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Lavinia Warren Lewis Hickman and Collins Lewis Interview, Part 1
Hickman, Lavinia; Lewis, Collins
Clarence Jones Jr.
Topics Include: Living in Treme in the 1940s, music influence, education. Hard to hear interviewer and at times.
Hickman came to Tremé in 1944 and Lewis came in 1949. Hickman lived on Liberty Street but hasn't been back for about two years. She frequented dance clubs and recalls the High Hat club. The two mention a few musical families who played kazoos. Hickman's son played the saxophone, Lewis played the drums, tambourine, and did percussions. He describes music as something that is in you, a talent that the good Lord gives to you. He said that most people who played were inevitably teachers because they wanted to share music. They recall Jazz and Rock & Roll as the main types of music at the time, but they said there was a little bit of everything. Lewis says music equals music; people just give a name to different genres to make money off of it. Hickman had a radio on which she listened to Jazz and swing music. They listened to Dr. Daddy-O (Vernon Winslow) on the radio. They remember the vegetable, rag, and coal men who came along pushing wagons. The vegetable men would yell out songs such as: "I got watermelon, bananas..., and I got your chicken." Hickman said that at times they had chicken coups in the back of the wagon. While Tweed Zazzo had a horse-drawn wagon, Mr. Jerry just pushed one. Hickman's mother-in-law lived with the rag man. The two also mention that many people in Tremé went by nicknames that were assigned based on actions they had done. They say they went to Griffin Baptist Church and the Christian Mission Baptist church where people sang, clapped, and sang in a choir. Hickman says that there was more feeling in the music when she first joined versus later on. There were not any tambourines or drums at those churches until the 1950s, but there were at the Sanctified Church. There was also no dancing. Lewis sang in a choir-- some of his teachers sang in Tremé such as Ms. Hall. He went to Joseph A. Craig School until the 6th grade. He says that many people ended their education there because they had completed reading, writing, and math, which were the basics. He mentions second-line clubs, specifically the Treme Sports who had 6-foot high steppers.
Amistad Research Center; Tulane University Digital Library
Box 1, Item 6, Side 1, Treme Oral History Project collection, 1993-1994, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. Copyright laws.