"Online since 1999"
radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!
Bob, I just found your website while looking for links to NO news to get the latest Isidore news. I'm in Dallas now, but I sure can picture myself as a 6th grader at McDonogh 39, huddling with my classmates around the radio! In the winter of '64 we had lots of days that were too cold for outside, so we would get to listen to WTIX during recess! We waited anxiously for the latest news from Louise Harrison Caldwell, and hoped we would hear a Beatles song too!! Also remember wishing I could go to the concert..of course my parents wouldn't let me go near that mob scene...They did drive me by the Congress Inn so I could swoon. My dear Dad also indulged my Beatle mania by hunting for the WTIX station (on Paris avenue in Chalmette if I remember right?) so he could pick up the 2-album "Beatles story" record set I won!! Still have that, wonder if it is a valuable rare item now?? Love the chance to visit my NO past!
I think we all listened to George Harrison's sister, Louise Harrison Caldwell, as she updated us on weekly Beatles news on the nightly Ted Greene show on WTIX. It was also exciting listening to the daily reports on WTIX from Jack Powers, who was on the Beatles' '64 tour and reported each day's news on each concert stop as the Beatles tour got closer to New Orleans. Well, you didn't get to see the Beatles but you DID get to visit the luxurious WTIX studios in the swamp on Paris Road, where DJ's used to bring shotguns to shoot nutria as their records played!
Hi Bob ... Just a few more ... You've taken me back to some wonderful moments and places .
Rhonda Shear- a character .
Television Personalities ..... Captain Sam and Bayou Bill (a short term kid tv show on WDSU), Wayne Mack (the Great MacNutt), Terry Fletchrich, Ron Hunter and Alex Gifford ...still around , of course .
Radio ..... Ugly Jerry Lousteau ( a real sweet character ) B-97 and Scoot , Captain Humble and John Larroquette with 'Mother Radio' in the early underground FM period .
I still cry out in the middle of the night for McKenzies, Frost Top and my K & B Fountain treats, those wonderful chocolate covered graham crackers from Maison Blanche's candy counter and the grilled cheese sandwiches from Kreeger's Dept. Store on Canal Street (nickle and dime store) with a canned peach on the side . Thanks for the trip back . I gotta return to reality and go explain to my kids ... I REALLY did sit in City Park Stadium and yell for hours until the Beatles came out and then , I yelled for several more hours ! Smile .... thank you.
I wonder if 50'ish Rhonda Shear is still "Up All Night" or if she gets sleepy when the sun goes down these days like the rest of us old-timers!
DREW STRAHAN, SUFFOLK, VA:
Bob, I was reading the article about Jayne Mansfield. I hope I have reached the right person that wrote it. I can say for 100 per cent sure Jayne Mansfield did stop at the White Kitchen.
My mother and I were in there eating fried chicken ... back then it was all you can eat for $1.99 cents ... and in came Jayne Mansfield. My mother had blonde hair and it was of course dyed back then in the 60's, and I said "Here come's a lady with blonde hair just like yours." Then the word out of my mothers mouth ... "OH my GOD, its Jayne Mansfield! She went to the ladies' restroom, then she came out and believe me I was watching. She got 3 small bottles of Coca cola and some candy ... the candy was the small GOLD BRICK about the size of a person's small finger. She walked over to my mother and said "Lady, that is one hell of a 'do you have on you head," and it was. My mother had a wing on one side the size of the state capital and had on more war paint and makeup than 8 women could wear.
I went to the door and watched Jayne get into the car. As well as I remember is was a BUICK ELECTRA 225, about a 1965 or 1966. My mother was driving a 1967 OLDS 98. My mother told me on the way home that Jayne Mansfield was supposed to be on the Midday show with Terry Fletchrich. The next morning I got up about 7:30 to cut the grass and my mother came out and told me Jayne Mansfield had died in a car crash. It really upset my mother. We got in the car and went to what has always been "Dead Man's Curve," and my mother had me cut some roses from her rose trellis in the yard and we laid them on the right side of the road.
