A dynamic preacher and Bourbon St.

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some of you may remember watching Bob Harrington, an evangelist minster, delivering sermons on WALA-TV back in the 1960s.

At that time, this popular preacher was tabbed “The Chaplain of Bourbon Street” because he trolled the New Orleans French Quarters delivering messages of God. The mayor of New Orleans gave him this name because his ministerial efforts became so popular. In fact, several books were written about him and television stations aired his sermons. He was seen on the Mobile station quite regularly.

The dynamic preacher hailed from near Sweet Water and he attended the University of Alabama and other Alabama colleges prior to attending the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Over the years, his amazing career led him to his ministerial venture in New Orleans, where his sermons were seen and heard for over 20 years.

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Two prominent men from here were closely acquainted with this minister. The late Rev. Dewitt Allen was associated with him from his days as an announcer at WALA-TV and WALA radio. Yes, that’s right, the Rev Allen was a member of that outstanding staff at WALA. And rightly so because of his pure resonant voice. Leon Lyles grew us with him in Clarke County. His Bashi home was only a few miles away from Sweet Water.

Sadly, this colorful minister passed away a couple of weeks ago and he was buried in his hometown Sweet Water Cemetery. He was 89.

While having lunch at one of the restaurants near the interstate not too long ago, I overheard a conversation between two couples that were also eating and were seated in the booth next to us. One of the ladies said, “In all our traveling down the interstate, I have never seen such an appealing location.” She went on to say that this is one of the most charming locations they had stopped at.

I leaned over and politely told her, “Pardon my overhearing your comments, but I do thank you for kind remarks about the Atmore area.” She told me they were from Minnesota and were thinking about settling down on the Gulf Coast. I told her we would be honored if they made Atmore their new home. She said, “We may just do that. We will explore this area some more. Already, we like what we see.” Who knows, maybe that luncheon conversation may have generated us four more permanent residents? (You learn a lot from travelers when eating out at restaurants along the interstate).

Recognize the names of any of these 1940s former ECHS students? Perhaps they were your parents or grandparents.

I ran across this from a handout by the late, Jimmy Beck, which was given him by Byard Swift. Popular students back then were Mildred and Betty Walker, Robert Maxwell, Jeanie and Bo Keller, Dickie Dickinson, Ben Maxwell, Margaret Rodgers, Mary Lou Bennett, Billy Watson, Catherine Goldsmith, Betty Beasley, Herbert Holmes, Cora Bullock, Margaret O’Gwynn and Arthur Bethea.

The story I wrote several years ago about the haunted house in Uriah was picked up by a visiting journalist when he was visiting Monroeville during the Harper Lee new book celebration. I received an email from this man and he wanted additional information on the scary activities in this huge structure. I explained to him that my story was only a rehash of a TV show, which depicted in detail how Gene Garrett moved the house from two counties away to its present location. He told me he was now writing an article about this intriguing home. From the manner that he is tracking down information, I get the impression he wants to make it into a book and then perhaps a movie. It would be nice to have the Atmore area featured in such a manner.

I noticed an Escambia County school bus parked on the ECHS grounds near South Presley Street. There is a sign on the bus advertising the need for drivers. Now, this would be a nice opportunity for some of you men and women seeking part time employment. But you had better hurry and apply because the new school year is rapidly approaching.

I remember years ago when we waited for “feeder” buses to arrive so we could depart to our respective high schools. We waited at McCullough, Booneville, Huxford, Canoe and Nokomis  for the feeder buses to pick us up.

Phillipsville, Rabun, Splinterhill and Lottie students fed into Perdido Junior High School and were motored by feeder buses to Baldwin County School in Bay Minette. Bratt students were bused to Ernest Ward High School and Byrneville students were carried to Century High School.

In our younger days, we identified Mobile with certain nostalgia. Some of those names associated with Mobile were Danzigers, Rug and Shade, Tiny Diny, Battlehouse, Bridgehead, The Loop, Weinakers, Hartwell Field, Saenger and Crown. Can you give us the business each of these names represents? Here are the answers. (Clothing store, restaurant, location where Highway 31 begins, hotel, movie theater, furniture store, section of town where Airport Boulevard intersects with Government Street and drug store. Now you connect them.)