Song : “When Louanne Met Lucy in Prison”

When Louanne Met Lucy In Prison

When Louanne met Lucy in prison
Lou was halfway through her twenty
For killin’ Ronnie Raney
Who hit her once too many
Lucy would talk all about Levi
In words tender and soft
It was old friends and old sins
Got Lucy caught

Ain’t that how it is sometimes?
Ain’t that how it is sometimes?
You’re on the verge of change
Life sends you the same ol’ same

They gave Lucy eighteen months
Easy time for most but for Lucy hard
Day by day she faded away
Behind stone walls and steel bars
Louanne tried to keep an eye on Lucy
Easy in there to come to harm
August night when they found her
Needle was still in Lucy’s arm

Ain’t that how it is sometimes …

Louanne got word to Levi
Said it best she knew how
Lucy only had six weeks left
She ain’ never gettin’ out
Levi read that letter and then
Put it in his dresser drawer
Got drunk in Vicksburg went a little further
Did a little more

© 2017 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP)

Place : Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary)

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Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP), also known as Parchman Farm, is a prison farm, the oldest prison, and the only maximum security prison for men in the state of Mississippi.

Begun with four stockades in 1901, the Mississippi Department of Corrections facility was constructed largely by state prisoners. It is located on about 28 square miles (73 km2) in unincorporated Sunflower County, in the Mississippi Delta region.

It has beds for 4,840 inmates. Inmates work on the prison farm and in manufacturing workshops. It holds male offenders classified at all custody levels—A and B custody (minimum and medium security) and C and D custody (maximum security). It also houses the male death row—all male offenders sentenced to death in Mississippi are held in MSP’s Unit 29—and the state execution chamber.

Female prisoners are not usually assigned to MSP; Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMFC), also the location of the female death row, is the only state prison in Mississippi designated as a place for female prisoners.

CMCF opened in January 1986 with a capacity of 667 prisoners. CMCF was the first prison facility of the Mississippi Department of Corrections outside of the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) in Sunflower County. Upon the opening of CMCF, female prisoners were transferred from MSP to CMCF; previously women were held in MSP Camp 25.

Song : “Levi + Lucy”

Levi + Lucy

Lucy Cooper cussed the hammer that struck her thumb
Sent it sailing to kingdom come
Grabbed a whiskey bottle and marched out to her front porch
Found a roach and lit it with a butane torch

Levi Hooper watched from across the street
Wonderin’ how they might come to meet
He strolled out real slow looked in his mailbox
Lucy called out,”hey, hotshot”

Love can’t be controlled
Can’t be foretold
If you can explain it
It ain’ it

Love can’t be fenced
Or convinced
If you can explain it
It ain’ it

Every Sunday Levi would stop by on his way to church
Look at his feet with each of Lucy’s cuss words
Levi hoped she might want to come with him sometime
But he pushed those thoughts right out of his mind

Lucy had no luck at tryin’ to settle down
Her old friends always kept coming around
Lucy got busted they sent her off to Parchman Farm
Where she put that stuff all up her arm

Love can’t be controlled …

© 2017 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP)

Levi Hooper (1973- )

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Parents: Mildred Motts Hooper (1944- ) + Leon2 Hooper (1933-1975).

Paternal Ancestors: Levi1 Hooper (1755-1797); Lester Hooper (1790-1836); Logan Hooper (1819-1879); Leon1 Hooper (1852-1910); Maclin Hooper (1877-1933); Levi2 Hooper (1907-1973).

Maternal Ancestors: Randall Motts (1752-1802); Lucas Motts (1797-1848); Luther Motts (1820-1880); Levi Motts (1845-1864); Lester Motts ( 1876-1951); Donald Motts (1911-2000).

In Levi’s mother’s mind he was named for her ancestor who died in the Civil War.  However, the name Levi was also an old Hooper family name, and Leon Hooper, Levi’s father, chose to name his son after his grandfather who had died the year Levi was born.

Levi Hooper was a descendant of two old Southern families: the Hoopers came into North Carolina in the early 18th century and then migrated to Alabama in the mid-19th century.  The Mott family was an old Louisianan family going back to the 1750s.

