"Online since 1999"

Bob

Walker's

E-MAIL MEMORIES


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Fun email we've received through the years with memories about

radio and growing up in New Orleans in the 50's, 60's and 70's!




JAMES STEWART JR., DETROIT:
Oh Yes --How I remember Richard Delacroix (Knight) He was a friend of my father (Dr. James Stewart) of New Orleans, Louisiana. After high school I would go to WSMB studio on the 13th floor of the MB building and often he would show me the different rooms through out the station. One time I brought some records and he recorded them for me on studio equiptment. I knew his wife (Angel) and their daughters (toodlers at the time). A nice bunch of people but Richard was indeed a fine DJ as well as a super person and I have thought about him to this day.

I don't know what station aired this little weather jingle--I think it was WSHO in the early to mid 60's----- WHAT DOES THE WEATHERMAN SAY-WHAT DOES THE WEATHERMAN-WEATHERMAN-WEATHERMAN--WHAT DOES THE WEATHERMAN SAY-------then the announcer would give the latest weather.


BOB:
Yes, I knew Richard well too. I loved those WSMB studios and I really enjoyed my 1-year stay with them in '66-'67. If I hear from him again or his daughter who used to email me too, I'll tell them hi for you. How about dem Lions??? :-)




KIMBERLY MONJURE:
I couldn't wait to get in high school so that I could go to "Beach Night" with my school. But once I reached that age, I went with a guy on a first date and got bored, we left, drank Miller Ponies and drove up and down the lakefront and got so sick I threw up all that night. That was my LAST memory of the Beach ... and my last date with the guy!


BOB:
I hope that wasn't your last Miller! Guys are a dime a dozen but a good beer is hard to find!!




WAYNE BORDELON, CHICAGO:"
"Buy your Chevrolet from Persia" Mike Persia Chevrolet !"
"It's the Good Life & with the good life"...........There's always REGAL PREMIUM BEER !"


BOB:
Ahhh...good memories and good beer...we're on a roll here! My fave was Dixie Beer that advertised that it would leave you with a "bright, cheerful tomorrow" when all I got the next day was a hangover.




BUDDY ENGELHORN, BAY ST. LOUIS, MS:
Bob, Do you remember the penny arcades ? There was one on Canal St. and the other on Royal. Also remember Mrs. Drake's sandwich shop on Canal St. with the fresh orange juice.

Also remember "Riding the belt" on the street car. The garbage trucks were pulled by mules. Also the Roman Candy Man was pulled by either a horse or a mule. During WW 2 we used ration books to buy food, gas etc.

When the war was over, Canal St. looked like Mardi Gras. One big party.

There were hot tamale venders on Canal St. and men with the big yellow cans that sold caramel popcorn.

The thing I miss most is Martin Brothers Po-boys on St. Claude. I have never found a place to match it since it closed.


BOB:
I used to scavenge in both of those penny arcades, collecting the shiny little silver bb's from the shooting gallery that bounced out onto the floor and between the arcade machines.

Speaking of great poboys, my cousin Cathy has opened a place on Hwy. 90 just before the Casino Magic red light going east, next to the Three Amigos (the restaurant with the big wheel on the sign). It's called the Lunch Box and they're only open weekdays 11-2. She's from N.O. and they do outstanding N.O. poboys on good firm N.O. french bread. You should try it. I never had a poboy from Martin Brothers (although the Beatles did) but the ones at the Lunch Box are really delicious and well made!




WADE LUQUET, Ph.D., GWYNEDD VALLEY, PA:
Hi Bob. I just found your web site and love it! I was born in the Lower Ninth ward on St. Claude Ave, thought I spent most of my life in New Orleans East. My roots are deep in the Lower Ninth. My grandparents, Earl and Olga Luquet, owned Clarence's Restautant at 6100 St. Claude Ave, across from the Reising Bakery. I've heard it was a hopping place in the 50's and early 60's and that Fats Domino may have had his early start there playing with his father's band in the dance hall in the back. Lots of good stories of gambling and other activities that went on there. (He drew the line at drugs and would throw out anyone suspected of having drugs) I know that they made a mean Roast Beef PoBoy and great beans at the restaurant. I have attached two pictures of them (above). One is a great one of them in the restaurant (look in the background and you will see my grandmother behind the bar.) The other picture is of them in their older age. They were married for 58 years and died within six months of each other about seven years ago. My parents lived within one block of each other on St. Claude and started dating when they were 13 years old. They are now married 47 years and live in Venetian Isles. Chuck Cavet is my Mom's nephew and my cousin and Godfather (Paran).

