Saturday, May 24, 2008

Bonaparte's Retreat - Basin Street Six - 504 Records

Bonaparte's Retreat - Basin Street Six

1988 504 Records LP.16 Mono

Side 1
1. Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
2. South Rampart Street Parade
3. Angry
4. Bonaparte's Retreat *
5. Original Dixieland One Step
6. Land of Dreams
7. Mahogany Hall Stomp
8. Royal Garden Blues

Side 2
1. Sailing Down the Chesapeake Bay
2. Up A Lazy River
3. Milenburg Joys
4. Margie *
5. High Society
6. I'm Going Home
7. Farewell Blues

Liner Notes:

George Girard (trumpet & vocal*)
Pete Fountain (clarinet)
Joe Rotis (trombone)
Roy Zimmerman (piano)
Bunny Frank (string bass)
Charlie Duke (drums)

Recorded New Orleans circa 1950
Bonaparte's Retreat located on Decatur Street Nola

All tracks previously unissued with the exception of 'High Society' which has been included for completeness.

Liner Notes:
Tom Stagg

'Bonaparte's Retreat' Mike Dine
'Basin Street Six' Courtesy of the New Orleans Jazz Club
Collection of the Louisiana State Museum

Tape Mastering: Charlie Crump
Jacket Design: Mike Dine
Artwork: Lion Litho
Production: Mike Dine

Sincere thanks to Charlie Crump for his Special ability in obtaining a high standard of sound quality during tape transfer from the original 1950's acetates. Special thanks to Alan Ward for his time and effort in checking that the tracks included on this album are actually unissued t, also thanks to Don Marquis of the Louisiana State Museum and finally to Tom Stagg for writing the liner notes and all his help during the production stages.

A 504 Records Production 1988 504 Records

The story of the Basin Street Six begins with a football game, or to be more precise a series of football games. In the 1940's the white kids in New Orleans were crazy over football, but pocket money was scarce making tickets hard to come by, so the youngsters would go to any lengths to gain entry. For young musicians it was slightly easier, they would group together as a band and dress up in the colours of any local or visiting team, this way they would get into the football stadiums as the 'official' band. This sometimes provided a real service as not all visiting teams could afford to bring along their own band. It was during a football game between Warren Easton High School and Bogalusa that a young clarinet player named Pierre Dewey LaFontaine, Jr. (Pete Fountain) playing in the large and impressive Warren Easton School Band was amazed to see that Bogalusa arrived with only a three piece band. At half-time, being unable to contain himself any longer, Pete introduced himself to the rival trio, Frank Assunto (trumpet) Freddie Assunto trombone) and Willie Perkins (drums), and he was invited to join the group for the second half of the game. Of course the 'Bogalusa Band' were just a bunch of local New Orleans kids working the 'visiting jazz band' pastime.

From this first meeting Pete became good friends with the Assunto's and he would go to their home on General Taylor and Freret Streets a couple of times a week to practice and make plans for bigger ventures and to eventually forming a real band. The four youngsters concentrated on working the football games assisted by a friend Benny Christiano whose father had a pick-up truck. By decorating the truck with coloured crepe paper the same as the school colours the band would start about a block away and when they reached the Stadium they would be waved inside as the 'official' band. Of course the Stadium guards were aware of what was going on but turned a blind eye as the appearance of a band at a football game always attracted a lot of attention.

This still unnamed band played the same three or four tunes all the time, but they all listened to a lot of jazz records. Papa Jac Assunto, Frank and Freddie's dad, worked at Werlein's Music Store on Canal Street at the time, and he brought home records for the lads to listen to and learn from.

So it came to pass one summer Saturday afternoon in 1946, sitting around a picnic table in City Park, the quartet decided to quit the football games racket and start out in the jazz business properly. The lads called themselves the Basin Street Four, named after the Basin Street Blues, a popular tune associated with the old city of New Orleans. The band learned more songs and went out in search of their first gig, Pete Fountain was just sixteen years old when the Basin Street Four opened at the Carnival Lounge on Broad Street. The job lasted just two weeks, Friday and Saturday nights for just ten dollars each for both nights, but the manager of the place was just not selling enough beer to keep the band employed.

A few days later a new residency was found at The Hideaway on St. Bernard, a better class place, the band having their name written in chalk on the Jax Beer Blackboard out front. The band played three nights a week Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the place packed every night for the two months the gig lasted. Tommy Baldaras another youngster from the Assunto's neighbourhood joined the group on guitar, the band became the Basin Street Five.

The big night spot at the time was the Parisian Room on Royal Street owned and operated by Joe Gemelli and Tony Almerico, all the guys jammed there on Sunday afternoons and the lads continually asked if they could have a spot to prove they could really play jazz. Eventually the owners gave in only on the condition that the band changed it's name, the Basin Street Five became the Junior Dixie Band.

Mixing and playing with older more experienced musicians did nothing but good for the lads, they were soon totally accepted a part of the Sunday afternoon scene and they were readily included when WWL Radio started broadcasting those jam sessions, first locally and then nationwide through the CBS network, billed as the Dixieland Jamboree.

From these Sunday afternoon sessions midweek jobs were added and then jobs all over the City. The Horace Heidt talent radio show came to town with auditions held at the New Orleans Recreation Department. The Junior Dixie Band entered the talent show and then began rehearsing in earnest adding two more youngsters to the band, Johnny Bartell on bass and Stanley Mendelson on piano.

This new seven piece unit romped through their audition playing 'March of the Bob Cats'. The following week the band were on the radio show and won the first local heat, a week later in Louisville, Kentucky they lost to an all girl group singing cowboy songs, it was back to the Parisian Room and the Sunday afternoon jam sessions.

Shortly after the Assunto brothers left the band to form their own Dukes of Dixieland and George Girard and Jack Delaney joined the Junior Dixie Band. Originally Jack Delaney played trumpet with the band but learned trombone when George Girard proved how good a trumpet player he was. This revised band picked up a good paying job at Demiano's Dance Hall on Airline Highway.

Eventually the Junior Dixie Band broke up, most of the musicians hankering to play with bigger names, George Girard joined the Jimmy Archey Orchestra, Jack Delaney went with the Sharkey Bonano Band and Pete Fountain took his own group into the Famous Door on Bourbon Street using a young talented Al Hirt on trumpet.

