Day 24: Leaving Louisiana

Another steamy day today.  Must’ve been in the 80s at least.  Grey for most of it making for dull flat photos.  Which didn’t matter as much to me today since I had a “date” in the middle of the day.  It made the shooting time sacrifice easier to take.

I got together with Warren Milks — the genius that invented and produced Roto-Spheres:

Warren is 87 now and I don’t know how much longer he’ll be around.  I took him to lunch and as it turned out, not only was today Easter (and he had no plans) but it was also his birthday.  After lunch, I took him to Starbucks (where he’d never been before) and went on-line to show him a bunch of things.  He’s old school and has never used a computer.  So I showed him a bunch of photos that people have taken of his signs and how they gush and marvel over them.  I hope I convinced him that he’s a celebrity — a household name among sign-lovers.  I showed him a video of how the one in Salt Lake City works, the fake Roto-Sphere in Broussard that I shot a couple days ago, and Neo-Lectras which he’d never seen.  I also played the Playhouse 90 video which we had all concluded must have been the inspiration for his signs.  Nope – he said it was more like a toy commercial.  So I guess we will just never solve this mystery.

Anyhow, I got some shots of Warren at his place.  In one corner, he has some neon potted plants which he created.  Not sure when because he has no sense of time (Alzheimer’s is setting in).  At first he said 3 months ago, then he said 3 years ago.  And it was probably more like 15 years ago.  He also created the neon portrait of his grand-daughters on the upper right.  And he made the other piece above left (though I didn’t get an explanation of what it represented).

He also had another one of these potted-neons (my term, not his) of a bunny for Easter in the front window:

In the garage, he had a piece that he never finished – a lower torso of a woman:

And this sign he created as well – no idea when but probably at least 15 years ago:

It was great to see him and I’m sure this was big, fun event for him — the crazy woman from New York with the four nutso dogs.  I respectfully tied my guys up in the back of the van (which really pissed them off) for transporting Warren to/from lunch.  Warren’s wife of many, many years passed away about six months ago.  So that’s gotta be really, really tough.  When I met them a couple years ago, she seemed to be the real driving force of the duo.  A little tough of Warren I’d say.  But it makes me very, very sad to think that this guy had no plans for his birthday and no longer goes to church.  It doesn’t sound like he has much, if any, social life.  From the sounds of it, he spends most of his time sleeping.  Doesn’t like TV, doesn’t have any hobbies.  I think I’ll start calling him more often just because.  He has two sons but I don’t know how well or often they are looking after this guy.

OK then – here’s some of the stuff I shot today.  This sign was in Many, LA.  I am totally mystified as to how a heavy steel sign, this high up, can get damaged like this.  I don’t think hurricanes can do this — unless maybe a car got picked up and thrown at the sign:

This wild looking building, also from Many:

A bunch of photos from Shreveport — which has loads of interesting stuff.  I’d love to know what this sign advertised for.  There’s a seafood place on the lot now:

A big honker downtown:

A couple cool Streamline Moderne beauties, down on their luck.  No idea of original use for either of them:

This one at least is in use:

After my get-together with Warren, I headed into AR.  Didn’t get much done but I’ll be digging in for about three more days.  I’ll close with this sign in Texarkana on the outskirts which I hadn’t seen before:

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