Archive for Port Arthur News

The Demon vs. … My Mom

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , on July 9, 2009 by 30daysout

In the late 1970s I worked as an entertainment reporter and columnist for a small Southeast Texas daily newspaper.  The Port Arthur News was close enough to Houston, Beaumont and Lake Charles (cities with venues that could host major concerts) that promoters and record labels often sought us out to help promote an upcoming concert.

We had this executive editor, a family man and apparently a heavy dude in his church, who called me into his office one day.  He said: “Kiss is coming to play in Beaumont.  Many people in my church are upset, and we’re thinking about protesting.  I think you should go and cover the concert.”  Nice coincidence, because covering concerts just happened to be my job.  And I wanted to go because I thought Kiss pretty much rocked.

Then the editor sat back in his chair and pursed his lips.  He was a really tall, thin guy with a curly perm (late 1970s, remember?) and he was a ridiculous-looking dumbass anyway.   “And you know what the name Kiss stands for, right?” he said proudly.  “Knights In Satan’s Service.”  Wow, I thought, that REALLY rocks.  “OK Harry, I’ll get on it.”

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Walkin’ To New Orleans: Mardi Gras!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on February 19, 2009 by 30daysout

Mardi Gras in Mamou (Photos by Art Meripol)

Well, here we are.  Mardi Gras, for all intents and purposes, is New Orleans.  The parades, the beads, the coins, the crowds, the costumes, the bare breasts … ahem, that’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Many places celebrate Mardi Gras around the country – and of course they celebrate “Carnival” in other parts of the world.

My favorite Mardi Gras is the old-timey party they throw in Mamou, Louisiana, a small town in “northern” Cajun country (north of where Interstate 10 crosses the town of Crowley).  They have the traditional Mardi Gras celebration, consisting of a big dance on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, then a “courir de Mardi Gras” the next day.  That’s a sort-of procession where men (traditional) dress up in wild-ass costumes and ride horses (mostly) around to farms in the area, gathering food items for a big community gumbo that night.

My Uncle Harold (Champagne, from near St. Martinville) told me about it once, and I mentioned it to my Port Arthur News partner and ace photographer Art Meripol.  So, very early one morning in 1980, we were in the car headed east with the vague idea that there was some kind of Mardi Gras thing in Mamou.

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