jed,A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,Then one day he was shooting at some food,And up through the ground came a bubbling crude.Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.Now a millionaire, Jed moved away from there.” (Excerpts from “Beverly Hillbillies” theme song.)My analytical mind finds similar parallels with the song and my main subject, with exceptions: “Poor Mountaineer”. My subject was not poor but the...  Read More...

  • Campaign songs

    Last week I wrote about Lafourche Parish’s geography but today it’s about Lafourche’s politics in the 1960’s.I entered politics by writing campaign songs for various candidates and as Chief Deputy Assessor, I still wrote a few, some anonymously if those candidates were opposed by my employer. Then as now, a buck was a buck but I knew who buttered my bread.I also wrote for friends running for civic club offices, Including fellow employee Lillian Duet for Business and Profe...  Read More...

  • Geography and Government, Course 101

    Lafourche Parish is geographically long and lean, over 100 miles in length but only 15 miles at its widest point. It is crowned northwest to northeast by the holy quartet of Assumption, St. James, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles parishes; southeast to the Gulf of Mexico by Jefferson Parish and west by Terrebonne Parish, which translated from French means “good earth” even though, like Lafourche, it is more water than earth.  Read More...

  • An Autobiography and Friends

    I love to read biographies and autobiographies of famous folks. Unauthorized bios more so because they show warts and all while autos are sometimes self-serving and biased, (although I don’t know anyone writing about their own past lives guilty of that. Really?)I recently read Carole King’s 2013 autobiography.  Read More...

  • Retirement, a Column and an Exhibit

    On January 31, 2000, I retired as Lafourche Parish Assessor after sixteen years which ended my 47 years of employment in that office. My son, Michael, succeeded me and served until his untimely death in 2014. He was succeeded by his chief deputy, current Assessor Wendy Thibodeaux.The assessor is one of four courthouse officials along with the parish president, sheriff and clerk of court.   Read More...

  • Something to brag about...

    “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in so many ways.” (Line from a Ray Stevens song.)

    Humble? Me? My friends profess I have much to be humble about, but although this column may be considered narcissistic, it’s all true and verifiable in my files and tapes. My responses to reporters are unorthodox so read at your own peril.  Read More...

  • Recording at Cosimo

    Huey Meaux and Mickey Gilley saw me walk in at Cosimo’s with my Fender bass.“What is that?,” Huey yelled in a mike.“My new bass guitar,” I answered.“No! No!,” he continued. “You and your old bass have recorded hits for me and I want that sound.   Read More...

  • Trouble Ahead?

    The year was 1961 and I was an unemployed musician and I didn’t want to be. My full time and part time jobs brought home the bacon, paid the mortgage, the car and other notes but I felt unfulfilled without music in my life. Hold your horses!  Read More...

  • Ed, Henry, Baseball and Beauty Pageants

    In 1954, the members of my band “The Rebels” were Louis Breaux on steel, Terry France (deceased) on drums, and Edward Barker, Jr. on trumpet.

    Ed, still in his teens, was from Lockport, born in 1937. He was a fine young man with red hair, and although short in stature he was tall in likeability and personality.  Read More...

  • A white sport coat and a pink ‘carnation’ slip

    I felt great that Saturday evening driving to join my band at the College Inn in Thibodaux. This was less than one year after I had joined “The Dominoes” and just that morning I had negotiated a record contract with Floyd Soileau of Jin Records to record the band with me singing one song and bandleader Leroy Trosclair’s brother Errol the other.  Read More...

  • The Dominoes

    I had learned to play electric bass (somewhat) so now I had to find a band desperate enough to hire me.
    In 1959 I first heard a rhythm and blues band from Houma at the College Inn in Thibodaux. They were formerly called the “Shadows”, now the “Dominoes”, both names meant to sound African-American, which were the popular bands of the times, but the band was lilly-white.


      Read More...

  • Encyclopedias and the Electric Bass

    My encyclopedias have been donated with assurance they will gather children, not dust.

    How did I acquire two sets? With three kids in elementary school a mutual friend approached my wife, wore her down and made a sale. At the time I was holding down a full time and two part time jobs and playing music three nights a week, trying to accumulate my first million. Didn’t happen!


      Read More...

  • Down Musical Memory Lane, II

    Song: “You Always Hurt The One You Love.” The Mills Brothers

    I ended last week’s column the following way: “Next week I’ll tell you how, in anger, I harmed the neck of, and abandoned my faithful companion of 15 years, and how I sought and found a new, prettier and younger one.”I’m a fiend, right? Not!

    I just wanted you to anticipate this column.   Read More...

  • Down Musical Memory Lane

    This column contains memories, observations, laments and comments, all true, but take the humor with a grain of salt because I don’t take myself too seriously and neither should you.

