Westbank Musicians Hall of Fame, Inc.

Est. 2002
Westwego, Louisiana


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Westbank Musicians Hall of Fame, Inc. Inductees
2003


Living Deceased
Josef Barrios (a/k/a Joe Barry) Sidney Arodin
John Peter Bonvillain Huey Bourgeois
Ervin "Vin" Bruce L.J. Foret
N.J. Duplantis a/k/a Joe Carl James Jackel
Gatewood "Pott" Folse Elmore "Red" LeBlanc
Frankie Ford Robert "Bobby" Mitchell
Warren Thomas Hecard (a/k/a Tommy Warren) Jimmy Palmisano
Clarence "Frogman" Henry Barry Joseph "Jr" Rodrigue
Leroy Martin Robert "Bobby" Tassin
Dino Palmisano Johnny Thomassie





Joe Barry

Born Josef Barrios on Friday, July 13 1939, in Cut Off, Louisiana where he still resides today. Joe's father, who played a mouth harp, was Joe's first musical influence, along with his cousin Vin Bruce.

By 1958, Joe had his own band called the Dukes of Rhythm. During that time he wrote his first songs, "The Greatest Moment of My Life" and "Heartbroken Love" which was recorded in Ville Platte at Floyd Soileau's record shop. Floyd then sent Joe and his new band, The Vikings, to New Orleans to record "I Got A Feeling" with the flip side of "I'm A Fool To Care" which became Joe's national hit. At this time, Leroy Martin, Joe's acting manager, told him he needed a real manager; so Floyd introduced Joe to Huey Meaux of Beaumont, Texas. Huey then took Joe to meet Irving Green of Mercury records who was starting a new label and Joe would be the first artist on the Smash label, with "I'm A Fool To Care," which put him on the cover of "Cash Box" magazine. Joe went on to appear on American Bandstand, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Milton Berle, Perry Como, The Dorsey Brothers, and Jack Paar shows. He made several Dick Clark and Allen Freed Caravan of Stars Tours across the country.

The band reunited at Cosimos's and recorded the French version of "I'm A Fool To Care" and "Oh Teet Fille" to be distributed in France, Canada, Belgium, and French Africa. While riding high on the success of "I'm A Fool To Care," Joe also played and recorded on Bobby 'Blue' Bland's album "Two Steps From the Blues."

After Joe detached himself from Huey Meaux, he went on to record "Today I Started Loving You Again" for Nugget records in Nashville. Featured on the single were Bobby Goldsboro on guitar and Ray Stevens on piano.

During his career, Joe met and performed around the country with many talented artists and musicians. He became close friends with fellow country boy, "Elvis Presley" until his death. But Joe's most enjoyable times were just playing guitar down at Papa Joe's on Bourbon Street with guys like Earl Stanley, Skip Easterling, Dr. John, Freddy Fender, and Joey Long. Joe Barry was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 1993.

Joe's latest CD entitted, "Been Down That Muddy Road" features the song, "Every Breathe You Take" in English and French. Only Joe Barry could have taken a "Sting" tune and turned it into Swamp Pop. All of us certainly agree with Duane Schurb in saying, "The Man Is A Legend."

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Sidney Arodin

3/29/1901 - 2/6/1948

It is not clear when Sidney dropped the first "n" in his surname but he was born Sidney Arnondin in Westwego, a little town across the river from New Orleans, on March 29, 1901. Sidney grew up with a non-musical background but at the age of 15, he obtained a clarinet, took lessons for a couple of months, and therefter music was his career. His first gig was on a Saturday night in Westwego at a dance hall. The clarinet player in the band from New Orleans was sick, so Sidney ran barefoot four bocks to and from his house on Sala Avenue, in the mud and oyster shells, to get his clarinet. The band was so impressed with his playing, he was asked to play next week in New Orleans. Thus began Sidney's career. After his 16th birthday, Sidney became one of the nomads of Jazz. It was at that time when the "Storyville" district of New Orleans closed, and he joined the Jazz migration up the Mississippi River to the North and then rarely played in New Orleans. Sidney was one of the few white musicians that played with both white and black bands.

His 1930 song "LAZY RIVER" co-composed with Hoagy Carmichael, is without a doubt the most famous of all the "river" songs Sidney wrote. It became the staple song of Louis Armstrong's repertoire.

From 1922 till 1925, Sidney played with the "Original New Orleans Jazz Band" in New York City. In 1926, he worked in San Antonio, Texas, with the "New Orleans Rhythm Masters." Then Sidney returned home to New Orleans in 1928; where he played with Abbie Brunes' "Halfway House Orchestra" and with Johnny Miller's "New Orleans Frolickers."

