[Ads-l] Fw: The "Big Easy" 1911 dance hall in Gretna (East Green) has been located. Please tell others, then put up a historical marker.

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Wed Nov 14 21:07:30 EST 2018


Dear ads-l members,


Barry Popik is still in the hospital and yet somehow managed to send me and a few other

ads-l members a long message on The "Big Easy." I now forward the first part of that

message, viz. his Nov. 9 e-mail to the mayor of Gretna, Louisiana.


Gerald Cohen

Professor of German & Russian

Research specialty: Etymology

Missouri University of Science & Technology

Rolla, MO 65409


cc.: Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant


________________________________
From: Barry Popik <bapopik at aol.com>
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 6:47 AM
Subject: Fwd: The "Big Easy" 1911 dance hall in Gretna (East Green) has been located. Please tell others, then put up a historical marker.

Greetings <snip>
...
Below is an email to Gretna. <snip>
....
Barry Popik


-----Original Message-----
From: Barry Popik <bapopik at aol.com>
To: bconstant <bconstant at gretnala.com>
Sent: Fri, Nov 9, 2018 04:45 PM
Subject: The "Big Easy" 1911 dance hall in Gretna (East Green) has been located. Please tell others, then put up a historical marker.


To Gretna Mayor Belinda Constant:..."Big Easy, " the famous nickname of New Orleans,
has roots in Gretna that have never been acknowledged. It can now be seen on Newspapers.com.
in The Times-Democrat, August 14, 1911: "The negro dance hall known as the "Big Easy," in East Green,
 in the rear of Gretna, was destroyed by fire last night at 8:30 o'clock."
...The "Big Easy" dance hall was owned by Paul Batson and was located at Lafayette and Eighth streets.
Perhaps you can check property records to find the exact lot. Paul Batson died in 1944; he had a large
 family, and at least one person related to him is surely still alive and living in the area....For many years
(but especially this for this year, when New Orleans turned 300), I have been trying to speak with someone
in the New Orleans' mayor's office to honor the African Americans who called New Orleans the Big Easy,
and who called New York City the Big Apple. No one has even been kind enough to reply. Professor Gerald
Cohen and I found that New York Morning Telegraph track writer John J. Fitz Gerald, who popularized
"Big Apple" in  the 1920s, twice admitted that he'd heard  "Big Apple"  term from "dusky" stablehands at
the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans. I dedicated "Big Apple Corner"  (where Fitz Gerald last lived) in
New York City in 1997, but my 26-year efforts to honor the Fair Grounds stablehands have been completely
ignored by both cities...."Big Easy" was  re-popularized in the 1960s, and I found important citations in  1964,
1965 and 1966. It's my belief that a radio dj  helped to re-popularize the term in the jazz community....There
are African Americans to be honored, and living witnesses  who can help. Gretna and New Orleans can take my
research information--which I give to you for free--and publicize it, so that people with additional information can
come forward....You can do wonderful things,... . I hope this helps you to honor Gretna's
"Big Easy" and the African American history of both Gretna and New Orleans. ...FYI,  a recent Smiley Anders column
(The Advocate, Baton Rouge) and correspondence, mentioning both "Big Easy" and "Big Apple." is attached below....Barry
Popik <snip> ://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/big_easy/

[G. Cohen: I omit Barry's attachments here but could add them upon request.]


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