Citizen suggests naming proposed Boat Ramp Pavilion after ‘Gatemouth’

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


An Orange citizen would like the City of Orange to recognize a musical legacy by naming the Orange Boat Ramp Pavilion after Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

“First, I want to thank you for the new projects,” Henry Lowe, of Orange said. “I think it is an appropriate honor to name the Boat Ramp Pavilion Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. He always called Orange home and those that may perform there may have had the opportunity to perform with him.”

Lowe, president of the Orange African American Museum, had also asked the council in the past to reconsider naming the Riverfront Pavilion after Brown.

At the time he said, “It would add an international flavor to Orange as he is well known in Europe.”

Brown, who died in September 2005, had a music career spanning 57 years. He won a Grammy Award in 1982 for traditional blues for the record, “Alright Again,” and was nominated five more times during his career. He also is an eight-time winner of the W.C. Handy award, now known as the Blues Music Awards. He recorded albums with iconic artists such as Eric Clapton and Roy Clark and influenced countless musicians such as Frank Zappa, Albert Collins and Johnny “Guitar” Watson to name a few.

Brown was known throughout music circles as a talented player. Not only could he play guitar and sing; it was not uncommon for him to play the fiddle, drums, viola, mandolin, and even the harmonica.

Although he began his career in rhythm and blues, he expanded his sound and recorded songs in a variety of genres, including country, Cajun, blues and western swing.

Brown was living at his home in Slidell, La. when Hurricane Katrina forced him to evacuate to Orange in August 2005. The storm destroyed his home, which contained his belongings and treasured memorabilia throughout his career.

Already battling cancer and devastated by the loss from the storm, Brown died on Sept. 10, 2005, inside his niece’s apartment in Orange.

He was laid to rest at Hollywood Cemetery in Orange, where a headstone marks the resting place of the talented musician as well as a Historical Marker erected in 2009 by Texas Historical Commission.