Weekly Commentary with New Orleans Magazine’s Errol Laborde
When The Beatles Walked
Recreating Beatles History.
Councilmember Susan Guidry does not easily pass for Ringo Starr, but in a world of Octopus Gardens and where the anthem is to “Come Together,” the soul can make the needed adjustments.
Friday, August 8th, was the 45th anniversary of the famous photograph that would become the cover of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album. Photographed on the actual street in the title, the Beatles, in single file, crossed to the other side. Dressed in a white suit, John Lennon led the way, followed by Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. (McCartney’s decision to cross barefoot would touch off global speculation that he had mysteriously died.) The white street marking is called a “zebra crossing” and the Volkswagen Beetle (a playful pun) parked to the left would forever become a part of geekish nostalgia.
Last Friday, at the road that leads into City Park’s Tad Gormley stadium, there was an ambitious attempt to recreate the photo. This attempt was part of the promotion of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles playing in the stadium.
Sharon Snowdy, Ch. 12’s promotions whiz, had the idea of pulling the shot together. Playing the role of Lennon is City Park President and GM Bob Becker. Then comes Guidry followed by City Park Board Chairman William Hoffman (true to the moment, barefoot) and WYES board boss, Marc Leunissen. None could be expected to have exact Beatles clothing in their wardrobe, but all tried to match the color and style. Snowdy even arranged for the requisite Volkswagen and portable stripes suitable to pass for the Zebra crossing.
Five years before posing for the photo, the Beatles were driven to Tad Gormley Stadium for a night that would be best remembered as a rodeo. Police attempted to restrain crush-crazed teen-age girls who tried to rush the stage. Though not as famous, the road to Tad Gormley stadium, like Abbey Road, is part of the Beatles saga.
Friday was also another historic anniversary. On that date in 1974 Richard Nixon resigned as President, boarded Air force One and headed home to California. In his own way, he too had crossed a road.
A Beatles-like concert will be held at the stadium on the night of Sept. 16, the actual 50th anniversary date. The event is a fundraiser for WYES, Ch. 12. For information: 504-486-5522 or WYES.org
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.