"Online since 1999"
radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!
I was just looking through your web site at your memories. When Al Hirt got hit in the mouth by a rock, I was there the night it happened, on duty with NOPD, and saw when he got hit. He was riding in Bacchus. It was a rock thrown by a second liner. We never caught the guy! It was on St Charles at or just before Washington. They took him off the float and the parade was stopped for a while.
Also, more trivia...the Jim's Fried Chicken sign is still in use today. A feed & seed store on Hwy 41, Pearl River has the sign in front of their building. You can't miss it as you approach. My wife Bev and I couldn't believe it when we first saw it!!!!
Two names still make folks from Carrollton hungry...Jim's Fried Chicken and the Camellia Grill. Hopefully the feed store is still cooking that great fried chicken in the back room.
When Russ Boney was in his right mind he could do a very good oldies show. Another person who knows the oldies very well is Bobalu Bobby Reno, along with Cherie. I remember when Russ Boney worked for WYAT and he was broadcasting from inside a van which he was locked into atop Casey Ford at Canal and Clairborne. There was a rumor that he had a gun...don't ask me how he was allowed to have this but he was allegedly shooting at cars on the bridge one day. I wonder today where he is or if he is even still alive.
Yeah, Russ was a rare breed. Remnants of the ham sandwich he threw against the wall in the WRNO studio were there for quite a while!
I found your New Orleans Memories web page while searching for something else on the Net. What a great surprise! I was pleased to see my brother Andre and I were listed with WEZB, "Easy Radio". We were part of the first group of announcers when WEZB went on the air in January 1972.
We also worked at a number of different stations during our radio careers. You may want to add these to the radio rosters on your web page.
We both started in radio in 1968 at WLDC, the campus radio station at Loyola University.
We both started a WWOM AM & FM in 1970 when it was a beautiful music station. Sam Ford was the Program Director who hired us. Pierre DeGruy also worked at the station.
Andre left to go work as a newsman for WDSU AM in early 1971.
In 1971, WWOM FM changed format and turned into "Mother Radio" (a progressive rock format). At the same time WWOM AM became WVOG (the "Voice of God") and began broadcasting religious music and programs. Sam Ford and I shifted to WVOG as when Mother Radio came to WWOM FM.
In the summer of 1971, the Mother Radio crew went on strike because the station would not pay their way to the New Orleans Pop Festival. I was asked to take over the FM operation. I continued the Mother Radio format and took on the name "Barrabas". I brought in my brother Andre (who used the name "Gunn"), Pat Helmstetter ("Matthew") and Paul McGuff ("Paul). After a few months, most of the regular Mother Radio crew ended its strike and returned. Those returning included "Judas" (John Laroquette - who letter became famous on network TV) and "Norbert" Wabnig. I was asked to stay on as part of the Mother Radio crew.
Andre left when the regular Mother Radio crew returned and he ended up at WNPS - the classical music station run by WYES. After a few months, I joined Andre at WNPS. Mike Herrera and Hal Jeansonne were still there.
In January 1972, we both joined WEZB.
Andre left WEZB in late 1972 or early 1973 to go to WWL radio where he stayed until 1976 or so.
In 1973, I joined WGSO / WQUE (the former WDSU AM & FM). I worked with Stan Major and later Wayne Mack on their call-in shows as well as doing a WGSO music program at night and WQUE news on the weekends. Dan Milham (now the TV weatherman) and Rod Wagoner also worked at WGSO at that time. I left WGSO / WQUE in 1977 .
Interestingly, Andre and I independently decided to leave radio to go to law school. We continued to work in radio while we attended law classes. We both graduated from Loyola in 1977. Andre is now a maritime lawyer in New Orleans. I am now a corporate litigation lawyer in Houston.
Thanks again for bringing back some great memories. Congratulations on a job very well done.
Nice to hear from you, Rene. I bet every time you pick up your attorney fees you miss being behind a microphone for next to minimum wage! The Mouledoux twins and John Laroquette graduated from radio and did well for sure.
