Bill White, the F-word and "Gatemouth" Brown

As the Houston Chronicle reported, Governor Rick Perry personally called two state workers from Georgia because Houston Mayor Bill White had cursed at them in the frantic days after Ike.

The Chron reports:

"A witness said White told the women, 'You need to be getting these (expletive) trucks out of here'...White went on to say that if nothing was delivered soon, they were 'about to be in a (expletive) riot,' the witness said."


Texas Governor Rick Perry

Someone's apologizing for this? Are the sensitivities of Georgia Forestry Service employees so delicate that they get the vapors if they hear the F-word when everyone's in disaster-recovery mode?

We hope no trees ever fall over in ­Georgia:

"Heavens to Betsy, Clem, it seems we have ourselves a devil of a situation here!"

"Perhaps that is so, Bubba, but it is no excuse for using such blasphemous ­language."

White wrote Perry that he "did use words that I have never used in the Sunday school class I teach, but which were closer to the vocabulary General Patton used when he was trying to keep his army moving."

To which we say, fuckin' A.

Not Perry, though. He called the two workers and wrote to (his fellow Republican) Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, who we're sure has never uttered a curse word in his life, "I certainly hope that they do not see their experience as indicative of how we treat our guests."

Perry, you pussy.

— Richard Connelly

Favoritism in Galveston, Attorney Says

A Galveston attorney is headed to federal court claiming prominent residents of the island city got preferential treatment in being allowed back to their homes.

Anthony Griffin says that after city officials announced that the area was closed to everyone except essential emergency personnel, he and other residents were prohibited from returning to their homes. However, Griffin claims that a select group of business owners and privately hired contractors were allowed to enter the city, and that police personally escorted "prominent Galvestonians" onto the island. Griffin also claims in the lawsuit that a police officer told him he needed to get on a "special list" maintained by the city to get onto the island, despite not being "essential emergency personnel."

"They let thousands of contractors down to take care of the properties of influential institutions," Griffin says, "protecting their property during the day after the storm. If you were not connected or if you just were not liked, you were not coming in. And I think that's selective enforcement of the rule and I think it's ­unconstitutional."

Griffin says residents who did not evacuate have shown him pictures they took the day after Ike of contractors tending to the homes of County Judge James Yarborough and City Manager Steve LeBlanc.

"They were making these press conferences saying no one can come in," says Griffin. "Well, they were protecting their property and we have pictures and people are livid."

He also claims that police officers were escorting their personal friends onto the island.

Upon seeing all of this, Griffin says he went "from rage to depression to just tears for about three or four days" before deciding to file the lawsuit.

Griffin then dismissed the complaint until he can add additional plaintiffs and get his law practice back up and running.

"I don't think the citizens of Galveston will let me dismiss it totally," Griffin says. "Just yesterday we had 50 to 100 people asking to join. I agreed to dismiss it without prejudice on Monday. Right now, I don't have computers, Internet, telephones; I have nothing right now to be able to practice law. I probably couldn't find a suit to wear to federal court right now if I wanted to. But it will be pursued."

— Chris Vogel

Gatemouth Brown and Yet Another Hurricane

Back in 2005, in one of the last times he would set foot in a recording studio, Texas swing master Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown recorded the old Blind Lemon Jefferson Texas blues staple "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean."

The Gulf of Mexico had other plans.

Later that year, just ahead of the ravages of Hurricane Katrina, Brown, who was then dying of emphysema, was forced to evacuate his home in Slidell, Louisiana. He fled to his childhood home of Orange, Texas, where he ran smack into Hurricane Rita. He died of natural causes just before landfall.

As of a few weeks ago, Brown's grave in Orange's Hollywood Cemetery — appropriately located one mile south of the very first exit inside Texas on I-10 — was still unmarked.

Robert Finch, an educator in the school system of nearby Little Cypress-­Mauriceville and a church music director, was campaigning toward getting a permanent marker placed on Brown's grave when along came Hurricane Ike.

A few days ago, the AP put out this report:

"The 1982 Grammy Award winner's casket was one of dozens belched up by the ground when gulf and rain waters from Hurricane Ike flooded Hollywood Cemetery...The top of Brown's vault had popped off, and his bronze casket had floated away."

Had the Gulf of Mexico, Brown's muse for seven decades, surged forth to reclaim its honored bard?

Not quite. I called Finch. Yes, he said, Brown's vault did open, and Brown's casket did pop out. It did not, however, float off in the receding waters. Instead, it came to rest against the cemetery's fence line.

"He continues to be as erratic and all-over-the-place in death as he was in life," Finch notes. "Somebody I talked to who knew him told me he would probably think this was not without humor."

Finch has now resumed his campaign to place a permanent headstone on Brown's grave as well as to lead other efforts — a statue, perhaps a plaque — to memorialize Brown in Orange.

"A lot of music lovers travel between Louisiana and Texas," he says. "How cool would it be for them to be welcomed to Texas by memorials to Gatemouth Brown."

Indeed. Let's just hope Brown's beloved Gulf doesn't try to kidnap him again.

— John Nova Lomax


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