During 1929 and 1930, Sidney played and toured with the "Sunny Clap Orchestra" and the "New Orleans Swing Kings." On November 15, 1929, Sidney recorded with the "Jones and Collins Astoria Hot Eight," such songs as "Duet Stomp 11," "Astoria Stomp," "Damp Weather," and "Tip Easy Blues," (recorded on Victor Bluebird label) as the only white man in an all black band.

After working in Kansas City until 1933, Sidney went to New York City in 1934 to work with the "Louis Prima Band" and the "New Orleans Rhythm Kings." It was the height of the depression, work was scarce, so Sidney returned home. During 1939 and 1940, he led his own band. After 1941, due to increasing illness, he played less and less until his death in 1948. Sidney was highly respected by his musical colleagues.

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John Peter Bonvillain

John Peter Bonvillain was born on November 26, 1931, in Ashland, Louisiana, raised in Houma and New Orleans, and now resides in Gretna, Louisiana.

He's been playing steel guitar for 61 years. His first job was with Irvin Tuttle and has played with many bands around New Orleans, Houma, and in Mississippi. He played on WWL radio with Bill Cason from 1948 til 1955 and at that time recorded with many bands at the Blue Room of the Roosevelt (Fairmont) Hotel. He wrote and played on the Dr. Tishner commercial, and made the first Charman Tissue commercial at WDSU radio. He has played with Elvis Presley, Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Tex Williams, Sam Butera, Joe Jones, Barbara Lynn, Johnny Horton, Jeannie Pruitt, Little Jimmy Dickens, Russ "C.J. Cheramie" Wayne, Vin Bruce, Leroy Martin, Russ Russell, and Billy Fayard. He also wrote and recorded songs for "Gyp the Jitter Bug" and Russ Wayne (aka C.J. Cheramie,) and recorded on Capital records.

Mr. Bonvillain played just about every club on the Westbank. He wrote and recorded campaign songs for Vernon Wilty, Assessor of Jefferson Parish, Jack Riley, Sheriff of St. Bernard Parish, and played and campaigned for Earl K. Long, Governor of Louisiana.

From 1963 till the present, Mr. Bonvillain has taught music and operates his music store located on Lafayette Street in Gretna, Louisiana.

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Huey Phillip Bourgeois

12/21/1935 -7/4/2003

Huey was born on December 31, 1935; the 6th child of Wilson and Lucienne Boudoin Bourgeois of Lockport, Louisiana. His mother played harmonica and his father played violin. The family lived in Boutte for a short time and in 1944 moved to Bridge City.

Huey first played the harmonica, but at age 15 taught himself to pay the guitar; which he purchased from saving his own money. His first music job was at "The Barn." It was literally a barn converted into a dance hall.

As a young man, Huey played at many clubs in the area such as: "The Last Round Up," "Big Lane," "The Old Fireman's Hall," "The Keyhole," "Ace's Hoe Down," "Mary's Tavern," "The Cadillac Club," "The Sahara Club" in Pearl River, "Mike's" in Thibodaux, and many more. In the late 1960's he opened "Huey's Music Store" in Marrero, where he sold instruments, records, and gave music lessons. After selling the store, Huey and Tony Marcello opened "The Keyhole" in July of 1970. Huey played his Country music on Friday and Saturday nights and offered Wednesday and Sunday nights to Jake Chimento and Wayne Foret.

Huey also recorded, "Jingle Bell Boogie" and "Mardi Gras Mambo" with Joey Levens at Cosimo's Studio in New Orleans. He played and recorded with C.J. Cheramie (Joe Clay), (aka Russ Wayne,) on "Can't Get You Out of My Mind" and "Don't Know What To Do."

In the mid 1980's, Huey picked up the banjo and began playing Dixieland music with Charlie Cahill at the "Old Opera House" on Bourbon Street. For 16 years he played at the Seaport Cafe & Bar with the "Dixie Trio" and later his own band, "The Seaport Strutters." On Sundays he played at Arnaud's Restaurant in the French Quarter for brunch.

Huey passed away on July 4, 2003. During his lifetime he met many celebrities and made many friends. He even shook the hand of President George H. Bush. Huey's special friendships were with Johnny Bonvillian, Toxie Baughman, Raymond Pellegrin, Harold Guidry, Bert Boe, Ben Hardy, Hollis Carmouche, Chris Sharkey, Allen Suter, and many more.

This bio is contributed in living memory by his wife of 47 years, Shirley Gonzales Bourgeois, and children: Penny, Dawn Corey and Joel.