    I played music for forty years and was either good, average, mediocre, pedestrian, so-so or inferior … all evaluations I received through the years. Ever hear me? Pick one.

    In 1986, I left the music business to devote full time to my new job, Lafourche Parish Assessor, thanks to the kind voters.  Read More...

  • Hogey, me and the bomb!

    The following is true but written with intended humor.Through the years I have written or co-written over 130 songs as a registered B.M.I., (Broadcast Music, Inc,), songwriter.I’m not bragging or boasting although in my past I probably have been guilty of both.

    But my past is what “In a Small Pond” is about.  Read More...

  • Back to the Future (?)

    “Ain’t it funny, how time slips away?” Willie Nelson

    “The past is always there, telling us, this time get it right.” Leslie Chang

    “The present was once the days we longed for and will soon be the ones we miss.” J. Ashley

       Read More...

  • And Life Goes On

    My career with Decca Records: …There was none!

    The “Titanic” (Country Music Industry) hit an iceberg (Rock & Roll music) in 1954 and the iceberg won! I watched as country music was nearly destroyed and the recording companies dropped 60% of their country artists, including our own Vin Bruce whose Columbia contract was terminated in 1956.   Read More...

  • Ralph Peer, Epilogue

    Quotes:“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.” S. Kierkaard“When I pronounce the word future, the first syllable already belongs to the past.” W. Szymborska“We cannot change the past but we can lie about it when telling our stories.” Eleanor Brown“Tempting, but not for me.   Read More...

  • Picnic in the park and W.S.M.

    A fried chicken picnic in the park is as traditional in Nashville as a shrimp, crab or crawfish boil is to a Cajun, so that’s what the Martin family treated us to the Friday before we left.

    That we were Catholic meant nothing to them. So we ate chicken and promised to confess to our priest back home.   Read More...

  • A seafood banquet and recording sessions

    The Cajun seafood banquet prepared by Raleigh Pitre and Leonce “Ferin” Duet for the Troy Martin family was a feast fit for a king with shrimp cocktail, crab salad, gumbo, skillet fried redfish, fried shrimp and oysters, shrimp creole, and Cajun bread pudding.

    Everything was devoured, although the kids passed on the gumbo because a crab claw was sticking out.   Read More...

  • There were five Musketeers

    “A bunch of the boys were whooping it up, in the Malamute saloon” … the opening line from the famous poem

    “The Shooting of Dan McGrew and the Lady known as Lou” by Robert Service.

    Not my story! Actually we were only five and it was the Bellevue Hall in Cut Off, not the Malamute Saloon in Alaska.  Read More...

  • Paper, scissors or rock?

    If you are a first time or casual reader, here are a few facts about me you might find interesting. Or not.I am a Cajun, a descendant of the “Grand Derangement”, the deportation of French Acadians from Canada in 1755 who settled in South Louisiana.

    We were despised immigrants who eventually assimilated and became accepted despite our different language and customs .I could not speak a word of English when I entered school in 1936.  Read More...

  • “Cadet, that’s a pelican, not an aircraft!”

    My “Cajuns in Nashville” story will continue next week but I just had a flash back memory that I must nail down.

    Memories do not recur in chronological order and sometimes they never come back. Important memories like marriages, births, deaths and graduations are never forgotten, but it’s the insignificant ones that fall through the cracks.   Read More...

  • Cajuns in Nashville

    After my column deadline last week, a weird coincidence occurred. Liz Simoneaux Dorsey, a teacher from Lafayette posted on Facebook an old Lafourche Comet clipping reporting five South Lafourche Cajuns’ visiting Nashville.  Read More...

  • Harry Simoneaux, Sr., Troy Martin and me

    By pure luck I had appeared on the Ernest Tubb “Midnight Jamboree”, but that’s not the reason Dudley Bernard, Reilly Pitre, Leonce “Fee-Ran” Duet, Harry Simoneaux, Sr., and I were in Nashville in March of 1952.

    Through the years I have been asked many times: “Have you ever tried Nashville?”Been there, done that, and as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”  Read More...

  • The Texas Troubadour, Epilogue

    Sunday morning, March 4, 1952, the Cajuns headed home from Nashville as I sipped a beer while sadly staring out the window.“Cheer up, Lee,” Dudley said.

    “You sang on key and on beat, just like I taught you,” he added with a broad smile.“Yeah, Dud,” I answered, “but nobody heard me. I had no time to call my friends and relatives back home.”

    When Vin Bruce sang on the Grand Ole Opry, Galliano’s Manuel Toups hired a sound truck to announce it throughout South Lafourche.   Read More...

