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Louisiana Beatles fans raise money on St. Paddy's Day

Saturday night hundreds of Beatles fans from North Louisiana gathered at Enoch's Irish Pub in Monroe, LA, home of the "longest running John Lennon Birthday Party in America," to host a jam session designed to raise funds for the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy, a Catholic charity that provides medicine for those who can't otherwise pay for their critical medical needs.

The gigantic bash, sponsored by Guinness, Best Western Airport Hotel of Monroe, LA, Budweiser, and Duck Dynasty (the A&E hit TV program) offered patrons the opportunity to purchase St. Paddy's Day decorations, special edition Guinness t-shirts and hats, and raffle tickets for 5 donated Grand Prizes, including a rockin' Memorial Day Weekend in Baton Rouge (donated by Monroe's LA104 Radio) where Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and the Zac Brown Band will perform live!

But the highlight of the evening was the performance by Louisiana Hall of Fame musician, Kenny Bill Stinson, who, jamming with other Louisiana music legends such as famed Louisiana harp and harmonica player, Dave Moore, gave the gathered crowd hours of Beatles classics.

"Any why not the Beatles for St. Paddy's?" owner Doyle Jeter smiled. "Macca's Irish, and John Lennon's roots as an O'Lennian from County Fermanagh are legendary! In fact, every time my wife, Yvette, and I visit Ireland, all we hear in their pubs is Johnny Cash and The Beatles! No lie!"

That affinity for country music and Cash in particular was highlighted in the second set of the evening when James Earl Simpson and Monte Russell offered the St. Pat's Day crowd a half-hour of Cash hits like "Long Black Veil" and "I Walk the Line." Then all the musicians joined forces on stage to rock the house with an Irish-Louisiana Delta blues version of John Lennon's "Y'er Blues."

Grand prizes for the evening included a deluxe Guinness mini-refrigerator, all three books in The John Lennon Series donated by author Jude Southerland Kessler and illustrator Doyle Jeter, a $200 bottle of Middleton Irish whiskey donated by Republic Beverage, a Guinness serving-keg and a half-keg of Guinness to fill it, and a lovely handmade Irish blanket and pillow donated by JoAnne Crone of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Donating time to oversee the raffle and prizes were St. Vincent de Paul "patron saints and volunteers" JoAnne Crone and Betty Cummings.

"This is the 9th year that our Beatles Fans who run the John Lennon Birthday Bash in October have gathered together again in March to do good, to do something John would have liked! We didn't want to just party and drink on St. Paddy's Day," publican and artist, Jeter, explained. "We wanted to do something that would touch lives. And raising money to provide crucial meds for those in need really spoke to us as the thing to do."

Jeter, who is the illustrator for the upcoming third volume in the John Lennon Series, She Loves You, and who is busy creating 14 original lithographs for the book depicting each song on With the Beatles, is also the founder and organizer of the Monroe-West Monroe Celtic Fest in October.

"The Beatles and Ireland go hand-in-hand," Jeter said, waving a hand at the many Lennon and Beatles photographs throughout the pub. "They say Liverpool is the capital of Ireland, and it's filled with Irish on St. Pat's Day! Well, we have that spirit of Liverpool here in Monroe, Louisiana! Tonight we celebrate Ireland, Liverpool, The Beatles, and peace on earth."

The crowd concluded the night by singing "Give Peace a chance" together and by raising over $5,000 for St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy.

Published March 19, 2013

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