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Ervin "Vin" Bruce

Ervin "Vin" Bruce was born in Cut Off, Louisiana on April 25, 1932. His father, Levy, played fiddle at local Cajun dances; usually in someone's front room. Vin learned to play guitar at an early age and at the age of 14 began playing and singing in a local band. The band would play once a week at a New Orleans radio station. It was during this time, at the age of seventeen, that "Vin" was brought to the attention of Don Law with Colombia records. Vin signed a contract with Colombia and became the first Cajun artist on a major label since the 1930's. He was also the first to record Cajun music with such Nashville professionals as Chet Atkins, Grady Martin, Tommy Jackson, Shook Jackson, and Harold and Owen Bradley.

In 1951, Vin recorded his first Cajun record on Columbia, "Dans La Louisianne" an original, and "Fille De La Ville." This record hit the Louisiana Cajun Country by storm and Vin became as well known in Louisiana as Hank Williams. "Dans La Louisianne" was followed by "Claire De La Lune," "Jai Laisse Mon Coeur A La Maison," "La Valse De St. Marie," and "Oh Ma Belle" and many straight country songs including: "I'll Stay Single," "Ocean of Golden Dreams," "Sweet Love," and "Too Many Girls."

Although Vin's country songs sold well, his Cajun records brought him the most fame and he continued to record with Columbia until 1956, when the rock and roll era began. By that time, Vin's fame as a Cajun artist spread to Europe and Asia and as John Broven wrote in his "South to Louisiana" book, Vin had become one of the major Cajun artist in Post World War II Louisiana and the world.

Vin continued to play with his band through the 1960's, 70's, and 80's and made many recordings for Louisiana labels such as Jin, Swallow, and La Louisianne. During the early 1980's, Vin and his band, "The Acadians" were invited to play in Europe, Canada, and several cities in the United States.

In 1973, he was honored with "Vin Bruce Day" by his hometown and in 1978 he was Lafourche Parish's "Citizen of the Year" and has been inducted into several Country and Cajun Music Halls of Fame.

Vin still resides in Lafourche Parish with his wife Aline, children, and grandchildren.

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L.J. Foret

12/21/1935 -7/4/2003

L.J. Foret was born in Terrebonne Parish on June 30, 1930, married to Beverly Babin, with two sons Ronnie and Bobby. L.J.'s career began at the age of 14 with his dad and a band called "Town Serenaders." He hosted his own radio show on KCIL in 1949 and was then drafted to the Korean War in 1952. During his two years in the armed service, he hosted a Korean radio show on KC0MZ every Saturday morning. He entertained the troops on the front line going from camp to camp with his guitar in one arm and a M2 rifle on the other and was granted a letter of commendation from the general.

Upon returning to the states, he began playing again with his own band, "L.J. Foret and His Country Boys." He returned to KCIL in Houma for his radio show every Sunday morning. He recorded his first record in the early 1960's on Alero records. From there he stared recording his French music on the Ciro, Houma, and La Louisianne record labels. His total recordings to date are 14 singles and one LP album which such songs as: Baby Sister, Little Red Dress, Little Girl from Houma, No Christmas for the Poor, and many more. During his career, his music has helped such organizations as: the Marine Corps Toys for Tots, the Lions Club, Muscular Dystrophy, the American Red Cross, the Shriners, and many other needy benefits. He has performed as the opening act for Loretta Lynn, Mel Tillis, Minie Pearl, Jack Greene, Jimmy C. Newman, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ernest Tubb, Stonewall Jackson, and Conway Twitty. In 1972, he landed his own television show on KHMA in Houma; which aired for two years.

The older of his two sons Ronnie Foret, joined in with his music in 1970, and then in 1975 the younger son, Bobby Foret joined L.J.'s family oriented band.

In 1983, L.J. was struck down with a stroke; which caused his singing career to slow down a lot. When able, he performed with family and friends around his hometown of Houma, Louisiana. On September 12, 2002, L.J. Foret lost his battle with cancer.

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Joe Carl

Born Nolan Joseph Duplantis, on March 19, 1937, raised in Houma, Grand Caillou area as the 5th child of Joseph and Edith Duplantis, with 4 brothers and 5 sisters.

Joe played trumpet and studied music during his grade and high school years. In his senior year, 1955, at Terrebonne High he formed a band called "The Dominos."

The "Dominos" played at local dances in the Raceland, Houma, Thibodaux areas, and as far West as Lafayette, and New Iberia. The band played for high school dances, fraternity parties at LSU in Baton Rouge, and in the Port Arthur, Beaumont areas in Texas. The band members were Tommy Domangue (drums), Leroy Trosclair (sax), Joel Authement (piano), and Norman LeBoeuf (guitar). The band was offered an audition for Chess Records at Cosimo's Studios in New Orleans to record a couple of songs that the band had written. It was during this time that the name Joe Carl was born.