Later Pete joined Phil Zito's International Dixieland Band at the El Morocco, Joe Rotis was on trombone, Emile Christian bass, Roy Zimmerman piano and George Girard returned to New Orleans to play trumpet, Phil Zito was on drums. This band was successful but eventually the crowds dropped off and many clubs even stopped having bands, the El Morocco job folded and the band went to Biloxi, Mississippi to play for two weeks at the Broadwater Beach Hotel. A job came through in New York but by now the guys were ready to return home to New Orleans and Phil Zito hired new musicians to go north.

It was time to form a new band in New Orleans but dixieland in 1950 was no longer popular and the Basin Street Six was created as the greatest unemployed band in the City - George Girard (trumpet), Joe Rotis (trombone), Pete Fountain (clarinet), Roy Zimmerman (piano), Bunny Franks (string bass) and Charlie Duke (drums). It was George Girard who came up with a regular two nights a week job at L'Enfants on Canal Boulevard, the band had to play dance music mostly. Bill Reed of WWL TV picked up the show as part of his dixieland revival campaign and within three months the Basin Street Six had found their niche as a funny hat band, wearing old Mardi Gras costumes, switching instruments and even dressing up as girls on occasions, a real fun band but still playing good dixieland jazz.

In fact the band was good enough to make their first recording session towards the end of the year for Circle Records. When the TV job closed, L'Enfants returned to having only a dance music policy and late in 1951 the Basin Street Six were again looking for work. Within a week the band opened at Perez's Oasis and then the Silver Slipper Club on Bourbon Street (the same building that housed the Silver Slipper Club became `Your Father's Moustache' during the 60's and 70's but now no longer exists as a jazz venue).

Soon they were playing six nights a week all over the City, the dixieland revival was in full swing. Johnny Edwards replaced Charlie Duke on drums, and a second recording session was made this time for Mercury Records, Down Beat carried a story, the band were now living like celebrities. Blaise D'Antoni, President of the Standard Fruit Company, the largest importer of bananas in New Orleans, bought the band under a ninety-nine year contract, he liked the way they clowned and played.

All the members of the band signed the contract, part of the deal being that the Standard Fruit Company continued to call the band the Basin Street Six. The band opened on a banana boat bound for Honduras, a two week cruise entertaining Mr. D'Antoni's guests. Everybody had a good time but it could not last and the ninety-nine year contract ended after three months, with everyone parting friends. Back in New Orleans the Basin Street Six played the intermission set for a Louis Armstrong concert at the Municipal Auditorium, a fitting accolade for this fine little band. A trip to the Blue Note in Chicago was reluctantly made, none of the men wanted to be away from home for long. There were periods of squabbling and it became obvious that there were feelings of discontent among the fellows, they were falling out over everything. In four years the band had always been run as a cooperative unit, no leader but this had not always been easy as George Girard was really a natural leader with a superstrong personality.

Upon returning from Chicago George quit the band to form his own group, Connie Jones replaced him for a while, Roy Zimmerman and Pete Fountain left a few weeks later. It was 1954, the Basin Street Six were no more, a chapter complete in the continuing story of New Orleans dixieland jazz.

- Tom Stagg, 1988

Acknowledging Pete Fountain and Bill Neely and 'A Closer Walk : The Pete Fountain Story' Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1972.

At the time of writing Pete Fountain who was born in New Orleans on July 3, 1930 is the only surviving member of the Basin Street Six. After the break-up of the band in 1954 he was to find fame and fortune, helped on his way by the magic of TV exposure on the Lawrence Welk Show. This led to Pete opening his own club on Bourbon Street, a great attraction for the many tourists who visited the City in their hundreds, and later a gold record award for his hit recording 'Java'.

In his early days Pete was the protege of the great Irving Fazola and was heavily influenced by Eddie Miller when he doubled on tenor saxophone. Today Pete Fountain is still a great tourist attraction at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Poydras Street although his style is far removed from his Basin Street Six days.

As far as the Basin Street Six was concerned Joe Rotis and the rhythm section were all older and more experienced musicians, George Girard only three months older than Pete Fountain was sadly to pass away on January 17, 1957 in his 26th year, his exciting driving style to be heard no more.

- Alan Ward/Mike Dine

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dixieland From The Famous Door - Southland Records

Dixieland From The Famous Door

Second Version of the Cover

Original Version of the Cover

1955 Southland Records S-LP 216

Pete Fountain Related - Pete Played and sat in with many bands at the Famous Door and is rumored to be a guest on some of these tracks.

Side One
Sharkey and his Kings of Dixieland
1. When the Saints Come Marching In
2) Chime Blues
3) Monday Date (Vocal by Jack Delaney)
4) Somebody Else is Taking My Place (Vocal by Jackie Blaine)

George Girard and his New Orleans Five
5) I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
6) Roses of Picardy

Side Two
Santo Pecora and his New Orleans Rhythm Kings
1) Tail Gate Ramble
2) A Good Man is Hard to Find
3) Missouri Two Beat
4) World is Waiting for the Sunrise

George Girard and his New Orleans Five
5) I'm Sittin' On Top of the World
6) I'm Goin's Home

Liner Notes:

Band One
Sharkey and his Kings of Dixieland


Yeah, I know him since both of us were kids.... Wanted to be a clarinet player... In fact, he would have been a great clarinet player, too... But the way things worked out, well, you see Sharkey had a brother-in-law, John Quarella who used to have this pavilion on Lake Pontchartrain at Milneburg, and there was a band in the place. Frank Christian used to play cornet, but one night he didn't show up for work and little Sharkey went on the stand, and he's been blowin' up a storm ever since.

It's always been my ambition to put Sharkey on records, not the way records are usually made, but the way he sounds on the job. So I just caught him at a regular New Orleans style jam session, with first rate equipment and took down what he put out. I was lucky, to, because Jack Delaney was sitting in on trombone and Harry Shields on clarinet... and with Abbie Brunies on drums and Happy Mendelson, piano and the great Chink Martin on bass to make up as fine a rhythm section as New Orleans can produce, I got what I was after, plus. Naturally, the boys were delighted when they heard the playback - and I can confidently say that you will be, too, because lucky accidents like this don't happen every day.


