Saturday, March 28, 2015

Angels Among Us: Check Out the On-going Celebrity News in Savannah, Georgia USA

SAVANNAH Georgia --  Romantic Inns in downtown Savannah love to share the character-rich local stories and Savannah events that will appeal to regional and international tourists!

An eccentric's block party and parade are planned for Sunday, March 29, 2015 (1:00 - 4:00 p.m), in Lafayette Square to celebrate the birthday of Savannah native, Mary Flannery O'Connor (1925-1964), a Pulitzer Prize winning author. You'll find out, if you go, that Savannah's local color and atmosphere are engaging!

It's sure to be a street scene that photographers will adore -- people dressed in everything character-rich from their mother's and grandmother's trunks or tag sales, Sweet Thunder Strolling Band parading with party-goers as though cast members entertaining through the square.  See Flannery O'Connor Parade photos. Also, A Good Woman Is Hard to Find: Baltimore Artist Starts Flannery O’Connor Parade and Block Party in Savannah, GA by 
Yes, Miss O'Connor is still news! "Happy birthday Flannery O'Connor, avatar of the Southern grotesque" reads the headline by David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2015.
Johnny Mercer offers contemporary news also! 

In March 2015 a song by Savannah's famous native son, Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), was named for the 2014 Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. The headline: National Recording Registry To “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive”. Yes, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive" is Mr. Mercer's song!   His family home is on Gwinnett Street near Forsyth Park, where the exuberant little Johnny played and listened to Alexander's Ragtime Band music.  A bronze statue of Mr. Mercer is located in Ellis Square. He is buried in Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah.
"...Mercer’s genial vocal style and southern accent proved to be popular with the public both on recordings and over the radio. Sung in the style of a sermon, Mercer uses his song to cleverly explain how a positive outlook was the key to happiness, an attitude and message that was still strongly in demand by an increasingly war-weary nation." Source: Press Release, News from Library of Congress, March 25, 2015
Joel Chandler Harris portrait by
Lucy May Statton, c. 1914
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institute
On Bay Street near Whitaker Street, you'll find an historical marker honoring Joel Chandler Harris (1945-1908), journalist, fiction writer, and folklorist of Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit stories (the forerunner of Disney's Song of the South movie). He resided in Florida House, later a portion of The Marshall House Hotel.
R. Bruce Bickley writes that Flannery O'Connor is among the writers indebted to Joel Chandler Harris. Source: Uncle Remus Tales, 
Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poety, Savannah-born Conrad Potter Aiken (1889-1973) was a Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, more commonly known as Poet Laureate of the United States. (1950-1952). An historical marker in the grassy buffer of Oglethorpe Avenue near the #1 Savannah Fire Station reads: "Conrad Aiken, Poet and Man of Letters, was born in Savannah on August 5, 1889, and lived at No. 228 (opposite) until 1901." His birth home is now a guest house, Magnolia Hall, of the Savannah College of Art and Design on Whitaker Street. A marble bench awaits visitors to his grave site in Bonaventure Cemetery.

Standing tall in Savannah's largest square, Johnson Square, is the monument to Major General Nathanael Greene (1742-June 19, 1786), who served as George Washington's second in command in the Contenntial Army during the American Revolutionary War. He resided in the Savannah area only a few years after the war's end. Yet the legendary leader's voice looms long and large in this southern community. Who among us has not heard his famous quote: "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again."

Then, there are the celebrities who have lived among us in Savannah, Georgia USA, who this community has given respectful privacy.

Dr. August Coppola (1934-2009), the father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, and a former literature professor "moved to Savannah, Ga., in the 1990s because he said he needed to find a quiet place to write." Source: LATimes |"Being active and relatively well-known in San Francisco, I needed to go to a place where I could hole up and write," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1999.  "To write, you can't be interrupted," he said. "It throws you off. It's like trying to make love and people keep walking in on you." Coppola was the author of the romantic novel The Intimacy (1978), an unpublished novel on John Wilkes Booth, and was working on a novel, The Nymbus, while living in Savannah, Georgia. "He's not quite sure why he chose Savannah. 'I came here once with Nicolas, and I liked it. I was taken by the beauty of the city. Savannah is very hot. But I live in a 150-year-old house, and it's quite cool. The house is very quiet. And I found there was a whole history of the South and the Civil War that I didn't know about. This is an entirely different side of America.'" Source:

President John F. Kennedy
and Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy
arriving in Dallas, Texas on
November 22, 1963.
White House photo;
public domain.

Madame Sophie Shonnard (Sophie d'Antignac Meldrim Coy Shonnard) (1887-1980) retired from the world's most fashionable circles of Europe and New York City to reside in the restored Waring House on the southwest side of Bull Street on Chippewa Square . Source: The Squares: An Introduction to Savannah by Chan Sieg.

Mrs. H.S. Shonnard
Library of
Congress photo.
Mrs. Shonnard was a partner in the New York City fashion boutique, Chez Ninon, the private, custom dress shop that produced the Chanel-designed, strawberry bouclΓ© 2-piece suit worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, November 22, 1963. Authorized Chanel designs were produced under the label Chez Ninon for society's most fashionable and prominent women in the United States, especially those who were eager to be politically correct in wearing American-made apparel.

Mrs. Shonnard is daughter to Judge P.W. Meldrim and his wife Frances Casey Meldrim, whose home in Savannah is the now-famous Green-Meldrim House, a National Historic Landmark on Madison Square.

Copyright 2015 Romantic Inns of Savannah

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