Joe accepted an offer from Harry Simoneaux to play with "The Dukes o Rhythm" at the Fun Pavillion in Raceland. Harry got the band an audition with Jay Miller in Crowley, Louisiana. It was there that "Please Don't Leave Me Again," written by Harry Simoneaux, was recorded, with the flip-side "Night Train" on the Rocco label; which hit #1 on the New Orleans radio stations and stayed in the top 10 for a long time. Joe's second release was "Rockin'Fever" with the flip-side "Cold Cold Heart" on the Rocco label. His third record was "With a Heart Out of Love" written by Joe Barry, and the flip-side "Too Hot to Handle" by H. Simoneaux and Joe Carl on the Zin label.

In 1961, Joe moved to Marrero and with partners opened the "Old Scorpio" Lounge. The house band, "The Loafers" was made up of some of the "Dukes of Rhythm" along with local musicians.

In 1984, a "live" album, which was recorded at the "College Inn" in Thibodaux, was being released in England. Stories about the band and Joe are included in the book "South to Louisiana" written by John Broven; which features stories about music on the bayou.

On April 29, 2001, Joe was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in Lafayette, La. Joe has raised two sons, Glenn and Brien, and lives in Marrero with his wife Peggy.

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James Jackel

James Jackel was the embodiment of all that it means to be a musician. Like Elvis or Frank, he was known by one name, 'Jackel.' His charisma, on and off the stage, enriched and blessed the lives of his fellow musicians.

With his easy going temperament and artistic talent, he began his musical career in 1955 with the "Aristocrats." Three years later his band merged with the "Syncopators" and with the best of both bands, "The Esquires" were born.

During the 60's, 70's and 80's, "The Esquires" were not just a band but also a group of talented musicians who became a family to each other and to their fans. For over thirty years he opened his home for practices and anything the band wanted or needed, he would be there.

After many years with the Esquires, he began playing with the band, "Flipside" in 1988. Jackel generously offered his skills, equipment, time, and unyielding energy to his fellow musicians until his death in 1999.

Jackel's music moved people and his spirit lives on through his music and the bond he shared with his fellow musicians. Many a musician will consider themselves honored to have been given the opportunity to say, "Yes, I played with Jackel."

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Pott Folse

Pott Folse started playing music professionally in 1940. He did this until he volunteered to serve his country in World War H as a Marine. During the war, he was sent to Hawaii, Guam, and China. While in China, he got sheet music from the Red Cross and started a band with Chinese musicians. When he returned home in 1946, he resumed his career with other well known musicians of his time, including Vin Bruce and Dudley Bernard. He has been entertaining crowds in South Louisiana and our neighboring states ever since.

In the 1970's, he recorded and produced a family album including songs by his wife, his six children and himself. In the 1960's and 1970's, he owned and operated a music store, "Pott's Music House," in his hometown of Raceland. He had a recording studio, "Pott's Recording Barn." He owned record labels such as, "Starbarn," "Barnyard," and "Red Barn," and a publishing company named, "Gatewood Publishing Company." In 1991, he was awarded the "Pioneer Musician Award" by the Cajun French Music Association of Louisiana. In 1998, he recorded his first CD, "Bayou Cajun Music." On October 28, 2000, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In 2001, he recorded his second CD, "Sittin' On My Front Porch," and his third CD in 2002 titled, "Pott Folse Mixing It Up." All three CD's include French and English songs. His music, through his CD's has made its way to Nova Scotia and other parts of Canada. Because of his Cajun music, he was nominated and elected to be Grand Marshall for the "Krewe of Kajuns" parade on Mardi Gras Day in 2001, Grand Marshall for the "Irish Italian Parade" in Houma the same year, and Grand Marshall of the "Krewe of Apollo" parade in Lockport in 2002. Most recently, Pott was awarded the "South Louisiana Pioneer Songwriter and Performer" award for 2002.

Pott Folse is not selfish with his God-given talent. You can still catch him sharing his music, singing, and entertaining locally. He performs occasionally for the Senior Citizens Centers in Raceland, Schriever, and Grand Isle, or you can see him performing with some of his children's bands; to whom he has passed this special gift. Pott Folse is 78 years old and is still playing music. He says he will continue to entertain as long as God says the same.

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Elmore "Red" Leblanc

9/2/1927 - 1/6/1994

Elmore "Red" LeBlanc was born September 2, 1927 to Adam A. LeBlanc and Esther Dufrene LeBlanc, in the small town of Labadieville, Louisiana. He was the elder brother of Nolan LeBlanc. In 1940, he and his family moved to Marrero. There he resided until his death on January 6, 1994. His interest in playing the guitar began around the age of sixteen but by age nineteen, he started his lifelong career as a musician and assembled his first band, "Red LeBlanc and The Playboys."

