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Revisiting: Year 2 of Vernon Parish Arts Council

BILLY CRAWFORD | Guest Contributor
Leesville Daily Leader

This is Part Two of a series to recognize the positive effects the Vernon Arts Council has had on the entire Vernon Parish community. We recognize that an effort such as this was led by devoted leaders from all segments of the community, working together. 

The Vernon Arts Council created a one-day sidewalk art show in downtown Leesville. It was called the West Louisiana Folk Art Festival.

The number of performances was increased from three to seven in just the second year. The list included the Birmingham Ballet, New Orleans Symphony, All Nations Dance Company, The Vernon Parish Bicentennial Honor Choir directed by Mr. & Mrs. Donald Reagan, Harvey-a three-act comedy, the Susquehanna Festival Theater from Bel Air, Maryland and what became a crowd favorite, the Ronnie Kole Trio.

Callie and I have lived in New Orleans for the last 17 years.  During this time I have enjoyed listening to Ronnie Kole and his band perform in the Jazz Tent at Jazz Fest and the French Quarter Festival. He is a New Orleans Legend. 

Ronnie Kole, a Chicago native, received a phone call from New Orleans music giant, Al Hurt. Hurt asked him to come down and open up his new club on Bourbon Street as his house band.

Great news! Ronnie Kole made New Orleans his home and later opened up his own club on Bourbon Street, Kole's Corner.

 The Ronnie Kole Trio has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Louisiana Mardi Gras in Washington D.C. sponsored by Senator Russell Long and Congressman Gillis Long. They have performed on tours in Japan, India, and the British Isles. He has played on the Jerry Lewis Telethon and is a strong supporter of the New Orleans United Way Campaign.

 Kole was a crowd favorite and really enjoyed performing and doing workshops with the high school students. He loved visiting and playing here in Vernon Parish.

The research for this series would be impossible without the online use of the Vernon Parish Library's digital archives. 

Mr. Howard Coy, Jr. and the Library Board members are to be commended for providing this easy access to Vernon Parish history. Otherwise, it could have been easily lost over time.