We’re taking a trip from Texas to New Orleans and plan to get there in time for Mardi Gras. Along the way, we’re revisiting some of the interesting characters we’ve met in past years. Today we’re in the dark swamps along the Atchafalaya River, but the story begins back in Texas.
I remember this scene as clearly as yesterday: I’m in a small garage apartment and two music legends are sitting in my living room. Jivin’ Gene Bourgeois and Johnnie Allan, both South Louisiana music legends, are doing some publicity for a music show in Port Arthur and they decided to “take it” to the reporter. Where he lives.
I had met Allan – who was a high school principal in Lafayette, Louisiana, at the time – at a South Louisiana music legends show the year before. We drove to the show with Jivin’ Gene, who was a neighbor and old friend. Allan was, and still is, one of the most tireless proponents of the South Louisiana music sound. That sound was a tasty blend of rock and roll, R&B and a bit of rockabilly made spicy with some Cajun seasoning. A British guy started calling it “Swamp Pop” in the 1970s but I always hated that term – “Swamp Rock” is more appropriate. Because, as we used to say in Port Arthur, that shit rocks.