  • Nashville, Ernest Tubb and the “Midnight Jamboree”

    Two years before he died in a plane crash in Alaska, the great Will Rodgers wrote about the death of his “distant son” as he called Jimmie Rodgers. “He eased the hardships of the Great Depression with his songs.” Will’s words were sacrosanct, so it’s logical to assume that Ernest Tubb’s songs eased the hardships of World War II which could not be alleviated, expunged or erased, but just easing them helped soothe many broken hearts and dreadful memories. I met Ernest Tubb 12 times between 1943 an...  Read More...

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Le Bon, Le Mauvais et Les Vee-Lan) (E.T., me and the 3)

    “Ernest loved his fans and they loved him back fourfold.” - George D. Hay, WSMB’s solemn old judge.

    “Ernest Tubb set a high bar for country entertainers: sign every autograph!” - Garth Brooks.

    “No one loved his fans more than Ernest Tubb.” - Johnny Cash.  Read More...

  • The Texas Troubadour, Partie Numero Deux

    World War II basically ended on April 30, 1945 with a self-inflicted bullet to Adolph Hitler’s head, the best destination in the world for that bullet at that time. The war ended for Japan on August 15, 1945, with a big bang, to say the least. Ernest Tubb had been on a roll since “Walking the Floor” in 1941, taking the Cajuns, the nation and most of the world by storm with ten straight hit records.   Read More...

  • The Texas Troubadour

    “I’ll ride this train, ‘till I find out, what Jimmie Rodgers was all about.” Lynyrd Skynyrd“

    There’s only been 3 stylists in the 20th century, Al Jolson, Jimmie Rodgers and me.” Jerry Lee Lewis

    “Jimmie Rodgers was one of my greatest influences.” Elvis Presley  Read More...

  • Jimmie Rodgers--A New Beginning

    “Jimmie Rodgers, ‘The Father of Country Music’, a heavy load for a scrawny, tubercular ex-railroader who set out only to prove to Meridian, Mississippi, that he wasn’t the shiftless no-count they all thought he was.” - Professor Nolan Porterfield.“

    His was the music of America. He sang the songs the people loved. We listened.   Read More...

  • Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers, Epilogue

    On Wednesday, March 15, 1950, I had lunch at Antoine’s in New Orleans with Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers and we were to have dinner at Arnaud’s, but my day was interrupted with a call to National Guard duty.

    We would meet again May 26, 1953 in Meridian, Mississippi, but this column is about my visit with her and her daughter Anita Rodgers Court and grandson Jimmie Dale Court in San Antonio, Texas, in 1961.  Read More...

  • Mrs. Jimmie Rodgers

    If you’ve read my columns you know I’m a sucker for famous quotes from famous folks and I use one whenever it fits my column.

    Examples: From movies: “Here’s looking at you, Kid”, “I’ll be back”, and “Run, Forrest, Run”; from world leaders: “Nothing to fear but fear, itself”, “I Shall Return”, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”, and Paul Revere, who shouted, “Faster, you old nag, we got a nation to save”, … I made that one up---but here’s one that connects.  Read More...

  • Remembering Jimmie Rodgers, Part III

    In 1947, I was still foraging barns, attics, storerooms, trunks and even hen houses hoping to find Jimmie Rodgers records and beg, borrow, barter or buy them.

    I had quite a collection but realized I knew little about the man, so I interrogated my mother, relatives and anybody who remembered his era and career.   Read More...

  • Remembering Jimmie Rodgers, Part II

    My quest researching Jimmie Rodgers was an attempt to rescue him from the obscurity where American music history had delegated him.

    I was not Captain Ahab seeking the white whale because Jimmie had already been harpooned … by tuberculosis.  Read More...

  • Remembering Jimmie Rodgers

    In the 1920’s and 1930’s, home entertainment was a hand-cranked phonograph. Records were ten-inch black wax discs with a hole and label in the middle, had songs on both sides and spun at 78 revolutions per minute, (RPMs).

    It was fragile, broke easily, cost 75 cents and bargain labels with lesser artists cost 35 cents.  Read More...

  • Hosea Hill’s Sugar Bowl

    In 1964 Bob Dylan’s anthem “The Times They Are A-Changin’” warned America and Cajunland a new era was coming. It would be named the “Hippie” generation.

    The “Greatest” generation had fought and won World War II and brought peace (for a while) and prosperity to America and the Cajuns, but it was now the “Post War” generation and I was a member.  Read More...

  • “Marty and Mitch”

    By 1954 teenagers of all racial denominations were beginning to listen to a genre of music relatively unknown among the white population.

    The music industry listed it as “race” but a new name was soon attached -- “Rhythm and Blues”.  Read More...

  • Revolutions per minute and due bills

    My friendship with Hal Benson continued through 1954.