It's a pleasure to work with Joe Mares, because he's a real New Orleans boy, who knows the real jazz sound like I know my brown derby. Where jazz is concerned he's always ready to try out an idea, to gamble on a new tune, to make a break for a musician down on his luck.

Anyway, recording for Joe, a guy can relax. Doesn't have to hurry through a session - and sometimes, you know how it is, a session doesn't come out. Well, that's the time that, instead of putting out second rate stuff, he'll just stick the tape away in his safe and make another session. This time he caught us by surprise, though, and really got four sides done the way that makes us feel good. Joe's got it down here the way we like to hear ourselves - and even Jack, who usually hates to hear himself on records, had that happy look when Joe played these sides back for us. Besides that, he's a genius when it comes to balancing an out-fit so that you can hear all the instruments. There's a flavor about Joe's records that goes beyond the music itself, and somehow recreates the New Orleans atmosphere.

I can tell you that I'm personally more than delighted with what Joe's produced on this LP. He's a great guy to work with.


Band Two
SANTO PECORA and his New Orleans Rhythm Kings

Here is the King of the Tailgate Trombone, Santo Pecora, in all his rugged glory, finally presented to the world's jazz fans the way he really sounds, here, at home in New Orleans. Thirty active musical years have developed this brassy genius to the very peak of his talent. Today, still a young man, he retains his full, almost juvenile, vigor, a constantly expanding, ingeniously original flow of ideas, and a flawless mechanical facility. It only remained for Joe Mares, the Casey Stengel of the Jazz business, to get him down on wax with such fidelity as to show every facet of this great jazzman clearly and in full color. Santo's right to his kingdom will be amply authenticated by his "World Is Waiting for the Sunrise" and "Tailgate Ramble."

Since Southland, geographically, is right here in the heart of Jazz, Joe Mares can always surround each featured Jazz celebrity with a plethora of superb musicians. How well he's done justice to Santo in this respect will be evident when you hear Lester Bouchon convert the tenor saxophone into a true Dixieland instrument in his extravagantly lush treatment of "A Good Man Is Hard To Find". Bouchon, after a quarter-century, still too shy to appear comfortably in public, relaxes for Joe and gives him as haunting a solo as you'll ever hear recorded.

A current star in his own right, with a lip developed by his nightly stint on Bourbon Street, where he entertains packed houses regularly with his fully developed lead trumpet, George Girard carries this session along in masterly fashion. This twenty-five year old wonder boy has established himself already as one of New Orleans' outstanding jazzmen. Raymond Burke wraps up this superior front line with his tasteful, sensitive clarinet, so easily identifiable to all jazz fans, for the simple reason that there's no other sound in the entire jazz idiom that remotely resembles Raymond's. To establish the truly "all-star" character of this ensemble, Joe Mares has supplied a rhythm section consisting of Armand Hug, on piano, who's solo work is already thoroughly familiar, on many labels, to fans from New Orleans to Patagonia, plus Abbie Brunies, youngest of the famed clan of Brunies, and finally, the old-time master of bass, Chink Martin, who does things with a bass on these four tunes that you'll continue to refer to as long as you collect records. The musicians, other than the ones who appear in this album, that have heard these records, agree that they're among the very finest ever recorded in New Orleans.

Band Three
GEORGE GIRARD and his New Orleans Five
JOHNNY SENAC, String Bass-Tuba

Out in the front of the New Orleans five is the youthful sensation from whose gleaming trumpet pours the whole tradition of the Crescent City. At twenty-five, he's respected around town not only for his superb musicianship, fine driving lead and exciting solos, but also for his obvious and natural leadership. George Girard is one of the keystones on which New Orleans is building it's musical future.

George has been fronting his own group for the last thirty months and has spent twenty-four of these at The Famous Door here in New Orleans and Southland is the first to pin down George and his New Orleans Five on wax. Tutored by some of the greatest of the old-timers he's the true mid-century representative of all that is wonderful in our great music. One hearing will add him to your roster of great New Orleans hornmen.

On the New Orleans Five tracks you hear a veritable Cavalacade of great New Orleans jazzmen built around the lead trumpet of George Girard. You hear the unique ideas of Raymond Burke on clarinet; Mr. Dixieland of 1955 of New Orleans Jack Delaney on that fine singing trombone; On piano, a young man with old ideas Stanley Mendelson. Bassman Johnny Senac whom you'll hear on the New Orleans Five sides, not only on string bass, but with his nostalgic tuba comes forth a polished, full grown jazzman to take his place in the ranks of the top Crescent City jazz musicians. The late Abbie Brunies heard on drums here, lays down a solid beat and plays more honest-to-goodness drums than you can find anywhere else in this modern, hide-beating generation. There's a remarkable amount of fine Dixieland jazz on this long playing record - and it's all New Orleans.


"Southland Records" wishes to thank the Record Changer, Down Beat, Jazz Journal, Second Line, and all the people who wrote such wonderful things about Southland Long Playing efforts. We are pleased to be able to present another album produced by the same high musical and technical standard.


Pete Fountain - Coral Records

Pete Fountain "Cheesecake" Cover from Mexico

I saw this on eBay, didn't get a chance to bid on it. If you have this or any unusual covers and can scan them, please let me know so we can post them here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pete Fountain And Al Hirt - Coral Records

Pete Fountain And Al Hirt
7 Inch 45 RPM EP

1962 Coral Records EC 81189 Stereo 7" EP

Note, the back cover is blank. This EP was used in juke boxes. Liner notes are excerpts from the LP.

Side One
1. Farewell Blues
2. March Of The Bob Cats

Side Two
1. At The Jazz Band Ball
2. Jazz Me Blues

Liner Notes:


Pete Fountain, clarinet
Al Hirt, trumpet
Eddie Miller, tenor sax
Jack Sperling, drums
Ray Bauduc, drums
Stan Wrightsman, piano
Morty Corb, bass
Bobby Gibbons, guitar

In recalling the story of New Orleans jazz, historians have dwelt endlessly on the legendary facts and figures of the tenderloin. An ordinance sponsored in 1897 by a local alderman named Story, setting topographical limits on the sporting-house district, led to the birth of an area that was to become known internationally as Storyville, and from then until 1917, when the district was shut down, the events took place that were commemorated in songs about Basin Street and Mahogany Hall.

