Shreveport Loses Another Local Icon, Musical Advocate
Whenever people ask me what church I go to, I always jokingly say Municipal Auditorium. Because, to me at least, that is one of the most important sites in music history still in existence in America...second only to the Ryman Auditorium. Generations of people have gathered at that site to celebrate humanity: love, happiness, sadness, anger, etc.. All the emotions we all experience but some, like Hank Williams, had a way of writing and expressing in a way that is almost divine or heavenly.
Shreveport has a lot of folks that want to preserve and celebrate Shreveport's musical history: everyone from former Mayor Cedric Glover to Ernie Roberson to myself to Jack White from White Stripes fame. The list is endless. But there has been no bigger advocate or defender than Maggie Warwick. Since 1958 when she first performed on the Municipal Stage, nobody worked harder or longer to preserve that legacy and history than Maggie. Since learning of her passing early Friday, I've seen a lot of posts on social media highlighting her career accomplishments. And boy, did she have them: recording artist, touring musician, songwriter.
But, as cool and amazing as all that is, I think Maggie's greatest contribution to world was being an advocate, promoter and defender of Shreveport, the Municipal and the Louisiana Hayride.
Like I said, I don't want to downplay her career. She recorded some good songs, wrote even better ones, performed on stage with some of the best in the world...it was career worthy of note and appreciation. But, a lot of people can write a hit song. Not everyone has the focus and dedication to spend most of their lives fighting the same battle. In Maggie's case, fighting to keep the memory and history of the Louisiana Hayride alive.
When we talk historically about musicians, most of the time we focus on what they did on stage and what they put on record. The impact they had on our lives because of the songs they wrote and performed. But, in this case, we need to shift our focus. While we can remember everything Johnny Horton, Faron Young and countless other accomplished at Municipal Auditorium, on stage, for the Louisiana Hayride, we should remember Maggie for being the heartbeat that kept those memories and that legacy alive.