    As my mentor he taught me broadcasting tips on editing and reading news coming over the Associated Press teletype 24/7, doing remote broadcasts, cueing, handling and playing records which were the main commodity and product of KTIB, the “Voice Of The Golden Delta.”(FYI: In 1954 records were still 10-inch, 78 revolutions per minute (RPM) hard plastic discs which were very breakable.)  Read More...

  • Radio Days

    It’s been said that “they who do not study history are bound to repeat it” and there are some things that should not be repeated, like a depression, the “Dust Bowl” or World War II.

    Here’s a brief history.Once upon a time there was a place that had no IPhones, ITunes, IPads, I-Hops, Internet, Amazon, Facebook or even television, and I was born and raised smack dab in the middle of it. It was called the Cajun Land of Louisiana.   Read More...

  • Hal, KTIB and me

    Having been challenged in court since 1948 by radio station KCIL in Houma, La Terre, Inc., Ferdinand Block, President and partners Joe Silverberg, Ed Jackson and Sam Lawson finally obtained an FCC license and an engineer, Art Backman, who built and put KTIB on the air on December 24, 1953.On December 20, 1953, Mr. Block came to the Assessor’s office and asked me to host a Saturday afternoon program on KTIB. So, that Christmas Eve, I knocked off at noon from the Assessor’s office and met Mr.   Read More...

  • Hal Benson

    The name “Hal” is not a nickname in my family - it is a tribute to a friend who inspired and mentored me and being only 6 years older, he became the big brother I never had. We named our first born Michael Hal Martin, and Mike and Tammy named their only child Hal Michael Martin. Actually, my friend’s real name was not Hal.   Read More...

  • Chain Ballots

    The landmark elections of 1952 and 1953 marked the beginning of the end of “tickets”, poll watchers, voter haulers and canvassers, and voting machines ended the “Chain Ballot” scam, which worked like this: A car was parked close to a precinct where a pre-coached voter received a folded blank sheet then got a real ballot from the poll commissioner. Pocketing the real ballot the blank paper was dropped into the box. Participants, because of employment, intimidation or cash, handed the real ballot ...  Read More...

  • Epilogue

    Less than a year after the “Perfect Storm” election of 1952, newly re-elected Assessor Max Rizan died and Governor Bob Kennon appointed Hubert P. Robichaux Acting Assessor and called an election for the full term.

    Qualifying were Robichaux, Irby Dugas and Roy Dupuy.The election was a rematch for the “Old Regulars” supporting Dugas, the “All Parish” supporting Robichaux and one independent running for the office.  Read More...

  • A New Election

    Hopefully last week’s column about “Louisiana Colonels” enlightened you of the absurdity of games our public officials sometimes play. This one was not expensive but others are. I’ve never been decommissioned and through four wars I was never activated.   Read More...

  • Colonels and a Canine

    This will be my 58th column, which first appeared on July 23, 2014. Although I lacked the talent, I had tried it twice before. In 1947, Mr.   Read More...

  • Names, Nicknames and Initials

    First, a personal note: On August 4th I celebrated my 86th birthday. I was overwhelmed by greetings received from mostly new friends since my old friends are nearly all gone. I composed this poem in appreciation: Merci mes Amis for remembering me, on the eighty-six years I have lasted.   Read More...

  • Drivers License Examiner, part II

    The first Drivers License Examiner in South Lafourche was now operating out of the Golden Meadow Town Hall.The town had only one jail cell located across the hall from me.

    One morning I heard: “Hey Leroy, you got a smoke?”The cell door swung open and a guy I knew said, “It’s not locked, Police Chief Bob Mayet lets me sleep one off when I drink too much across the street.  Read More...

  • The Drivers’ License Examiner

    Newly elected Governor Robert Kennon, Lafourche Senator Clyde Caillouet, and State Representatives Richard “Dick” Guidry and R.J. Soignet, were off to Baton Rouge to legislate their campaign promises.An old saying goes: “Be careful what you wish for”, which is especially true in politics!Louisiana voters like reformers occasionally but only in small doses and keeping promises carried political consequences. Kennon tried unsuccessfully to get elected again, and Clyde, Dick and R.J.   Read More...

  • Life Magazine

    Two days after the 1952 “All Parish” versus “Old Regular” Lafourche Parish election, arguably the fiercest political battle of all times, the races for sheriff and representatives were still too close to call and the poll commissioners were still counting paper ballots.

    Although most races were determined Sheriff Frank Ducos was slightly ahead of Clinton Cheramie, and Dick Guidry was 17 votes ahead of Harvey Peltier, Jr., in unofficial tabulations.

      Read More...
  • Charlie and I, political consultants?