Less celebrated in the annals of the Crescent City's music is French Quarter's Bourbon Street, a thorough-fare that has become, especially in the past two decades, New Orleans' equivalent of the now-fabled 52nd Street in Manhattan. Long after Storyville's coda was sounded, long after the first jazz pioneers had moved on to Chicago and Los Angeles and New York, Bourbon Street with its nest of small clubs provided a pied-a-terre for dozens of small, bristling combos that kept the city's musical tradition alive.

As you walk down this narrow street, if you know any of the history of Bourbon Street you will sense music in the air, before and after as well as during working hours. Passing by the Famous Door, the Dream Room, Antoine's and all the other sites where jazz has been played, you are reminded of the days when the late Irving Fazola blew his last chorus on the street back in the '40s; of Eddie Miller and the other local men who went on to spread the Dixieland word via the Bob Crosby orchestra; of Louis Prima, Sharkey Bonano, Wingy Manone and the many others for whom Bourbon Street was home.

Pete Fountain and Al Hirt are two symbols of Bourbon Street jazz who in the past few years have carried their message into unexpected channels. Today each leads his own group, bringing the jazz tradition to sophisticated night clubs from Las Vegas to New York and to national television shows. Pete has his own club, the highly successful French Quarter Inn at 800 Bourbon Street, while Al, between national tours, can be found at 600 Bourbon Street, at his and Dan Levy's Pier 600 Club, where he was discovered in 1960.

Some of the music in this EP was recorded when Pete and Al, not yet known to the general public, were working jointly in an exciting little group. March of the Bobcats is a product of this period. This composition, as the credits indicate, was a product of the Bob Crosby band and lends itself ideally to Al's plunging, no-holds-barred horn. The trombone soloist, Abe Lincoln, though born in Lancaster, Pa., is a son of New Orleans in spirit and has recorded with everyone from Bobby Hackett to Bob Scobey. Eddie Miller's warm tenor sound follows, as personal and persuasive as when he was a key Crosby man (1936-42). Solos by Al and Pete are next, the former showing great finesse without the showmanship that was to come later.

On this and the other tunes featuring Al Hirt and Pete, you will hear the remarkably intense beat of a double rhythm section. Stereo listeners will find drummer Jack Sperling on the left; pianist Stan Wrightsman left and center; drummer Ray Bauduc center; bassist Morty Corb center and right; guitarist Bobby Gibbons right.

Farewell Blues, a tune recorded in 1922 by the Friars Society Orchestra, has some inspired muted trumpet by Al followed by some typically fluent Fountain and a solo spot by Stan. Notice how, in the open horn solo before the final ensemble, AI Hirt hints at the iron lip he was to develop as one of his most commercial assets in the next couple of years.

At The Jazz Band Ball again shows off Al's potent lead and reminds us of Stan's elegant qualifications as a real two-handed pianist. Eddie Miller, Al, Pete and Morty all have solos and the ensemble generates a stimulating eight-beat feeling.

Jazz Me Blues, by the Pete-and-Al combine, is taken at a relaxed medium trot and swings consistently with the help of Eddie Miller, Abe
Lincoln and Stan Wrightsman.

As this album attests, you can take the musicians out of Bourbon Street but you can't take the Bourbon Street out of men like Pete and Al. The buoyant, spirited music for which they have become roving ambassadors is a contagiously happy reminder of the street where it lived - and still lives, as often as the Fountains and Hirts have a chance to hurry back home.

- Leonard Feather

Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert - MCA Records

Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert
7 Inch 45 RPM EP

1967 MCA Records EP 3000 Stereo / EPM 3000 Mono

The back cover is blank. This EP was used in juke boxes. Liner notes are excerpts from the LP.

Side One
1. A Swingin' Safari
2. Spanish Eyes

Side Two
1. Strangers In The Night (A Theme From The Universal Picture "A Man Could Get Killed")
2. Danke Schoen

Liner Notes:

New Orleans is Pete Fountain's stamping ground; Hamburg, Germany, is home base for Bert Kaempfert. Thousands of miles separate them, yet this album shows how closely they are linked by the common denominator of great popular music.

PETE FOUNTAIN PLAYS BERT KAEMPFERT is a natural - the kind of album excitement that makes you wonder why it wasn't done before. For this is a superb blending of unique talents.

Recorded in Europe with musicians from the Bert Kaempfert orchestra, it has the sparkling essence of the Bert Kaempfert "sound." Along with that, there's the Pete Fountain touch - the inspired playing of a towering figure in today's music. Put these talents in unison, and you've got something rare indeed: creative musicality working every memorable moment.

The clarinet, by the way, is another bond between them. Bert learned to play it in addition to the sax, accordion and piano. He can therefore better appreciate Pete's virtuosity on the "stick" - and his desire to salute Pete's mastery of the clarinet inspired a tune specially dedicated to his fellow artist. Its very title, For Pete's Sake, is a measure of his affection and respect for the fabulous Fountain.

A new Pete Fountain album is eagerly awaited by fans everywhere. The songs and "sound" of Bert Kaempfert are a hit parade in themselves. Put the two together and you've got a winner. So stop holding this album; put it in a record player, and get a piece of the action. PETE FOUNTAIN PLAYS BERT KAEMPFERT is wonderful listening.

South Rampart Street Parade - Coral Records

South Rampart Street Parade
7 Inch 33 1/3 RPM EP

1963 - Coral Stereo CRL 7-98120
7" 33 1/3 RPM EP

Note, the cover used for this EP doesn't have the right catalog number or songs listed. It is the standard cover printed for the LP. The back cover is blank. This EP was used in juke boxes. Liner notes are excerpts from the LP.

Side 1
1. South Rampart Street Parade
2. Basin Street Blues
3. Farewell Blues

Side 2
1. The Darktown Strutters' Ball
2. Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet
3. Over The Waves

Liner Notes:

Pete Fountain, clarinet
Jackie Coon, trumpet
Moe Schneider, trombone

Four-piece Trombone Team:
Lew McCreary (trombone)
Bill Schaefer (trombone)
George Roberts (bass trombone)
Dick Nash or Dick Noel (trombone)

Godfrey Hirsch, vibraharpist
Jack Sperling, drums (snare, cymbal and foot bass drum)
Nick Fatool, field drum
Paul Barbarin, vertical bass drum, cymbal

Bobby Gibbons, banjo
Phil Stephens, tuba
Morty Corb, bass

PETE FOUNTAIN And His Mardi Gras Strutters

Shrovetide, the period before Ash Wednesday, is a gay and active time of year in New Orleans. This pre-Lenten season culminates, there and in other southern cities, with the processions, masquerade balls and other entertainments associated with Mardi Gras, a day sometimes called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.