As for me, I graduated from Ben Franklin in 1977, Louisiana College in 1981, an M.S.W. from Tulane in 1982 and then married a Pennsylvania girl in 1983 who moved me up north in 1985. I went on to get a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Studies, wrote two books, four book chapters, and a dozen or so professional articles. I am now Associate Professor of Sociology at Gwynedd-Mercy College just outside of Philadelphia. Sure is a long way from the Lower Ninth. I love visiting family and miss the food. Have a po-boy for me, Bob. As they say, you can take the boy out of the Ninth Ward, but.....

I'd love to know what you think of the pictures and if you have any memories of the restaurant or my grandparents. Thanks for keeping me in touch with my roots.


BOB:
What a great story. I didn't know them but wish I had. Sounds so much like the bar and restaurant my grandparents had (Compagno's Bar & Restaurant on South Carrollton Ave. at Maple St., now Madigan's) for so many years around that same time as yours did. Now that you've made me hungry I'm gonna have a juicy and sloppy roast beef poboy, on nice firm french bread with shredded lettuce, creole tomatoes, extra pickles, mayo and melted swiss...just for you up in Pennsylvania...enjoy!




BILL DUNCAN, ATLANTA:
Hi Bob. I wanted to get into some memories of my listening to WTIX in the 60s when I was a cadet at GCMA in what used to be Mississippi City, Miss. I was there from 63-67(5th-8th grades).

Music: Navy Blue, Kiss Me Sailor-Diane Renay; Dominique-The Singing Nunn; The Wedding-Julie Rogers; Judy In Disguise-John Fred. There are millions, but these bring back the most memories.

Commercials: Sears ("Sears has a ding-a-ling, Sears has everything).

Regal Beer ("Red beans and rice and Regal on ice"). Also Jax, Dixie, and Falstaff.

Bubba Oustalet Ford, Dick Bohn Ford ("Colonel Dick Bohnegard"), Mike Persia Chevrolet ("Get your Chevrolet from Persia, Mike Persia Chevrolet" to the beat of Indian drums). Dumas-Milner Chevrolet, Joe Paretti Pontiac, John Gimma Chrysler/Plymouth.

Rex Root beer ("Say it-Gimme a REX!). In other parts of the country it was "Fanta" as it was a Coca Cola product. Also Barq's Root Beer, my personal favorite.

Movies at the Saenger Theatre, Godchaux's, Maison Blanche, DuSay's Pets, Chevy National ("Putting you first keeps us first Chevrolet!). Werlein's Music, Broussard's Music. George Harrison did a Beatle/station promo.

On TV I remember Morgus, and John Pela's Saturday afternoon dance party show( I remember a Halloween show he did and a Beatle song Parody: I Want to Bite Your Hand).

There are other things, but I'll have to dig deep, and this should do. I would like to bring up the Jayne Mansfield tragedy in a later email.


BOB:
John Pela personally did a Beatles bit for Halloween? Now *that* must be as high on his memory list, right there with when he did an afternoon TV show as "Captain Mercury," dressed in a tin foil space suit.

My experience with the Jayne Mansfield tragedy is reported in detail at HERE, including the exact location of the crash.




"UGLEE" JERRY LOUSTEAU, Formerly of B-97:
Hey Bob, I googled myself today and Susie Cambre's note mentioning me came up on page 18 of the radio shrine. I'd be interested in hearing from any early B-97 folks. I now own a station,WMGO, in Jackson/Canton Mississippi and do a morning news and commentary show on it. That comes after leaving New Orleans to work in Salt Lake, Orlando, Little Rock, Austin and others. One of my wildest memories of B-97 was riding in 17 Mardi Gras parades in one season (1980), most in those brightly colored VW bugs we called "bee-buggys". Mine was yellow.


