A man of many artistic talents was the speaker and entertainer for the Winnfield Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, February 2, 2022. Rotarian of the day, Jeff Johnson, secured the presence of singer-songwriter, author, and spoken-word storyteller, Rickey Pittman, at the meeting. Pittman is also a Rotarian, and belongs to the Monroe Rotary Club.
Mr. Pittman teaches the subjects of English and freshman composition for both University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Delta Community College. He also entertains in the various genres catalogued above, at a variety of venues, including conferences, reunions, conventions, and meetings of like nature. While one might not think there is much call for appearances by authors and professional storytellers, Mr.
Pittman says that he lost about $10,000 in bookings which were cancelled in 2020, the first year of COVID. He is yet working to build up his appearances back up to pre-COVID frequencies.
Pittman’s most recent publication is called Remembrance: A Caldwell Parish Memoir, a memoir about the life of Creston Curtis Dunn, a deputy sheriff in Louisiana’s Caldwell Parish, edited by Pittman and J. W. Dunn. C. C. Dunn was 102 years old at the time of his death. One of Mr. Dunn’s claims to fame was being present at the last hanging in Louisiana, which took place at the Caldwell Parish Courthouse in Columbia,
Other titles penned by Rickey Pittman include Scots, Irish & Other Celts, about Scottish, Irish and other Celtic legends, customs, traditions, and way of life (many people of Scottish, Irish and Celtic origin immigrated to the United States and settled in north and central Louisiana); Under the Witch’s Mark, a mystery about a girl who becomes a witch and disappears, and a young man’s search for her; Cajun ABC’s, about Cajun culture from A to Z in Louisiana’s 22 Cajun parishes—although Pittman was raised
in the Dallas, Texas area, his wife is Cajun and her family taught him all about hunting,
fishing, Cajun music and other Cajun culture—and The Louisiana Night Before Christmas,
about how Mrs. Claus and animals from Louisiana save Christmas.
Although he didn’t tell any stories during his presentation, Pittman entertained the group with several songs which are included on a CD he recorded during the hiatus from appearances due to the COVID shutdown. “I’ve seen things in the dark that’ll make a grown man cry; …I’ve done things you’ll never do, won’t you walk with me?” and “I have heard the last words many a man spoke;…I’ve done things you’ll never do, won’t you walk with me?” are just a few of the lines in the eerie sound of Pittman’s original
song, “Touched by a Ghost.” His song called “Evangeline” is about two lovers separated during the expulsion of about 11,500 Acadians (French Huguenots—Protestants who had immigrated to Canada’s Acadian peninsula from France) by British military and New England militia and legislators during the French and Indian War, during which approximately one-third died from disease and drowning, and many survivors migrated to Spain’s province in the New World called Luisiana, where they developed the
Pittman also sang two songs of other composers he covered on his CD, Ghost Chickens in the Sky, a parody of the country song, Ghost Riders in the Sky, and his unique version of the classic by Randy Newman, Louisiana 1927, about the great flood of the Mississippi River in Louisiana and Mississippi, which washed away structures, animals and people alike.
After the question and answer session, the meeting was adjourned with the Rotary motto, “Service above Self” as customary.