Every Shrove Tuesday morning in recent years, at 9 a.m., a group of musicians and their non-musician friends have gathered at a tavern on St. Charles Street to launch one of the Crescent City's most colorful ceremonies. Pete Fountain, the founder of this marching society, has gone to some lengths to assure its vivid visibility. Special uniforms, brightly sprayed shoes and plumed hats are among the accouterments that draw undivided attention to the strutting members of the Half Fast Walking Club, as it is officially called.

"I was going down there for this year's parade", says Bud Dant, "to take part in it myself - I played mellophone - and to get a first hand view of the club. Pete's followers included a wide variety of personalities from all walks of life. One member of the parade was Cliff Arquette (Charlie Weaver), who brought along an old Civil War cornet. There was no real semblance of order in the parade, though none of us could go very far astray because the crowd kept us hemmed in".

"We marched for about four hours, all the way up St. Charles Street to Canal, and past the reviewing stand, in front of the Mayor and the television cameras. We played a lot of the same tunes you hear in this album, though of course without the organized sound that the music has here."

The most important link between the actual parade as it took place that day and the music as it is heard in this album is the strong, marching-music element of percussion. Taking part in these sessions was a remarkable quartet of drummers. One was Godfrey Hirsch, regularly Pete's vibraharpist. Here he plays a marching drum. Jack Sperling, drummer on most of the Fountain albums, plays snare, cymbal and occasionally a foot bass drum. Nick Fatool plays a field drum, which is a somewhat thicker snare. And Paul Barbarin, who led a ten-piece band in the parade, plays a vertical bass drum, with a little brass-rim of a cymbal on top. He marched into the studio with this drum, the legend "Onward Brass Band Of New Orleans" inscribed on it, and never sat down through the entire recording.

On Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet and Farewell Blues this percussion team backs up a Dixieland ensemble comprising Jackie Coon on trumpet, Pete on clarinet and Moe Schneider on trombone. On all the other tracks a four-piece trombone team was added, consisting of Lew McCreary, Bill Schaefer, George Roberts (bass trombone) and Dick Nash or Dick Noel.

The rhythm section throughout is composed of Bobby Gibbons, banjo; Phil Stephens, tuba; and Morty Corb, bass.

The tempo accorded to the opening track, the Ray Bauduc-Bob Haggart South Rampart Street Parade, establishes both mood and pace for the entire set. It is neither too slow nor too fast; it just conforms, in fact, to the name of the club. Pete's lower register clarinet hits a fittingly mellow groove on the chorus. The arrangement was written by Don Bagley.

Matty Matlock's arrangement of the Paul Barbarin original The Second Line follows, with Pete riding over the ensemble in a buoyant manner recalling the best of the old Bob Crosby band. Heinie Beau's arrangement of Basin Street Blues pits Pete's melodic statements against the trombone section and places the fine ensemble lead of Coon in sharp focus.

Farewell Blues, an informal performance guided by Dant but virtually a head arrangement, offers more traditional-style Dixie, with impressive work by Schneider, Coon and Fountain.

The Darktown Strutters' Ball, another Beau score, was composed in 1917 by Shelton Brooks of Some Of These Days fame. Moe Schneider's Teagarden-like facility, Pete's purity of sound and style, and Phil Stephens' tuba break are noteworthy points.

Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet, a head arrangement, has an opening statement by Coon, a beautifully meshed Dixieland ensemble, and solos by Fountain, Schneider and Coon, with the percussion section in command.

Over the Waves, a Heinie Beau arrangement, makes ingenious use of Phil Stephens' tuba for a half chorus of melody (to Pete's obbligato) and an amusing coda.

If the music on these sides has the same stimulating effect on you as on this listener, I guess we'll have a date to meet next Mardi Gras morning. Look for those plumed hats, in the vicinity of a tavern on St. Charles Street. And don't forget the struttin' starts at nine - so you'd better be ready about half-
past eight.

- Leonard Feather

Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn - Memorabilia

Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn Postcard

Pete Fountain's French Quarter Inn
Postcard circa 1966 Postcard

One of the plushest and most popular clubs in New Orleans is the French Quarter Inn. - Its elegant brick and wrought iron facade occupying a prominent corner on the fabled, fabulous Bourbon Street, The proprietor and main attraction is jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain who entertains nightly.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pete Fountain and His Dixieland Boys - Brunswick Records

Pete Fountain and His Dixieland Boys

1957 Brunswick Records 9-55045 Mono 7" 45 RPM

Side One
1. Tailgate Blues

Side Two
1. Yellow Dog Blues

The record comes from the period between The Basin Street Six and Pete's Lawrence Welk time. Pete was playing with Sharkey Bonano; he formed his own band Pete Fountain and His Three Coins, and also was playing with Al Hirt in Al's club, Pier 600. He was also jamming at Tony Almerico's club. Since Pete was playing with so many people, it is unknown who the personnel are on this 45 RPM recording.

About Brunswick Records: In the 1950s, American Decca made Brunswick, co-owned by Coral Records its leading Rock and Roll label, featuring artists such as Buddy Holly. In the latter part of the 1950s and into the 1960s, it was primarily used for African-American acts with Jackie Wilson its only major recording star.

New Orleans at Midnight - Coral Records

Pete Fountain's New Orleans At Midnight
7 Inch 33 1/3 RPM EP

1963 Coral Records CRL 7-98123 Stereo 7" 33 1/3 RPM EP

Note, the cover used for this EP doesn't have the right catalog number or songs listed. It is the standard cover printed for the LP. The back cover is blank. This EP was used in juke boxes. Liner notes are excerpts from the LP.

Side One
1. I Want To Be Happy
2. Rockin' Chair
3. Ballin' The Jack

Side Two
1. Makin' Whoopee
2. Swing Low
3. Midnight Boogie

Liner Notes:

Several years ago, in an interview for his first album (Coral 57282, Pete Fountain's New Orleans) Pete Fountain remarked: "There's still quite a bit of jazz in New Orleans, you know. In proportion, we probably have more than you have in New York City...On Bourbon Street alone, there's seven Dixieland bands. Plus me. You know, me and the rhythm. We just swing away."