BOB:
Where ya'at, Jerry? Congrats on owning a station. You've done well and we all fondly remember your great years on B-97. Now, coming from the DJ ranks, put out a sign on the front door: "NO #$@&*@# CONSULTANTS ALLOWED!"




ROLAND CORTEZ, Atlanta, GA:
Hi Bob! I've been monitoring your web site for several months now since my best friend from high school, Bob Breaux, introduced me to it. What a wonderful trip down memory lane!! I've really enjoyed reading all the memories and especially your comments about the current state of radio. I too am pretty upset about the way radio has degraded over the years especially since I know what quality radio sounds like while growing up in Metairie and New Orleans in the 60s. As you might expect my favorite station was WTIX primarily when you were on the air. You were one of the reasons I always wanted to work in radio. I got the chance to do some radio work at WLSU (if you could actually call it a radio station) back in 1971 and 1972 when all we had was WWII vintage equipment and transmitters in the dorms and the Union. You dropped by the station one day and I was thrilled to actually meet you in person. My time at WLSU was great fun but didn't really provide enough experience to gain employment in radio. I may still get my chance one day.

I moved from NO in 1988 and still miss it. Thanks for keeping the old memories alive. I remember Hopper's Drive Inn in Kenner, makin groceries at Schwegmann's, Frostop Root Beer, Dixie Beer, King Cake parties, swimming at the Old Beach, riding the Zephyr and the Wild Maus, the Mardi Gras fountain on the Lakefront, Manuel's Hot Tamales, Po-Boys from Johnny's in the Quarter, Maison Blanche, meeting under the clock at D. H. Holmes ... the list goes on and on. Do your remember the promos WSMB used to run - "Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me and WSMB?" My Dad was a real Nut and Jeff junkie. I loved those promos.

Anyway Bob, thanks for the memories and keep up the good work.


BOB:
That was probably the same WLSU equipment I cut my teeth on in September of 1965. Junk, but what character. We really *did* ride on top of those huge turntables. Yes, WSMB was nothing if not ... unique! By the way, guess what was at ... 1825 Tulane.




SANDRA, Baton Rouge:
I grew up on the west bank of N.O. My family moved to N.O. from Memphis because my father got the contract to bring all the steel to build for the greater N.O. Mississippi River Bridge. We lived in Algiers and had to ride the Algiers ferry everytime we needed to go downtown. Behrman High held tons of wonderful memories for most everyone who attended the school. It was a great school architecturally, academically and outstanding activities for the students. Behrman Bees knew how to have fun. Interestingly, I live in B.R. now and run into old classmates all the time.

Love your site.


BOB:
Nice to hear from a Behrman Bee. Thanks for visiting my cyber-hive!




LARRY:
Greetings Bob: Way back in 1951, on a warm night, I was driving my first car in Fairfield, CA; that was then the small town of 5,000, just southwest of what is today Travis AFB. I had dialed into a station out of New Orleans that suddenly came through with unusual clarity, via the good old AM evening "sky-wave." I enjoyed the music, being a musician and a dance orchestra buff, but regrettably, the broadcast was just ending. The announcer identified the front man, "Peter Toma" - of course he was coming in crystal clear from the Roosevelt Hotel. They closed with what I presume was their theme: "My Silent Love." I've continued looking on and off all these years for a recording of the group, especially the theme. Now, I'm a great-grandfather; however, I still remember Peter Toma and the delight of that moment, so long ago.


BOB:
Yes, WWL Radio was a giant at one time. Those were the days of imagination and creativity in radio. I don't have to tell you how pitiful it has become, in a business today of all money and no balls. And yes, Peter Toma and his Orchestra were the headliners at the Blue Room in the Roosevelt Hotel (now the Fairmont) for many years, and their beautiful live music did dance thru the 870-AM airwaves for years at night, enchanting far away cities with live magic from New Orleans. If anyone contacts me with recording info on Peter Toma I'll let you know!




CATHY BURNS (THORNTON)
Dear Bob, I am stunned! After all these years, I have found someone playing Cathy and Joe. Bob, I am Cathy!!!! On a recent trip back to N.O. area, my nephew mentioned hearing "I See You" on a juke box somewhere. I thought that it was a private one that people in N.O. might do. Like one person in the whole world that still liked like, really old stuff! Needless to say, I am thrilled!! (Listen at New Orleans Jukebox Gold on this site.)