Captain Sam (Sam Page) had his own Sunday morning cartoon show. He was first assisted by and then replaced by Bayou Bill when he left town. Becky Donaldson was on the At Holmes show with Terry Flettrich and also was Miss Becky on the Captain Sam Show.
Dick Van Dyke was on WDSU for a while before he went out to the coast. He used to slide down the handrail of the stairs going to the control room at the end of his show.
In the early fifties, all the shows on WDSU were on kinescope and were about a week behind. When they ran the "COAXIAL CABLE" (it was a big deal) they had a live remote from the Industrial Canal when they made the final splice and could then get everything live from the network.
I still wonder if the rumor was true that Captain Sam got fired because he had his fill with a smartass kid on his show and smacked him on the air.
Bob - Memories, wonderful memories of cheesburgers at College Inn and Lenfant's, and waaaay before that, ice cream at the Best Ice Cream chain of i.c. parlors, and dancing at Southern Tavern on Airline Hwy., the Dukes of Dixieland, and, of course, later, WTIX, the best! I remember when the Beatles came, and I couldn't afford it either! But, I remember going to Canal St. to see beautiful Christmas windows, D.H.H., and Mr. Bingle. I remember doing amateur plays on WNOE in high school, modelling for D.H.H. "Between Us Teens" in the Item, proms at the Jung Hotel, dancing at the Fountain Lounge, and sandwiches so rich they made you sick at the Roosevelt. The Blue Room was reserved for very special occasions. Thanks for all the great flashbacks...please keep your website going!
You are quite right about today's radio (or xczvsstg%@%0). I don't listen to it because there isn't one good station left!!! Years ago there were wonderful radio stations. I'm so glad someone could put it as honestly and correctly as you did.
By the way, as a correspondent of Paul Yacich', I was kindly reminded of a Christmas program done in 1939 using Lelia Haller's ballet school dancers. I was in that program--a tin soldier (and Paul had to teach us how to turn, military style.
Thanks for the excellent summary of today's ____________ on the airwaves.
Glad I'm not the only one who realizes that corporate radio today is crap.
Gosh! I don't know where to start. My first job in radio was in Joplin, Missouri in 1946. Used to listen to Bob Poole on WWL. "Poole's Paradise" with Ted Weems "Heartaches" for the theme song. I had picked up the signal in Hawaii the year before when I was over there playing trumpet in a dance band. (394th AAF Band) As you probably know, many of us in the business did considerable migrating. After Joplin it was Tulsa, then Nashville, finally broke into television at WLW-A in Atlanta in 1953.
Guess who was on the announcing staff with me. Dick Van Dyke. I lost my wife in a car accident that year and moved in with my mother in a little town on Mobile Bay called Fairhope. Shortly after, Dick signed on with WDSU and told me they were looking for an announcer. I drove to New Orleans the next weeked and auditioned for Gay Batson. I got the job and Gay and I were good friends for the next five years. Edgar Stern bought WALA-TV in Mobile and I served there as Program Director for the next 20 years. Retired now and spending my "twilight" years very comforably in a little town called Silverhill, AL.
Incidentally; Van Dyke and I had the sign-on shift on WDSU radio. He called me one night and said, "Claude, I have a chance for a job in New York but I don't want to say anything about it right now. Would you please cover my shift for me in the morning so I can take an early flight?" I said, "Sure, but you gotta pay me back." Well, that was 47 years ago and I haven't seen him since. He still owes me 8 hours.
Congratulations to you, Bob, for all you've accomplished in the business. I love to see talented people succeed.
Thanks for the memories, Claude. Hope you never lent Dick Van Dyke any money!
The Coast Guard Station at Bayou St. John and swimming in the lake.
The Poplar Show on Willow Street.
Juke Boxes full of New Orleans R & B music.
And the Poplar's unique manager, Mrs. Hirsch, going up and down the aisles with a flashlight!
Hi, Bob! My name is Ken, and I live in Houston, now, but I grew up in New Orleans. Went to Ferncrest in Gentilly, then Kennedy, then UNO. I have a lot of fond memories of New Orleans radio in the 1960\s.