I too will never forget that day. I can remember like it was yesterday. We almost did not go to the White Kitchen that night. At the last minute we changed our minds and went to that one instead of going to Bosco's on Highway 11, the reason being Bosco's was too crowded and I made the suggestion for us to go and eat some Chicken at the White Kitchen.
You know I have not been back home to Slidell since my mother died in 1980 but you can believe one thing. I am planning a trip to Louisiana around the holidays. I will make it a point to stop by and lay some flowers on the side of the road where her life ended. Thanks for letting me share this story with you.
Wow, Drew, that's a great story. Thank you for sharing. Let me know when you come in and we'll put some flowers there together in her memory, along with the memories of Sam and Ronnie.
TONY RUNFALO, LAFAYETTE, LA
Bob, the pizza place next to the Tiger Theatre was Artista's....best pizza ever and the one against which I judge all modern pizza (none of which can match it).
That seems to be the pizza place most writers remember fondly. And today's kids think Domino's and Papa John's are the best. Harrummmpfff !!
I LOVED MC KENZIE'S BLACKOUT CAKES. I WOULD LOVE TO FIND OUT IF ANYONE HAS THEM ANY MORE OR IF ANYONE HAS THE RECIPE FOR THE BLACKOUT CAKE LIKE MC KENZIE USED TO MAKE. IF ANYONE HAS THIS INFORMATION YOU CAN E-MAIL THIS TO ME AT: Moedee_70072@yahoo.com
I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE IT. THANKS.
Good luck, Dianna. Maybe the recipes for McKenzie's delicious King Cakes and Turtles won't be far behind.
JOHN J. HEWITT, CHARLOTTE, NC:
I just found your great N.O. music site. What a great job!! I want to get the Joker's CD. Can you help me?
I came from Warren Easton High School, Class of '62 and I came up with the bands in that era ... the Jokers, Nobles, Rhythm Kings, Counts, Contours, etc. Back during that era (1961-65), I played keyboards with a couple of "run of the mill" bands, but I also played with the Rhythm Kings. Joe Jopes, Wibby Tank, Guy Trippi and his brudda Ant'ny, Allen Vial, Anthony Anderson, Wade Wright. Played @ Sacred Heart and St. Anthony. Also sat in numerous times with the Nobles They really didn't need a keyboard, but they accommodated me because I was good friends with the leader, Don Courtade. The other members were Tony Manalla, Don Sixkiller, Billy Hayden, Billy Murray, Eddie Powers, and Joe Liuzza. I'm surprised I can remember all those names. Played @ Metairie Lodge, and Germania, but mostly SBARD.
Went to Southeastern with Frank Sanders and was in the same "Suite" in our dormitory. What's Frank doing now? Final question....how did Roland (LeBlanc) Stone die?
You have done such a great job with your website and, of course promoting the legends of our day.
According to what Mike Ancona told me a couple of weeks ago they are remastering the original CD "Why N.O. Can't Forget Them" for re-release shortly. Email Eddie Roth from my JOKERS page for more info.
The story with Roland was pretty bizarre and shocking, as we were robbed forever of his talents and friendship.
Roland was a picture of health at that stage of his life, and he was a devoted husband and father. He was enjoying the resurgance of his popularity and the now-frequent gigs he loved so much. He was "in his glory" on stage, communicating with loving audiences and entertaining them as only Roland could. He was born to be on stage. What a tradedy that it was all cut short.
He had a hernia operation in December 1999, a same-day and routine procedure. Complications arose and Roland passed away so quickly that it was hard to believe he was gone. It is still hard to believe.
Did you hear the end of my internet show "Rare Ones"? The end is my tribute to Roland, then we go to the track from the Jokers Live CD, on which I introduce Roland on stage in May 1999. We carry on a bit back and forth, then he sings "Go On Fool." Listening to that still fills me up today.