    Charles Leblanc was born January 6, 1925 and established a practice with Tom Guzzetta in Thibodaux and South Lafourche in the early 1950’s. He went on to become Thibodaux City Judge from 1961 to 1966, was elected to the Thibodaux City Council in 1975, and his fellow council members voted him president. He was a long time attorney for the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District, which supplies Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes their water needs.   Read More...

  • Jim, Charlie and me

    Jim Swiler, an old friend from my KTIB days, died recently at age 76 on June 26.In 1967 he left Thibodaux to become news director at WTIX FM in New Orleans where I heard him covering the trial of Clay Shaw, (ref: JFK assassination), and the Howard Johnson’s hotel shooting rampage by Mark Essex that killed seven people.

    He was a Deacon in the Catholic Church and was instrumental in the creation of TV station WLAE.  Read More...

  • Political Campaign Songs II

    The world my generation inhabited in the 1950s and 60s was greatly different than today. Radio was still dominant but television would soon relagate it to a niche of only music and talk, a mere shadow of its former self. There were no PC’s, IPhones, IPads or even IHops.   Read More...

  • Campaign Songs

    In 1942, a Greyhound bus re-united me with my family in New Orleans. I had stayed behind to complete seventh grade. I enrolled at Samuel J. Peters High School, re-named Israel Augustine Middle School.

      Read More...
  • Political Wars, Part IX

    Robert Kennon won the governor’s race by a landslide in 1952, but after two days some local results were still undetermined. The Terrebonne votes for Clyde Caillouet were enough to declare him senator-elect over Leonard Toups; Max Rizan was re-elected Lafourche Parish assessor over Dave Robichaux; R.J. Soignet had won one of two state representative seats; and Dick Guidry was 17 votes ahead of Harvey Peltier, Jr., for the other.  Read More...

  • Political Wars, Part VIII

    It was 1950 … I won a car! In 1951, I was best man at my best friend Dick Guidry’s wedding and helped him campaign for State Representative.

    In 1952, he made the run-off but the second primary was brutal.At issue in the governor’s race was the philosophy of Huey-Earl/Longism, represented by Judge Carlos Spaht, and the torch of political reform carried by Judge Robert Kennon.Lafourche Parish had grudge matches.   Read More...

  • Political Wars VII

    The first primary of the 1952 election was over. Defeated candidates were licking their wounds as surviving candidates prepared for the second primary. Still standing when the smoke cleared were: (I= Incumbent.)  Read More...

  • Political Wars, Part VI

    In 1951 my only job was bandleader and I made $70 a week, compared to the $30 a week job I had quit. I had no car note because I had won a car, and room and board was on Mom and Dad. Who could ask for anything more?   Read More...

  • Political Wars, Part V

    John L. Guidry’s Galliano family was well respected and had supported the Jones/Davis political faction in the past, so when David Barker, son of defeated Sheriff Dr. Charles, re-organized the remnants of the party in 1951, he wanted as a candidate, family member Lloyd Guidry.   Read More...

  • Political Wars, Part IV

    In the Lafourche Parish Library in Galliano stand three glass exhibits of notable citizens of South Lafourche, Ervin “Vin” Bruce, Richard “Dick” Guidry and Leroy “Lee” Martin.

    All three are now or were former public officials and two are musicians.Vin and Dick certainly deserve it and while I am honored, I question my worthiness, but I am proud to say that the exhibits I stand with honor two of the best friends I ever had.  Read More...

  • Political Wars, Part III

    Last week I wrote about repercussions caused by attending political rallies. Here’s the story:In 1948 my parents were fur trapping in Myrtle Grove, Louisiana.

    Children were allowed to skip school for trapping season so my sister Betty went and I stayed with relatives.I was born during trapping season and was brought to the camp.   Read More...

  • The Political War of 1951, Part II

    Harvey Peltier, Sr. and Dave Robichaux were political icons in Lafourche Parish, both actively involved in the 1952 election and both wealthy from oil leases and royalties.

    Mr. Peltier, a young Thibodaux attorney was elected State Representative in 1924 and State Senator from 1930 to 1940, and was campaign manager of … take a deep breath … Huey Long.  Read More...

  • The Political War of 1951, Part I

    The election of 1952, my first vote, was arguably the most bitterly fought Louisiana election of the 20th century, especially in South Lafourche, where, like the Civil War, it pitted brother against brother.  Read More...

  • Pâté de Foie Gras in Washington D.C.

    In 1990 I got a call from Floyd Soileau, my song publisher.“You’re getting a call from John Brown and Mary Smith (aliases) seeking one A.S.C.A.P. and two B.M.I. songwriters to fly to Washington D.C.   Read More...

