Pretty much everyone who knows me well, knows that I am a huge fan of live music. Sadly, my older brother got all the musical talent in the family, and I got none. Sometime in the early 1980s, I started promoting concerts. Mostly club shows and mostly R&B and funk. Small stuff but fun to do.
One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Al Harris, the manager of the Lake Charles Civic Center. Over the phone, Mr. Harris related to me a story that he had been talking with an agent with the Norby Walters booking gathering in New York and asking for their best black concert promoter in South Louisiana. The agent informed Mr. Harris that the best ‘black’ promoter that they worked with was a white lawyer in Lafayette named Warren Ashy and gave Mr. Harris my phone number.
We met in person a couple of days later. It turned out that their annual Contraband Days celebration was coming up. There had never been a black band performing and they wanted to change that. I was happy to help.
I settled on a young black pop group known as the New Edition. At the time, they had several hits on the radio, including ‘Mr. Telephone Man,’ ‘Candy Girl,’ and ‘Cool it Now.’ The group included Bobby Brown as a young man.
The show drew thousands of fans, both black and white. It was the biggest show that I had ever promoted, and I was totally hooked on putting on live music shows.