People came from miles around to dance halls like the "Moonlight Inn," "Jitter Bug Inn," "Gay Paris," "Moulin Rouge," "Last Round Up," "Swamp Inn," "Old Scorpio," The Robert E. Lee "Junkyard," "The Grill and Graffs Halfway House" in Lafitte, "Green Door" in Paradis, just to name a few, to listen, dance, and enjoy his great country and western band.

In the early sixties, he changed the name of his band to "Red LeBlanc and His Crescent Boys." Shortly afterwards, Red and his band recorded two 45 rpms. He titles were: "I Love That Woman," and "Memory In My Heart." His second release was, "Blue Moon on the Bayou," and "I Love Her Right or Wrong."

Singing and playing his guitar in Westbank dance halls brought Elmore "Red" LeBlanc his greatest happiness.

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Frankie Ford (Guzzo)

Frankie Ford was born on August 4, 1939, the adopted son of Vincent and Anna Guzzo. Frankie still lives in his hometown of Gretna, Louisiana.

In 1952, he performed on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in New York City and won many other local, regional, and national vocal competitions.

While in high school at Holy Name of Mary in Algiers, he joined a group called "The Syncopators" as singer and piano player. His early piano influences were: Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Huey "Piano" Smith, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, and Professor Longhair.

Frankie's first manager, Joe Caronna, who was the New Orleans distributor for Ace Records, set up Frankie's first recording session at Cosimo's studio which produced "Cheatin' Woman," his first regional hit.

Frankie sang his way to rock & roll immortality with his follow up mega hit, "Sea Cruise" released in 1959. His signature song has been used in radio, TV commercials and many sound tracks. "Roberta," "Alimony," "Time After Time," "I Want To Be Your Man," "Danny Boy," and "What's Going On," were also recorded on the Ace label. In 1960, Frankie recorded "You Talk Too Much," and "A Man Only Does" on the Imperial label. In 1962, while in the Army, Frankie entertained in Korea and Viet Nam. After his discharge from the Army, he recorded, "I Can't Face Tomorrow" and "Half A Crown" for Doubloon records. In 1984, "Whiskey Heaven" was recorded in London. In 1995, "Hot & Lonely" CD was released on Ace. In 1998, Avanti records released "Frankie Ford A New Orleans Dynamo." That same year, Westside Records in London released, "Ooh Wee Baby! The Best of Frankie Ford." In 1999, he recorded his first Christmas album, "Frankie Ford Christmas." In 2002, "Night Songs" CD was released on Sea Cruise Productions, Inc. This year, his latest CD "That Can Be Used Again" was released.

Along with many TV specials, and movie performances, Frankie has been inducted into many music halls of fame, locally, regionally, and nationally, and has received lifetime achievement and living legend awards. He still spends about 200 days on the road performing.

To all of us who know Frankie personally and professionally, he is truly our Westbank Living Legend.

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Robert "Bobby" Mitchell

8/16/1935 - 3/17/1989

Bobby Mitchell was born on August 16, 1935, in a taxicab at Brooklyn and Houma Street next to the Algiers ferry. One of eight brothers and eight sisters born to Olga and Theodore (Chin) Mitchell.

Bobby joined the chorus at L.B. Landry High School in Algiers after busting his knee playing football. Bobby wrote his first song, "One Friday Morning" which was put on tape by Mr. Martin, the librarian at Landry, and brought the tape to Dr. Daddy O who held an audition at radio station WMRY on Dryades Street.

After the radio show, Bobby formed a group called the "Toppers." Mr. Neely, their history teacher, introduced them to Dave Bartholomew, with Imperial records. During Bobby's high school days, he recorded, "One Friday Morning," "Rack'em Back," "The Wedding Bells Are Ringing," "I'm Crying," "Meant For Me," "4,11=44", "School Boy Blues," and "Sister Lucy," on Imperial, at Cosimo's on Rampart St. with the All Stars (Lee Allen, Earl Palmer, and Edward Frank). In 1954 after graduation, Bobby recorded "Baby's Gone." It became a hit, thanks to WJMR's DJ, Poppa Stoppa (Clarence Hamman) and WWEZs Jack the Cat (Ken Elliot) and Rip Roberts, who also promoted Bobby on some local shows. That's when the public began to find out that Bobby was a Black artist. Bobby and Gabriel Fleming, the youngest Topper started a band called the "King Toppers" which included another Landry student, Clarence "Frogman" Henry.

Bobby's next recording session produced a two sided New Orleans classic, "Nothing Sweet As/You'lI Wish I Knew," dedicated to his mother. In March of 1956, "Try Rock'n Roll" makes #14 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart and started Bobby touring nationally. Next came, "I Would Like to Know" and "You Always Hurt the One You Love," which made some local noise but in 1962 "Frogman" had a big hit with it. On September 26, 1957 Bobby recorded, "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday," written by Roy Hayes; which put him on American Bandstand.