Remember John Gimma Chevrolet and their repetitive jingle? or Trader Joe Paretti, the dealer who is ready?
How 'bout Dixie 45 beer = The beer that makes you feel alive?
Or - Dumas Milner Chevrolet.
Or Mike Persia's drummer?
Or Cajun Pete?
Remember the Hawaiian theme for Pass Christian Iles?
For value in tires, DUNLOP tires, be sure to see Bill Nero!
Look at almost ANY corner, and what do you see> A big purple sign that says FRIENDLY K&B...
Rosenberg's, Rosenbergs, .... 1825 Tulane!
When you're in a hurry, think of TIME SAVER...
I really enjoyed the 1962 commercial for Pontchartrain Beach. Had lots of fun there. Remember swimming in the lake, before it was polluted, then in the pool. Kiddieland's lighthouse is still there - it's a protected historical landmark built during the time of the Civil War.
Do you remember when WBOK (800) and WSHO (1230) swapped positions on the radio dial?
If you have any other old radio jingles from New Orleans radio, especially from the 1960's, I LOVE to hear them.
I am really sorry that I didn't record stuff like that when I was a kid.
Turn that dial, and turn it round round round to the happy sound that is found... WSMB 1350 on your radio!
Thanks for the memories!
Wow! The Oldie King meets the Commercials King! Now you've got them all playing in my head again!
It was in Thibodaux, not NO, but:
Hitch-hiking to NO to go swimming at Audubon Park Pool
Jack-the-Cat on WWEZ
Renting swim suits at Ponchartrain Beach
Local music from the beach stage
Sat. nights on the lake front near West End
Girls hitch-hiking from Thibodaux to New Orleans?? Ah, the good old days!
Renting swim suits???? EWWWWWWW !!!!
SUSIE Q FROM CHALMETTE:
My sister was a Hazel Romano dancer on Saturday Hop and she can still dance up a storm. No canes or walkers yet. I remember my Mom loading all her friends in the family station wagon and going to the dance studio on, I think it was on Milne around Filmore, for lessons. Afterward we would go to the Frost-Top for burgers and of course an ice cold mug of Rootbeer. Oh!!! what a memory. We lived in Chalmette and it was an adventure for me, as I was only around 8 or 9 years old at the time. My sister was also a beauty contest winner, Miss St. Bernard, Miss Tomato Queen, and she also won a date with Fabian on WTIX by drawing a tiger with WTIX hidden in the tigers strips, (someone else drew it for her). So you see I was exposed to all the fifty hoop-la growing up with her as a sister.
My own memories were mostly of sixties, the Arabi Show, St Bernard Drive Inn, when you put every body that would fit in the trunk before you drove in to pay, (smelling pics because the cow pasture behind the drive-inn was a breeding grown for mosquitos), the old Beach, going to see Oliver "Who Shot the Lala" Morgan at the Union Hall in Chalmette, renting camps every summer in Little Woods on Haynes Blvd., watching Morgus on Saturday nights, skating at Compliments Skating Ring on Charbonnet St, swimming at Splash Pool in Chalmette, watching the Arabi Parades on Mardi Gras Day or riding in it down St Bernard Hwy, St Claude Ave to Elysian Fields, cars on Mardi Gras draped with palmeta leaves with the tires flatened riding on the rims, the trunk lids off, the tops cut off and people hanging on for dear life trying to get a beer out of the ice chest that was being pulled in a wagon that was tied to the back, WTIX in the swamp on the other side of the levee, the pontoon bridge over the Ship Channel on Paris Rd, Paris Rd flooding with the least bit of east wind and having to go around through the city to go the gulf coast, oh and lets not forget Powers Junction, and the White Kitchen the two main places to stop on the way to the coast for a cold drink, snack and to use the restroom. Thanks for the memories. Your website is great.
Amazing, the effect WTIX had on so many of our lives as we all had such similar and fun experiences growing up!