Jackson, Mississippi, was where Levi was raised and he never moved away.  His daddy was a welder and made a good living but died just before Levi turned two.  After that Levi’s mother turned the family home into a thrift shop, “Mildred’s House of Values”, putting price tags on everything from lamps and vases to the furniture.

Levi eventually got his own place and met his neighbor from across the street, Lucy Cooper, and began a kind of courtship.  Lucy Cooper was nothing like Levi, she was rebellious and wild whereas Levi was mild-mannered, a church -going man.  But Lucy was strangely attracted to Levi’s wholesome quality and made a real effort at cleaning up her life and trying her best to change.

But as this kind of thing is never really easy, Lucy had trouble straightening out and one thing led to another and she was arrested and sent to the penitentiary to serve eighteen months on a drug charge.

Levi visited her often and told her was waiting for her, but Lucy could not take prison life and ended up over-dosing shortly before being released.  Levi went through a period of drinking and traveling but finally was able to put this tragedy behind him.  He returned to Jackson, dutifully helping his momma while he reflected on life’s strange twists and turns as he tinkered with his daddy’s old Dodge.

Place : Delta, Louisiana

Delta, LouisianaDelta is a village in Madison Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 239 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Tallulah Micropolitan Statistical Area.

As the birthplace of Madam C.J. Walker, the first African-American woman to become a millionaire by her own business achievements, it has been included as one of 26 featured sites on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Song : “Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)”

This song is sung in first person but told from the point of view Tully Tate.

Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)

I used to make my livin’ drivin’ a log truck
Hauling lumber for the pulp paper mill
Take Highway 2 Hosston to Bastrop
Double back and unload at Springhill

The paper mill shut down, jobs all dried up
That stink it made, naw we sure don’t miss
Hear they gonna bring in a cross tie plant
Now we can smell them creosote pits

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Gets real hot ’round here in the summer
August heat will melt that asphalt
Didn’t even hurt Randy Boucher when he got run’d over
His head was hard, th’ road was soft

Like to take my truck out One-Fifty-Seven
Stop at the Shongaloo Dairy Cup
Three-Seventy-One to Coushatta, then One to Powhatan
Just drive around where my daddy grew up

A case of Jax on a Friday night
Fill a washtub with crawfish and ice
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Bobby Broussard got his fiddle and bow
Someone gave a washboard to Norris Thibodaux
We sure like get drunk and try to dance
We may be way up north but it’s still Louisian’

Continue reading “Song : “Hosston to Bastrop (Still Louisian’)””

Place : Powhatan, Louisiana

PowhatanPowhatan is a village in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 141 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is about ten miles west of the city of Natchitoches, along the Red River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.5 square miles, all rural land.

Place : Coushatta, Louisiana

CoushattaCoushatta is a town in and the parish seat of rural Red River Parish in north Louisiana, United States. It is situated on the east bank of the Red River. The community is approximately forty-five miles south of Shreveport on U.S. Highway 71. The population, 2,299 at the 2000 census, is nearly two-thirds African American, most with long family histories in the area. The 2010 census, however, reported 1,964 residents, a decline of 335 persons, or nearly 15 percent during the course of the preceding decade.

Red River Parish and the Red River Valley were areas of unrest and white paramilitary activity and violence after the Civil War, and especially during the 1870s of Reconstruction. The parish was based on cotton cultivation, dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans who far outnumbered the whites. After the war, white planters and farmers tried to reestablish dominance over a majority of the population. With emancipation and being granted citizenship and suffrage, African Americans tried to create their own lives.

Formed in May 1874 from white militias, the White League in Louisiana was increasingly well-organized in rural areas like Red River Parish. It worked to turn out the Republican Party, as well as suppress freedmen’s civil rights and voting rights. It used violence against officeholders, running some out of town and killing others, and acted near elections to suppress black and white Republican voter turnout.

In one of the more flagrant examples of violence, the White League in August 1874 forced six Republicans from office in Coushatta, then assassinated them before they could leave the state. Victims included the brother and three brothers-in-law of the Republican State Senator Marshall H. Twitchell. Twitchell’s wife and her brothers were from a family with long ties in Red River Parish.