As far as anyone can tell from the confused mass of evidence that has come to light in the comparatively short time span since the historians began to investigate the subject, musicians have been swinging away on Bourbon Street, or in other sections of the Crescent City, since some-time before the turn of the century. In the early days, according to the veteran guitarist Danny Barker, "there were countless places of enjoyment that employed musicians, not including private affairs, balls, soirees, marriages, banquets, deaths, christenings, Catholic communions, confirmations, picnics at the lake front, country hay rides, and advertisements of business concerns. During the carnival season (Mardi Gras) any little insignificant affair was sure to have some kind of music, and each section would engage their neighborhood favorite." (Quote from "Hear Me Talkin' To Ya" by Shapiro & Hentoff.)

If there was music around the clock, certainly the quantity and quality of the performances was never higher than around midnight, an hour when citizens employed in the less glamorous jobs were free to enjoy the services of those nightlifers who were hired to entertain them.

Though some of the nostalgic glitter of New Orleans in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century may have worn thin, or at least may have abandoned its perpetual-motion schedule, the night hours in the 1960s are no less active than they were, say, in 1900, when some say jazz was born, or in 1930, when the Fountain family says Pete was born. The music still assumes a variety of forms: at times it has the rowdy, unconfined battle spirit of traditional Dixieland jazz, while in gentler moments it can assume the coloration of the more sophisticated, easily swinging music that grew to maturity during Pete Fountain's childhood.

It is the latter mood that is established on the first band of this album and maintained through-out these two thoroughly musical and consistently listenable sides.

The musicians are all familiar inhabitants of earlier Fountain packages: Bobby Gibbons on guitar, Jack Sperling on drums (replaced on Rockin' Chair, Morty Corb on bass, and from time to time Pete's perennial sidekick Godfrey Hirsch on vibes. The pianist is Midnight Boogie, and Stan Wrightsman on all the other bands. Arrangements by Bud Dant.

Vincent Youmans' I Want To Be Happy was composed and recorded six years before Fountain was born. It is an essentially simple melody that lends itself as ideally to a bright swinging interpretation as the Ellington theme is suited to the blues. Note Pete's effective use of syncopation, the well-conceived half-chorus solos of Wrightsman and Hirsch, and the ebullient spirit in which Pete rides it out.

Hoagy Carmichael's Rockin' Chair, one of the Hoosier songwriter's earliest successes (he and Louis Armstrong sang it as a duet on a 1929 record) is outlined with a suggestion of shuffle rhythm. Morty Corb's firmly walking bass behind Stan Wrightsman's solo is a conspicuously valuable component.

Ballin' The Jack is exactly a half century old. The Fountain rejuvenation is essentially swing music, with a moderately paced and keenly sustained rhythmic continuity. The impeccable Jack Sperling, in his breaks, never allows the listener to lose track of the beat.

Makin' Whoopee, a Gus Kahn song of 1928, opens with a Fountain chorus, splits one between piano and vibes, then returns it to Pete, all with a minimum of
complexity and often with a touch of the blues.

Swing Low is tastefully handled with a gospel feeling and occasional use of chimes, the latter alternating with piano in the second chorus. According to historian Sigmund Spaeth, this melody was "borrowed" by Dvorak for his New World Symphony.

The side concludes with an original by Fountain and Bud Dant, Midnight Boogie, in which shuffle-rhythm boogie-woogie alternates with straight-forward swinging ad lib blues.

You will have to do a lot of reconnoitering before you find happier or more relaxed music than this in New Orleans At Midnight.

Cover Photo: Hal Buksbaum

New Orleans, Dixieland, Clarinet, Mr. New Orleans Jazz Meets Mr. Honky Tonk, Pete Fountain, Coral Records

Mr. New Orleans Jazz Meets Mr. Honky Tonk

1961 Coral Records LVA 9141 Mono

UK Import - Different Cover than the US Coral Records CRL 757334 Stereo / CRL 57334 Mono

Side One
1. That's A Plenty
2. After You've Gone
3. Alexander's Ragtime Band
4. Ain't Misbehavin' (I'm Savin' My Love For You)
5. Jazz Me Blues
6. Oh, Lady Be Good

Side Two
1. Limehouse Blues
2. Honeysuckle Rose
3. Darktown Strutters' Ball
4. Georgia On My Mind
5. Sweet Sue, Just You
6. American Patrol


With Pete Fountain....
His Own Rhythm Section Including

Merle Koch (Piano)
Lowell Miller (Bass)
Paul Edwards (Drums)
Lou Singer Alternates With Elmer Schmidt (Xylophone And Vibraphone)

With Big Tiny Little....
One-Time Benny Goodman Guitarist, Alan Reuss (Banjo)
Buddy Hayes (Tuba)
Monty Corb (String Bass)
Jack Sperling (Drums)
Jack Imel (Such Assorted Percussion Sounds As Washboard, Spoons, Woodblocks And Anything Else Handy)

Liner Notes:

The idea of a "battle of the bands" is one that probably goes almost as far back as the origin of the popular orchestra. Certainly in the late nineteenth century there were rival street bands in many of the southern states whose relative merits were judged by their enthusiastic sup-porters in open-air musical galas. Back in the 1930s the so-called swing era brought a wave of special events at which leading groups would be paired off at the Savoy or some other famous ballroom.

Today, with the technological advantages of tape recording, hi fi and stereo, the old gimmick has taken on a new twist. In the present meeting between Mr. New Orleans Jazz (better known as Pete Fountain) and Mr. Honky Tonk (alias Dudley "Big Tiny" Little) the occasion is a particularly important one for anyone equipped with a first-class hi-fi rig (especially if he happens to have stereo) ; and the musical effect is one of amalgamation rather than opposition.

The backgrounds of the protagonists in this musical merger have a great deal in common. Both Pete Fountain and Tiny Little were born in the summer of 1930, a few weeks apart. Both were the sons of well known musicians - Tiny's father was a famous orchestra leader for many years (he is now more or less retired but still books polka band gigs around Minnesota) - while Pete's father played drums and violin with various jazz groups around Biloxi, Miss. Most important, of course, is the bond between Pete and Tiny as alumni of the Lawrence Welk organization, in which they worked together for a couple of years and were jointly featured on the Welk television series.

