Showing posts with label 12 Days of Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 12 Days of Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The waning days of Christmas

Around here at least, Christmas fades but is not gone.

We're Catholic. Christmas ain't over until Sunday, with the feast of The Baptism of the Lord. The tree stays until then.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Here's a quick wish that you and yours are having the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of new years.

No, I'm not late. It's Day 10 of Christmas -- two more days to go.

And you know what? Starting on Twelfth Night . . . it's Carnival season!

Ho! Ho! Ho! indeed. I love this stuff.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

On dem first day of Christmas. . . .

I think there's pretty much two things you deserve when you die.

First, you ought not die alone. Second, if the newspaper does a story about your passing, the least it can do is try to get the facts straight.

SADLY, a broadcasting professor from my days at the Louisiana State journalism school -- now the Manship School of Mass Communication -- came up empty on both counts when he left this world Thursday.

That someone would have no close family left is awful, but largely uncontrollable. But for someone as accomplished as Jules d'Hemecourt -- he was a professor, a past print and television newsman, and a lawyer, too -- that the local paper couldn't get some basic facts straight seems somehow fundamentally unjust.

When reading his obit from The Advocate in Baton Rouge, note that the name of the novelty record he made as "Tee Jules" really is "The Cajun 12 Days of Christmas." Note also that d'Hemecourt was a TV news director in Alexandria and Baton Rouge, not just an anchorman.

IF I CAN REMEMBER THAT, surely someone at the Baton Rouge paper could have:

Jules d’Hemecourt IV, a retired LSU journalism professor and the voice behind “The 12 Cajun Days of Christmas,” has died, friends confirmed Monday. He was 64.

Jim Engster, general manager of Louisiana Network and d’Hemecourt’s co-worker for several years, said d’Hemecourt died Thursday, one day after being hospitalized from a brief illness.

Engster said funeral arrangements were pending for d’Hemecourt, a native of New Orleans who had no immediate family members.

Engster said doctors summoned him to the hospital shortly before d’Hemecourt passed away.

“It was somewhat ironic that a man who influenced thousands of students through the years … had very few family members, and no one really knew he was deathly ill,” Engster said.

D’Hemecourt was a decorated journalist whose career spanned TV, print and radio news, as well as law.

According to biographical information provided by LSU, d’Hemecourt served as news director of WJBO-AM before working in the early 1970s as a TV news anchor for KALB in Alexandria and WRBT, now WVLA, in Baton Rouge.
I KNEW OF Jules d'Hemecourt long before I enrolled at LSU in the fall of 1979. I first heard the name in the early 1970s, when I read an article in TV Guide, I think it was, about this hotshot small-town news director at Channel 5 in Alexandria. And soon enough, he was running the brand-new news department at Baton Rouge's relatively new Channel 33, WRBT.

Soon, being a little media freak, I was catching "33 News" whenever I could. One, I was a sucker for an underdog newscast going against the old-timers, Channels 2 and 9.

Two, I liked Jules' style.

Part of that style was an alter ego who occasionally popped out on 45 RPM novelty records. "Tee Jules" (colloquial French for "Little Jules") was the impish Cajun kid within who came out with local classics like "The Cajun 12 Days of Christmas" and "The Cajun Night Before Christmas."

In the two degrees of separation that is my hometown, the musical director and arranger was my junior-high band director, Lance Chauvin.

WHEN I HEARD of d'Hemecourt's death the other day, I remembered that I had, as a 12-year-old kid, recorded Tee Jules' "Cajun 12 Days of Christmas" from a holiday newscast on WRBT. I think it must have been Christmas 1973. Maybe 1974.

You can listen to it here, though I must say that the quality isn't the greatest, given that TV audio wasn't the greatest back then (and neither were portable tape recorders) . . . and that the reel-to-reel tape is over 34 years old.

Still, what comes through loud and clear, across the years, is how charming local TV could be.

What else comes across is that broadcast news used to be so much better written. Listen to d'Hemecourt's intro to "The Cajun 12 Days." It's . . . it's . . . literate. Sort of literary, even. And it may represent the last time the phrase "to wit" ever was used on a local TV news show.

Rest in peace, Tee Jules. And God bless you, Dr. d'Hemecourt.

UPDATE: From the comments, an object lesson for every newspaper or web-site obit writer -- when you don't get it straight, the deceased don't get their due . . . and the survivors can be hurt.

There wasn't much The Advocate did get straight in its story on Jules d'Hemecourt's death -- and life. And now a relative writes to set the record straight:
They also got the fact wrong about Jules not having any living family. I am Julia d'Hemecourt, daughter of John d'Hemecourt. Jules was our cousin. My family (my parents, brothers and sister) reconnected with him when my siblings and cousins (also d'Hemecourt's and Jules's relatives) started taking his classes at LSU. He was a part of our holiday celebrations, and we visited him every time we went up to Baton Rouge. He would call a few times a month and tell my mom, who he loved, jokes (usually Boudreaux and Thibodeaux ones). We loved him, and we miss him.