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Stories, History, and Tributes Got a story to tell about your childhood, someone you admired, or some interesting history to share? This is the place!

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Old 08-06-2010, 05:50 PM
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BananaTom BananaTom is offline
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Smokin License to Speed Legally - Louisiana

Hit your contol button and then press the + key to make the font larger, I do not know why this posted so small, I typed in Word and then copied over here.

After reading the most recent post about speeding here on the SC, it reminded me of another era, therefore; I submit this true story of my South Louisiana driving experiences.

In the 1979 era I was a Sears Service Technician running window unit routes. Twice a week I made the Venice run from the Gretna service center location. The average inventory was 8 – 10 services calls a day. Every customer has purchased a maintenance agreement for $30.00 per year. This agreement covered a cleaning once a year. The units were removed from the window, taken outside and cleaned with solvents and water.

Then when the window air conditioner broke, it was fixed under this maintenance agreement. The technician would visit the home with only switches, relays and thermostats, and a few motors. My main job was to trouble shoot. Heck, I was good at it, never made a bad diagnoses, and if I had the part on the truck, it was repaired. If I did not have it, I would call it in to the Service Center, the part would be ordered and two days later another employee would run the route and change the part. That tech only changed compressors and fan motors on his route and never trouble shot a problem.

The manager had a saying "Any monkey can change parts, but it takes a True Technician to perform a proper evaluation of the problem". Therefore, I became a true technician in his eyes)

When running a route in Algiers, Gretna, or Marrero, 8 – 10 a day was a breeze. I would go to work, 4 blocks from my house, get my route shhet and work orders. Return home, take a shower, go to Shoneys, eat breakfast and hit my first service call by 10:00 am. Run 4 service calls by 12:00 noon. Eat lunch from 12:00 to 2:00 pm, run the last 4 services calls until 4:00 pm and then head to the time clock to punch out at 5:00 pm.

On a run to Venice and back, I left the shop and headed south, and only took a half hour lunch. With the amount of drive time, I had to hump it to get all the service calls completed. There were many days when that simply would not happen. Over time was not allowed, so at a specific time, it time to head “up the road” instead of “down the road”. (If you are from that area, you know what I mean).

If I had not completed all service calls that day, they would be rescheduled for two days later, and then I made sure to hit that call, even if I had to reschedule others.

Most homes had window units, very few had central air, The Sulfur in the air (this is the era when the sulfur was loaded onto ships in the river, and everything is Port Sulfur was yellow) would eat the metal up, and the life of metal things were not long.

But if you had a window unit from Sears, with a maintenance agreement, everything would be repaired due to rust. May times a technician would leave the shop with a new base pan. That meant taking everything off, Condenser, evaporator, fan motor, compressor and installing them on the base pan.

Now that I have set the “Stage” --- let me tell ya cher, I made a HUGE mistake one day.

I rescheduled the Chief of Police in Port Sulfur. I simply did not show up, as I had too many service calls to complete. The office dropped the ball and did not call the homeowner. So when I did show up the next day, I rang the doorbell, a large woman opened the door, all red faced and sweaty. She saw my uniform and said wait a minute, I will be back. She closed door.

Well in about two minutes 4 Police Cars came roaring into the driveway. Two from Port Sulfur, one from Plaquemine Parrish and one State Trooper. The homeowner got out the car driven by the State Trooper.

The gathered around me and wanted to know why HECK I was two days late. The homeowner / aka Chief of Police for Port Sulfur was also a big red faced person, but his face was not red due to ambient temperatures. He was very big, upset, and loud. With a gathering of police officers circling me, I felt like General Custer, however, I had no weapons, so I knew my but was cooked.

Let me take a minute and tell about the jailhouse in Pointe A la Hache. There, they lock you up cher and forget about you. No Really!!

I picked up a hitchhiker one day “down the road” while I was headed “up the road”. He said he had been in jail for 2 weeks. He said - I was hitch hiking and a police car stopped me and asked how much money I had. I only had 5 dollars, so he arrested me for vagrancy and took me across the ferry.

Two weeks went by, and finally a police officer asked me my name, I replied, and then he said, I have no record of you. You are released.

Keep in mind Judge Perez still ruled this land at this time.

So now back to my story, I was 19 years old, had long blonde hair, past my shoulders, and I knew with all these police around me. I was heading to Pointe a la Hache, to be locked up and forgotten about. And hopefully, never ever go before Judge Perez.

My only defense “The Truth”. Hoping the truth would set me free. I explained my frustrations of having too many service calls with two many miles to travel. I went on to say that “up the road”, 8 – 10 service calls a day would be no problem. But with that many “down the road” many times I could not get all the service calls completed.