In 1948, my two year old sister was kidnapped in Harahan where we lived then. I was 7 years old at the time. The story was all over the newspapers and radio. As you know Henry Dupre and the Dawnbusters were perhaps the biggest show in town then. My older brother named Walter and I used to listen to the introduction because he would always open with the following:" Walter, it's a quarter past seven, Walter it's seven fifteen." We used to think he was personally saying this to my brother. Well, of course when we heard that Henry Dupre was coming to our house to interview the family about the kidnapping, I was very excited. In fact, more excited about that than all of the other activities swirling around this tragedy. When Mr. Dupre came in, he asked that I sit in his lap while the photographer took pictures. We still have those pictures from that memorable time. Oh, before I forget, this story has a happy ending. My baby sister was found alive unharmed.
Whew! The good old days before the world went nuts.
Found your website, WOW what memories of listening to you as a kid, I am 41 now. I grew up around radio as my uncle worked at WJRW in Picayune for many years, before his retirement. His name was B.J. Johnson, they used to call him B.J. the D.J.. I can remember meeting Dan Diamond and Charlie Douglas (Doug China), what a treat that was for me. Can remember going on remotes with my uncle as a kid, in an old Volkswagen bus used as a studio, talk about budgets.
B.J. The D.J. huh? Wonder if he took that name from the old Kitty Wells / Stonewall Jackson song that Charlie Douglas used to play on the Road Gang on WWL allnights.
Memories of New Orleans in the Fifties? My father was a high diver who often performed at Ponchartrain Beach in the mid-Fifties. I have vivid memories of the roller-coaster, the hand-propelled cars, and the clown's head with the gaping mouth, that always seemed to be filled with smashed tomatoes. I spent July 4th of 1956 at Harry Batt's home (a friend of my father's) , watching the whole Batt clan setting off firecrackers and roman candles. You can imagine my disappointment, when I finally made it back to New Orleans, in 1994, and found that the park was closed. No modern amusement park can compare with the old ones.
Your dad wasn't one of the famous Nerveless Nocks on the Beach stage, was he?? Yep, not even a trace of old Pontchartrain Beach left today but the Lighthouse. But the ghosts of days gone by still live there in the gentle breeze off the lake...still alive in another dimension and still having good times at Pontchartrain Beach.
KING LEMOINE (JACK PEARSON):
Hi Bob, King LeMoine here... I go back to the Harry Negosia days! I was 7-8 and I used to listen to New Orleans "First Disk Jockey" on WJBW on "The Mid Day Serenade". His theme song was "Does Your Heart Beat for Me."
He was the first of my recollections of radio in New Orleans. Everyday, while my mother did housework, she'd have the radio tuned to WJBW and listen to Mid Day Seranade. "Well, well, well, well, well, well, well..." Harry would say and begin his requests and dedications sent him by telegrams; from Lutcher, Algiers, Gretna, Slidell, Chalmette and from all over the South. And, my mother, bless her heart, would send birthday greetings to me on my birthday and we'd listen intently for his mention.
The last I heard of Harry Negosia, was that he was a ticket taker or usher at the movie theater on the North end Elysian Park Blvd. near Pontchartrain Beach. I think it was the Pitt Theater.
I was honored to have worked in the Cigali Bldg. on St. Charles Avenue and probably sat in the same chair that he did. Tarlow Associates bought the station and moved everything to the John Mitchell Hotel at 635 Common Street about 1960 and upped the wattage to 1,000 watts, daytime. Your site is GREAT and brings back many fond memories. Keep up the great work!!! There are a million ways to make people happy... I hope this has been one of them. Thank you! Yours truly... King LeMoine.
Yes, that was the Pitt. Harry might have worked with our next writer below, Mike Hurley. Ex-radio personalities do go on to the most interesting and lucrative careers in later years! Some of the great moments in New Orleans radio came from the studios of WJBW. Thank YOU for the good times!
Hello Bob, my name is Mike Hurley. I am writing to you from Florida, but I am a native New Orleanian. I just found your site on my computer today, and have been on it for hours. IT"S GREAT!
