Ken Layne Home

Writer, publisher and broadcaster Ken Layne lived in Holy Cross as a child in the 1960’s and recounted some of his memories in this article and in the comments below.

“That was my maternal grandparents’ home, at 5107 N. Rampart. I lived there for a few years, and walked down Rampart to Semmes Elementary. The old house was in bad shape for a while after Katrina, but it looks nice now (via Google Maps street view). The double-shotgun next door has been restored, too.

It’s the house where my mom grew up, and her aunt & uncle lived on the other side. We shared a party-line phone, which sat on a little shelf in the middle room, that either side of the house could reach by lifting a sliding wooden door. We had a fig tree in the back yard, and for a while I had a pet duck. (It was eventually relocated to the duck pond at City Park.) There was a small grocery with a deli about two blocks away, and I’d walk there with my mom to get olive salad. I saw Fats Domino there many times and he was always kind & friendly to the children—I especially remember this because it was a tense time, racially. Most of us in the Lower Ninth were working class and should’ve been aligned, but adults did not think that way at the time. My mother’s family were Cajuns on one side and Irish on the other, all from St. Landry Parish and surrounding Cajun Country.

The North Rampart Street house felt far away from the Quarter and the CBD, where my mom worked. I remember a few times we’d walk out to the canal and it felt like a big distance, but it was only a couple of blocks west of our house. My grandmother and grandfather lived there through 1973, and after my grandfather’s death the house was sold to relatives who lived there through the 1990s. I don’t know who owns the place now, but I’m glad to see it has been fixed up.”

Ken Layne / Desert Oracle