In 1962, Bobby suffered a heart attack and came back home to relax a while. He then decided to attend LSU Medical School where he stayed for over 20 years teaching pathology. Bobby's final recording in 1963 was, "Walking in Circles," produced by Eddie Bo, on Rip Records. Bobby spent his last years as DJ on WWOZ. He died on March 17, 1989, received a jazz funeral in Algiers and buried in Gretna, Louisiana.

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Tommy Warren

Born on September 18,1943 in New Orleans, Warren Thomas Hecard, the son of Gladys & Calvin Hecard. He graduated from West Jefferson High School in 1961, where he lettered in football, earned all state honors in baseball which awarded him a full baseball scholarship to Nicholls State University.

As a teenager in 1958, Tommy was the featured singer with the Gerry Wahl band that toured Louisiana. Around this time, Tommy and his friends Rudy Tauzin and Freddie Palmisano began writing songs at Freddie's house in Gretna. Rudy and Tommy wrote "Why Did You Leave Me," which is the flip side of "Offshore Blues" written by Tommy. He continued writing songs even during his baseball days at Nicholls State. Some of the songs he wrote are "Fleeting Moment," "Christmas Eve Alone," "The Ballad of Ron Guidry," "Fool To Fool Around," "Oilfield Trash," "I'm Here Missing You," and "The Zydeco Stomp."

In recognition of his contributions to the Louisiana music legacy, singer/songwriter Tommy Warren Hecard was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame on April 29, 2001.

Currently, with the resurgence of "Louisiana Swamp Pop Music" spearheaded by radio stations such as KLRZ in Larose and KBON in Eunice, there has been a renewed interest in Tommy and his music. "Offshore Blues" still has considerable air play today, 25 years after it was first released. Paul Marx of KBON radio declares it is the most requested song on his play list.

Tommy's current CD, "Tommy Warren Favorites" features 16 songs that were recorded at "Potts Recording Barn" in Raceland from 1978 thru 1980, which was digitally mastered by Charles Horton and Travis Thibodaux. Tommy plans to return to the recording studio to record some newly written songs as well as some old standards.

Tommy was a career life insurance agent and retired in 1993 from MetLife. An avid golfer, he has won many tournaments around the state. Tommy has been a Westbank resident since 1954. He and his wife, Ethel Joubet Hecard, live in Marrero. He has 2 children: Christopher Hecard & Gina Smith, 3 step children: Angela Raines, Kristie Daigle, and Kelly Cookmeyer, and 3 grand children: Ashley Daigle, Sheridan, and Carter Smith, and Courtney Cookmeyer who is deceased.

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Jimmy Palmisano

12/2/1936 - 9/26/1987

Jimmy was born on Annunciation Street in New Orleans and raised in Barataria, Louisiana.

At a young age, Jimmy learned to play guitar from his father, who had a music background but never learned to read music. Through the years, Jimmy did very well being a self-taught musician. At age 21, he started playing the bass guitar. Jimmy played from the Westbank to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He was known as "The Man With the Golden Voice."

From 1953 thru 1956, Jimmy played with "The Lafitte Ramblers" with Peter Ronquille. From 1970 thru 1973, he played with Skeeter Thomassie's band, "The Chevelles." From 1982 thru 1983, he played with the "What Band," and then "Wayne Foret and the Rockin' 50's" from 1983 thru 1985. He played at dance halls like the "Old Scorpio" for Johnny Nobles from 1966 thru 1970 and the "Moulin Rouge" from 1973 til 1982.

Jimmy resided in Lafitte, where his children, Anna Alexie, Cindy Autin, Jimmy and John Palmisano, were born and raised, until his death on September 26, 1987.

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Clarence "Frogman" Henry

Clarence was born in New Orleans on March 19, 1937. His family moved to Algiers in 1948. Clarence has 4 sisters and 1 brother. His daddy played all kinds of string instruments, harmonica, and piano. When he was 8 years old, Clarence took piano lessons because his sister didn't want to.

While in high school at L.B. Landry, his music teacher, William Houston, put together a band named "The Toppers" with Bobby Mitchell; Clarence played piano and trombone. Still in school, Clarence played 4 nights a week at the old "Joy Lounge" in Gretna, earning about $54 a week. In 1955 Clarence wrote "Lonely Tramp" and graduated from L.B. Landry that same year.