I'm not sure of what Frank's doing but I know he's still around and making music now and then!
BILL IN FLORIDA:
Hi Bob, just happened to be surfing and thought I would look up WTIX. I used to listen to it at night from here in Alachua, FL, back in the late 50s and early 60s. If the ether was good, it had a clear sound and I loved it. I distinctly remember a rogue of a DJ by the name of Danny Dark who was always doing something weird and getting in trouble of some sort. Boy, was he good, though. I also recall once when he got on top of the station and threw money off, the story goes. I believe he got fired, and called his show "Dark after dark" or some such. After these intervening years, memory plays tricks on us, but I think I am correct in a lot of this. What say you?
I know all about those memory tricks these days. That's why I'm writing them down here before we all go to the old folks' home!
If I recall correctly, it was Danny Dark who threw the money off the roof of the Central Savings & Loan Association building at 624 Canal St. It was a four story building and the TIX studios were on the third floor, back in the days when stations could get away with outrageous publicity stunts. Danny threw the money off the roof in about '58 (?) and, of course, WTIX followed the event very closely on the air. VERY closely. They ended up with a mob scene in front of the building and police intervention was necessary as he did indeed throw money down. Afterwards it was announced on WTIX that Danny Dark had been fired. They followed that up a couple of days later by broadcasting that Danny Dark was missing and hadn't been seen since he got fired, and the station asked for help in finding him. His loyal fans undertook a citywide manhunt, and he was "found" shortly afterwards wandering along Airline Highway (or was it Chef?).
These days a station would be heavily fined for putting on such publicity stunts. But they sure were fun back in the days when radio itself was fun...a FAR cry from today.
Which reminds me of the stunt a northern station pulled in the 60's. They threw live turkeys from a helicopter down to an eager and huge crowd at a shopping center. They just forgot that...turkeys can't fly!
ROBBY B. FROM JEFFERSON:
Great memories! I remember watching Morgus and listening to TIX by my cousin's house in Chalmette. Staying up late calling Buzz Bennett and getting on the "spookline." I still got my "Tix Tenna Toppa." I keep it with my elephant key from da zoo!
You too huh? I met my date for the Senior Prom on the Spookline. Blind date...I lucked out though. WHEW! That elephant key and TIX Tenna Topper are indeed rare collector's items. People keep ax'ing me about Tenna Toppers but you're the only person I know who still has one. Email to me closeup pics of the key and da Topper and I'll post them here from you.
The web site is absolutely magnificent!!! The memories of times, events, people, etc. just reached in and took my heart and transported it back to where it still has a desire to be...back home!
After 42 years in the business , I decided to do like you and just get out of it. It stinks these days.
99% of my career has been spent down in Louisiana and in my beloved New Orleans. I started my New Orleans tenure at the old WWIW when it was in the Superdome. Man, do I have some stories about that. I commuted back on forth from Baton Rouge every morning to do the 5-9 drive. Bob Middleton was the PD.
I also did the 8-midnight shift at WNOE-FM . Commuted via the Canal Street ferry.
I pulled the 6-midnight shift and then the 10a-3p slot at WBYU-FM in the mid '80s, when they were doing the easy listening format. Al Braud was PD, Jay Richards was also on the air. Don Amez later became PD, now doing news at WWL Radio. The station consistantly was in the top 5, and my 10a-3p slot pulled a number 2 in the market 25+. My God, the station used to kick ass!!! And with an EASY format.
And then, the "out of towners" came in and went country!
I also was a booth announcer at DSU for a couple of years. This was mid to late 80s. Got some fond rememberances and great stories about Buddy D, Lynn Ganzer, Charles Zewe. I also fulfilled a life-long dream while at ch.6...When Sid Noel revised Morgus, he asked me to be on one of the episodes..."The Tree Man". Absolutely incredible!
