Thursday, January 29, 2015



By Doc Lawrence

CSS SHENANDOAH  by Patrick O'Brien
Just north of Atlanta, the lovely city of Roswell is home to stately Bulloch Hall, once home of Theodore Roosevelt’s mother, Mittie Bulloch and his “Uncle Jimmie,” James Dunwoody Bulloch. Mr. Bulloch was in the news this week in Australia where the Seaworks Maritime Festival in Melbourne celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of one of Bulloch’s masterpieces, the Confederate raider CSS Shenandoah.

Living in Liverpool during the Civil War, James Bulloch headed a blockade running industry sending war material into the South while producing warrior ships like the CSS Alabama, CSS Florida, CSS Atlanta and the CSS Shenandoah.. It was the Shenandoah that found its way into international naval history.

In January 1865, the CSS Shenandoah docked in Port Phillip, creating one of the greatest stories of early colonial Melbourne and Australia’s only significant link to the American Civil War. According to Maritime Festival officials, the fabled ship arrived unannounced in Hobsons Bay on its way to the North Pacific Ocean to destroy the Union whaling fleet. While resupplying in Melbourne, the Shenandoah recruited 42 British sailors as crewmen and went on to capture or sink 39 commercial ships flying the American flag s over the next six months. The captain of the Shenandoah was unaware that the Civil War had ended in April.

The 2015 Melbourne Festival
After the Civil War, James Dunwoody Bulloch remained in Liverpool and became a wealthy cotton broker. At the urging of his famous nephew, he wrote a memoir, The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe. President Roosevelt, speaking at Bulloch Hall, praised James Bulloch for his naval expertise and the high quality of his character.

Bulloch is buried in Liverpool's Toxeth Park Cemetery and his headstone bears the inscription: An American by birth, an Englishman by choice. His grave is a popular stop for tourists.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


                                  “Delta is ready when you are!”
                                                Lewis Grizzard’s Advice to Critics

Bill Oberst, Jr. as Lewis Grizzard
By Doc Lawrence

Has it been that long since Lewis Grizzard left us? On the road, when  I’m identified as a Georgia boy, his name and stories regularly enter the conversation. “Did you know him? some ask. First time I met Lewis was at Manuel’s Tavern during my Emory days. He was introduced to me by the legendary bar owner as “a bright sportswriter who may have a future.”

Soon, Grizzard left for a sports reporter position in Chicago, which, by all accounts he hated. “The only good thing about Chicago,” he later said, “is Interstate 65 south.”

That was Lewis the funny guy who would say anything as long as it was on target or outrageous. I had some time with him over the years but was never a member of his inner circle. My admiration was from his columns and recordings, many of which are classics of Southern humor.

Now, the fine actor Bill Oberst, Jr. has mastered the challenge of becoming the stage version of Lewis. Successfully channeling Lewis by delighting audiences throughout the country, For the 13th straight year Oberst brings the humorist back to Stone Mountain’s acclaimed Art Station Theatre. Count on two hours of laughs, priceless memories and maybe a few tears. When, through Oberst, Lewis warns to “never eat barbecue in North Carolina,” you’ll look around to see who isn’t laughing. His story about Sherman’s massive army stopped dead in their tracks by a Confederate sniper on Stone Mountain is a classic. And when Lewis reminds everyone to call their mother, I join many others in wiping away some tears.

“Lewis Grizzard: In His Own Words” is performed on January 15, 16 and 17 at 8 PM and Sunday January 18 at 3 PM. See for more information.