I am a former employee of the Skyvue Drive-In, The St. Bernard Drive-In, The Tiger Theatre (on Franklin Ave.), The Pitt Theatre, The Coliseum Theatre, The Joy Theatre, The Paris Theatre, The Saenger, Loews, and Orpheum theatres, and the Gentilly Orleans Theatre, and several other local theatres.
I am currently manager of the Silvermoon Drive-In Theatre in Lakeland, Fla. (silvermoondrivein.com)
I sure miss New Orleans, and have really enjoyed your site today. I will surely visit it again tomorrow.
I especially have enjoyed the Pontchatrain Beach selection on your site. I have been trying for years to find a photo of the great 7-UP neon sign that greeted us as we entered the 'beach' prior to Hurricane Betsy. But I've had no luck.
If you find anyone with a photo of that great sign, could you please e-mail a copy to me?
Thank you for the memories-I do remember you on 'TIX in the late 60's & 70's. I have to say that this site has me longing for NOLA.
Wow! A career show person. Bet you saw many a good movie in your time, and FREE too! If anyone with a picture of that 7-UP neon sign at the Beach entrance (fish bubbling up as the sign flashed the slogan "You like it, it likes you) I'll post it on my site and let you know. Since you'll longing for N.O. now I'll have a sloppy roast beef poboy, dressed, on crispy French bread in your honor today.
JOHN (DAVID) HILLIS:
Hi, Bob. I grew up in New Orleans, and was stuck on the radio, as were so many. I was pleased to see that Norm Willie was one of your correspondents. I owe him greatly, as he was one of many who helped me get started down that dream road. For a year or two, probably in '69, WSMB sponsored a Junior Achievement company, and Norm was the advisor. I was one of the snot-nosed high school kids. Norm was kind, patient, and, always, whatta great voice! I had looked for him to offer thanks all these years later, and didn't run across him until I found your site. It was always a thrill getting in that elevator at MB and having the attendent ride you up to 13.
Sometimes, we even got inside that great big studio to get a record and stand silently while Jerry Valence or one of the Richards (Fahey or Knight) opened the mic and made some magic. Or visiting with Larry Regan was a thrill, having him tell about the hops he did, and his TV show. I think one of the secrets of WSMB's success was it was a bunch of quality (if sometimes screwy) people. Later on in my life, in years of management, I learned that kind of culture comes from the top, and John Vath and Marshall Pierce, though I never met 'em that I remember, must have been some doggone smart guys.
I also was on WDSU's Prep Quiz Bowl three of my high school years. I was on the N.O. All-Star team that beat Houston and went to England for a series of tapings on the BBC. I had the experience of getting a trans-atlantic call in the days when those were real rarities and telling Mel Leavitt and Chuck Pratt over WDSU radio that we had won our match in Scotland.
I went away to college, wound up in television on the other side of the camera, helped start CNN, took it around the world, worked in New York, and for the last 13 years have been CEO of Washington's 24-hour local cable news channel. (Does this make me a corporate a-holt, Bob?) I'll depart that this coming month to do consulting for broadcasters all over who understand what "broadcaster" really means. That, mon ami, I learnt from people like Norm Wille and Mel Leavitt and Alec Gifford. I doubt I could have had a better place to learn or better people to learn from.
You had some good mentors and formative years there, John. My days on 'SMB with those people shine in my memory. And to think WDSU made a trans-atlantic call and paid for it, back in the days before everything was traded out. Unbelievable!!
Wish I had you pulling records for me in '67 when I did Saturday nights at WSMB, when the biggie the 'SMB listeners wanted to hear was "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago."
Rest easy...re-read your last three sentences and you will see that you are, indeed, NOT a corporate a-holt. Many who work for large corporations are not a-holts either, but the ones who are flavor the entire batch.