  • “Songwriters II”

    In 1915, great songwriters Irvin Berlin, Jerome Kern, John Philip Sousa and others, formed the Association of Songwriters, Composers and Producers (ASCAP) to protect songwriters’ copyrights on recordings and live performances but excluded Jazz, Blues and Country Music (called Hillbilly then) which were not considered “professional”.

       Read More...

  • Songwriters

    From time to time Vin Bruce and I have been accused of being “songwriters”.We’ve been called worse but there are songwriters and there are songwriters.

    Example: Income from just two of Taylor Swift’s recent compositions “Blank Space” and “Shake it Off” could make her rich, but she also recorded them, (more $), add her past hits, (still more $), her TV shows, endorsements, and concerts, (plenty more $$$), and she’s got enough money to buy Chicago…  Read More...

  • From Bon Jour to Who Dat

    In May of 1942, I joined my family in New Orleans after surviving 7th grade, an oil tank explosion, viewing a Nazi-torpedoed oil tanker burning in the Gulf of Mexico, and the death of three close friends, Pvt. Nolta St. Pierre and airman Arimise Cheramie, Jr, both killed in action, and Pennington St. Pierre from leukemia. I was just 13 years old.

      Read More...
  • “World War II … Epilogue”

    By 1945 the Allies were prevailing. In the Pacific our troops had captured Iwo Jima and Okinawa, but at a horrible price paid for by some of our local boys. In Europe the Germans had lost their last offensive, The Battle of the Bulge.

    My brother-in-law Parrison Guidry survived that one.   Read More...

  • WWII - Part 3

    I was still in grammar school when Arimise Cheramie, Jr., (Me Mis) was in high school. He often teased me, a sign that he liked you. He was the class clown that everybody loved, always wore a big smile and he would ruffle my hair when he saw me. (Yes, I remember when I had some).

    He was also kind and seeing me eating a sandwich without a drink, he would slip me a nickel to buy one.

      Read More...
  • World War II - Part II

    In 1942 my Dad, Roosevelt Martin, was driving his Texaco truck, loaded with 55-gallon drums of gasoline and oil to the Bayou Rigaud dock in Grand Isle. I was riding shotgun … literally!

    Because of his valuable cargo, he had been advised to bring a weapon. He found an old, rusted double barrel shotgun, not loaded, which could not have been fired even if it had been, and laid it on the seat between us.   Read More...

  • World War II, Part 1

    Starting a war as this one, the most destructive, barbaric and inhuman in the history of the world, all because of one evil, mad, psychopathic monster that the world laughed at until it was too late, or in my case a few pecks on a computer keyboard, and it begins.

    In 1941, we only received a newspaper on Sunday, so it surprised us when Dad brought one home early one Monday morning with a big black headline that read … WAR!  Read More...

  • “Mardi Gras II – High on Canal”

    In the early fifties, television was in its infancy and only seen in barrooms, dealers’ window displays or in homes of the very affluent.

    Radio was still the dominate home entertainment medium since our area had only one TV station, WDSU, showing mostly test patterns and few programs.   Read More...

  • Mardi Gras

    Last week I afflicted my poetry upon you. I hope we’re still friends, but as a lover of poems, I was born in the wrong century. The Raven, Annabelle Lee, Hiawatha, Evangeline … how glorious they were and how forgotten they are. Eh Bien!

    Gone, too, are dime novels, pulp fiction, Big Little Books, Lil’ Abner and The Shadow Knows. Fortunately, from that era, Mardi Gras lives.

      Read More...
  • Happy Valentine’s Day

    To set the mood for this column, I composed a short poem:

    Through all years and seasons, I tried to find reasons
    To gain recognition and earn it.
    On Valentine’s Day, coming this Saturday
    I might unintentionally ruin it.

      Read More...
  • Exit The Cajun

    May 8, 1972 was a hot spring day in Baton Rouge. Vin Bruce and the Acadians were playing for the first inauguration of Edwin W. Edwards as Governor of Louisiana.

    After our first set, “Happy Fat and the RayneBo Ramblers” came on playing a familiar song, “Vieux Hobo”.Vin said, “That’s my song, don’t I get paid?”  Read More...

  • Enter the Cajun

    In 1984, during my first term as Assessor of Lafourche Parish, I received a call from Las Vegas. Since I had attended a conference there a few years back and Dot and I had lost a total of $20 playing the nickel slots, I thought the casino wanted to thank me, so I took the call.On the phone was a cousin of mine who was now a close confidant of Governor Edwin Edwards.

    He said they were in Vegas on, (ahem!), “state business”, and that “Eddie” had appointed me to the Louisiana Music Commission.  Read More...

