I would like some history on Bayou Road.
The French called it Le Chemin au Bayou St. Jean. The Spanish referred to it as El Camino al Gran Bayou Llamado San Juan. By any name, the Road to Bayou St. John was there before Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville decided to build a city. It was an old trail the Indians were kind enough to show him. He named the bayou for his patron saint, but the road was just a road.
But what an important road it was! It followed a narrow strip of high land that began at the Mississippi River and intersected with the bayou that flowed into Lake Pontchartrain. Because of the importance of the road, land concessions made first by the Company of the Indies and then by the kings of France and, later, the Spanish Crown, were located on both sides. This land behind the city was developed into plantations with orchards and fields behind houses and outbuildings that faced the bayou.
The Bayou Road left the city at Rampart and Gov. Nicholls streets, serving as a highway joining Spanish Trail (Gentilly Road), the highroad to the Floridas and points east. One important location on the road was Place Breton on the corner of N. Dorgenois Street. This used to be an Indian trading center where the Choctaws traded blankets, baskets, and herbs for guns, knives and trinkets.
Today's Grand Route St. John was once the continuation of Bayou Road. Now they share part of the name of the Grand Route to Bayou St. John.
Do you have any info on a jazz trumpeter named George Girard?
Girard was born on Oct. 7, 1930, and died on Jan. 18, 1957. He was one of the finest jazz trumpet players to come from New Orleans, but his death from cancer cut short a very promising career.
While Girard was still in school he became friends with Pete Fountain, who admired his great talent. When Girard graduated from high school in 1946, he began his first job as a professional musician, touring the country with Johnny Archer's band. He later played with Phil Zito, and then became a key member of the Basin Street Six. Organized in 1950, the group included Joe Rotis on trombone, Charlie Duke on drums, Roy Zimmerman on piano, Bunny Franks on bass, and none other than Fountain on the licorice stick.
They were a great Dixieland band with an incredible sound. But by that time Dixieland was out, and bebop was in. The group was hard up and unemployed until Girard found a gig for them at L'Enfant's, a restaurant-bar that used to be on Canal Boulevard. The owner, however, wanted a dance band that played modern music, so the group reluctantly agreed. It was a smart decision because WWL television came to air the show, and the station actually wanted the group to play Dixieland. It was planning to broadcast live from spots all over the city in an attempt to revive jazz in New Orleans. This time the group happily agreed, and pretty soon people were coming from all over the city to hear them play.
The group became wildly popular and in great demand. They made records, and Down Beat magazine carried a story and a photograph. Probably the most bizarre event in the life of the Basin Street Six was when Blaise D'Antoni, president of Standard Fruit Company, offered them a 99-year contract. He liked the music so much that he decided to buy the band!
However, about the time that Dixieland was making a comeback, the group started to fall apart. The band had been together for almost four years when Girard announced that he was quitting to form his own group, and it wasn't long after that when the band broke up forever.
As leader of the New Orleans Five, Girard played for a while at Hyp Guinle's Famous Door in the French Quarter. He also recorded on the Mercury, Circle, Vik and Southland labels.
Girard was forced to retire in 1956 because of his failing health. He was buried in Hope Mausoleum.