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02 Caddo Lake - Leadbelly 1800s

It was called St. Paul's Bottoms, after the old St. Paul Methodist Church on Caddo Street, and it was a low-lying part of town where the humid summer breezes were few and the mosquitoes numerous. This was hardly choice real estate; the streets and alleys were muddy, the saloons were rough, and the houses were shabby rental properties, many of them taken by black families. In February 1903, the council designated the area as the official red-light district-"the red light district of the city of Shreveport to the exclusion of all others. " From all over town, madams loaded up their belongings and began to move. The center of the new nightlife was Fannin Street, which began on the east side of the bottoms and ran eight blocks downtown, ending at the riverbank. At the head of Fannin, where it ran into Cane (now Baker) Street, stood a sumptuous new two-story house owned by the city's most popular madam, Annie McCune.

Wolfe/lornell. The Life And Legend Of Leadbelly (pp. 30-31). Kindle Edition.

The end all be all stomping grounds and proving field for a young Huddie Ledbetter. It was where you went when you graduated to long pants, and Huddie wanted those slacks early. He heard stories and imagined the life that exploded and flourish on those muddy streets and dark alleys. The stories filled his mine and desires and he bristled at the notion of spend his days carousing and cavorting in the barrelhouses and sukey-jumps.

In this smaller prologue/element piece I hope to evoke a primorial chant, to delve into the roots of the land and the people. how our actions lay the foundation for what is to come, whether it is good or bad, fortuitous or disastrous. We make choices and that is the path that is taken, we are on that ride until the end.



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