March 3, 2013
At Fred’s Lounge, you arrive early if you want to sit. It opens at 7:30 and we were there. In the back corner was a couple we recognized (right) from our visit in 2010. They’ve been coming here every Saturday morning “forever” to dance. No one sits in “their” corner. He taught me the Cajun step in 2010. He told me then, it’s unfair, but the woman dances backward almost the whole time. His wife confided she has a bad knee and doesn’t dance every dance anymore. I have no idea of their age, but their warmth and affection for each shows as they dance. They are a treasure.
This very informative guy was my seatmate. He is Lewis Landreneau, a regular who knows all the band members and most of the people who come in. His uncle, Cyprien Landreneau played Mamou’s lounge at one time. He showed me his picture on the wall.
He looks like a fun character with a seegar in his mouth.
We watched the band set up.
The drummer has a handful of sticks in his right hand and a case of others to choose from. What do I know? I thought a drummer had one set of sticks and a couple of spares in case one broke.
Everywhere you look, the lounge is covered with pictures. It is fun to look at them, even if you don’t know who they are.
Tante Sue made a pass through the bar after visiting with her “rest home” friends. She is a volunteer at a local rest home and makes her rounds every day. In the bar they spell auntie Tante. On the wall of ovations they spelled it Tauntie? Everyone likes to have their picture taken with her and she enjoys her legendary status.
Later on, when the bar got really busy, she came back to lend a hand. She plays her accordian on her shirt, and she wears her signature holster from which she sips and wipes the bottle and hands it around if anyone wants a sip. In 2010, when she sold a bottle, she would taste it before passing it on to the customer. And, later still she sang (in French) with the band, talked on the radio, and reiterated her rules for the lounge. One I forgot to mention in my blog yesterday, is the NO MOUTH KISSING. That’ll get you thrown out of the place. You can kiss on the cheek while dancing, that’s it.
She passed around cooked boudin sausage, which is seasoned pork and rice in a casing, wonderful stuff to eat. We took one piece and she insisted we get a napkin and take four more pieces. We normally don’t eat pork, but in Southern Louisiana, all such dietary rules are tempbypassed.
The accordion player is Don Fontenoc according to Lewis. The band is Friends Of Louisiana. His accordion has the signature crawfish design of Martin Accordions, a place we visited and enjoyed in 2010 as well.
I enjoyed watching the band, the dancers and the people. I took a couple of pictures before the dance floor got too crowded.
This old bow-legged cowboy comes roaring through the door dancing and makes hardy round of the floor before he grabs a brew. A regular, his name is Herman and he really whoops it up. He dances with all the women, young and old and there is no doubt he is having a grand time. When he does a jig I tried to get a video, but about the time you get it started, he’s done with the jig.
After awhile the bar gets so loud you have to shout, even to get a drink. This cute bartender was working our last visit. What a fun time to be sipping a bloody mary, enjoying the music and the circus going on all around you. Loved it! Thank you Tante Sue for your wonderful hospitality.
Then as we were leaving Mamou, a couple of riders were passing the motor home, just like in my hometown of Murphys. We moved on to Eunice to see a show with new friends from Lake Charles. I’ll blog it tomorrow.
March 2, 2013
Folk Music has an honored place in the music world, but somehow, Swamp Pop is ignored. It came up out of Southern Louisiana, where it was born, and spread unevenly in popularity all over the U.S. The flags show in the millions. As a teen in California I remember many of the songs I saw and heard in the Swamp Pop Music Museum in Ville Platte. Great memories and traditions. I just didn’t know much about the individuals and how it developed.
French Cajuns had some strange-sounding words and names. Tongue twisters for radio announcers, so they developed suitable compilations of their names, shortened, easy. There was also some hesitation from the performers because of their unique language, a blending of English and French and some African lingo thrown in. It suited the community from which it sprung and grew but they were punished for it when they attended school.
Some of these great performers were on the charts along with Elvis Presley. I just look at Dale and Grace and hear “I’m leaving it all up to you.ooh.ooh..you decide, whatcha gonna do…”
“Graduation Night” TK Hulin. I did not remember his name until I came here. They have a huge collection of 45′s you can listen to.
They sell out a Swamp Pop Reunion every year here in Ville Platte. Wish we had made it. All the living greats return. I hope PBS revives their music like they have the old rock n’ roll groups and folk singers. I’m going to call Sacramento PBS and see if they have plans to do it and point them to Southern Louisiana, the berceau of Swamp Pop.
They have artifacts and autographs and other things to enjoy. It is a small museum. But, it is the music that you remember. Freddy Fenders, “Until The Last Teardrop Falls..” Warren Storm’s “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights”. Tommy Mc Clain’s, “Sweet Dreams.” Such fun.
Wikipedia has an in-depth article on the origins of Swamp Pop (above).
We moved on to Mamou to catch Fred’s Lounge in the morning. Jim just happened to meet Tauntie Sue coming out the back door. Jim asked if it was okay to park on the side street. She said,”No, come park at my house, I just live down the street. I can hook you up with power.”
