1950’s Rock & Roll, A Hurricane, Alligator Danger and NASA
The two big song destinations for Louisiana were the town of Ferriday and the state of Louisiana itself.
Ferriday is famous for being the home of 50s rock and roller, Jerry Lee Lewis, famous for songs like "Great Balls of Fire" and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.” This makes it more than just a 'tourist site' song destination. Since 'I've Been Everywhere Man' is a song by Geoff Mack and covered by Johnny Cash, it seems appropriate to visit the home of a contemporary.
The Jerry Lee Lewis Museum turned out to be quite the atypical place. Unable to find any entrance to the museum, Anderson wandered next door which was a drive-through liquor store. It turned out that the actual nieces of Lewis, named Mamie and Marion, ran the liquor store and this well-veiled museum.
And it turned out that the museum was actually the house of their mother's, who converted it into a museum. They toasted Anderson with a shot of vodka and let him run free in the house. They of course turned on the Jerry Lee Lewis music.
Anderson seemed impressed. Even though there was an absence of any plaques or information, there was an abundance of memorabilia strewn across the house and on all walls and ceilings even but void .
The next day Anderson visited the Delta Music Museum which was also a nice experience with its broader focus on music from all over the Mississippi Delta region.
He then needed to find a spot that represented 'Louisiana'. Initially he decided either New Orleans or Baton Rouge should fit the part, but he shied away from New Orleans when he heard Hurricane Barry was on its way there. He couldn't visit Baton Rouge either but never gave a reason.
His decision in the end? A gorgeous stereotypical swamp at the Atchafalaya Wildlife Refuge. When it was time to camp, however, he was urged not to since it was alligator nesting season and the area was filled with an abundance of venomous snakes!
Next it was on to Houston, one of two song destinations in Texas. Anderson said Houston was the fourth largest city mentioned in the song (behind Salvador, Toronto and Chicago). He seemed to have an uneasy time with big cities and said, "They all feel the same to me."
So he toured Houston, trying to discover it's essence or at least something he liked about it. He visited the USS Texas battleship, the San Jacinto monument, Minute Maid Stadium for the Astros, Main Street and finally the Buffalo Bayou, a "nice green space" that runs through the city.
At first he chose not to visit the Johnson Space Center due to it's relatively steep entrance fee ($30), but there was a strange happening. A woman in a car stopped and said she recognized him from the internet! She insisted that he needed to see the Johnson Space Center in order to better know Houston, and even offered to pay his entrance. He politely declined but it was the impetus he needed.
It is also interesting and quite comical that when in Houston, Anderson stayed with very distant family members. It was his sister’s husband’s mother’s mother’s brother’s wife's family where he was staying!
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