Images copyright 2011 by Louis Maistros.
For more unusual New Orleans photography, please visit http://louismaistros.com
Please post this in the art section here:
I am so honored that you would even stop by and say hello, and of course i am even more honored to post this photo to the Spiritland site. Will do so shortly, and gladly.
I loved your father, which doesn’t make me special — lots of people did, too many to count. He was truly an amazing man. His was the first musical voice i heard when i first moved to the city in late 1995. I was living in that little apartment building at 511 Esplanade, right next door to Checkpoint Charlie, where he had a regular weekly gig with Kenny. I was all alone in the city at that time, at the bottom of my barrel so to speak, and was having trouble sleeping – so when ever I heard your father’s voice through my wall i would put on some clothes and go next door to listen. He used to do a version of the Hoyt Axton song, Evangelina, which is about loneliness and love and longing, and it spoke to my soul the way he sang it. Every time i saw him i would request it, and he always complied with a smile — he could see i was troubled and he meant to comfort. That’s just who he was, as you know. But he was that for complete strangers, which is what made him so special. It got to the point where i didn’t have to request it anymore — he’d see me come through the door and the next song he’d play would be Evangelina.
We got to know each other when i had a stand at the French Market. After about three years i was in a bike accident and shattered my elbow. I was at Charity Hospital for about a week, but when i came back to work he came by to visit and asked how i was. Because the elbow was shattered and hard to patch up, the doctors had told me it was doubtful i’d get back the full use of that arm. I told him about his. He asked me to raise my arm up, and he laid his hands on it, closed his eyes, and said a silent prayer. When he was done he opened his eyes, and smiled with that twinkle in his eye, and he said, “You gonna be just fine, Louie.” And guess what, he was right. My arm is fine.
In the following years i opened a music store on Decatur Street called Louie’s Juke Joint. I had Coco’s CDs in the store juke box and played them each several times daily. It seemed whenever he came in his songs were playing, and he always beamed at me for it. After a while I’d see him come in just about every day, just to say hi and tell stories and laugh. When he was working on a new song in the studio he would bring in a little boombox, play a cassette of a rough mix, and ask me what i thought of it. I was so honored by this, i almost couldn’t believe it was happening.
After a while, the store closed and we fell out of touch, but we always stopped to chat a little whenever we met on the street. I wrote a novel a few years back called “The Sound of Building Coffins.” Your father’s influence on that book was very heavy, and i am so grateful to him for the inspiration.
This morning i wrote a little blog post about the tribute at Marie’s last night. At the end, I transcribed the lyrics of his great song, “We Will Fly Away.” I hope you don’t mind that i did that, and i will certainly take it down if you want me to, but i hope you don’t mind if i leave it there. The words of that song are just so healing to me, and i hope they will be for others. The post is here: http://wp.me/pWBeT-jr
Sorry about the length of this note. Your father always spoke of you with such love and i am just happy to hear from you. My heart and soul go out to you most sincerely at this sad time. You should know that the love people feel for your father belongs to you too. Please take care of yourself.
Very best wishes from a new friend in New Orleans,
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Yeah ya rite!