I could go on and on about the OLD radio and tv back home in N.O. Back when it was REAL radio and tv. I'll try to clear out the cobwebs and forward some more to you. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from some of my fellow broadcasters from that era. They can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, I'm now living in Huntsville, Alabama. It's a long story that I'll share later. Keep up the great work!!!
Changing top-rated "easy listening" WBYU to country music, and also, later, top-rated rocker WEZB-97 being changed to talk suddenly just reinforce my stand that radio consultants are the ignorant con men who have been allowed to ruin the wonderful business of radio by equally ignorant and cold-blooded corporate owners, through ignorant and arrogant A-holt program directors. Both stations immediately went from the top to the crapper. Meanwhile out-of-town consultants, who have to do SOMETHING to justify their paychecks, do their damage just for the sake of change, collect their paychecks, and slither away after a couple of years to inflict their ignorance and damage elsewhere. That's why radio stinks today, but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
That said, you REALLY had to love being behind the mike, driving 60 miles from Baton Rouge every day to do your show! But it was a job well done...it opened the secret door and got you into the Morgus show alumni association!
BOB AND JAN CARR:
We came across your web page and noticed something was missing from your broadcast history bank, US ... Bob and Jan Carr. We first came on the New Orleans broadcast scene in 1960 with Bob and Jan Show 11am-2pm on WWL Radio from the Roosevelt Hotel. Bob also was Sid Noel's sidekick in the morning drive-time slot. In 1961 Bob and Jan joined WDSU where the did both radio and TV for over 10-years, with such programs as "Second Cup," usually broadcast from the roof of the Royal Orleans Hotel, "The Midday Show" and "Showcase of Homes."
Concurrently they did daily radio shows from the Royal Orleans Hotel, the Al Hirt Club and Woolco Stores. For 10-years Bob voiced and produced "World Voices" for International House. They did "Louisiana Purchase" at WNOL-TV, "Classic Generation" for Louisiana Public Broadcasting and WYES, "The Jan Carr TV Show" for WLAE-TV, "The Jan Carr Sunday Program" for 12-years, "The Bob and Jan Morning Show" for WBYU-AM and "The Bob and Jan Breakfast Show" on WGSO plus many live guest appearances on stage and screen.
What legends and mainstays Bob and Jan Carr are in the New Orleans media comminity, and still going strong after magnificent careers!
Hi, Bob---I've enjoyed looking at your New Orleans radio memories site.
Although I am not from New Orleans, I have many fond memories of listening to WWL going back to the mid- and late 1950s when I was a young teenager in Southeast Missouri.
Many is the night I fell asleep to the tunes of Leon Kelner in the Blue Room or Peter Toma in the Fountain Lounge. (Let's face it: radio was a helluva lot better in those days!)
But I think my favorite program was one that came on nightly---about 10 p.m., as I remember---sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz Club. Lots of good old New Orleans-style Dixieland. I think my fondness for jazz sprang from those wonderful old WWL radio programs.
In addition to WWL, I also have fond memories of WTIX. When I was in college, I had a fraternity brother from New Orleans so I was in town a lot. And TIX was about all we listened to. Along with WLS in Chicago, I always thought it was one of the great AM rock 'n' roll stations. WLS was pretty much the undisputed king, but I always thought that if TIX had been as powerful, it might well have been the most listened to. But WLS did have one helluva signal.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am old enough (fifty-damn-nine) to have heard the last years of radio's "Golden Age."
Growing up in Southeast Missouri, the big dog on our block was KMOX in St. Louis. But I listened to a lot of the network radio shows on WOAI in San Antonio.
On Sunday evenings in my neighborhood (from late spring to early autumn when people actually sat on front porches), you could walk down the street and hear just about all of the "Jack Benny Show." Kids today have a hard time with that one.
And they give me strange looks when I tell them that good radio drama beats the TV stuff any day of the week.
