Popular local radio show the Generation Gap recently ran its last edition on KYBS. For five years, “old man” Wes Guidry and “young ‘un” Stormi Sonnier debated the merits of retro rock songs. Stormi was known for her diehard devotion to Joe Cocker’s music.
“It was a good time,” said Guidry.
“After five years, we need a break,” he said. “It is getting harder, and harder, to wake up at 5 am as a volunteer.”
Guidry said he and Stormi were “especially” grateful for the time when the pair got their photo “on the cover of Lagniappe” for a Dec. 21, 2017 story on their collaborative program.
Their gratitude came from their keen appreciation of the 1972 hit “The Cover of Rolling Stone” in which Dr. Hook & The Medicine show lamented the fact that they had never graced the cover of the famous rock periodical.
Music School’s Spring Gigs
COVID restrictions and storm damage put a real crimp in the performance schedule of the SWLA Music School’s local bands. But the school has regrouped, and some big events are set to take place in the near future; these include:
• Saturday, April 24, 5-8 pm. This event is the SWLA Music School’s Open House. All bands of the SWLA Music School will perform at the band’s studio at 313 Broad St.
• Saturday, May 29, 4-7 pm at the Luna Bar and Grill patio. This is the Spring Jam event. All the school’s bands and all students who take private lessons will perform.
The events are free and open to the public.
The school is hoping to add more events soon, especially as the summer and fall seasons come into play.
If you need more information, your contact info is 337-513-7905 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Slow Ride’ Really Was About A Slow Ride
Way back in 1975, the British Band Foghat had a big hit in the U.S. with the song “Slow Ride.” Listeners believed the song’s lyrics were about one person’s slow seduction of another person. “Slow Ride” was thought to be a very sexy song.
All of that was news to Foghat. Turns out Foghat’s lead singer, the late Dave Peverett, wrote the song while he and the other band members were on the roads of Lafayette. And the lyrics were about the roads of Lafayette; in particular Verot School Road.
The band bus was on its way to New Orleans when it was forced to take a detour through Lafayette. Band members sat in some amazement as they observed heavy traffic moving at a snail’s pace on this “school road.”
“We were on that 4-mile stretch [of road] for two days,” joked drummer Roger Earl. And he went on to make a couple of jokes we probably shouldn’t reproduce in the magazine. Peverett took out his frustration about the situation by writing “Slow Ride” in 15 minutes. The popular song eventually climbed to the No. 20 spot on the Billboard charts.
In additional comments about Verot School Road, Earl stated, “I can only assume it’s been widened or something by now. You’d have to be stupid not to do something about it.”
Well, Earl wasn’t from around here, and you can’t blame him for not entirely understanding how things work in these parts. The road was, in fact, eventually widened, although Earl might be a little surprised to know the job wasn’t finished until 2019.
The Acadiana Advocate called the widening project a “three-year nightmare.” Construction was hampered by a large number of utilities problems and by earth that was too wet to hold stone. In an unintentionally humorous sentence, the Advocate noted that “the amount of traffic using Verot School Road dictated the need to add lanes.” But, on the up-side, it only took 45 years to solve the problem.
Thanks to local musician Tony Dupuis for posting the “Slow Ride” story on Facebook.
Anything Can Be A Distraction
The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is observing National Distracted Driving Awareness Month right now. The commission aims to remind drivers that “anything that takes your mind off driving is a distraction.”
Executive director Lisa Freeman says that “the big no-no” of distracted driving is texting and engaging in other forms of social networking while driving. These activities, says Freeman, “require visual, manual and cognitive attention.
“There is no such thing as multi-tasking.” she asserts. “It really is impossible to safely operate a motor vehicle while looking at our phones and typing a message. If you’re driving, just drive; everything else can wait.”
That’s a message most of us hear quite often. But we may nevertheless find ourselves reaching for some electronic device when our song or audio book comes to an end or we hear the cell phone play a jingle. And the causes for distraction aren’t always that obvious.
“Research shows that drivers are distracted by almost anything,” says LSU’s Helmut Schneider, who runs the university’s Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation. One common, dangerous, and potential deadly, distraction is that of reaching down into a purse on the floor and digging around for some make-up for a touch-up. Quite a few don’t survive that simple project.
In 2019, a total of 187 people in Louisiana were killed in wrecks that involved a distracted driver. Those drivers make up more than a quarter of all the drivers, passengers and pedestrians who were killed in crashes in Louisiana in that year.
The AAA offers these tips for drivers who want to stay focused on the road:
• Fully focus on driving; actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
• Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that could roll around in the car so you are not tempted to reach for them.
• Check out your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before you hit the road. Make sure the sound system is playing what you want it to play before you start moving.
• Don’t use cell phones, whether handheld or hands-free, while driving except in absolute emergencies.
• If some activity really does demand your attention, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place.
License Plate Sales To Help Those With Autism
Area residents who want to give a boost to locals who are on the autism spectrum can do so by purchasing the state of Louisiana’s new autism awareness license plates. The specialty plates are the result of a large-scale project that required two years of work.
The issuing of the license plates will serve as a major fundraiser for the Autism Society of SWLA. That fact is especially pertinent after a year filled with hurricanes and COVID closures.
A big impetus behind the license plates is to make up for the usual fundraising events of the society that were sidelined in 2020. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have not been able to hold our conferences or any other events that we would normally [hold] throughout the year to raise funds, and that has definitely hurt us,” Autism Society member emeritus Geri Landry told the American Press in a March 29 story.
The new license plates will feature the well-known puzzle-piece ribbon that symbolizes the autism community and those who support it. The name of the Autism Society rests beneath the ribbon.
State Sen. Ronnie Johns of Lake Charles and state Autism Society chamber president Beryl Hebert were both instrumental in the effort to bring about the license plates. Johns wrote the legislation that ushered in the move.
You can buy an autism plate for $50 from the Office of Motor Vehicles. You can request a particular license number if you like. Visit expresslane.org, where you can view the plate when you click the vehicles tab. The OMV will hold reserved plate numbers for 45 days.
Funds from the sale of the plates will be passed on to the state Autism Society board, which will distribute the funds to the local chapters of the Autism Society.
Landry said the funds will be used in this area to provide referrals for families seeking services for loved ones with autism. “When someone is in need of services, they often don’t know where to even start,” Landry said. Through their online services and 1-800 number, the Autism Society connects those with autism and their caregivers with the services and professionals they need.
The Autism Society of SWLA provides support of and advocacy for those who have autism. The society serves the five parishes in the Greater Calcasieu area. To learn more, go to Facebook and search for “Autism Society of SWLA.”
‘But I Spent $15,000, Officer’
You may have heard about the man who recently got arrested and jailed because he refused to have his temperature checked at Disney World and then refused to leave the park. But did you know this old boy is from Baton Rouge?
I guess at this point, refusing to get a temp check is pretty old hat. What was interesting was the argument the fellow presented to try to keep police officers at bay. He said he shouldn’t be cuffed because he’d spent $15,000 trying to get to the park. His exact words to Orange County police were, “You can’t trespass if you’re paying $15,000.” Surely his momma didn’t teach him that. Looks like they may need a little more oversight at some of those Baton Rouge schools.