Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fire at the Upstairs....John Voltz runs Garrisons office..& pool with Buckley's brother!.

New Orleans .... 1973                                                                               repost

The tragic gay nightclub fire took place while I was there. 32 persons were killed in the Upstairs Lounge.
    I went on my show the next night and raised some money to help out. Gave it to Rev.Troy leader.  Nice guy.

Attorney John Voltz.
John and I became friends when he was working with Jim Garrison in the New Orleans District Attorney’s office.  John basically took over all the regular cases while Garrison investigated the local connection to the Kennedy assassination resulting in the arrest and trial of  businessman Clay Shaw.
John approached the whole Kennedy thing with a shrug and basically never thought his boss had a thing.  He wouldn’t voice that publicly though...he remained close to Garrison and was later the U.S. Attorney for that area. of the people John brought to trial (not connected with JFK) was mobster Carlos Marcello. Another was former governor Edwin Edwards.  John died in 2011 at age 74.  He was a good guy!

I found a couple of things that were pure New Orleans that I loved.  Community Coffee (where Oswald use to work)...and Bunny Bread.  
The city was also interesting in that the Super Dome was just being completed near the quarter and our station had a early tour set up for some bigwigs with food and drinks.  
One guy I met was Tom O’brien of ABC News.  He headed up the radio division. I would see him again when I came back from Vietnam in 1970 for NBC News and he would try to persuade me to return for ABC News.  I turned him down (remembering Cambodia!) but I did thank him for his public comments that my NBC News stuff was “killing them” from over there.  My boss at NBC News, Russ Tornabene got wind of that and passed it on while I was still in Nam.
Finally...I had a nice apartment near a big pleasure boat dock on Lake Ponchatrain.  The complex had a rec room with a pool table and guess who I played friendly pool with almost every night after my show. None other than Peter Starr...head of Starr Broadcasting (bunch of music talk) who admitted he was a fan of my show.  Starr had an apartment there and a huge yacht parked in the water across the street. This was William F. Buckley’s brother despite their different last names. 
I hate to say this and don’t want to offend anyone in New Orleans...but almost every weekend I would hop in the car and drive to Destin, Fl. in the panhandle to take in the beautiful beach.  I’ve lived in South Florida for years now and still think Destin is one of the best...right up there with the Gulf Coast beaches of Marco Island and Naples.  (Robert “Bourne” Ludlum told me to keep quite about those last two places cause he lived there and didn’t want anyone to find out how beautiful they were)  


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