In 1958 a group of local musicians formed a band called The Esquires.
It was the birth of a band whose music has been synonymous with rock and roll, and whose sounds have been popular throughout
the decades and is still popular today. In those early days of the 60's, The Esquires mainly played on the West Bank at the
sock hops and proms of Behrman, West Jefferson and Holy Name of Mary High Schools.
The Esquires - known for their distinctive
style -catered to their fans and expanded into the collegiate circle, playing at Tulane, LSU, Miss. State and
Ole Miss. But anyone who recalls the heydays of The Esquires remembers the VFW Hall on Monroe Street and the Sunday night
dances. Every Sunday night teenagers crowded into the hall at a $.75 admission and danced to the sounds of these talented
musicians. In fact, their popularity grew so much that the VFW had to be enlarged to accommodate the crowds. Every Sunday
night a parade of cars drove down Monroe Street with parents dropping off their teenagers.
Going to the VFW on a Sunday night was a ritual. The parents enjoyed
four hours of peace and quiet, while the teenagers danced the night away creating memories they would relive forever and forming
friendships to which they would be bound to forever.
From the teen dances of the 60's through the 70's and 80's, The Esquires
provided music for weddings, private parties and Mardi Gras balls. The Esquires was not just a band but a group of talented
musicians who became a family to each other and to their fans. Numerous romances blossomed to the music of The Esquires, and
the Esquires provided the music for the weddings of those romances. Parents booked The Esquires for their childrens weddings
and for their parents anniversary parties. The Esquires has spanned the generations, and today they are recognized and remembered
by everyone in the community.
As you know, The Esquires logo is a gentleman in a tuxedo with a top
hat and cane which truly depicts the style of this band. The Esquires set the trend by performing in full dress tuxedos, presenting
themselves as sophisticated musicians of fashion and flare, and their music was just as top hat as their demeanor. Great talent,
a love for music, a passion for family and friends provided us with the best of times.
Music Lovers and dancers of all ages, may I present
to you The Esquires.
George Baker - drummer. Brother of Buck Baker, and the
last member to join the group. In 1958, George was four years old, he grew up and joined the Esquires in 1970.
Jimmy Chandler - base player. Jimmy was one of the original Esquires. He was a New Orleans boy who joined the
West Bank band.
Dave Guillot - guitarist. Dave was also an original
member. And anytime The Esquires played, Dave was always available. A special thanks to Dave for flying in from Dallas,
Texas to be with us today.
James Jackel - keyboard. Jackel was another original Esquire. Like Elvis or Frank, he's always
been known by one name, Jackel. For over 30 years
he opened his home for practices. And anything the band wanted or needed, he's been there. The Esquires - Jackel, one and the
Lamar Bourgeois - lead vocalist. Lamar joined the band
after the original singer left the group in the early 60's.
Lamar has been the lead singer over all these years and is always ready
to get together with the group.
Eddie Hynes - trombone. Eddie was another Esquire. Back in the 60's Eddie was the premier trombone player
in the city. He was noted for his unique style and is a legend among
Henri Guerineau - trumpet. Henri started in music playing
bass. But he wanted to be a member of The Esquires so he switched from bass to trumpet to do so.
And last, but not least, Buck Baker - saxophone. When
you think of The Esquires you think of Buck Baker. He was
the leader of the band, in charge of bookings and promotion. And just
as with the other members, Buck has devoted his life to his music and
to The Esquires.
And to show their appreciation for the support of all
their fans, they are here to play for you today.