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Yours Truly Meets New Orleans Singing Icon Irma Thomas

irma thomas at the new orleans roosevelt hotel

Some Spring Hill College School chums and I had had a wonderful dinner at Antoine’s and then headed over to the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel for cocktails. The place was packed and noisy. But we found a place to sit and and chatted and sipped some Sazeracs. Actually, I bummed some sips off my friend Grace’s drink.

The evening we ended early since some had to fly out in the morning having come in from out of town for our celebration. We were walking toward the door when in walks Irma Thomas and her husband. She was dressed in a beautiful white flowing gown and looked like royalty. Well, she is. New Orleans music royalty. An icon and a Grammy winner as of 2008.

I walked over and shook her hand and said, “What a pleasure it is to meet you. I love your music.” I should’ve said, “Hello, my name is Richard Bienvenu. What a pleasure it is to meet you, etc.” But I figured, what’s the point, I may never meet her again and if I did she wouldn’t remember my name. But its rude, I think, not to do so I will make it a point to introduce myself from now on.

She said, “This is my husband.” This guy was taller than me. I shook his hand and this time I DID introduce myself. So guess I partook in only half a faux pas.

Anyway, Irma was very gracious and she seems to exude an inner beauty, a radiance I think is a better way to describe it. I wanted to tell her that I just recently did a blog post about her but I dumbly did not have any cards on me so I figured would’ve been pointless to tell her.

But before parting I did tell her, “I was just listening to Ruler of My Heart. What a great song.” She smiled very warmly and appreciatively and said, “Thank you so much.”

Well, getting to meet her made my whole night. Especially after I had only a few days before done a blog post about that very song and how it contains the very essence of New Orleans.

There is something about Irma that is very authentic and real. And I felt like I was in the presence of a good, good person. She is loved here and she loves people back. I guess that’s why she continues to be such a beloved part of our city and its music.

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  • Siria Tatum

    Oh no….out of business cards?! So sorry as you had just given me one. I guess I got the last one. I’m feeling guilty!



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