Pete became a leader in the early 1950s, disbanding to join Welk in 1957 and resuming his independent career in the spring of 1959. Tiny, who had played piano from the age of five, organized his first trio while in his teens. Anative of Worthington, Minn., he played dance dates throughout the middle West and later worked as a sideman with the orchestras of Cliff Kyes, Jimmie Thomas and, not surprisingly, Tiny Little Sr. After joining the Air Force in 1950 he was based in Japan and formed a jazz combo of local citizens.

A seldom-publicized aspect of Tiny's career is the jazz venture he undertook not long after his discharge from the Air Force in 1954. For a while he worked at the Strollers Club in Long Beach, Cal., as one-third of a swinging trio whose other members were the distinguished jazz bassist Leroy Vinnegar and guitarist Irving Ashby (formerly of the King Cole Trio). After working solo for a while in cocktail lounges, Tiny was discovered by Welk, joining him in the summer of 1955 and remaining just four years.

Tiny describes himself as a "left-handed piano player," by which he means that he keeps the bass notes moving, much in the manner of his earliest keyboard idol, the late and immortal Thomas "Fats" Waller. (For similar reasons his current favorites include Erroll Garner at the top of the list.)

Pete Fountain names as his favorite clarinetists the late Irving Fazola (a New Orleans product like Pete himself ) and another Crescent City veteran, Eddie Miller of the old Bob Crosby band. Nevertheless, listeners who have followed Pete's work in recent years discern a strong Benny Goodman influence.

Of the Little-Fountain cooperation on these sides, Tiny says: "This was something we'd had at the back of our minds for a long time ; we were happy when Coral arranged for us to join forces. Pete is just a natural player and it's a stimulating experience to work with him."

The session opens with a little walking music a la Jackie Gleason as the boys tear into That's A Plenty, a Dixieland standard of the mid-1920s. Then time marches back for After You've Gone, written during World War I and handled here just as it has almost always been done by jazzmen, with the first chorus slow and the second in double-time. Next, Tiny takes the lead chorus, followed bysome of Pete's must fluent ad-libbing, on the rousing treatment of Irving Berlin's first hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band, now rounding out its first half century. Ain't Misbehavin' moves the clock ahead a little to 1929, when this song became one of Fats Waller's first major hits. Next comes Jazz Me Blues, a song recorded by scores of Dixie-land combos since Bix Beiderbecke immortalized it more than three decades ago. A fast tempo treatment of Gershwin's Lady Be Good offers a touch of Allen Reuss' banjo chords along with solos by Tiny and Pete.

The second side opens uproariously with a reckless investigation of Limehouse Blues, another hit of the early 1920s, complete with Oriental effects, whistles, rattles and Tiny's "doctored" piano all contributing to an atmosphere that's as corny as a carousel and just as much fun. Stereo listeners will get a special kick out of the "ping-pong" effect created by the two drummers in the introduction to Fats Waller's Honeysuckle Rose, which features Merle Koch, Pete's pianist, as well as Tiny. The familiar "riff" played during the last chorus is taken from the famous Fletcher Henderson arrangement of this tune, popularized around 1939 by the Benny Goodman band.

After Darktown Strutters Ball, which has some of the most typically exuberant Little piano work of the entire album, the mood changes for a relaxed interpretation of Hoagy Carmichael's 30-year-old classic Georgia On My Mind. Notice how effectively the piano answers each clarinet statement of the melody in the opening chorus. The tuba rounds out the overall sound in an effective arrangement. (Whatever planned music can be heard on this session is credited to Larry Fotine, the arranger who has collaborated with Tiny on a number of ragtime pieces.) The second chorus of Sweet Sue is a real panic, especially for stereo listeners - sheer uninhibited bedlam, complete with rollicking keyboard, xylophone, tuba and everything else but (or possibly even including) the kitchen sink. This tune dates back to 1928, which makes it somewhat younger than the concluding item, American Patrol. Here we have another example of how a time-honored melody with no direct jazz associations can be transformed with-out any trouble at all into a vehicle for this kind of free-for-all improvisation.

Very recently Pete Fountain won the Down Beat International Jazz Critics' poll as new star of the year on clarinet for 1960. Although the atmosphere on these sides is hardly intended to appeal to purists or snobs (for whom rowdy, no-holds-barred music merely produces a "we-are-not-amused" lifted eyebrow), it's a cinch that this meeting in modern sound between the critics' new favorite and the public's favorite honky-tonk expert will win many new fans for both.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pete Fountain to Open French Quarter Festival - News

Pete Fountain to open French Quarter Festival

Reprint courtesy of Keith Spera, Music writer, The Times-Picayune April 11, 2008

Jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain is slated to open the French Quarter Festival on April 11 with only his third hometown performance since Hurricane Katrina. He'll join cornetist Connie Jones & the French Quarter Festival Allstars at the Nola.Com Stage in Jackson Square at 11 a.m. Friday, April 11.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Fountain said. "Connie is the greatest cornet player in the country, and I've played with a lot of them. I enjoy working with him whether I'm in his band or he's in my band."

They share a long history. Jones' cornet -- a more mellow variation of the trumpet -- was featured in Fountain's bands in the 1960s and '70s. Jones is once again playing with Fountain for his twice-weekly gigs at a Mississippi casino.

Fountain appeared at the first French Quarter Festival 25 years ago, but only intermittently since then. He closed his namesake club in the New Orleans Hilton in 2003. His only formal local performances since Hurricane Katrina have been at the 2006 and 2007 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals.

Pete Fountain, photographed in Pirate's Alley on April 4, 2008.

But more than ever, Fountain, 77, is a walkin', talkin' and tootin' metaphor for New Orleans. Buffeted and knocked down by forces beyond his control, he's battling back. And his joie de vivre endures.

The storm washed away his 10-acre waterfront estate in Bay St. Louis, Miss., along with several decades' worth of memories and memorabilia. Since the storm, he's undergone quadruple bypass surgery and suffered two minor strokes. The lingering effects sometimes slow down the lifelong entertainer's self-deprecating one-liners -- but not his clarinet.

"I can play, but I can't talk," he said. "I never could talk before, so it's work for me. I'm tellin' ya, this stroke is a pain in the butt. That's what happens when you get old."