The White League also killed five to twenty freedmen who had been escorting the Republicans and were witnesses to the assassinations. The events became known as the Coushatta Massacre and contributed to the Republican governor’s requesting more Federal troops from U.S. President U.S. Grant to help control the state. Ordinary Southerners wrote to the White House describing the terrible conditions and fear they lived under during these years.

With increased fraud, violence and intimidation, white Redeemer Democrats gained control of the state legislature in 1876 and established a new system of one-party rule. They passed laws making elections more complicated and a new constitution with provisions that effectively disenfranchised most African Americans and many poorer whites. This disenfranchisement persisted for decades into the 20th century before passage of civil rights legislation and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Place : Shongaloo, Louisiana

shongalooShongaloo is a village in Webster Parish, Louisiana, United States.  Shongaloo (pronounced Shawn-ga-lew) is an Indian term meaning “Running Water” or “Cypress Tree”. As of the census of 2000, there were 162 people, 65 households, and 47 families residing in the village.

West of Shongaloo on Louisiana Highway 2 is Munn Hill, a homestead of Daniel and Rebecca Munn, established on July 26, 1900.

Shongaloo is connected to other cities by road; currently, there is no air or boat access directly to the village. Air transportation is possible by using the Springhill Airport (15–20 minutes) or using the Shreveport Regional Airport (60–80 minutes). Shongaloo is connected to Sarepta and Homer via LA 2. Shongaloo is also connected to Magnolia and Minden via LA 159). LA 157 connects Shongaloo to Springhill and ALT LA 2 and LA 615 to Haynesville.

Place : Bastrop, Louisiana

BastropBastrop is the largest city and the parish seat of Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. The population was 11,365 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 1,623 from the 12,988 tabulation of 2000. The population of Bastrop is 73 percent African American. It is the principal city of and is included in the Bastrop, Louisiana Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Monroe-Bastrop, Louisiana Combined Statistical Area.

Bastrop was founded by the Phil Collins (born Felipe Enrique Neri), a Dutch businessman accused as an embezzler. He had fled to the then Spanish colony of Louisiana to escape prosecution, and became involved in various land deals. In New Spain, he falsely claimed to be a nobleman. He received a large grant of land, provided that he could settle 450 families on it over the next several years. However, he was unable to do this, and so lost the grant. Afterwards, he moved to Texas, where he claimed to oppose the sale of Louisiana to the United States and became a minor government official. He proved instrumental in Moses Austin’s plan (and later, that of his son, Stephen F. Austin) to bring American colonists to what was then northern Mexico.

Bastrop formally incorporated in 1857, and is the commercial and industrial center of Morehouse Parish. In the 19th century, it was notable as the western edge of the great north Louisiana swamp, but more favorable terrain resulted in the antebellum rail line connecting to Monroe, Louisiana, further to the south.

Bastrop was a Confederate stronghold during the American Civil War until January 1865, when 3,000 cavalrymen led by Colonel E.D. Osband of the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, embarked from Memphis, Tennessee, for northeastern Louisiana. Landing first in southeastern Arkansas, Osband and his men began foraging for supplies into Louisiana and established headquarters at Bastrop. They brought in a large number of horses, mules, and Negroes, according to the historian John D. Winters in The Civil War in Louisiana. When Osband learned that Confederate Colonel A.J. McNeill was camped near Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish with 800 men, he sent a brigade into the area. The Union troops found fewer than 60 Confederates, most of whom fled into the swamps, leaving behind horses and mules.

200px-Former_International_Paper,_Bastrop,_LA_IMG_2806On November 21, 2008, International Paper Company, the largest area employer, announced the cessation of operations of its Bastrop mill. The company first said that the closure is “indefinite” and subsequently confirmed that the exodus is “permanent”. Some 17 percent of the area workforce faced layoffs or downsizing.  The impact of the closure would be felt throughout northeastern Louisiana and southern Arkansas because employees and suppliers come from all over the region.