On your list of local "characters," did you ever think about adding the late Emil Parra? I saw him a number of times playing piano at Pat O'Brien's. What a character. And what a Tulane fan. He always said that the Tulane player who scored the winning touchdown against LSU would never have to buy a drink in Pat O'Brien's. Sadly, he never lived to see it.
I also have wonderful memories of "Sweet Emma" and the rest of the original Preservation Hall gang. Talk about a group of people who were "present at the creation."
These days I call Tuscaloosa, AL, home, so every once in a while I jump on the Crescent and ride down to New Orleans. Don't know when the next time will be, but maybe we could get together for a drink at my favorite N.O. watering hole---the Napoleon House. Haven't been there in a while, but I understand it's just as good as it ever was. I sure hope so.
Thanks for letting me share those memories.
What an enjoyable influence WWL Radio was in those earlier days...and what a signal. Just about anywhere you went in America you could tune in 'L at night and feel like you were "way down yonder in New Orleans" ... and at that very moment you knew Sweet Emma could be playing at Preservation Hall at that very moment!
JM, THE WOODLANDS, TX
You have omitted Bill Biery who was a disc jockey at WDSU radio beginning in 1957. He did remote broadcasts from the glass bus that moved about the city from location to location every week.
About 1959 he was hired by WWL-TV where he first hosted Saturday Hop before Pela arrived on the scene. He also did a program with a fellow named Jones that featured live wild animals. He was best known as "Brakeman Bill" when he hosted an afternoon kiddie show.
He left WWL in about 1961 and went to Hollywood and later to New York City where he did well in both local markets. He died at a reatively young age in 1987.
We were roommates at LSU and worked on the school newspaper together.
Also, I am sure you meant to include the cast of "Nobody Likes a Smart Ass" among your local celebrities. The group was comprised of Billy Holliday, Sonny Adams, Walter Perseveux and Butch Binet. They had their start in a rendition of the play, The Drunkard, which was staged on a riverboat at the foot of Esplanade or Elysian Fields in 1960. They later moved to an old speak easy on Louisiana avenue off St. Charles, and then to the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon where their act played for many years.
All four cast members should be included among your lists of local characters, especially Billy Holliday who enjoyed considerable notoriety and popularity, especially regarding the hundreds of parking tickets he accumulated in the French Quarter. He was also a house-comedian on the Playboy circuit, and played in several major motion pictures.
Sonny Adams also worked in local TV and was famous for his song parodies, and was also a well-known local character. I think that he might have played Bozo the Clown on local TV.
Bill Biery has now been added to my list of local personalities. This site is a constant "work in progress" and I appreciate additions like yours.
Geez, I remember that little glass bus mobile studio that WDSU radio used. The week it parked on Oak Street across from Mater Dolorosa School I visited it and pestered the DJ for free records every day!
Also, it had totally slipped my mind that John Pela was not the original host of "Saturday Hop."
A salute to Bill Biery, another New Orleans radio and TV great, and the "Smart Ass" cast!
Also, a later note from WDSU-TV's Paul Yacich:
"JM of The Woodlands, TX mentions a person named Jones who did a TV program featuring wild animals. Arthur Jones was featured with his wild animals on a program called "Wild Cargo" which ran on WWL-TV and later on WDSU-TV. Arthur Jones left New Orleans to build one of the world's biggest TV production facilities in Lake Helen, Florida. The facility produced medical television presentations.
He made a small fortune importing wild animals and then made a much bigger fortune when he invented the Nautilus exercise machine and became part owner of EVERY Nautilus gym in the country. Jones was also a physical training advisor for both West Point and Annapolis.
Arthur Jones also established the world's biggest private airport at his Lake Helen holdings. He flew his own 2 or 3 giant planes (DC7s or DC9s) and used them to bring elephants from Africa to his private elephant ranch in Lake Helen. His Lake Helen office was a glass building erected within a conventional building. The space between the buildings was filled with water in which humongous crocodiles silently patrolled. You could watch the critters swimming behind him as he sat at his desk.