A device to manage pain was inserted in his lower back. That was later disabled after the implantation of what his wife Beverly describes as the "Cadillac of pacemakers." "He's becoming the bionic man," Beverly said.

Fountain spends the early part of each week in Bay St. Louis, where he bought and renovated a property several blocks from the bay ("Even with the name Fountain, I don't get out to the water no more," he said). He performs at the Hollywood Casino on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, then returns to his unflooded Lake Vista house on weekends.

"I'm tootin' as much as I can, and enjoying it," he said. "I'm tryin' like hell."

At 9:30 a.m. Friday, he plans to attend the unveiling of pianist Ronnie Kole's statue in the New Orleans Musical Legends Park at 311 Bourbon St. Fountain's own statue premiered in 2003. Might he sneak in a bit of maintenance on his statue during Friday's visit?

"I think I'll Simonize it," he joked. "Just see if the birds got on it."

Fountain's sense of humor remains intact. To mark his 70th birthday, he got a tattoo of an owl pulling a snake from his belly-button. Since then, he's lost significant weight.

"I went from 240 to 160," he said. "The owl is a lot smaller now."

Story and photos courtesy of Chris Granger / The Times-Picayune

Pete Fountain Revisits His Natural Element, the French Quarter - News

Pete Fountain revisits his natural element, the French Quarter

Reprint courtesy of Keith Spera, Music writer, The Times-Picayune April 11, 2008

The old man in a checked shirt shuffles past the St. Louis Cathedral and ducks into Pirate Alley unnoticed. He opens a black case and carefully assembles a LeBlanc clarinet with gold-plated hardware. He touches the horn to his lips.

With that, he is anonymous no more. He is Pete Fountain, Mr. New Orleans, briefly restored to his natural habitat.

A rough couple of years have left him a little less steady on his feet. Hurricane Katrina obliterated his beloved 10-acre waterfront estate in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Reduced the three-story, 10,000-square-foot main house, guest cottages and bus barn to 120 truckloads of debris. Decades of memorabilia, the record of a life lived large in the name of New Orleans -- all of it gone.

Aftershocks included quadruple bypass surgery and two minor strokes. His heart now beats to the rhythm of a pacemaker. Words sometimes get lost en route from his brain; self-deprecating one-liners don't tumble out so effortlessly. Growing old, he'll tell you, ain't easy.

But at 77, his eyes are still mischievous and his clarinet still sings.

Last weekend, Fountain visited the French Quarter for a photo shoot. Today he returns to open the 25th French Quarter Festival with cornetist Connie Jones' band on the Stage in Jackson Square at 11 a.m.

Fountain appeared at the first French Quarter Festival 25 years ago, and returned intermittently. Since Katrina, he's tooted in his truck during his annual Mardi Gras morning ride, but only performed two formal concerts in New Orleans, at the '06 and '07 Jazzfests.

Once upon a time, he and fellow bon vivant Al Hirt's Bourbon Street joints defined New Orleans nightlife. Fountain doesn't make it to the Quarter much any more. He spends the first part of each week at a new house in Bay St. Louis; he works Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the Hollywood Casino. On weekends he returns to his longtime Lake Vista home near Lake Pontchartrain.

The clarinet in his hands during the April 4 photo shoot survived Katrina because it happened to be near the door of his doomed Bay St. Louis house when he evacuated. As the photo shoot proceeds through Pirate Alley, Fountain trails surprised and delighted fans in his wake like a Big Easy Pied Piper. Two couples from northern Virginia stop and stare.

"What an honor to meet you after all these years, " says one man.
"You make beautiful music, " says another.

Mimi Richard, a local, approaches with a cellphone camera. "You're my dad's favorite!" she says. "He's just gonna die."

"Can you play for us?" asks another woman.

"Can you give me a dollar?" says Pete, grinning.

Bald and bearded Tony Seville, owner of the Pirate's Alley Cafe, tells Fountain, "You gave me my look." While trying to buy the cafe, Seville caught Fountain's act in Mississippi. He returned to New Orleans and the sale went through. "You brought me luck, " Seville says.

Terry Cowman of Los Angeles fawns over Fountain. "It's a pleasure, an absolute pleasure!" he gushes. "Oh my God, I can't believe it! Here we are in this little place . . . I think my heart is gonna crush."

Fountain finally emerges from Pirate Alley and settles on a bench facing Jackson Square. Nearby, trombonist Glen David Andrews fronts a brass band entertaining tourists outside the Cabildo. Not one to miss an opportunity, Andrews plays his way over to where Fountain sits.

Tony Seville, owner of the Pirate's Alley Cafe, tells Pete Fountain, 'You gave me my look.'

"Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Pete Fountain!" he announces.

Fountain rises and joins in "High Society." The tourists are enthralled. A man urges his four young daughters to pose for a photo near the legend.

"High Society" winds down and Fountain turns to leave. Andrews tries to prolong the moment by singing "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." Fountain can't resist, and hoists his clarinet once again.

"What you got to say about that, Uncle Pete?" Andrews asks.

Pete Fountain couldn't refuse trombonist Glen David Andrews' plea to join him in 'Just a Closer Walk With Thee.' Andrews and his brass band perform for tourists regularly in front of the Cabildo.

The tourists clap and cheer; Fountain waves and walks off.

Roger Bird and Chico Thomas can't believe their good fortune. They traveled to New Orleans from Oakland, Calif., with their wives for the Golden State Warriors/New Orleans Hornets game. Moments ago, they took pictures alongside the bronze Pete Fountain statue in New Orleans Musical Legends Park at 311 Bourbon St.

"And then, holy cow, it's the real thing, " Bird said. "This made our trip."

At the northeast corner of Jackson Square, the sight of Fountain renders veteran tarot card reader Norman Oaks thunderstruck. As a boy growing up in the French Quarter, he peeped into Fountain's old club and marveled as the legend roamed the streets.

And now, on a Friday afternoon in the spring of 2008, Fountain has materialized in Jackson Square once again. A positive omen, for sure.

"It brought back a lot of good memories, " Oaks said. "You go through life and start missing things, and then you go around a corner and there it is again, and life isn't as screwed up. That's what seeing him did for me.

"It's like everything from the past is not gone. That's really encouraging."

Story and photos courtesy of Chris Granger / The Times-Picayune