When Clarence would get off of work from a service station in New Orleans, he would pass by the "Brass Rail" where Paul Gayten played. Clarence would relieve Paul on Monday nights at the club. Paul introduced Clarence to Leonard Chess of Chess records and Clarence performed "Ain't Got No Home" with him doing both the girl and frog parts of the song; just like he did on stage at the "Joy Lounge." After the song was recorded, a local disc jockey, "Poppa Stoppa" was pushing "Troubles Troubles" for the 'A' side but then flipped the record over and played "Ain't Got No Home," and the people went crazy over it. People would call into the station and request the frog song by the "Frogman." Thus the name "Frogman" was born.

The record's success brought the Frogman to the Apollo Theater in New York City in 1957. In 1961, Clarence released "But I Do" and "You Always Hurt The One You Love," which landed him a spot on American Bandstand. Then in 1964, Frog was invited to open up for a British band at Shea Stadium and from there toured the US and around the world with the Beatles. Rush Limbaugh began using "Ain't Got No Home" for the "homeless" portion of his radio talk show. Clarence's songs have been featured in movie soundtracts such as, "Forest Gump," "Diner," "Lost Boys," "Casino," "Raised In Harlem," and "Mickey Blue Eyes."

Along with performing every year at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Clarence has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, received living legend awards, pioneer awards, and this year will be in the PBS special, the "Boogie & the Beat" which will tell the true story of Rock & Roll. The Westbank is truly proud of the legend we call the "Frogman."

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Barry Joseph "Junior" Rodrigue

3/27/1944 - 1/5/2001

Barry "Jr" Rodrigue was born and raised in New Orleans. Barry was self taught on the guitar and keyboards, including the Hammond organ.

As early as 13, he was a member of the band called "The Tokens" which later became "Ricky & The Tokens." Next came the band that many of us know and love, "The Milestones," who played many dances at Sacred Heart, Our Lady of the Sea, Woodman of the World, St. Anthony, and Germania Hall.

Barry also backed up the Aubrey Twins, Eddie Bo, Ernie K Doe, Benny Spellman, and Frankie Ford, with such bands as The Esquires, New Orleans Levee Board, Wild Honey, Rhythm Express, The Waybacks, Accent, Esplanade, Indian Fire, Short Circuit, Alley Cats, and Terry Lynn and Smooth Groove. A few bands extended Barry the opportunity to be featured on their recorded material such as, "There's Got to be a Girl" by "Mike & the Jokers," "Live on the Creole Queen," with Roland Stone, "Let's Talk About the Memories," with Duane Schurb, "A Woman Like Me," by Terry Lynn and Smooth Groove.

Barry's flair was requested all over New Orleans from Bourbon Street in the French Quarter to Fat City, the Westbank,and even on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Some of the venues include, The Round Table, Mel's Villa, Joe's Villa, Copper's 11, The Junkyard, 1801, Suburban Club, The Fat Cat, Gretna C's, Visko's, Mac & Company, Boomer's Saloon, Michelli's, Salvatore's, Down's Lounge, Chesterfields, Callahans, Dillangers, The Landmark, Mo's Chalet, Rock N Bowl, The Playboy Club, The Ivanhoe, Treasure Chest Casino, and Casino Magic in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Barry was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2000 with "The Esquires" and again in 2001 with "The Milestones."

Barry was a unique musician who kick bass while playing his B3 organ. He would call out chords to the other guys in the band with his big wide smile and contorted facial expressions. Sometimes he was so in the groove, he came up out of his seat. He loved his music so much, that the first words he spoke, after his brain surgery, to his wife Bea were, "I still know what a 'C' note is and I know who you are and that's all I need to know." Barry was a Westbanker for more that half of his career and passed away at the age of 56, on January 5, 2001, after battling lung cancer for more than a year. He is irreplaceable in our hearts and "Simply the Best."

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Leroy Martin

Leroy Martin was born on August 4, 1929 and raised in Golden Meadow, and lives today in Galliano, Louisiana. At a very young age, his Uncles Frank & Roy showed him the three guitar cords that they knew and from then on Leroy was hooked. His musical career started in 1947 when he replaced a guitarist in Dudley Bernard's band, the "Southern Serenaders" with Vin Bruce.

In 1953, Leroy made his debut as a Cajun and country music DJ for KTIB radio in Thibodaux. In 1954, He left the "Southern Serenaders" to get married and spent his honeymoon in Memphis where they met Elvis. Then in 1955, Leroy formed his own band, "The Rebels." Later he joined a group called "The Vikings" whose vocalist was Joe Barry, Leroy's cousin.

In the early 1960's, Leroy made his name as a record producer, first with Vin Bruce's Cajun album for Swallow records. Later he produced the national hit for Joe Barry and JIN records, "I'm A Fool to Care." He supervised many recording sessions at Cosimo's Studio in New Orleans, including his own hits, "Born to be a Loser" and "There Goes That Train."