Bob, my married name is Cathy Thornton. I don't know if you know, but Joe died several years ago. So sad. He was so young. I live in Birmingham, AL. He would call me usually around Christmas and sing something for me. I would usually hang up in tears. He loved to sing so much. I did too, but I moved on and had a family and that is my life. I miss his calls.

This has brought back so many memories, like when "I See You" came out and Poppa Stoppa's radio station played it. Joe was always at the station for many years before that. He told the story of how he and a friend would go to Larry and Katz and bring back something in a shoebox. You can just guess what. Ha! Ha! We really did have some fun.

I am so excited to refresh my memory. I sang with the Sparks at the Stardust Lounge on Metairie Rd. for a long time. Also worked the Swamp Room with Johnny Bonvillien, the best steel guitar man in the business. I understand he has a music store in N.O. now. We turned it into a popular after hours bar. The diamonds and furs would arrive after 2 or 3 every night. Funny the things one remembers.

A visit to WTIX was the funniest thing that ever happened to us.

We arrived at the studio . The station manager was tied up and it would be awhile before we could see him. It was a hot summer day , so we decided to go get some ice cream, The DJ said get him some too. We get the ice cream and my car is not air-conditioned. Here is the picture, I am holding mine and Joe has one in each hand. After about 3 minutes, it starts to melt. Needless to say, the bedlem in that car reached a fever pitch all the way to the studio. When we got there, the DJ had come out to meet us. There Joe and I were, covered in ice cream . Everytime I tried to tell him what happened, I would start laughing and of course Joe was doing the same. Talk about your professional demeanor! I'm afraid, that was the real Cathy and Joe.


BOB:
Cathy Burns & Joe Wegmann were icons on the radio and at hops and night spots in the mid-60's. I was honored to receive this email.

In 1964, they had a local hit called "I See You." The irony was that Joe was blind. WTIX DJ Ted Green booked them into several record hops, and he told me that when Joe sat at the piano and he and Cathy began singing "I See You" you could hear a pin drop and there was never a dry eye in the place ...




MARY ALICE:
Hi. I was so little but I remember the "big "Zephyr. My mom never let me near it, but I rode all the other rides. I especially remember the "SMOKEY MARY." It scared me...again I was like 6 years old.

As I grew up in teen years me and my friends would go to "The Beach" and I still had this fear the "Zephyr" would eat me alive!!!! I rode the Wild Maus once but I loved the Galaxy and the Music Express. I was sorry the Haunted House burned. I liked the little red bat cars.

One day I took my chance and I rode the ZEPHYR!!! I never got off ... it was so rough and the wheels screeched and just the sound of that steel rubbing was a feeling in itself. I was sorry to see the Beach go, I had many great memories there. I am a avid Rollercoaster maniac and I have travelled many places to ride the fastest, longest, highest, roughest ones in the country. It's surely a huge rush!!! Thanks for the memories.


BOB:
You should have been in the car with me the last time I rode the Zephyr, right before Pontchartrain Beach closed. The whole place was getting shabby as the end drew near, and I believe that extended into maintenance of the rides as well. Halfway up the first hill I discovered the handlebar would not lock over my legs and I had to ride the whole thing, up and down those hills and around those sharp curves, hanging on to the outside of the car!




CHARLIE YOUNG:
Radio personalities of New Orleans without me?? I actually met you once. We were at a Columbia Records party. I worked for WWOM on AM and on FM when they were first rock station on FM in New Orleans. Then my illustrious carrer took me to KGLA. Then I grew up. Hope you're doing ok!


BOB:
"Young" Charlie Young...a great DJ on a gem of a smaller-power AM station (KGLA - 1560) in the early 70's. I used to listen to you and Joe Wolfe on my way home to get ideas for my show the next day!




JUDY THOMPSON:
Dear Bob,
Stumbled on your site - and what a great stumble. I worked at WNOE Aug. 1962 thru Dec. 1964. WBOK prior to that. Lots of great memories go with those days. Nickel beers in frosted mugs at Two Jays on Gov. Nichols and Decatur across from the market and coffee shop at the foot of the port. And great red beans and rice a few doors from there. My husband (Al Thompson) was a bartender at the Old Absinthe House. The real one, with all the paraphenalia on the ceiling and the autograph books going back to the 16 or 1700's.

