November 1-15
November 1, 1961
Irma Thomas recorded It's Raining today in 1961. She was born Irma Lee in
Ponchatoula in 1941 and signed with Ron Records as a teenager. In 1961, she left for
Minit Records, where she worked with Allen Toussaint, who both wrote and produced
most of her work with Minit. As well as
It's Raining, Thomas recorded other notable
tracks such as
Time Is on My Side and "Ruler of My Heart. Naomi Neville, credit with
It’s Raining was in fact a pseudonym used by Toussaint. Only one her earliest
songs made the national chart.
Two Winters Long spent three weeks on the Cashbox
R&B chart in February 1963.

November 2, 2002
At the inaugural Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge today in 2002, James Lee
Burke received the 2002 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the
"literary intellectual heritage of Louisiana." Lieutenant-Governor Kathleen Blanco
presented the award to Burke, who had been born in Houston and spent most of his
childhood along the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. At various times he worked as a truck
driver for the U.S. Forest Service, a newspaper reporter, a social worker on Skid Row
in Los Angeles, and a land surveyor in Colorado. He taught at five different colleges
before getting on the tenure track in creative writing at Wichita State University during
the 1980s.

November 3, 1933
Days after the dedication of the “Long-Allen” bridge over the Red River between
Shreveport and Bossier City, several hundred people gathered at the bridge to watch a
group of about twenty-five men, including State Representative Rupert Peyton, tear
down the sign bearing the names of Huey Long and Governor O. K. Allen. Charges
had been filed against ten men, but later dropped for lack of evidence. Long said that it
made his public enemies sick to have to look at a bridge with his name on it, “and I’m
glad it makes them sick.” Public Safety Commissioner promised that the new steel signs
would be practically indestructible.

November 4, 1965
Today in 1965, the Louisiana Intracoastal Seaway Association (LISA) proposed a 12-
foot levee spanning the Louisiana Gulf Coast from the Pearl River in the east to the
Sabine River in the west—as a byproduct of widening and deepening the Intracoastal
Canal to a depth of forty feet behind the levee. The New Orleans engineering firm of
Waldemar Nelson and Company said that the project would involve moving enough
earth to create a levee on the windward side. Governor John McKeithen endorsed the
$500 million plan. LISA touted the “unlimited” economic impact of the plan, stating that
the Louisiana coastline would become “one big port.”

November 5, 1956
This week in 1956, Bluebery Hill by New Orleans legend Fats Domino peaked at
Number 1 on the Billboard R&B chart, and at Number 2 on the Hot 100 chart.  The
song had been fist performed by Gene Autry in the film The Singing Hill in 1941, and
over the decades, it has been covered by "artists" as diverse as Led Zepplin and
Vladimir Putin. Antoine "Fats" Domino, Jr., was born in New Orleans in 1928, and five of
his records released before 1955 sold over a million copies and were certified as gold
records. He had thirty-five records in the Top 40.

November 6, 1954
Today in 1954, Elvis Presley recorded the one and only commercial endorsement of
his 42-year life. On the Louisiana Hayride radio program, he sang, “You can get them
piping hot after 4 p.m., you can get them piping hot, Southern Maid Donuts hits the
spot, you can get them piping hot after 4 p.m.” The iconic Southern Maid Donuts
began in the Dallas area in 1937 as a flour company that still serves companies
nationwide.  The first Southern Maid Donut store in Shreveport was opened by Bruce
Jones at Texas and Lakeshore in 1941 and, shortly thereafter, moved to its longtime
facility at the corner of Greenwood Road and Hearne.

November 7, 1876
After the Presidential Election was held today in 1876, "The Fraud of the Century" was
perpetrated by Louisiana’s ten Electoral College members. Democrat Samuel J. Tilden
had won the popular vote in Louisiana on Election Day, but afterward, they switched
their vote to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, who gave them a promise to withdraw
federal troops from the state. Louisiana’s ten electoral votes were just enough to flip
the Electoral College from Tilden to a 185-184 victory for Hayes. To his credit, Hayes
kept his promise. Louisiana’s twelve-year occupation by the U. S. Army was ended the
following August when the last troops left the state.

November 8, 1993
The Star Casino on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans launched a new era of gaming
today in 1993. The legislature had required that the riverboat casinos ply the navigable
waters, conducting two-hour cruises away from the dock. Soon, vessel captains
throughout the state began to cite weather, tides and water obstacles as impediments
to sailing, and state troopers were assigned to see that the laws were enforced.
Eventually, the legislature lifted the requirement that vessels sail in 1996. Boats would
be permitted to remain dockside permanently, but still had to be on water. But the
changes permitted capital reinvestment into new property designs abandoning the
traditional riverboat template.

