‘Gatemouth’ to be honored with state marker
Orange’s Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown will get his own historic marker in Hollywood Cemetery, county commissioners approved Monday.
The county will send a check for $1,500 to Orange County Historical Commission chairman Dr. Howard Williams, based on a letter requesting the funds sent to County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. The history group will then order the marker to honor the late music legend.
Brown lived in Slidell, La., a New Orleans suburb, for many years. His health had been failing for some time when he evacuated from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to Orange, and died about a week before Hurricane Rita struck Southeast Texas. After Hurricane Ike in 2008, Brown’s casket was one of dozens found disturbed by the storm’s flood waters. The casket has since been reburied, Thibodeaux said.<object width=”445″ height=”364″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8R8H8CNjjXo&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6&border=1″></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8R8H8CNjjXo&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6&border=1″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”445″ height=”364″></embed></object>
Brown fused jazz, blues and swing styles on pioneering records that date back to the 1940s. Often labeled as a “bluesman,” which he disliked, he routinely described himself as simply “a musician” – and loved to listen to recordings as much as play onstage. The Grammy-winner spent many hours listening to bluegrass, jazz and other styles, often seen smoking a traditional pipe and wearing a dark, cowboy hat. Brown was 81 when he died.
Another historical marker placed in the cemetery several years ago notes Hollywood’s significance as the oldest black graveyard in Orange.
• Commissioners took no action on a possible burn ban. Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Kelley reported on two recent fire – one in Bridge City that spread to more than 200 acres – and another in Vidor that started that covered about 150 acres. This week will see low humidity and an approaching warm front, and Orange County was listed Monday by the Texas Forest Service in a “moderate” zone. Areas east of Houston, south to Victoria and north to Bryan are in a “high” classification; and Austin, San Antonio and areas west are listed as “very high.”
• Commissioners approved up to $3,500 for Orange County Master Gardeners to build new flower beds in front of the courthouse. The original beds were damaged by Hurricane Ike. The Master Gardeners were also landscaping for the county’s new transportation building on Farm Road 1442, Thibodeaux said.
• Thibodeaux announced commissioners will not meet March 2, as some officials will be in Austin for “Golden Triangle Days.” The next meeting will be at 2 p.m. March 9 in the county administration building.