In 1983 he gave up his radio show to run for Lafourche Parish Assessor, an office he had worked in since 1953. He won that election and has been the parish tax assessor since January 1, 1985, and was re-elected in 1995 to serve his fourth consecutive term as assessor. Today Mr. Martin is retired and has been replaced in the assessor's office by his son. In 1993, He was appointed to the Louisiana Music Commission by, then Governor Edwin Edwards, and in 1994 inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Leroy's dream of recording his own French Cajun songs came true in 1995, when he produced "Leroy Martin Cajun Folk Songs, Fun Songs, & Love Songs" CD; recorded on the Swallow label and distributed by Floyd Soileau of Ville Platte. Quoted from the liner notes on this CD Mr. Martin says, "I have never pretended to be a great singer, which is why I spent most of my life promoting artists whom I thought were, but I did feel I could interpret a song and since I wrote every song on this CD, I know that every note comes from my heart and soul."

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Robert "Bobby" Tassin

11/17/1934 - 8/21/1993

Bobby began his musical career by practicing on a rented piano. He quickly developed an understanding of music and after a few months, switched to the electric bass.

His first job was with a band out of Raceland with the featured singer named, C J. Cheramie (aka Joe Clay), a close friend of Bobby.

He later joined the Rene Netto band and played steadily for several years in the New Orleans area. Rene Netto's band did a lot of traveling and toured several times. The band also played many jazz festivals in the Midwest.

After leaving the Netto band, he joined Bobby Ellis' band for several years. During that time, he played with many of the other bands in the area. He even played solo piano on some engagements.

His ability to play excellent jazz bass and his musical repertoire earned him the respect of many musicians in the area.

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Dino Palmisano

Dino was born on April 10, 1939 on Annunciation Street in New Orleans and raised in Barataria, Louisiana.

At a young age, Dino learned how to play the mandolin from his father who also had a music background but never learned to read music. Through the years Dino did very well being a self taught musician. He started to play the guitar around the age of 18.

Dino has played music from the Westbank to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.

Just a few of the many bands Dino has played with are: "The Lafitte Ramblers," from 1953 till 1959 with Peter Ronquille and his brother Jimmy, "Dudley Vicknair and His Band," from 1956 till 1959, "The Syncopators," from 1959 till 1960 with Frankie Ford, "Duane Schurb and the Sherberts," from 1960 till 1961, "The Loafers," from 1961 till 1964 with Joe Carl, "The Chevelles," from 1964 till 1979 with Skeeter Thomassie; and "Wayne Foret and the Rockin' 50's," from 1979 till the present.

Dino is still picking today and enjoying every minute of it. Dino resides with his wife and children, Tara, Dean, and Aneita on the Westbank.

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"Big" Johnny Thomassie

2/27/1949 - 10/26/1996

Born John Evans Thomassie on February 27,1949, to Evans Jr. and Ella Dugas Thomassie, "Big" Johnny has two sisters, Ann and Pamela and one brother Greg; all born and raised in Marrero, Louisiana.

Johnny's love for music started while in the 3rd grade at Immaculate Conception Grade School where he joined the school band under the direction of Mr. Buck. Johnny changed from playing a saxophone to drums which was Johnny's natural talent. Johnny would practice in the garage and draw crowds of neighbors.

At a very young age, Johnny joined Buck Baker's "The Esquires" as his first band. They played weddings, school dances, and parties. It was a great honor for Johnny to play with Fats Domino. He was the only white drummer to ever play with Fats' band. Fats expressed to Johnny's mother that Johnny had the best timing of any drummer he had ever played with. Regretfully, Johnny's father never lived to hear Johnny play with the great Fats Domino and his big band.

Johnny lived in California for a while, under contract with Electra Records and playing with the band "Sweet Salvation." He toured Europe and Australia with Leon Redbone and Tom Waite. He appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show with Leon Redbone and on Austin City Limits with Tom Waite. During Johnny's musical career he was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame as a member of the "Milestones." He was awarded a Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Service by Mayor Barthelemy of New Orleans. He also played with many well known artists locally and nationally such as: Eternity's Children, Bobby Womac, Freddie King, The Boogie Kings, Sly & The Family Stone, Ike & Tina Turner, Brent Anderson, Frankie Ford, Pete Fountain, Marva Wright, Billy Preston, Jean Knight, Ernie K Doe, Oliver Morgan, Tommy Ridgely, Deacon John, "Frogman" Henry, Allan Toussaint, Dr. John, Ronnie Barron, Benny Grunch, and more. At the time of Johnny's death, he had been a long time member for many years with Luther Kent's big band "Trickbag."

Johnny had that "New Orleans Second Line" beat and funky style of drumming that made him unique and in demand in the music world. A style that began in a garage and grew into the character we all knew and loved, "Big" Johnny Thomassie.

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