Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bunk Research

9. Bunk registered for the World War I Draft in Calcasieu Parish, in the western part of Louisiana, on 12th September 1918. At the time, he was working as a musician for Paul Jones (a local band leader born 25th February 1879), and he gave his address as 140 Bank Street, City (presumably Lake Charles). His birthdate was recorded as 27th December 1882, making it the sixth different birthdate for Bunk on the public record. (Information about World War I Draft Registration Card for Willie Johnson, Calcasieu Parish Draft Board, Louisiana, courtesy of Bo Lindström and Dan Vernhettes)

10. No positive entries could be found for Bunk in the 1920 U.S. Census, but we were able to locate the entry for him in the 1930 census. At the date of the census (1st April 1930), he was working as a janitor for a funeral home in Electra, Texas. He was recorded as William G. Johnson, aged 50 years, which evidences a birth date of 27th December 1879. (U.S. Census 1930, Texas, Wichita County, Electra City, SD3 ED243-51, Sheet 1A, Line 25)

11. Bunk applied for a Social Security Number on 7th June 1937 when he was living in New Iberia, Louisiana. The application was filled out by someone else (probably from the office of his employer at the time) but signed by Bunk. The application gave his date of birth as 27th December 1889. The Social Security Number issued to Bunk was 438-07-6206.

12. On 15th February 1949, shortly before his death, Bunk applied for a license in New Iberia to marry Maude Balque with whom he had co-habited since 1929. Bunk gave his age as sixty-nine at the date of the application while Maude gave her age as forty. The marriage ceremony was performed on 23rd February 1949.

13. Willie Geary (Bunk) Johnson died in New Iberia, Louisiana on 7th July 1949. To add a further complication, Maude Johnson, the informant on the death certificate issued in Iberia Parish, gave Bunk’s date of birth as 27th December 1880. The certificate was issued in the name of Willie “Bunk” Johnson. (Louisiana Death Records, Iberia Parish, Volume 8, Certificate 398)

Blaine's note-This research proves Bunk's existence in Lake Charles in the 1920's and his address on Bank St. More to come.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Images

Sorry for the MIA on working on my blog,but here I am, adding somenew images from items collected from the Lutcher family for the exhibit I designed.
This book hasa wonderful section about Nellie's nightclub appearances.

A plaque awarded to Nellie.
A bookmark that was in the "Playback" book. Notice the similar hairstyle of the asian figure as the imageused on the plaque above. It was a signature look of Nellie's and also shows her love of Chinoiserie, her home featured asian style furniture and ornaments.

A publicity phot of Dave DexterJr. that was in the "Playback" book by him. Dave jump started nellie's recording career at Capitol.
Another plaque presented in Lake Charles.

"Playback", an autobiography by Dave Dexter Jr. He describes in detail his relationship to Nellie Lutcher's career and lavishesmuch praise on her music.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nat King Cole

June Funeral

This is the program from Nellie's funeral in Los Angeles in June of 2007.

Friday, November 23, 2007

An introduction to Nellie Lutcher

Welcome to this blog tribute to the Hurry On Down girl herself, Miss Nellie Lutcher. Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1912; her story is dear to my heart. Besides being from Lake Charles also, I am the assistant director of the local museum called the Imperial Calcasieu Museum and curated a retrospective show about Nellie's life and career with the full support of her family and friends and many items picked out by Nellie herself before her death in June of 2007. The show is currently being put together as a traveling exhibit to be shown throughout the country. First stop will most likely be the Louisiana Jazz Museum in New Orleans. I will be sharing with you on this website some of the stories, history, and excitement of her story as well as photos, album covers, and information about people surrounding Nellie including Joe Woodman Lutcher, Little Richard, Nat King Cole, Bunk Johnson, Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Dave Dexter, Steppin Fetchit, Lionel Hampton, and the three stooges just to name a few! So check back or bookmark my site to read more about this lady of the blues, jazz, rock and roll, and swing!