  • A new assessor and some old ones

    Last Friday, January 16th, Wendy Thibodeaux gave me the honor of swearing her in as Assessor of Lafourche Parish, the office she won in the special election of November 4th, 2014.

    I hereby disclose that I endorsed and supported her and political issues were settled on that date. I was partial.

    This column is not.

      Read More...
  • “You Are My Sunshine”

    Was anyone able to identify the presidents and governors pictured last week?What … you wrapped shrimp hulls with it? No wonder I had a craving for shrimp all week!

    From Hoover to Obama, and Long to Jindal, we went from prosperity to poverty; major war; post war prosperity; baby boomers; more wars; economical fluctuations, and whatever condition the country is in today.   Read More...

  • Remembrance

    On January 1, 2015, I entered the last half of my 90th decade. You are now reading my 25th column of “In a Small Pond”.The title comes from the second part of the saying “A Big Fish in a Small Pond”, which is used to describe a prominent person in a small community.

    To use the whole quote would have seemed egoistic on my part and heaven knows I am not that.   Read More...

  • A car, a wife, a grandson and a new war

    Like Christmas Eve, I spent forty New Year’s Eves on a bandstand somewhere, always a full house and the best paying gig of the year.Some were more notable than others.On New Year’s Eve, 1950, America was at war with North Korea. President Harry Truman called it a “Police Action” but our local boys were being drafted, shipped overseas, wounded and killed in action.I lost a cousin and classmate from our 1946 Golden Meadow graduation class, Hubert Theriot. (Je comprend Dieu!   Read More...

  • Ho! Ho! Ho! Or Bah! Humbug! It’s still Christmas Eve

    Today is Christmas Eve, a worldwide gala for Christians everywhere. This column is about celebrating Christmas, leaving the religious part in the very capable hands of my fellow columnist Rev. Wilbur Todd.

    For forty years, from 1947 to 1987, I spent every Christmas Eve on a bandstand somewhere between Houston, Texas and Mobile, Alabama, but mostly in Louisiana.   Read More...

  • A Class Act

    In 1918 a letter addressed to Arthur Scott, Principal at Golden Meadow Elementary School, Golden Meadow, Louisiana, (no zip codes then), was nervously opened by the recipient.  The first word he read was “Greetings”.

    He had been drafted into the army.America had joined World War I and Principal Arthur Scott would soon become Private Arthur Scott.Turning to his assistant, Miss Loretta McCabe, he said, “It’s all yours, I’m out of here,” or something like that.   Read More...

  • It's a Small World: Part 3

    In 1963, I held a full time job as Lafourche Parish Deputy Assessor, hosted a 5 hour Saturday radio program on K.T.I.B., maintained a part time bookkeeping job, played dance music three nights a week with my band, ‘The Vikings’, wrote a weekly column called “Gumbo File” for the Lafourche Weekly Press, mailed a weekly report on Cajun music to Billboard magazine, (remember envelopes and stamps? No fax or email then), sent my weekly Top 20 D.J. hits to Cashbox and emceed beauty pageants and other social functions.

      Read More...
  • It’s a Small World, after all, Part II

    Last week, the stories outlasted my column. Like this year, my months outlast my money.Now, more Small World …In 1942, World War II was on and we soon learned the rules and regulations to abide by. (In a future column, I will, in detail, write about how we were informed of, prepared for, affected by, endured and survived the greatest struggle and heroic event in our nation’s history.)I was in seventh grade.   Read More...

  • It’s a Small World, After All

    Segments of this column are paraphrased from a short biography of Golden Meadow by Mrs. Earl Rome, written in 1966 and located in the archives of the Lafourche Parish Public Library.The Rome family were prominent citizens of the town she writes about. Earl Rome worked for the Tamplain brothers in the shrimp and ice business.   Read More...

  • It’s the ‘Principal” of the thing

    By 1917, an elementary school had been established in Golden Meadow. The principal was Arthur Scott with assistant principal Loretta McCabe. (I encounter Mr. Scott in a future column.)

    Mr. Scott was drafted in 1918 during World War 1. Miss McCabe became principal until 1933 when Golden Meadow High School was built.  Read More...

  • Aunts, uncles, and cousins

    In 1929 my Uncle Paul Callais, Jr. was 27 and took a job as a streetcar conductor in New Orleans. He got the wandering spirit. BAD DECISION! That same year the bloody streetcar strike of 1929 began.

    Next he sold insurance for National Life, owners of Radio Station WSM (We Shield Millions) and the Grand Ole Opry. That opened many doors and he even sold my mother a policy for me before I was christened.  Read More...

  • 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.   Read More...

