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Redd Foxx, B.B. King and LaWanda Page

ABOVE: Redd Foxxs star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame
ABOVE: Redd Foxx's star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame

When I pass through the Delmar Loop I can’t help but read the names on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, often stopping to take a pic.  Last October I snapped the above image of Redd Foxx‘s star.  As a kid Sanford and Son was a favorite show.  Foxx was born John Elroy Sanford in St. Louis in 1922, but raised on Chicago’s south side.

Foxx’s TV character Fred Sanford was also from St. Louis, but living in Los Angeles. In an episode called “Fred Sings the Blues” Sanford meets B.B. King and learns he sings the blues because a man stole his ‘E.W’ in St. Louis.



Sanford thinks King is referring to his late wife Elizabeth Winfield Sanford, turns out it was her sister, Esther Winfield Anderson, played by the great LaWanda Page (1920-2002).  Page was born in Cleveland but raised in St. Louis. We need to get her a star…

Have a great weekend.

– Steve Patterson


St. Louis Natives vs. Newbies

ABOVE: St. Louis' street grid was a recent topic of conversation. Click to view in Google Maps

Last week I posted the following as my status on Facebook:

“I’ve got a couple of friends who are new to St. Louis. Ray & John arrived about the same time, one from SF, one from NYC. The other night at The Royale John was talking about how great the street grid is here! It is just so nice talking to non-natives because they tend to “get it” more than those born here.”

In a short amount of time a heated discussion broke out among my friends, getting nearly 50 comments very quickly.  My original point that those not from here don’t “get it” like those that move here as adults got lost in a debate about St. Louis vs. Kansas City.

Over the weekend a friend told me of a woman from West County that was certain she’d be shot and killed driving to the federal building downtown. In law enforcement, she had a weapon and was planning to wear Kevlar.  She doesn’t like going east of Lindbergh Blvd. Amazing people think like this!?!

Those new to St. Louis, especially those from more urban areas, seek out the urban areas of St. Louis whereas suburbanites often, but not always, fear urban areas. I’m dumbfounded each time I hear stories of people my age living in the region who are afraid to enter the city limits. So I often seek out those who move here from outside the region because it is all new to them.  I get to share my favorite restaurants & pubs, talking about architecture, the street grid — the raw potential.

My two new friends came here for work.  Had they found work in other cities they wouldn’t be here.  But they are quick learners, getting to know our people and institutions better than many who have lived here for years.

I know many natives, of course, who get it, who seek out urbanity rather than fear it.  I love my conversations with them as well but the thrill of introducing a newbie to gems in St. Louis is such fun.  I want them to tell their friends on the coasts of the potential here, the friendly people, the inexpensive cost of living, etc.  Each one needs to get several friends to visit with one deciding to move here.  Eventually it will snowball.  100,000 new residents from each coast would do the trick.

The ratio of natives to newbies would shift and so would the political winds. Sure, it will take a while, but I’m not going anywhere.

– Steve Patterson


It Does Get Better

img_0555Today is National Coming Out Day and, yes, I’m gay.  I was harassed for being gay, before I even knew I was gay, during the 5th-8th grade (1977-1981). I came out in 1983, at age 16 — a year after the term “AIDS” was first used.  Although scary times for me, it got better.

Last week I joined hundreds of others in the Central West End for an important event to show youth it gets better:

“They marched as one. Unified by candlelight, reflecting on some of their darkest days of bullying and harassment.” (Vigil Condemns Anti-Gay Bullying)

Here is a short video clip I shot:


The vigil was organized by Growing American Youth:

“Growing American Youth is a social support organization for youth who live near St. Louis and who are 21 and under and may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity. Growing American Youth has been serving St. Louis area youth for 30 years.”

In addition to the string of gay teen suicides we now have the story of violence against young gay men in New York:

“Outraged city leaders said Saturday that the city wouldn’t tolerate the “vicious” hatred that had apparently caused a street gang to allegedly beat and torture two teenage boys and a man inside an abandoned home over the course of several hours because they were gay.” (NYC officials outraged over anti-gay gang torture)

Cities are still the most accepting place to be.

– Steve Patterson


The skate park under the Kingshighway bridge

The Kingshighway bridge over the railroad track (South of I-44) is falling apart.  But directly underneath the crumbling bridge something interesting is evolving.

ABOVE: skate park under the Kingshighway bridge

A skate park is being developed in the space under the South section.  I love the idea of putting this space to use but this is no substitute for a well designed skate park where there are lights, restrooms, water and seating.

– Steve Patterson


Poll results: Readers think Arizona’s immigration law is unconstitutional

The following are the results of the poll from last week:

Q: Thoughts on Arizona’s new immigration law? Pick one:

  1. The law is unconstitutional. 63 [38.89%]
  2. Something was needed, but this law goes to far. 40 [24.69%]
  3. The law is just right, good job Arizona. 38 [23.46%]
  4. The law doesn’t go far enough, should be tougher. 13 [8.02%]
  5. Other answer… 6 [3.7%]
  6. No opinion 2 [1.23%]

During the week the #2 & #3 answers switch places back and forth.

The “other” answers provided by readers were:

  1. Pandering to angry whites; won’t be enforced.
  2. Bad law, but Federal Government’s fault for not addressing immigration refo
  3. Maybe we can attract more immigrants to STL instead of Arizona! We have the room!
  4. unconstitutional and needs to ban any illegal immigrants from all over the world
  5. Could they make the police state any more blatant?
  6. It’s unconstitutional. But it highlights the failures of the Federal govern

If a silver lining exists it is that the issue may now get the proper attention in Washington.

– Steve Patterson