Coupe du Main... Sept. 6, 7 & 8, 2002, Ponchatoula, Louisiana

I dropped of my son at school just after 7 am then made a quick trip to the Best Stop for more supplies.  The two hour drive to Ponchatoula was a piece of cake with very little traffic.  By 9, I was parking across the street from the huge shop that housed the Coupe du Main Letterhead meet.

Just like at the first meet I attended, the first person I saw was R.T.  This time I didn’t have to introduce myself, and He was the host.  A quick exchange of greetings, and I was introduced to another early arriver, Timi Barrows, who was already preparing to convert the apartment sized refrigerator into a showpiece safe. Roger and Judy Pate from Albany, GA had arrived. Curtis pulled up, and in minutes we were setting up the last few tables and positioning the ventilation systems. Lloyd came out and introduced himself. Even a neighbor from nearby stopped by to greet us.

Timi had prepped the soon to be “safe” and was starting to spray the color.  Steve and Barb, Pat King and Bobbi, and Si and Marti arrive within minutes of each other. Kathy led the girls out and opened the registration.  I looked at my watch, it was 9:20 and it looked like a Letterhead meet was breaking out.  Soon  we were in company that included: Sonny Franks, Don Hulsey, Robert and Joanna Nouis,  Cheryl Lucas, Don Copeland, Tony Broussard and family, Robert Beverly and friend, and of course, Old Paint.

Sonny had some MDO panels to marble. By 11, Pat King had prepared enough panels to last the entire meet. He knocked out a sign for the portfolio table in minutes.  Next, he was lettering the meet’s name “Coupe du Main” in script then lettered the reflection right below it both in a reflex blue.  A few squiggles and do-dads in almost florescent pink-orange floated above and below the lettering.  That gave the panel a deep look that amazed me every time I looked at it.  And being the “Duck”, he was quacking it up the whole time.

Si taped and painted the lines for the inset panel of the safe then started laying out the large banner for everyone to sign later.  

Aieeeeee!! It looked like the whole crowd had arrived in time for lunch. They must have heard Kathy had planned to have Red Beans and Rice. 

The afternoon flew by conversations were lively and laughter was heard above the music. The blend was perfect. Projects were taking shape and completed panels were on display. The display wall included panels and projects by Mark Fair, Michael Boone, and Rod Tickle. You may have seen Mark’s antiqued sign on the BullBoard, but you would be amazed how weathered it looked 1st. hand. Michael Boone’s project had a special place and rightfully so. Kathy has nick-named Mike “Mr. Poopycat.” There is only one word to describe it. Flawless in shape and texture. I’m glad it was hermetically sealed in West Systems epoxy. Rod Tickle's hooded lizard was so real, it may have eaten a few bugs or some other tasty treat.

The early evening had Si showing Curtis how to lay some gold leaf on a formed letter. Timi was feeling no pain and started striping a panel. Robert Nouis started working on an asymmetrical design that rocked. R.T. was seen a few times sitting in one chair with his legs over the top of another, trying to get a few minutes rest.

The evening ended with hardliners sitting around sipping beer, talking about brushes, paint, passing a guitar around and listening to some blues tunes that Timi brought out.

Don Copland had snapped a picture of Steve through the doorway earlier in the evening and projected it on the entrance door. With Timi and few others, they created a layout of Steve’s scaled profile and the shop background.  They planned to finish the work Saturday.     

3am rolled around and the last 3 vehicles rolled out to the Friendly Inn.

Did I mention it rained!

Day 2 brought out a few more letterheads, as Mark Perkins, Monet, Gavin “Z”.  Donny Provalini arrived early in the morning and immediately sat down and started a beautiful panel.  If there a guy that will sit down and work on a sign with more dedication than Donny, then he must be sleeping with his brushes.

The afternoon festivities featured a hands-on demonstration by Robert “Nuclear Designs and Lazerlines” Nouis. While some demonstrations have some knucklehead from the audience instructed and performing some fete of magic, Robert had no less than 6 knuckleheads performing magic in seconds.  Everyone was very excited. Steve was able to tape the demo for future use. Keep an eye out for it. 

Drawings for door prizes took place, and only kids at Christmas should receive so much.

Thanks go out to all the suppliers and contributors.

The band arrived as everyone was preparing to go for the big meal on Saturday night.  There was Gumbo, Crayfish Ettouffe, and Chicken Jambalaya enough to clog the arteries of normal people, but Letterheads are stronger than most.   Once everyone returned and the band had a bite to eat, it really started look like a Louisiana Saturday night.  The band played all the Cajun French favorites and gave a Zydeco twist to some modern classics and had everyone up on their feet.  When the Letterhead Cajun Reggae band joined in on “IKO IKO,”   no one in the house could stand still.   There are rumors of a reunion at the upcoming, “Way up North” Dixie Letterhead meet in October.  Sonny Franks and Bobbi King became “Keepers of the washboard” after the event. But more excitement forth was still coming.  As the tall, swaying Marie LaVoe the Voodoo Queen did a dance that captivated the attention of all the male letterheads; it was noticeable that she was putting a “HEX” on somebody. By all indications, Joe “Old Paint” has been “hoodoo”ed.

The music continued past mid-night. Everyone was tired-happy and began making their way to their hotels.  Again hardliners were still at it.  Sonny Franks and Don Hulsey were putting a beveled edge on a marbled panel with some tinted size.   Don Copeland,  OP and I hung the door painted with Steve’s profile on the building again.  Kathy said when she looked out the window early Sunday morning; she thought Steve was already there.

Again we were looking at 2:30 in the morning, when we left to get some rest.

Sunday was the usual, “Man that was quick”  “We sure had a goodtime” get together.  That’s when we realized that there was no group picture taken earlier.  We gathered up a likely group of “locals”, enough for a picture session and Boudreaux took the pictures. 

It was time to get on the road, and I headed home about noon Sunday, just thinking about what I had seen and learned and,  what I wanted to try with the new set of Lazerline brushes I walked away with as door prize.  

Like I told Pat King, a man would have to be a damn fool not to get to any Letterhead/Pinhead meet he could possibly attend.  

Santo Brocato
Promotion Graphics & Letters
Youngsville, LA.