  • Cajun mariners and family trip

    Last column I mentioned boats, and next to oil wells and pipelines, oil field supply vessels create the major industry and tax generating entity in our parish.Lafourche Assessor Wendy Thibodeaux certified that the 2014 tax roll, to be filed in November, assessments on watercraft will amount to 40% of the entire tax roll or $49 million out of $124 million to be collected.These are the taxes that fund our schools, levees, roads, drainage, hospitals and other government functions that are necessary...  Read More...

  • Hard Hats, Ten Gallon Hats and Radio

    Although oil was struck in Leeville in 1929, jobs were scarce for Cajuns from 1938 to 1941. Better jobs were given to “Texians” who came in droves. For those with no experience in the oil field, the few jobs available were roust-abouts, basically helpers doing the hard and dirty jobs.The idea that “they take our jobs and our women” was believed justification for forming vigilante gangs to fight the outsiders, not an honorable part of our past.   Read More...

  • Sister and Godchildren

    I was an only child for eight years until my sister Betty came along and diluted my monopoly. I had to learn to share and that was hard for a brat spoiled rotten by his mother and aunt, as I was described by some family members. I refused to believe that I have ever been anything except the kind, friendly, loving soul that I turned out to be.   Read More...

  • The Interpreter

    Every Cajun family had, for want of a more descriptive name, a “Don” … not a movie Godfather “an offer you can’t refuse Don”, but a respected and trusted elder from whom the family could seek advice on financial matters, property transactions and to arbitrate disputes.   Read More...

  • Ancestors

    My grandmother, Irma Callais, said many times that our family was related to most of the people of South Lafourche and I can’t think of a better bunch of people to be related to. My family tree includes Collins, Guidry, Terrebonne, Adams, Vizier, Autin, Rousse, Plaisance, Pitre, Ledet, Sandras and Hebert, just for starters.  Read More...

  • Mom, my favorite teacher and books

    Throughout my life, my elementary school years have rested gentle on my mind. I fondly remember my dedicated teachers, Miss Nettles, Miss Bourgeois, (Mrs. Luke Cheramie), Miss Bolden, Miss Waguespack and Miss Weldon. I’m sure they were not any better than today’s teachers...  Read More...

  • Traditions

    There are no expiration dates on traditions … some end abruptly, some are erased by time and technology: street sweepers went out with the horse and buggy, gas street lights, (Thomas Edison took care of that), bingo (out by church decree), stoning, witch burning and stockades. Some traditions should have never happened and are best forgotten. Every ethnic group still has theirs … Irish have St.   Read More...

  • Hard times, good times and the Blues

    In the last two years of the 1930’s, and the first two of the 1940’s, the quality of life in Cajun Louisiana remained stable; peace but no prosperity since the Depression still had the nation in its grip.  Read More...

  • “Pop, Shrimp, and Stamps”

    First, many thanks for the emails, Facebook and land line comments, even the one from the United Arab Emirates---and that’s pretty far!This “pop rouge” story centers on the brand name M.B.C., a popular soft drink bottling company that was located in Lockport and owned by the Caillouet family.   Read More...

  • School caper, movie player and funny paper

    When I entered school in Lafourche Parish, there was no free school bus transportation or hot lunches. Coal was the fuel used for heat. There were no air conditioners or ceiling fans and it got hot long before summer vacation began.  Read More...

  • The Three R’s: Reading, Riting and Rithmetic

    I ended my column last week with “its 30 4 me”. “30” is a newspaper columnist’s sign off, meaning “end of story”. (I suppose my language can use a little brushing up, too.)   Read More...

  • Hank, Moon, Rex and Me

    Last Wednesday, a reader called to tell me that two shrimp factories and two buildings were left out of my column. As a former Assessor, I know that’s wrong so I’ll correct that in this column. First, let me say that I am a semi-successful songwriter with over 130 songs published by 9 different publishing companies, and recorded by 18 different singers of which eight are national known artists.   Read More...

  • Dance hall, flood wall and shrimp call

    In 1947, I left Golden Meadow Diesel (I remember another partner, Mr. Raymond LeLoupe, with Mr. Joe Bagala) and became a full time musician with “Dudley Bernard and the Southern Serenaders”. It was physically impossible to keep both jobs even at that young age and since I was making twice as much as a musician than as a clerk, I chose music. We were playing dances six nights a week and twice on Sunday.   Read More...

  • From Padding To Chatting

    My first column hit the street last week and nobody has yet thrown a rock through my window, so here’s number two. Fasten your seat belts---it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Last week I said that my first venture in journalism was in 1963 but I was wrong. My memory, which comes and goes, (mostly goes), came back and actually the following is my first. In 1946, the year I graduated from Golden Meadow High, I met Joe Silverberg at the G.M.   Read More...

  • A new column is coming to town

    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.  Read More...

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