Return With Us Now

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Reminiscences of New Orleans fandom by Dean Sweatman.


Return With Us Now To Those Thrilling Days of Yester-Year - 1968
© Dean Sweatman 2014

I have always intended to do this RSN but never expected it to be 46 years in the making.

It had been 17 years since the Nolacon and 7 years since the New Orleans Consolacon. The New Orleans Science Fiction Association was in its heyday. It had formed in June 1967 with 3 objectives:

  1. Bid New Orleans as the site for the 1973 Worldcon
  2. Bid NOSFA to host the 1968 Deep South Con.
  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 up to the Worldcon site selection vote for 1973.

The New Orleans in '73 Bid was moving along and we had won the bid to host the 1968 Deep South Con VI that John Guidry, Don Markstein, Rick Norwood, and Justin Winston had presented at the previous (Atlanta, GA) DSC.

We were a year old and had 10 to 20 members coming semi-regularly to the monthly meetings being held in members homes. In July we elected Don Walsh as our 1st President and had published 4 issues of Nola-Zine during the past year. In August we started to meet weekly to prepare for the con.

19680823-25 Deep South Con VI - Down-Town Howard Johnson Motor Inn

Day 1 I took the Airport Express bus into New Orleans dropping me off 2 blocks east of the hotel. It was to early to pick up my con badge or check-in to our rooms so Bill Bruce from Baton Rogue, LA and I dropped our bags and went to the coffee shop in the next block from the hotel for breakfast and talk about Stranger in a Strange Land and all things fannish. Upon returning we met with the other con and NOSFA members that had arrived. Craig Shukas, Irv Koch and I dumped our luggage into our room and started to roam the halls.

There weren't that many halls to roam as we were housed in one room. Reg was a small table just outside the door. The "Con-suite" was a common-room to the meeting floor to provide a table, some chairs, a desk, sofa and rest-rooms. The front of the room was set up for panels with a couple of dealers tables along the back wall.

Attending membership was $75 making it a crowded room. Member's rooms and the swimming pool / patio were close by and available for spill-over discussions when there weren't panels going on. For most of New Orleans Fandom this was their first con. I had traveled to Houston TX for a Comic-con prior to meet some friends from Denton, TX Fandom. Movies were shown by Justin Winston from his film collection in the evenings of Friday and Saturday.

Local author Dan Galouye (Dark Universe, Simulacron-3) was the GoH. Also present were Joseph Green (The Loafers of Refuge) NASA tech writer and family from FL (where we first met Rosie Green Now Lillian). Old Time Radio, Comics and Pulp dealer Roger Nelson had come down from Chicago, IL, Ned Brooks VA, Irv Koch TN, JoAnne Burger from Houston TX - a femfan and head of the N3F Tape Bureau looking for OTR, Pulps and to record the con on tape, Glen Brock, Joe Celko and Steve Hughes from Atlanta, Rick Norwood, John Guidry, Don Walsh, Don Markstein, Justin Winston, Craig Sukas, the rest from NOSFA, and 40 or so others that have gotten lost in my memories.

Only about 10 hours were devoted to panels, 4 hours to film, and 2 hours for the banquet. Room parties as we know them today were not to be found as Bourbon Street was only 8 blocks away.

Day 2 Irv Koch presented a tape made by Janie Lamb bidding Knoxville, TN for the 1969 DSC. He also proposed the formation of a Southern Confederation of Fen organization to help in keeping contacts made in the various cons, clubs and individuals in touch with each other.

Harry B. Moore (chair Nolacon) dropped in for a few hours.

Saturday Night there was as great discussion held in the con-suite hosted by Dan and Joe talking about Writers and Southern Fandom of the late '40s and '50s as both had attended Nolacon) that broke up for a hamburger run about 3 am.

Day 3 Business meeting - The Atlanta bid for 1969 was dropped in favor of Knoxville with an announcement that they would bid for the 1970 DSC. Irv Koch's proposal was accepted for discussion and would be revisited at the 1969 DSC.

Banquet - Rubber chicken and a fine speech presented by Dan Galouye.

The con ended about 3 pm with the usual round of "let's do it again next year". Those going on to Baycon heading westward and the rest of us headed home basking in the after-glow of the Gathering of the Clan with dreams of Next Year.



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 Worldcon
  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 Worldcon 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 Worldcon.

Rick Norwood proposed that a few of us take a dog-leg path to St. Louis, MO via Knoxville, TN for the 7th Deep South Con to be held the week-end prior to St. Louiscon.

19690821 -0901

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 ([{{{website}}} ref]) 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 Newport 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.

There was a Costume Contest with Ned Brooks as the King in Yellow and Ron Bounds as a Viking with ax, box of corn-flakes and bottle of Jack Daniels from an old Analog Cover.

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.

Day 5 Traveled from Knoxville to Nashville, TN with Rick Norwood singing filk songs and playing Botticelli.

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.

It was here we first heard of the Dallas in '73 bid that was to be announced at St. Louiscon by Tom Reamy and other Dallas area fen.

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 (ref )

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 ( ref ). 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 Worldcon 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 Worldcon 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

Discussion is invited and Previous installments of this and the "In For a Penny" series can be found online


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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