You still fondly remember your roots and love for the business and where you came from. A-holts are corporate gypsy airheads who get hired into positions of management by their equally incompetant friends who slither their way into their own positions. Then they proceed to present themselves as kings upon a throne and spout endless corporate mantras and slogans...and you know damn good and well that if they had to think for themselves without "I'll get back to you on that," they would expose their ignorance and emptyness, while they are now the annointed torch-bearers and keepers of the business built up by veteran and true broadcasters. All the while the workers under an a-holt scorn him/her for his/her phoniness and ignorance. A corporate a-holt does not have respect from his/her workers. An a-holt is nothing more than a stinking and festering sore on the body of broadcasting.
You, on the other hand are respected for what you've truly done to promote the purity of the broadcasting business, and have a respected background in which you used your head and your heart to get where you are, while working to enhance the true soul of the broadcasting business.
Anyway, your first name doesn't start with "A" and your last name is not "Holt," like the king of the a-holts. Actually, it should be J-holts or JA-holts, but that's another story!
Fantastic web site! Your list of neighborhood theaters brought back some great memories. I grew up in the Carrollton area (Broadway and Panola) and it was such a treat to meet my friends and bike to the Poplar for the Saturday afternoon movie. In my group of friends, the youngest ones happened to be the tallest so until we all turned 12, we'd go in height order. The first people in the group could truthfully say they were entitled to a child's ticket so then when the older ones got up to the ticket window, the lady would just hand out a lower priced ticket without even asking!
My bike was basic transportation even after I had a driver's license. I'd go to the Nix Branch of the Public Library and spend hours there. I used to like to ride in Audubon Park, too. Now that I live in Dallas, there's nowhere to bike unless you go to a bike path in one of the parks. I miss being able to hop on a bike and actually get places.
Another special memory I have from my youth is trekking to Middendorf's for fried catfish. It was quite a big deal to me. Does the place still exist? Another catfish place that was fun was Uncle Chester's in Kiln, MS. Anyone else remember that restaurant? As long as I'm on the subject of food, remember the Plum St. sno ball stand? That was another special gathering place during the summer for my friends.
When I started collecting records, I was a frequent customer at Memory Lane Records in Airline Highway. They always had the music I was looking for and I still have boxes of 45's that I listen to that came from there. I know Gordon opened a second location but I believe I heard that both stores closed some time ago. Do you know anything about that?
It was great to see all the information about the radio stations. TIX and NOE were my constant companions for many years. I even got to meet a few DJ's. I used to get concert tickets from Kim Stevens when he didn't want them - got to see the Kinks at Municipal Auditorium that way. Was very sorry to see that Steve Casey had passed away. He was a nice fellow.
Those Friday night double features and Saturday matinees were special at the Poplar. Cartoon fests ... Little Rascal fests ... great B movies. I still have the foreign coins they gave away at the door on Saturday afternoons. Giving that white-haired lady fits with our ages at the ticket window was a rite of passage. Just about everyone I knew from Mater Dolorosa got in on children's tickets until they were 15 or 16.
I, too, spent many a cool afternoon in the aisles of the Nix Library on Willow and Carrollton. I remember the fun of the Summer Reading Club, where kids received a nice certificate upon reading 10 (12?) books during summer vacation.
Gordon DeSoto has long retired from Memory Lane. There is one Memory Lane location still remaining with wall to wall oldies for sale on Focis Street in Metairie.
Hello Bob. I remember hearing you on the radio back in the 70's. I just wanted to let you know that the 3 Stooges did appear at the Shrine Circus in 1963. I was there on the front row. I was 7 years old at the time. I went there with my brother Robert who lives in Cut Off, and my cousin Lance Pierce who now lives in Slidell. My Mother, aunt Stella, and Grandmother Vida, who is 92 years old now took us there. I remember it well. I remember that the Stooges did a short comedy routine, where they did the usual "Stooge" things, i.e. poking each other in the eyes, slapping, and the always classic hammer to the head. After the routine they got serious and told all the kids not to try any of the stunts they did at home and demonstrated that the hammer was really rubber. I still enjoy the 3 Stooges on A&E, although my wife doesn't understand why. Typical.
Thanks a bunch for clarifying this for me. I suspected they did appear but I couldn't find anything on it one way or another. Yeah, the Stooges are a "guy" thing...she wouldn't understand!