Louisiana Lou

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Also known as the "Southern Songbird," Louisiana Lou's real name was Eva Conn. Although she may well have been from Louisiana, the first historical trace of her was as a student at Clarke Memorial College…
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Also known as the "Southern Songbird," Louisiana Lou's real name was Eva Conn. Although she may well have been from Louisiana, the first historical trace of her was as a student at Clarke Memorial College near Jackson, MS, in the '20s. She began recording in the mid-'30s and would have no doubt had a much longer recording career had she not wound up relocated to the Midwest, where talent scouts of that era were not particularly looking for country artists. She graduated from the previously mentioned college at 16 and began teaching music. The idea of performing on the radio became more and more attractive to her and she eventually was hired by Jackon's WJDX. Almost immediately upon broadcasting her performances, the station knew it had a hit on its hands. From here she began to branch out further afield, including a tour that took her into the cornfields of distant Iowa in the early '30s. In 1933 she became one of the headliners on the WHO Iowa Barn Dance, and soon thereafter married the performer Dutch Conn, whose name sounds like some kind of rip off experienced by a tourist visiting the Netherlands. She began recording in 1933, cutting tracks such as "Export Gal," a variation on the horrifying traditional country ballad "Knoxville Girl" that is supposedly set in the town of Export, AR, although nobody has ever been able to locate such a place.

Louisiana Lou stayed with the WHO program into the early '40s before jumping over to the Brush Creek Follies on rival station KMBC out of Kansas City. On this program she apparently played a quite typical role as a comic foil, even dressing the part of a hillbilly matron in shawl and bonnet. This program also made use of her songwriting talents, however, producing sheet music editions of her original compositions such as "Garden in the Sky." The historical trail that would allow an interested listener to easily skip to this Lou ended with this Kansas City program. She apparently stayed in the Midwest, missing out on the country & western scene that developed after the second World War, simply because record company talent scouts thought the people playing this type of music all lived in the South. It could be assumed she made quite a large impact on the music scene if even one of the various entities that share her stage name were named after her. This unfortunately does not seem to be the case: there is no connection between her and the Louisiana Lou stage show or line dancing style, for example, and none of more than a dozen songs with her name in the title have anything to do with her, including the Allman Brothers' "Louisiana Lou and Three Card Monty."