Steve Workman, of Hammond, says "the recent discovery of two somewhat crumpled and faded Pat O'Brien's napkins with autographs on them" reminded him of this story from 1963:
"I had just finished the Navy's Aviation Electronics School in Millington, Tennessee, when a good friend from Franklin invited me and another pal to his home for a few days, with a stop in New Orleans on the way.
"After wandering the French Quarter a bit, we made it to Pat's for Hurricanes, Squalls and other delicacies. I saw a familiar face at another table, and stopped by to see if it really was Max McGee (the former Tulane wide receiver who, as a Green Bay Packer, caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl I).
"He was kind enough to autograph a napkin (but not kind enough to ask me and my buddies to join him. Can't imagine why…)
"After we roamed a bit more, I saw a lovely lady in a Bourbon Street establishment who seemed to have lost some of her clothes, so I went in to see if she needed help.
"She said she was fine, but did agree to autograph my other Pat O'Brien's napkin. Her name was Lili St. Cyr" (a prominent ecdysiast often featured in New Orleans strip joints).
Steve said after his big adventure in New Orleans, the guys caught the bus to Franklin, "where I met the love of my life — but that's another story…"
Cross about crossing
Nick Woods, aka "Nick at Night," joins our quest for a blues song that captures modern life in Baton Rouge — although his tune is more about trying to get TO Baton Rouge:
"Got the crossing the river at Baton Rouge blues,
Can't make it across no matter which bridge I choose.
Gonna be stuck in Port Allen for the rest of my life;
Might as well call, say goodbye to the kids and the wife.
Guess I shoulda taken the Sunshine way,
Believe I coulda made it in less than a day.
How 'bout the ferry, what could I lose?
Got the crossing the river at Baton Rouge blues.
Maybe St. Francisville;
Yeah, I got the time to kill.
Seems that would be a mighty scenic cruise,
Might even get over the crossing the river at Baton Rouge blues!"
Barbara L., of Prairieville, remembers the days of friendly neighborhood drug stores (like Dayton Drugs on Plank Road in my north Baton Rouge neighborhood) that didn't mind kids hanging around reading comics and sipping nickel Cokes:
"I recall a memory from the '50s in Baton Rouge. My little sister Jackie (now deceased) and I lived around the corner from the old Capital Drug Store on Maximillian Street.
"They had the coldest bottled Cokes in town. The owner, Mr. Sonny, was the nicest man, because we would read the comic books while drinking Cokes and put the books back on the shelf without buying, and he never told us anything.
"The Cokes were only 5 cents back then. Great memories!"
Special People Dept.
- Linnie Crayton, of Tickfaw, celebrates her 92nd birthday on Saturday, April 22.
- Katie Scalise, of Brusly, celebrates her 91st birthday on Sunday, April 23.
After I mentioned the April 18, 1945, death of World War II columnist Ernie Pyle from a sniper's bullet on the Pacific island of Ie Shima, I got this tale from John Bliss Camp:
"More years ago than I care to remember, I made daily trips from Kadena Airbase on Okinawa to Ie Shima to operate a high altitude practice bomb range.
"Visiting the Ernie Pyle Memorial was a highlight during a rather tense time.
"Seems that Ie Shima property owners had not been adequately compensated for acquisition of land used for the range, plus residents were unhappy about off-target 500-pound dummy bombs falling into the middle of their villages. (Wonder why?)
"The folks finally staged a sit-down in the center of the bomb target. I radioed the commanding officer for instruction. He replied half seriously, 'Leave them there. They are in the safest part of the island.'"