Growing Up

Philip Melancon began his life in the area of New Orleans called \"Gert Town.\" He lived close to Xavier University. Phil remembers living close to the New Basin Canal before it was filled in, and he also remembers the construction of Interstate 10. The I-10\'s path in New Orleans follows that of the canal. He used to enjoy pointing out his old house to friends whenever they sped along the interstate highway. Recently he noticed that the house of his youth was torn down. \r\n\r\nAround the time he entered the fourth or fifth grade, Phil and his family moved to Metairie where he attended St. Rita school. \"I remember watching that school burn down during recess one day,\" he said. It took the school officials two weeks before finding a place for the children to attend school. Some of his fondest childhood memories come from his initial musical training. \r\n\r\nPhil\'s Uncle Mickey played the guitar. When the family would get together, the kids would beg Uncle Mickey to play. He would always protest, but after some encouragement, Mickey would go to the trunk of his car. When he opened the trunk everyone saw an ampliphier, microphones, microphone stands, a guitar - the works. He only played one song, \"Blue Moon\", but it was enough to make Phil want to play as well. \"My Uncle Mickey bought me my first guitar. It was a solid body electric guitar with yellow glitter all over the outside, and I still play that guitar to this day.\" Because of the solid body, Phil would have to practice in the bathroom in order for him to hear what he was playing. \r\n\r\nAbout twenty years later, Uncle Mickey complained to his nephew that after moving to another state, there was no place except the Baptist churches for him to play. So he played the hymn \"Amazing Grace\" to the tune of \"The House of the Rising Sun\". \r\n\r\nPhil\'s songwriting had two important influences early in life. His family had only two records, and he listened to those records until memorizing them. Those two albums, Bobby Darren\'s \"That\'s All\" and Johnny Mathis \"Heavenly\", are reflected in almost all of Phil\'s music.

Citation

Gabrielle Blankenship Walker, “Growing Up,” Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, accessed June 15, 2019, http://hurricanearchive.org/items/show/36228.