November 9, 1974
Itchi gitchi, ya ya da da! LaBelle's Lady Marmalade, produced by New Orleans legend
Allen Toussaint and recorded at his SeaSaint Studios on Clematis Street was released
this week in 1974. It would be the last  Number One for Toussaint whose fifty-plus
career had also included
Java, Mother-in-Law, Working in the Coal Mine, Southern
and Right Place, Wrong Time. Toussaint was born in New Orleans in 1938 and
grew up in the Gert Town neighborhood. His first recording was in 1957 as a stand-in
for Fats Domino on Domino's record
I Want You to Know, on which Toussaint played
piano and Domino overdubbed his vocals.

November 10, 1885
The North, Central and South American Exposition opened today in 1885 on the same
site and in most of the same buildings that had been used at the Cotton Centennial
World Exposition which had closed six months earlier. The Exposition would run until
March 31, 1886, and it encountered difficulties from the start. The weather was very
bad, and it was clear that the opening should have been postponed until the spring. A
debt of $250,000 had been accumulated by January, and there did not seem much
prospect that receipts from admissions at the exposition would suffice to meet it. The
site was later redeveloped as Audubon Park.

November 11, 1977
Today in 1977, Ernest N. “Dutch” Morial was elected to become the first African
American mayor in New Orleans. He was born in New Orleans in 1929 and came to
prominence as a lawyer fighting to dismantle segregation. After unsuccessful electoral
races in 1959 and 1963, he became the first black member of the Louisiana State
Legislature since Reconstruction when he was elected in 1967. During his term as
Mayor, several major projects, including Canal Place, the Jax Brewery, and the
Almonaster-Michoud Industrial District in New Orleans East were started, and Freeport-
McMoRan, Pan American Life Insurance, ExxonMobil and others added new towers to
the skyline. Morial died in 1989.

November 12, 2001
This week in 2001, In November, the headquarters of the Louisiana Department of
Revenue moved into new digs at the LaSalle Building on North Third Street in
downtown Baton Rouge. The LaSalle building was one of several mammoth projects
announced by Governor Mike Foster in 1999 to consolidate much of Louisiana state
government in Baton Rouge into a Capitol Park near the State Capitol Building.
Included in the project are the Claiborne Building, which will house the Division of
Administration and other agencies, and the Galvez Building, which will house the
Department of Environmental Quality. The construction at Capitol Park would fuel the
dynamic growth of downtown Baton Rouge.

November 13, 1989
Prominent Chinqupin hairdresser Truvy and her customers, M'Lynn, Weezer and
Clairee hit the big screen this weekend in 1989 when
Steel Magnolias was released in
theaters. The film was adapted from Natchitoches native Robert Harling's 1987 Off
Broadway play of the same name. The story is based on Harling's experience of the
death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson, in 1985 due to complications from Type 1
diabetes. He changed his sister's name in the story from Susan to Shelby, and
the movie would be filmed in Natchitoches in the summer of 1988 with Dolly Parton,
Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts and several local residents in the cast.

November 14, 1947
.The first producing offshore oil well out of sight of land was completed today in 1947 in
the Gulf of Mexico forty-three miles South of Morgan City. Vessels were needed to
provide supplies, equipment, and crew quarters for the drilling site, where the gradually
sloping Gulf of Mexico reached only about 18-feet deep at the drilling site. The well was
spudded on September 10, 1947. The biggest hurricane of the season arrived a week
later with winds of 140 mph. The platform was evacuated during the hurricane, but
damage was minimal, and drilling promptly resumed. On November 14th, the Kermac
No. 16 well came in at 40 barrels per hour.

November 15, 1824
What Louisiana governor would spend the least time in office? P. B. S. Pinchback, at
thirty-five days would be a good guess, but the winner is Henry Schuyler Thibodaux at
twenty-eight days would be your winner.  Thibodaux was born in Albany, New York, in
1769 and came to the Bayou Lafourche district of the Spanish colony of Louisiana in
1790. He would serve in the legislature of the territory, justice of the peace, delegate to
the constitutional convention, state senator and president of the senate before
succeeding Thomas B. Robinson as governor today in 1824. In 1838, the town of
“Thibodeauxville” in Lafourche Parish would change its name to honor him.