1981 Louisiana Southernaires
Following my thoroughly unpleasant stint in the 1980 Blue Stars, I returned home to Louisiana for a senior year of high school marked by a distinct lack of focus. However, my saxophone playing remained good enough to get me into the All-State band and my tuba playing was strong enough to get lead chair in the All-Region band.
Somehow, I found out about a corps that was based in New Orleans and signed on with them for the summer of 1981. The Louisiana Southernaires were cobbled together from the remains of two older New Orleans corps, the Bleu Raiders and the Stardusters.
As a veteran of the Blue Stars, the comparatively youthful members of the Southernaires initially looked up to me as somewhat of an oddity, which left me with a much higher opinion of myself than I deserved. The workload with the Southernaires was much lighter than with the Blue Stars and the summer proved to be slightly more pleasant than the previous one. Also, the girls were somewhat friendlier than those cold Wisconsin blondes but, sadly, I again chose my personal deamons over summer romance.
The Southernaires won the Class A championship that year, but I was not with them for the victory. I chose to leave the corps in Montreal right before finals to come back and start college at Lamar University. I seem to recall some kind of confusion with the organization over scheduling. But the choice to leave the group right before their moment of triumph for orientation at a second-rate state college is somewhat baffling in retrospect.
Unfortunately, 1981 was the high-water mark for the Southeraires. They fielded a lackluster group in 1982 and folded after the 1983 season. See LouisianaDrumCorps.org for the history of drum corps in Louisiana and news about current corp activity.
Next: 2011 Southernaires Reunion