It’s 7 days until Mardi Gras!
Check the Countdown Here: http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/news/news/countdown-to-mardi-gras-celebrity
Here’s place where you can view the festivities http://www.earthcam.com/usa/louisiana/neworleans/bourbonstreet/?cam=bourbonstreet
Today’s musical selection for today: Do You know what it Means to miss New Orleans. This song has special meaning to me. While you listen, I’ll share my connection.
(Billie Holliday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhkxy3ei8os )
The song: Do You know what it means to miss New Orleans was written by Eddie DeLange. http://www.eddiedelange.com/home.html)
About a handful of years ago, my dad called me one Saturday afternoon. “Turn on TNT. There’s a movie you have to see.”
The movie is the re-release of the 1947 United Artist film, Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans. The opening scene is of a riverboat, the General John Newton, rumbling its way to a dock. That riverboat is the one my grandfather piloted—many years ago.
My dad, a teenager when the movie was made, shared about the filming of the opening scene.
The movie, as you can see from the uTube videos, is in black and white.
How do you make billowing steam from the stack and have it visible on film – especially on a cloudy day? Remember now, the movie is in black and white.
Dad said the film crew tried several times and failed. Then a friend of Bobby Boy, my grandfather, got an idea for fuel—Tires.
Yes, they burned tires instead of wood or coal to make black billowing clouds. Dad also said the drifting wind carried the stench and it blanked the port of New Orleans.
When my grandfather, Captain Robert Brannan retired, the General John Newton was retired as well. Here you can learn about the history of the boat from the University of Minnesota. They purchased it after it’s decommission.
The photo below was painted by a friend of my grandfathers. By whom and when, I wish I knew. It hangs in my family room.
History of the Minnesota Centennial Showboat
The University Theatre had been thinking of purchasing a showboat for sometime, but the cost and unavailability of suitable boats prevented it from continuing the Mississippi tradition of entertainment on the river. In 1956, with the 100th Anniversary of Minnesota statehood fast approaching,University Theatre Director Frank M. Whiting judged a Miss Minnesota pageant with Tom Swain, Executive Director of the Minnesota Statehood Centennial Commission. The two discussed the idea, and both agreed a showboat would be a fitting addition to the Centennial festivities.
1899 The General John Newton, a 175-foot (53 m)-long paddlewheeler, is commissioned. Over the years, it is used as a maritime courthouse and is visited by at least four U.S. presidents
1958 The boat is purchased by the University of Minnesota for $1 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In celebration of the state’s centennial, the General John Newton is renamed and transformed into the Minnesota Centennial Showboat.
1993 In need of major repairs, the Showboat closes with Agatha Christie’sThe Mousetrap.
1994-1999 All energies are put toward the capital campaign and renovation of the Showboat. Captain Bill Bowell of Padelford Packet Boat Company indicates interest in the project, while Saint Paul Mayor Norm Coleman announces plans for Showboat’s permanent home at Harriet Island Regional Park.
27, 2000 Fire, set by an errant welding spark, destroys the original Centennial Showboat.
Soooo, let’s get going! Let’s meet down at the Bayou. Tab Beniot will take us there with his music. (Yes, Tab is the inspiration for the character Nick Trahan in Bayou Bound, book two of my Fleur de Lis series.)
Listen up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaApBolqc-8
No matter how you choose to celebrate, please have a safe and enjoyable time.
Laissez les bons temps rouler
Let The Good Times Roll ~
P.S. I do a giveaway every month. Details are in my newsletter, which comes out the first Tuesday of every month. The January prize was a Coach Purse. What’s up for February? Sign up now! And you won’t miss an opportunity for a monthly giveaway.