I flew with him to Las Vegas and the NAB convention. Everybody there thought he was Howard Hughes 'cause he looks a lot like Hughes. He spent millions there on TV equipment for his studios. I was also with him when he showed examples of his infrared film presentations at a medical convention and convinced hundreds physicians that jogging was bad for the body and that the perfect exercise was swimming. He can be one of the world's most interesting men..."
Bob, I ran across your web site and I love it. I went to McMain and Fortier back then and have so many memories growing up in New Orleans. I guess my favorites are the late night beach parties in the summer. We would lay our blankets out on the lakefront and the guys would bring kegs and ice chests and we always tried to get near a pavillion so we could set up music. We would have late night swims and smooching on the seawall and on those blankets and the NOPD never bothered us. We were regular "Beach Blanket Bingos."
I loved going to the dances, Wednesday night was Germania Hall and on Saturday nights we would go to Sacred Heart. Sunday nights would be a toss up, it would either be St. Anthony's or St. Henry's in the Irish Channel. What great times!! The bands were great and the clothes were cool!! I loved being a teen in New Orleans. Of course, it was always great when Bob Walker came on every teen's favorite radio station. WTIX, and we loveeeeeeeee you!
I have a special request, if anyone out there can help me. In the sixties, there was a favorite shoe, most of us teen girls loved. They were called Piccolinos and were part of the Capezio line. You could only purchase these shoes from either Gus Mayer or Godchaux's. I would love to have a picture of these shoes or even purchase a pair if possible.
We used to hang out at nights on the lakefront too, and I have to admit that it was fun watching you swim and smooch, Linda! Then when I'd see you at Sacred Heart you'd wonder who the strange guy was who was winking at you! ;-)
Seriously, if anyone reading this has any info on Piccolinos I will let you know! You could always try at Yvonne LaFleur's Carnaby Corner...oops...that's gone too!
ANNE NEUMAN CASAVANT, WESTWEGO, LA.:
My mother was Bonnie Bell who sang on the Dawnbusters and my father was Freddie Newmann who played piano in the band. I have so many fond memories. I grew up with people in the entertainment business. My mother and father were having parties at the house with the whole Dawnbusters crew. I grew up with their kids and the house was always full of laughter on the weekends with the Dawnbusters crew. I have many pictures of the old times with Henry Dupre, Al Hirt and Pinky Vidacovich. Too many memories with lots of pictures to keep the memories alive.
Anne, you were indeed fortunate to have so many good and talented people as regulars at your house as friends of your parents. Dawnbusters was probably the best radio show in New Orleans ever because of its fine cast. Look at the pitiful offerings on the radio today in the morning. It's enough to make you cry.
BRIAN N. SHUMAN:
Bob, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your web page. I found it by doing a search from Yahoo on Morgus the Magnificent. I grew up in Gentilly, not too far from UNO ( or, as we used to say, LSUNO). One of my memories from age 10-12 was an organization known as the NORD Rangers. I lived near Fillmore Playground, and I remember these older guys in uniform with fake M-1's marching in formation. The membership requirements weren't too strict; you just had to get the uniform (and the fake rifle), go to the meetings, drill, etc. The big draw for me was them telling me that I'd get to shoot 22 calibre rifles & pistols, etc. I got to march in a few parades, but never did get to fire any real weapons. I do remember one large gathering held in Gretna, and I would estimate the size at 300-500 members. About 3 or 4 of the boys in my neighborhood joined the organization, and one guy's Dad joined as a "parent" leader. It was very strange, considering that the Vietnam backlash was only a few years down the road.
If you have any information about the history of the NORD Rangers, I would appreciate your forwarding it my way. We have a photograph of me with my younger brother and sister from that period, and I was ethusiastic enough about the "Rangers" that I wore my uniform in the picture.
I remember seeing those guys marching in parades in their crisp uniforms, performing their razor sharp moves. How we loved toy guns when we were kids. Too bad those years ahead showed us the other side.
