Remembering My First Visit With Governor Mike Foster and Wife Alice
Governor Mike Foster, 90, entered hospice care yesterday. Governor Mike Foster served as Governor of the state of Louisiana from 1996 until 2004. Governor Mike Foster and the love of his life, First Lady Alice Foster, were like the Conway and Loretta of Louisiana politics, the dynamic duo.
I'm not sure the exact timeline, I would image the latter part of Foster's first term or the beginning of his second, Ms. Alice Foster sent a limo to pick up Debbie Ray and me one morning after we got off the air at 99.9 KTDY on Bertrand Dr. in Lafayette. Debbie Ray was co-host of the KTDY morning show back then. Ms. Foster had been asking and asking that we make time to go to the Governor's mansion in Baton Rouge to have lunch with her and the Governor.
When we arrived, it was like a scene from an old classic southern movie. The Foster's had restored the dignity and decor of the Governor's mansion. It was elegant, once again, with the warmth and charm that only the South can offer.
Ms. Alice welcomed us at the front door of the mansion sparing us integration by the Louisiana State Police Officer standing guard. She was the sweetest thing ever!
She took us into the casual dining area where the table had been set for lunch. There were several people already seated. The Governor was at the far end of the table on a corded phone talking about something he was trying to get passed at the state capitol. He was calm but maybe a bit frustrated.
Lunch was wonderful. We had 3 entrees to pick from. I remember wanting the ribs but thought ribs would be too messy to eat in front of royalty. I remember Debbie Ray being in awe that Ms. Alice shook her packets of artificial sweetener before putting it in her tea, just like the rest of us.
We had a wonderful lunch with great conversation. After lunch, Ms. Alice took Debbie Ray and me on a tour of the Governor's Mansion. Explaining how when she and husband Mike moved in, there wasn't even a complete set of matching plates and that much of the antique furniture was either gone or in poor condition. The First Lady spent years restoring the Governor's Mansion to its former glory.
There were many highlights to the tour, but two really stand out. The Foster's bedroom and a small room at the very top of the mansion.
When we walked into the Foster's bedroom, Ms. Alice was telling us about furniture and flooring and almost in mid-sentence says to me, "Get in it. I know you want to." I didn't have a clue as to what she was talking about. She went on to say, "I know you wanna jump on my bed. Get in it!" So I did. But the funniest thing was when she turned to Debbie Ray and said, "You too!" Funniest thing EVER!
The second highlight of the tour was when Ms. Foster took us to the top of the Governor's Mansion to a small attic-like room with only a white folding table in it. She said, "That's the infamous card table. That's where (a former Governor who shall remain nameless) made most of his deals." That was exciting to me as the very Governor she reffered to, had waved to me when I was standing in front of the Governor's Mansion as a young boy.
My time in the Governor's Mansion with the Foster's didn't end that day. In those days, I was doing a lot of mobile DJing. Ms. Alice and I became buds and for most every event that required music at the mansion in Baton Rouge or there home in St. Mary Parish, my sound system partner Seth Fangue and I were the ones hired.
I spent many wonderful moments, creating unforgetable memories with the Fosters. Like the time I was sitting behind the First Lady at the Bill Cosby show at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette. I was laughing so hard I was on the floor of the Heymann Center. Ms. Alice scolded me. lol
My parents knew the Foster's, but I did not meet them until they became part of Louisiana history. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed them both. I remember Governor Foster saying to me, "CJ, it's hard to get things done in Baton Rouge". And Ms. Alice's hugs (she gives the BEST hugs) and perfume will be with me forever.
I wish the best for Mr. Mike Foster who is now in hospice care. And I send my love and support to Ms. Alice. Thank you both for making a small-town boy feel welcomed and special in your big-time world. I will always cherish you both. Big huge love to each of you.