Posts Tagged With: Fats Domino

STEVENS PASS, A FOGGY CROSSING

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We left the Leavenworth area Thousand Trails headed for Stevens Pass. We got our first glimpse of a snow-covered peak.

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A second, sharper peak hove into view. But, a pass, is a pass. We will avoid those lofty, snow-covered heights.DSC01478 (Copy)

As we climbed fog rolled around the hill sides.

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Moving wisps and billows made everything beautiful.

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It teased and played with us and seemed to drop lower. In fact, it was we who were getting higher into the fog belt.

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We crossed the summit at 4,111 feet and descended into a solid bank of fog.

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Luckily, not as dense as it appeared. We drove out of it in minutes and arrived safely and happily in Western Washington.

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We are camped at Thunderbird Thousand Trails near Monroe Washington, which sits on the Snohomish River. We walked down to the river and watched the salmon spawn and jump.

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As hard as we tried we never could get a picture of one breaking the water in one of those beautiful, twisting jumps.

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About 3:00 p.m. Jim’s good friend Al Penta stopped by. An avid bicker, since we last saw him, he’s ridden bike events in Vermont, Quebec, Florida and many closer to home. His bike is his main means of transportation. His next trip will be to Cuba, by way of Cancun with a U.S. group of vets.  It was raining lightly, but avid bikers are undaunted by a bit of rain.

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Al’s girlfriend, Kim, works weekdays and lives in Seattle, so I will miss her this trip. I fly back to Murphys tomorrow.  Jim has known Al for 62 years and he told me Al knows the words to all the songs we grew up with. He got him to sing for me. Thanks Al, I never understood half the words Fats Domino said in that song Saturday Morning, until you sang it for me.

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A MOST UNUSUAL LAUNDROMAT

Jim and I visited one of the most unusual laundromats in the world. It was unusual in several ways. First, it had post office boxes in it. Old ones to be sure. The building once housed a post office. I guess the owners decided to keep that layer of history. Nice of them.

People can’t resist putting fake mail in them in the boxes.

This is the only laundromat I’ve ever seen with stained glass windows.

Fancy chairs, tables, plants and cozy little seating areas, certainly another unusual characteristic. None of the green plastic chairs. Patrons relaxed, read the news, brought their lunch.

And, how many laundromats have old time 78 records framed on their walls?

While cruising through old pictures, I decided to revisit this unusual laundromat on Rampart St. in New Orleans which was once a recording studio. Another layer of history preserved here along with pictures of some of the great rock and roll stars that recorded here. Little Richard above.

Lloyd Price—-

—and Jerry Lee Lewis. The framed pictures hang high and out of reach. The building is full of windows and light. Hard to get decent photos, but the thrill for rock and rollers is encased in this laundromat. Fats Domino, Shirley and Lee, Roy Brown, Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Smiley Louis, Annie Laurie, and others.

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THE MINT, ST. LOUIS CEMETERY AND A LAUNDROMAT

From Mary’s desk:

Just inside the door of the historic Louisiana Mint, you see a picture of a lovely young woman, Josephine, the daughter of the mint’s first administrator. I would never have thought that he and his family had quarters in the building. When his daughter’s  had their coming out parties, all the leading citizens were guests  inside the Mint.   Not that they were sitting on top of piles of money, or anything. Guards stayed at the door during family parties. It gave a charming touch of humanity to the staid subject of making money.

And, I was surprised to learn that women worked at the mint. They examined, weighed and filed the edges of  coins that were overweight while sitting in chairs with leather aprons attached to the table so not to lose one bit of precious silver dust. In minting money, it was thought some tasks were better performed by the small hands and delicate touch of women. Good for them!

This calculator called The Millionaire could calculate to the millions, an awesome sum in the days when bread was 5 cents a loaf.

No matter how you look at it, money is heavy stuff and it required a steel wheeled cart to move it around the building in strongly constructed wooden boxes. First made into placques, then given an edge, then stamped on each side. All coins were made individually at first.

The mint was actually commissioned by President Andrew Jackson because hard currency was needed in the area for building the west. Again, coin is heavy and must be safely transported to where it is needed. In later years, the machine above could put out  thousands of coins per hour. It rolled the edge and stamped both sides at once with 200 tons of pressure. I guess that’s why they call it hard currency.

Louisiana’s government decided to secede from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. They  took over the coining of money for a short time until the Civil War put the mint back in the hands of the United States. The Louisiana Mint  was the only one to produce  Confederate Currency.It closed in 1909.