I lived just two blocks from WNOE so I spent most of my time in the Quarter. Hung out at the Bourbon House where Freddie and Robert took care of us all. Papa Joe's on Bourbon and Preservation Hall just getting started. The Seven Seas for late night ping pong. The Playboy Club had just opened and we all went to the press party. I was so envious of all the bunnies and all the money they made!!! Can't believe it..... I was traffic manager at WNOE and also at WBOK for two years prior to NOE. Great memories.


BOB:
If it's any consolation, I doubt if any of the former Bunnies can still do the Bunny Dip without a tube of Ben Gay close by. And you just know that, today, whatever charms those Bunnies had back then that pointed the way east and west now point to the deep south!




SYLVIA KIRCHHOFF:
Bob, what a walk down Memory Lane! Your website is just great!

Music's always been important in my family. My dad was a drummer back in the 20's with Pete Spicuzza, Irving (Prestopnik) Fajiola, and Louis Prima. He had the first crystal set in the city.

I can remember listening to DAWNBUSTER'S with him when I was little and lying in bed at night with the covers pulled over my head, listening to "LIGHT'S OUT"! When I was 12 or so, I walked around with my portable radio tuned to the mighty 690 WTIX-and we LOOOOOOOOOOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!

My mother, who was a singer and dancer, was on WSMB and WWL during the 30's. She played Queen Griselda on the Buster Brown show that was written, I believe, and emceed by Beverly Brown. She did a lot of commercials with Henry Dupre, too. One day she had a show to do after school and chose a dress that buttoned down the back that morning. That afternoon she was late for the show and rushed in at the last minute to do her lines with no time for a rehearsal. King Vidor happened to be in the studio. To make matters worse, "Uncle Henry" stood behind her and kept unbuttoning and rebuttoning her dress, while she held her script in one hand, and swatted at him with the other. Vidor's comment was,"How remarkable. I've never heard such a terrific cold reading from anyone and under those circumstances, too."

I was blown away to hear my mother's best friend, Rosemay Carrere Thomas, telling Mr. Bingle his life story on your site. Oscar and Roe were a mutual admiration society. Besides Mr. Bingle, Roe did commercials for H.G. Hill Stores (later bought by Winn Dixie) and she did local theatre, too. One play I remember was John Loves Mary at Le Petit. She remarried around 1960, moved to Virginia and did a public service show on the Richmond PBS affiliate. After her husband died, she relocated to Atlanta with her son.

Roe put me in a commercial with her when I was a two year old ham. It debuted in the local movie houses. Then my mom sent me to the vocal school she had attended (Paul Jacob's) and I made my radio debut in 1949, at age 4, on WNOE with none other than Beverly Brown. (What goes around, comes around-lol).

Thanx again for the great website. Keep the music alive!


BOB:
Enjoy your retirement and be happy that you too were "back there" when New Orleans radio and TV were fun. Do you realize that most TV stations don't have a floor director or cameramen anymore? It's all robotic now. How sad.




BOB IN TEXAS:
Hi Bob,
We moved down to New Orleans from New Jersey in connection with the outbreak of WWII where my father who was a maritime officer would be sailing out of the New Orleans Port of Embarkation. We first lived in an apartment on Baronne Street and then moved to a house on Green Street not too far from the streetcar barn. My two brothers and I used to watch the streetcars go in and out of it. I attended Mater Delorosa School and then Jesuit High School (home of the Blue Jays) for a year before moving to Pensacola, Florida. I have been back and located our house and checked everything else out in the neighborhood. Great memories.


BOB:
The streetcar barn on Willow Street, a block off Carrollton and extending the block from Willow to Jeannette St., is still there and still looks (and smells) the same. Its sister bus barn on Magazine Street at Arabella has been deactivated and converted into a food store.




