Find of the Week: The Soul Queen of New Orleans Performs at a High School Dance

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA--Every Friday, we team up with the Historic New Orleans Collection to bring you something unique from our city's past.  For today's find, you need a date!  We are headed to a high school dance for the class of 1964.

It's not news that Irma Thomas is awesome.  She is the soul queen at the heart of New Orleans.

Eric Seiferth, the Associate Curator Historian at the Historic New Orleans Collection shares some publicity photographs of Ms. Thomas from the mid 60's in the beginning of her career.  Among the photos was a contract for a performance at the Jung Hotel, playing with Sugar Boy Crawford's band the King Cutters.

The occasion was a high school dance.

The price for the performance was one hundred and fifty dollars minus a 25 five dollar commissions charge.

Seiferth says "Benny Spellman was someone she performed with frequently and they would alternate sets so according to this contract she is to perform from nine to midnight alternating with Spellman with was pretty usual. They were all over town performing."

Irma Thomas was once a waitress at the Pimlico Club.

She seized the sound waves of the 60's with a series of popular hits.

During this time, artists would perform local gigs frequently to help promote themselves as well as earn some cash.

Thomas' song Breakaway, was a big hit during this time.  It's the song about a romance you can't get seem to getaway away from.

Seiferth says, "that was a big local hit and I'm sure the teenagers at the dance were excited to hear and dance to it."

Each new generation enjoys the technological advances originating from the past generations.  However, THIS AUTHOR prefers the high school dances of old!  These days, teenagers get a dj at the prom.

The the young men and women at the St. Aloysius dance in 1964 received the memory of a performing queen in her prime.

"She's an amazing artist and an amazing part of New Orleans' rich rock and roll and blues history," says Eric Seiferth.

Make sure you tune in every Friday to see what we find out of the Historic New Orleans Collection.