Next, we visited the oldest Cemetery in New Orleans,  St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Graves here are above ground because the water table is so low. The crypts are broken open when another family member dies and desiccated corpses are moved from their drying “beds” to make room for succeeding generations. That way, they can hold many generations. Some crypts, like the one below, are burial places of honor for people who belonged to a particular group, such as Nuns or Priests of the same parish. This old cemetery has been ravaged by weather and many of the crypts are being refurbished.

The best kept crypts are those surrounded by a sturdy fence which suggests the graves here have been vandalized over the years.

This bouquet of roses and a heartfelt valentine were taped to this stone from a tearful husband to his beloved wife.

The movie, Easy Rider, used this  particular crypt for a movie scene without asking permission of the Arch Diocese. When the movie came out, people who knew this place were aghast at the disrespect shown. New rules were penned forbidding any such activity in a Catholic Cemetery.

We moved on to a very special laundromat on the corner of Ramparts and Dumaine.  Roomy and comfortable with benches, tables and chairs,  a juke box and a stained glass window. You might be inspired to get up and rock and roll while your clothes are washing.  The reason we came to see this unique place is because the history and pictures  of great musicians like  Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, and others line the walls of this former recording studio.

At one  time black musicians were not allowed to record in Louisiana. Most went to a Texas studio. One Louisiana  official woke up as he watched all that money going to Texas.  However, New Orleans musicians used secret little studios in the back of someone’s garage or in a corner of a restaurant after hours.

Lloyd Price, above,  was one of the musicians that Cosimo Matassa accepted into his recording studio.  The placque below is on the building.

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I’M GOING TO NAME HER AFTER MY WIFE!!

“I’m going to name her after my wife!” So said Monsieur C. C. Duson when he established a railroad head in Landry Parrish Louisiana. Eunice is an unassuming town. It became a bastion of good food and special music after being settled by Acadians, that mix of French-speaking Cajuns. The decedents of European French, Creoles from Haiti and Germans created a unique cultural mix of people, language, music and religious beliefs, but the ancient tradition of mardi gras came from the peasant classes of France.
We walked into the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center and watched an hour video of the local people of Eunice running the Mardi Gras. The costume above belonged to the ranger working that day. A local, he ran the Mardi Gras the first time at age 14. The whole town is gearing up for this special family/community event. The costume shops are humming and parents are sewing hats and painting masks. (The pictures that follow are taken of photos.)

Its roots in Saturnalia, the raucus crowds of Euopean countries would costume themselves so they were unidentifiable. They spoofed their royals by imitating the court jester, their tall hats, or the Bishops hat, even a particular face. Winter was the leanest time of year and if they were hungry, they would resort to begging even though ashamed to beg. The costumes prevented their neighbors from knowing who they were.

In Eunice, the men traditionally ride out on horse back. Now, with farms so far apart, some ride on wagons or trucks. The assigned Captain asks if the mardi gras’ can approach. If yes, they charge and the farmer throws a chicken or two, or three. In a good year, maybe a small pig and some money. The farmer wants them gone and he throws the chicken away from his house as far as he can. The group chases the chickens until they are caught. The men may have imbibed before showing up at the farmer’s place and they reward him with a dance and song.

This mardi gras holds up the chicken he caught.

A mardi gras dances on top of his horse.
Once gathered, the meat is brought back to town, where it is cooked in a giant gumbo for the whole community. Parades, song and dance, and feasting is part of the celebration. Adults and children of all ages join in the fun. For some young boys, it is a right-of-passage. According to our ranger, running the Mardi Gras is tough, you become a grown-up from running the Mardi Gras. The video makes that clear. This festival has been studied in depth.

We left the Acadian Center and visited the Eunice Museum, The Cajun Music Hall of Fame and a local radio station.

A cigar box banjo above and an unidentifiable stringed instrument below.
An old time German accordion, all part of the great musical tradition of Cajuns.
Initially, 32 Cajun musicians were honored in this historic Hall Of Fame. They now add two per year. People outside of Cajun Country don’t necessarily recognize these unforgettable musicians who have contributed so much to this great,original music.
At work behind the window was the disk Jockey/ad hawker, from Station KBON 101.1 on your dial. The station plays mostly Cajun music, of course. The walls are filled with autographs and pictures of great musicians who’ve appeared on this station. We recognized Fats Domino, Little Ritchie and below, Doug Keershaw, the Ragin’ Cajun among other notables. We followed wall after wall of autographs and pictures.
What a great place to visit. Now, this is only an inkling of what Eunice, Louisiana is like.
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