SUSAN CARLIN PAYCER:
BOB, LOVE YOUR SITE AND PLAN ON VIEWING ALL OF IT. I MOVED FROM NOLA 1967, SO I DIDN'T GET TO KNOW YOU BUT I DO REMEMBER TIX VERY MUCH. I LIVED IN THE UPTOWN AREA ON LAUREL NEAR MAGAZINE IN THE 5200 BLOCK. MOVED TO JEFFERSON AT 14. HERE ARE A FEW OF MY MEMORIES:

HIDING IN THE TRUNK AT THE JEFFERSON DRIVE-IN, SLUMBER PARTIES AND "ROLLING" HOUSES, L'ENFANTS AND YE OLDE COLLEGE INN,GREAT CHICKEN FRIED STEAK SANDWICHES, SWIMMING AT AUDUBON PARK, DANCES AT LIONS CLUB, DRIVING DOWN BOURBON ST. LOOKING IN THE DOORS, SMELLING PICKLES WALKING BY THE OLD ZATARAIN'S (UPTOWN NEAR WHERE I LIVED), UPTOWN MOVIES FRIDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY AFTERNOON, LOVING STREET CAR RIDES AND STILL DO, FERRY RIDES ACROSS THE RIVER, DISLIKING RIDING OVER HUEY P. LONG BRIDGE AND GETTING SEASICK GOING OVER CAUSEWAY, SKIPPING SCHOOL, WATCHING SPOOK SHOWS ON T V WITH YOUR FRIENDS (CAN'T REMEMBER THE NAME OF THE SHOW OR WHO WAS THE CHARACTER, BUT HE WAS GREAT. THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FOND MEMORIES.


BOB:
I think you were watching the "House of Shock" and its resident characters - Morgus the Magnificent, Chopsley and Eric the talking skull. Those are some fine uptown memories there. I guess we all hid in the trunk at least once to get into the double feature at the Jeff Drive-In free. Can you still smell that Pic mosquito repellant as the coil burned on the dashboard? I bet you can still sing "Let's go to the lobby and get ourselves a snack!!"




RONALD WRIGHT, Hammond, LA
Bob: Found your site when I keyed in "Ted Andrews, the Old Redhead". He and the old Scotchman, Gordon MacLendon, were in a league of their own when it came to re-creating ball games from tapes. Think Gordon was on (owned?) the Liberty Network. Remember that the Pelican pre-game show was sponsored by A. K. Roy, "Where you can get a lot for a little." Also remember that when a Pelican player hit a home run he got a pair of slacks from Nowaks and a case of the Wright Root Beer. Another Pelican sponsor was Longino and Collins; they later put out the King Cotton hot dog, I believe.

I think it was in the spring of 1954 when WNOE changed ( from Mutual Broadcasting System? ) to their rock and roll format. Time has a way of playing tricks on a person's memory, and I have always wanted to read an account of how they did it. I remember WNOE drawing national attention by playing an outrageous song called "Shtiggy Boom" over and over for something like five, six, or seven days in row. I remember my daddy showing me a writeup about it in a Time magazine of the day. AMG lists Joe Houston & his Group as the artist of "Shtiggy Boom." Do you know of any website I can go to and read about how and when WNOE did this?

My favorite New Orleans radio performer in the late 40's was someone on WTPS by the name of Ray Rogers. He had a couple of 15 minutes shows on daily. His theme song was, honest, The Utah Trail. He put out a record by the name of Mississippi Blues. He also made a personal appearance in Ponchatoula at the Ideal Theatre, I believe in 1949. I have always wondered what happened to Ray Rogers.

Finally, my mother got us off to school in the morning by WDSU radio. Deep-voiced Gay Batson gave the 7:30 news and the sponsor was Shell X100 motor oil. Don't remember the name of the radio personality, but he used an Old Spice commercial excessively, presumably to help awaken us. Over and over we would hear: "Yo Ho, Yo Ho!" From time to time he would play his favorite song: Six Buzzard Feathers and a Mockingbird's Tail.

If you or anyone else knows anything about WNOE and Shtiggy Boom I would appreciate it if you could either share it with me or direct me to it. Many thanks.


BOB:
I bet the Ol' Redhead and the Ol' Scotchman had more than one encounter with Ol' Spice and Ol' Crow. I used to enjoy reading Ted Andrews' and Jill Jackson's Hollywood columns in the "Rider's Digest" on the streetcar and bus.