Loading grain in Port Allen and its 1964 , maybe 1965-bloody hell that gives my age away!
The passage up river had been livened up by a glimpse of New Orleans -no NOLA , no acronyms, there was a President, not a POTUS-LBJ! LBJ! how many kids did you kill today? Some shit memories creeping in.
And some not so-
We carry four deck cadets and two engineering cadets-late teens, and they have left behind a Britain well and truly rocking with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
But they haven’t left behind the clothes and the hair styles—no close- to- the- scalp cuts for these boys-Mick Jagger is somewhat conservative compared to our lot.
They get an afternoon off and off they go ashore and I turn to Dick “Pity we’re working, be interesting to see how the locals react.”
“The river pilot couldn’t believe his eyes, his jaw hit the deck when Lofty took him up to the bridge.”
There was a ferry in operation just up from the berth across to Downtown Baton Rouge then not quite a modern high rise city.
Time passes and the boys arrive back somewhat dishevelled but very , very happy.
Seems like, as they ambled up into town, they attracted some attention-autos screeching to a halt, people turning to stare, things like that.
They ended up in some café/drugstore. Sitting near a window suddenly aware of people milling around on the sidewalk and having a good stare inside. Fortunately any apprehension they might have had disappeared when they noticed that their viewers had become younger and VERY obviously female .
Lofty DID have a passing resemblance to Mick Jagger!
The local boys didn’t have a chance-no flowing locks, no Carnaby Street gear, no chance.
The following day is a Saturday and our lads can’t wait to get ashore.
It’s one of the sights I truly regret missing due to the circumstances following shortly.
The ferry docks at the downtown landing and all hell breaks loose.
University is out, High School is out and there are lots of Chevys on the Levees packed with teenage trouble of the female variety, ALL determined to get a piece of the action.
I suppose it was a form of abduction, kidnap and attempted rape but the boys were pressing no charges!
No charges? Well that brings us to a quiet bar where the bartender is mildly surprised to see Dick and I enter and order beer for breakfast.
He’s been listening to the radio and after serving us switches it off and shuffles down to the far end of the bar and makes a call.
Shuffles back. “Not from around these parts are you, ready for another?”
His fingers drum on the counter and he seems a bit nervous, glancing shiftily over my shoulder.
I’m aware of the door opening behind us and the bartender’s seeming relief .
“These the foreigners?”
Two of them swing in close one on either side of us and Dick and I swivel round to face- Warren Oates and Dennis Hopper in scruffy tan suits and a bit pissed off.
Warren flips open a wallet-a badge!
“Bloody hell we’re in a movie !” chuckles Dick.
Bad move, this lot don’t do humour and Warren Oates opens his somewhat tired and stained jacket and shows me HIS GUN! We ARE in a movie.
“ID.! ID! Show us some ID.”
I shouldn’t have had that beer so early in the morning and I just cant resist, “Sorry I’ve got no idea.”
So, feet no chance to hit the ground, we are in the back seat of some huge jalopy , Dennis Hopper driving and Warren Oates beside him , hand hovering inside his jacket and-
“What you mean you got no ID.? Everybody got ID. Where you from , you don’t carry no I.D.?”
“Scotland! We don’t need ID.”
“Don’t believe it- every country got ID. Wouldn’t go to a country without ID.”
Politely, “Which countries have you been to officer?”
“Aint left Louisiana, aint goin to, furriners.”
Silence until we are hustled out onto the sidewalk outside a bank.
Lots of cops , lights, onlookers and three men in suits, dark suits, reflector sunglasses.
Warren, “F.B.I.” said with such a mixture of emotion that my febrile imagination pops up with an image of a fiery cross and I decide no more backchat.
Dick and I are prodded up to the glass doors and Dennis engages the Feds.
Eventually, on the other side of the glass, a parade of what is obviously the bank staff. They give us the once-over, twice.
A suit comes out , whispers to Warren. looks at us and says ,”You can go.”
“Is that it?” says Dick.
“Yeah! Don’t let us catch you without no ID again.”
We decide not to ask for a lift back to the bar.
Much, much later we are ambling back to the ship when we come across some of the boys scrambling ashore after watch determined to get a genuine American hamburger.
We find a drive-in on the other side of the road and present ourselves at the serving hatch.
The young lady is intrigued and a wee bit nonplussed-she’s pretty ,but , as the the saying goes “She’s in ,but not all of the houselights are on”
“Caint serve you. Y’ aint got no automobile.”
But she’s talking to some very hungry and impatient prospective customers.
“Why do we need an automobile?”
“For the tray, honey” ( She’s spotted the good looking Third Mate) “It goes on your auto door-for your hamburger and coke , honey.”
We stand back, let an impatient auto get its tray and slide off into it’s parking space, and come up with a workable strategy-we’ve spotted a pile of trays.
“Toot-toot! Hamburger ,fries and coke please.”
You CAN stick a car tray’s hooks down the front of your pants.
Next day, listening to the local news–“—bank robbery, by two foreigners. Bank clerk knew they were foreigners because they were clean, tidy and very polite.”