After I stated my position silence abounded. Not a word, not a response. I kept my mount shut too. The circling law enforcement officers all had a suspended expression on their faces, waiting for the Chief to speak.

Finally, silence was broken by the Chief. He first asked if I was capable of repairing his unit that day. I responded in the affirmative, as long as I had the part. You see, he had only one 36,000 btu window unit, or a 3 ton window unit. No other way to cool his house.

He went on to say, my wife is a big person, and when she is hot, in her kitchen, she gives me HELL!!! Therefore, when I arrived I was ready to lay into you. However, I understand your problem and I have an answer. He took out his business card and wrote something on the back of it and then handed it to me. Before I could read it, he said “I want to see you driving 90 miles an hour in my Parish”. (The four-lane road to Venice has just been completed; there was nothing built-up on it at that time, so it was a wide-open road with very little side traffic)

He went on to say, “I want you hauling butt in my Parish to service the people of Plaquemine Parish, and if you get pulled over for speeding, just hand them this card”.

Well I looked down at it and it was official looking, especially for a 19 year old, longhaired boy. I turned it over and read what he had written and it said “If you have any problems with Tommy, please call me at my house” It had his private home number on the back.

The other police left, the Chief escorted me to the subject problem, I made a control switch replacement, he was happy, and I left. I never saw the wife during this time.

So, from that point forward, once I got through the Belle Chasse tunnel, I cranked it up a bit. Once I got past the Naval Base, I set it on 90 miles an hour, and I never ever re-sechulded another Plaquemine Parish customer again.

I did however, get pulled over many times. And each and every time, I handed the officer my driver’s license with the Business Card of the Chief of Police of Port Sulfur, with the hand written stuff on the back facing upward. The police man, weather he be from the parish, or a State Trooper would read it, turn it over and see who’s it was, they smiled, gave me back my documents and said, have a great day.

They never said slow it down. It got to the point after a time, when they would wave at me as they went the other direction.

So there I was, a 19 year old, long blonde haired boy with a license to speed in Plaquemine Parish, Louisiana. Unfortunatly, I lost that card sometime later, long after I left Sears

Last edited by BananaTom; 08-06-2010 at 06:05 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2010, 06:35 PM
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Asterisk-Rich Asterisk-Rich is offline
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Great story
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  #3  
Old 08-06-2010, 07:55 PM
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Chris Havoc Chris Havoc is offline
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cool story Mr. Tom!! Thanks for sharing
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Old 08-06-2010, 08:18 PM
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wtretrievers wtretrievers is offline
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You shoulda framed that! Youre the only one to ever have permission to speed down Hwy 23!!!!!!!!!!!!

I did get let go at 2am in Bura's one night. Didn't ask any questions, just said Yes Sir, Thank you & have a good night!
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:01 AM
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Gottogo49 Gottogo49 is offline
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Great story, I have heard that our state legislators and off duty law officers have a similar speeding pass. Professional courtesy. It doesn't always work with the Troopers though. Like they say after giving you the ticket: Have a great day.
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2010, 08:11 AM
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Great story BT
Dad told me stories about guys coming and making the first bar to drink back in the day. Would end up spending the rest of their hitch off with Leander perez. They always made it out just in time to catch the boat back.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:44 AM
swglenn swglenn is offline
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Several years ago when Sulphur went into the basketball playoffs we had a game in New Orleans. We rode the charter bus with police escorts. We found out why when we got to the school. It was surrounded by walls and concertina wire. When we entered the gym we had to go through a metal detector. Sulphur won the game but we were told to stay in the gym while the hometown fans were escorted two blocks away. We were then marched single file onto the buses and told to hang on until we were out of the 'hood because we weren't stopping for anything. On the way home the bus got pulled over by a state trooper coming off the Atchafalya bridge for speeding, we were doing 75. This was when the big push was on to slow everything down to 60 on the bridge. After a little discussion the bus driver got back on and we left. He was a retired state trooper and showed his retired state trooper badge and was told to go on.
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Old 08-07-2010, 09:07 AM
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Tom, this brings back memories, im just a young'un but im from "down the road" i know where everything was that you spoke of in this story. I will copy and paste this to my dad, so he can re-fresh some memories. My (4) uncles and (5) aunts and my grandmaw were all involved in law enforcement and paramedic's
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2010, 11:19 PM
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I need one of those cards!
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2010, 11:55 PM
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Port Sulphur has a police dept.?
I have been running up and down Hwy. 23 for a long time
and never seen anything except the parish Sheriff's Dept.
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