She is such a sweet and generous soul. We visited Fred’s Lounge in 2010 and Sue was still tending bar in the lounge she and her husband opened in 1946. Fred died in 1992 and Sue has kept it going for all day Saturday, drinking and dancing to a live Cajun band that is broadcast live on radio. She told us she quit tending bar, but she goes every Saturday, sets up and enjoys the music and the patrons. The popularity of the place started when Charles Kuralt stopped there and made a segment about the bar for his television show. It has grown and grown ever since.
This historical plaque is posted on the building.
Jim’s visited Mamou several times but had never walked around the town. We found a square put up by the local rotary club, honoring the Cajun Music Capital of the World.
A huge mural lines one wall of the square. This is a wedding scene. I love the little boy clacking spoons to the music on the porch. Very realistic beginnings for some Cajun musicians. Making the table in the yard ready for the food to follow. (You can double-click pictures to make them larger.)
And, on that same wall, twelve people honored for promoting and identifying the passion and spirit of Cajun music that have made Mamou the Cajun Music Capital of the World. I tell you, Southern Louisiana is all about good music and good food and friendly people. Taunte Sue is the only woman on the wall.
We walked Main St., which isn’t very long. Manuel’s Bar across the street from Fred’s Lounge started the same year, 1946. We talked to the son of the original owner who we met on the street. This sign was on their window. I liked the “drama” part.
Tauntie Sue’s rules are No Swearing, No Fights, No dancing on the tables. We stayed all day last time, and everyone danced, drank, ate from the jambalaya cooked up out back by some volunteers, and had a great time. No one got drunk and out of line. Tauntie Sue suggested a great restaurant, right across from her Lounge. But, they weren’t open when we were hungriest and we ate Tasso stew at home instead. And some shrimp with Jack Miller’s cocktail sauce for an appetizer. Good stuff!
November 18, 2012
Mary remains at home in California tending to medical issues. She had successful carotid artery surgery on Wednesday, returned home Thursday and is in the process of recuperation.
Yesterday I drove the motorhome the about 80 miles from San Angelo to Brady, Texas.
The motorhome is parked at VFW Post #3234. I’ll depart later this morning.
As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…
Brady refers to itself as “The Heart of Texas”, as it is the closest city to the geographical center of the state.
The museum traces the history of Country Music through displays containing stage costumes, musical instruments and personal effects of more than 100 performers. The museum is manned by volunteers such as Mary Wittmer who was on duty while I was there…
Here are some of the other photos that I rook…
Sorry about the reflections in the following photos as just about everything is behind glass and the reflections can not be avoided…
Here is the museum’s official website link…
Enjoying interesting museums is another joy in the life of a full-time RVer!
As always, I like to show the view from the dinette window…
If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2012
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July 2, 2010
Ken, his wife Laurie, three teens and two dogs left Las Vegas at 4 A.M. and arrived around three P.M. Thursday. Over 9 hours of driving with a couple of rest stops.
Consider totally jet lagged Romain Chemiere, who flew from his native France to Las Vegas and arrived Wednesday. He slept most of the day and evening June 30th, only to be loaded into a car with my son’s family for a long road trip yesterday. He is the son of Catherine (Carre) Chemiere. She is the AFS sister to my youngest daughter Virginia.
Romain will spend a month with family members in the US.
Grandson Stewart was hep. He brought his uke and guitar, so we are in for a treat. He and his brother are both credible musicians.
Son Ken did most of the driving and was stifling yawns and struggling to stay awake.
Makes you wonder if dogs suffer jet lag? Probably not. They just seem to go with the flo. They do bark, however, but this pregnant doe browsed the weedy side yard for a snack when all was a bit quiet.
Deer are pretty common visitors, but the night before, we determined we had a noisy, growling, grunting bear in the yard. Possibly two. Couldn’t see clearly in the dark, to be certain. A neighbor dog inspected the yard with his hackles up for several minutes in the morning. And, every dog in the neighborhood was sounding an alarm. They’ve been spotted nearby. Its the time of year before the wild blackberries ripen, my orchard isn’t fruiting either. Its their hungriest time. They like the compost pile and other succulent plants. We just have to hope they don’t like dogs for snacks.
February 9, 2010
“The lady must keep her legs stiff and slide backward. The man takes a step backwards once in awhile just to give her some relief. Its a glide. Then the two-step is the same but you still glide.”
I got the hang of it. Luckily, Fred’s wooden floor had some type of fine dust to assist the dancers, especially people like me who wore tennis shoes. The liberty theatre floor is wonderful old plank hardwood, excellent for dancing. They did vaudeville shows in this place at one time. Beautiful place. The entrance is unique with etched glass front doors.
We said goodbye to Eunice on Sunday and drove to Westwego for a two week stay at Bayou Segnette State Park. The weather is beautiful. Got the bikes down since the paths here are bike friendly with little auto traffic. Looking forward to New Orleans, great food, Mardi Gras and a host of other activities in the days to come.