Return With Us Now 1969
Return With Us Now To Those Thrilling Days of Yester-Year - 1969 (c) Dean Sweatman 2014
I have always intended to do this RSN but never expected it to be 45 years in the making.
The New Orleans Science Fiction Association was in its heyday. It had formed in 1967 with 3 objectives: 1) Bid New Orleans as the site for the 1973 World-con 2) Bid NOSFA to host the 1968 DeepSouthCon 3) Organize the fragmented pockets of Fen, Neo-fen and Proto-fen in the city under one banner to host the various Fannish events that would lead to hosting the World-con in 1973.
We were 2 years old and had hosted the 1968 DSC and 1969 Nebula Awards Banquet (Central) under President Don Walsh. We had recently elected Dany Frolich as our 2nd President. The New Orleans in '73 Bid was moving along and Nolazine Extra - St. Louiscon Edition had just come off the press. Plans were made to get as many of us as could make the trip to St. Louis for the 1969 World-con.
Day 1 Rick, driving from Franklin La, Craig Shukas and I met at Craig's Parents house Thursday around noon to start the Journey. What today would be a quick trip up I-59 to Chattanooga, TN then I-75 on into Knoxville, TN was hampered by several stretches of unfinished Interstate and damages from Hurricane Camille that had hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast just a week or so before we left in 1969. Wind and flood damages were noted as far north as Laurel, MS. We stopped for the night in Birmingham, AL about 10pm
Day 2 Before we got back on the road Rick suggested that we stop at a Birmingham Goodwill Store. I found a copy of the Wham-O Giant Book of Comics on their shelves and grabbed a copy. By around noon we continued onward toward Knoxville arriving about dusk.
DSC 7 08 22-24 ( ) We got into our room, picked up our membership badges and met some of the other fen attending the con. Con Chair Janie Lamb, Irv Koch of TN, Ron Bounds from DC, Ned Brooks from New Port News, VA, Glen Brock, Joe Celko, and Steve Hughes from Atlanta, GA, and 28 more that slip my mind at this late date.
I bought a few low quality Golden-age Superman titles cheap from Glen Brock to keep him in the poker game.
Day 3 Main topic was a long panel by Irv Koch about the proposed Southern Fandom Confederation. He gave a report on what had happened since he proposed the organization at the 1968 DSC in New Orleans the year before and asked that it be continued until the 1970 DSC for further discussion.
As to the Swimming pool ... .
Day 4 Banquet GoH speech by Rachel Maddux Brock, Celko and Hughes presented the winning bid to hold the 1970 DSC in Atlanta. Rick Norwood announced that New Orleans would be putting in a bid to host the 1971 DSC.
Perry Chapdelaine hosted our caravan for 3 days. A day of rest from our wandering then a day of spelunking at a local cave, and a trip to the UT computer labs. He had 3 cars and 6 fans scattered about his home going over and above anything we could have asked of a host. Perry and his family joined the caravan to St. Louis on Thursday.
Day 8 Four cars and 10 fen left Nashville late in the afternoon - Rick drove all night getting to The Chase Park Plaza 6 am ish
Day 9 St. Louiscon 0829-0901 ( )
We arrived to early to unpack and get into our room so had breakfast and picked up our membership badges. I was rather surprised to be told "I've heard of you" when I gave my name at registration. Dan Galouye, Guy Lillian, John Guidry, Justin Winston and Norman Elfer, joined us along with Caz, a former Louisiana fan, to hand out bid flyers and otherwise hob-nob with the 1500 plus other members.
Fred Patten of LASFS arrived to share our room making 4 of us to share two beds and a roll-a-way. Craig would disappear until it was time to roll out in the mornings sleeping while the rest of us took to the halls.
I was so happy to finally get my roll-a-way bed that I tipped the bellman $10.00 to make sure that our needs were taken care of during the stay. It worked out well as he kept us well supplied with ice and such. Sad to say that the elevator situation was not helped with that tip. The hotel had elevator operators who were not able to keep up with the flow of people during the main events like the Costume Contest and Hugo Banquet. Often it was faster to climb 8 or 10 flights of stairs than to wait for an elevator.
In wandering the halls I met Ann Wison, a femfan from Statesboro, Ga, that had hitched a ride to the con with some friends. We paired up to visit a few room parties and panels so that she would not be seen as alone and available to some less than gentlemanly members of the con. I corresponded with her for about 6 years after the con until she moved to Washington state around 1975 or so..
Rick Norwood and I were wandering the halls later and he introduced me to Shirley Hoffman. Neo that I was at the time I didn't realize she was The Lee Hoffman of legend and didn't sit down and join in the conversation.
Day 10 Costume Contest Rick Norwood entered as Charlie Brown with kite ( ). Ron Bounds and Ned Brooks entered in the costumes that they had previewed at the DSC. During the contest winners photo session the movie screen was damaged. Harlan Ellison passes the hat to help defray the costs of repair or replacement of the screen. There were a number of John Norman's GOR costumes as well as one lady that appeared in a pair of panty hose with strategically placed large powder puff and strategically placed roll of green ribbon.
Day 11 Hugo Banquet Harlan Ellison vs Elliot Shorter as to what to do about the excess funds collected to replace / repair the movie screen. Harlan was going to deed the excess over to the Clarion Writers Group. Mr Shorter took issue with Harlan saying that the fans had put up the money and it should go to the con. It was resolved to go half to Clarion with the other half going into an emergency carry over fund for future world-con accidents. An alternate report can be found at St. Louiscon Movie Screen Affair with a few differences of facts but this is my memory of the event at the banquet while I was not at the Business Meeting. The legend of the food fight is just a legend.
Art Show - I picked up a Morris Scott Dollens painting
Dealers Room - I picked up a large run of DC Blackhawk comics.
Day 12 After breakfast we made the rounds promising to do it again next year, packed up and started back to New Orleans about 10 am. John Guidry joined our car as relief driver. Rick had met and talked to someone from Memphis, TN about an old book store there. We stopped at the shop and I bought a couple of Shadow and small pile of SF pulps.
The car was getting cramped with all of our purchases with Craig and I riding with comics and pulps in our laps reading and playing Botticelli as the miles passed. In the wee hours of the morning Rick dropped me off in Harahan, La and continues on to drop John and Craig at their homes.
Within a few weeks of our return the hotel we were planning to use for the site of the 1973 World-con bid informed us that it and every other major hotel in the city had been booked for the Labor Day weekend of 1973 by the Shriners. Left without a site we had to abandon the New Orleans in '73 bid. -30-
Additions and / or Corrections requested
As always permission is granted to the Contraflow and / or SFC for use of the above. Anyone else that so desperate as to want to use it or any of the other muttering I have posted can contact me off-list.
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