JOE POLLARD, PENSACOLA:
When I was in high school here in Pensacola(I graduated in 1960), I used to listen to WTIX in the evenings to find out what the civilized world thought was the top ten songs at the time, because we knew that our stations, WBSR and WNVY had widely differing lists, and, we kids figured that they were just making the lists up. I still know all the words to the Ponchartrain Beach song.
Later, in the seventies, I listened to WWL because of the greatest morning man I've ever heard, Bob Ruby. At first he did the afternoon run as well. This was before the arrival of Eric Tracy. I heard that Ruby went to Texas to run a Ruth's Criss Steak house. There's a book being sold on the Amazon site, called Ruby in the Rough. Same Bob Ruby?
We had a fellow from WBSR at WLSU in Baton Rouge and he said they also had looked to WTIX for inspiration. TIX must have been one helluva station!
Ruby was another true talent in the days before corporate and cookie cutter morning show hustlers, garbage mouths and product endorsement whores. Not sure if that's the same Ruby in the book, but I suspect it is.
Do you remember when Nash Roberts presented the fishing report, in addition to the weather ? My Dad and I would watch his show on Friday nights as preparation for fishing trips early Saturday morning. Nash used a map of Southeast Louisiana, and would indicate the fishing prospects for the weekend by the number of fish shaped icons placed strategically on the map. Later on Friday night there was a local TV show hosted by a pair of Louisiana's finest (friends of Nash, I'm sure). The focus of "Fun Afloat," of course, was to elevate local sportsmen's' experiences to mystical levels. I remember my Dad taking me to an appearance by the "Fun Afloat" hosts held at a boating shop near the corner of Broad and Esplanade.
Our earliest fishing trips were simple affairs conducted at Bayou St. John, City Park, and the Lakefront sea wall. Later, we saved up to buy a used outboard motor - a 5 hp Johnson Sea Horse. This purchase allowed us to expand our horizons significantly when boats were available to rent. We fished at Shell Beach, Delacroix Island, and most often, the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
There was a ritual to these trips: pack the car Friday night, wake before daylight Saturday, head out Chef Menteur Highway over the Industrial Canal (smell the coffee beans in the early morning air), stop at Martin's restaurant for breakfast & take out lunch, on to Hwy 11, turn North, over the 5 mile bridge to North Shore. We always rented a skiff, either from a place called "The Anchorage" or "Bucks" in Slidell. Bait was either frozen shrimp or live shrimp, depending upon the season. Dad, sportsman that he was, most often chose lures (Mighty Mite or Sidewinder) to focus upon a most prized game fish, the elusive speckled trout. I, on the other hand, emphasized quantity over quality. "A fish is a fish", and to me, croakers and catfish caught with frozen shrimp were just as exciting. Besides, you didn't have to work as hard, and there was more action.
One trip I will never forget was the very first time my brother was old enough to participate in the ritual. My Dad had agreed to let me operate the outboard that morning, which was a very big deal. My brother sat in the very front of the boat, Dad sat in the middle, and I was at the controls in the rear. Starting the motor was a challenge; you had to prime the carburetor and pull the starter rope several times. Finally, the engine would fire, and, while still cold, it would offer several really impressive misfires.
On that morning, it settled down quickly, and we pushed off from the boat dock. I eased the boat slowly down the bayou; beads of pure testosterone broke out onto my forehead as we proceeded. Finally, at the end of the bayou, we came out into the open water of Lake Pontchartrain. I opened up the throttle to full, the little Sea Horse came alive, and the front of the boat sat up in the water. At that moment, I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or wet my pants! My brother later confided that he too experienced a similar set of emotional swings.
Bob, it just doesn't get much better than that. Thanks Dad.
I did that same thing once with a relative's boat in the Mississippi Sound waters at Clermont Harbor. As you, my career as a boat captain began and ended that day!