Byway Blues

Wednesdays at 8:45 a.m. and Fridays at 3:45 p.m.
  • Hosted by Lesli Rambin

Byway Blues tells the stories of the untapped blues roots in northeast Louisiana. Host Lesli Rambin shares the lives and musical accomplishments of famous local artists and their families.

The series spotlights buildings and venues that served as host to many famous musicians—all in an effort to preserve and potentially restore these historic cultural landmarks.

In addition, the segment features artists currently performing in the region who trace their inspiration from blues artists they’ve admired for years.

Byway Blues is produced with the generous support of Washington Wine and Spirits, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, and the Northeast Louisiana Arts Coucil.

Ways to Connect

Enoch’s Considered Home to Many

Dec 10, 2018
Enoch's Irish Pub & Cafe Facebook

In 1978, Doyle Jeter started searching for a place to build his legacy in Monroe. 

Jeter grew up around the music scenes of Philadelphia and New York. He realized as a child that Monroe had a rich music potential that was yet to be discovered. Despite getting a Master's degree in art printmaking, Jeter ultimately decided to pursue his goal of opening a cafe, creating a place where artists could come and express themselves. He founded Enoch's Irish Pub & Cafe.

After losing her brother in 1968, Dr. Mable John was not ready to put her heart fully into her music. It wasn't until Ray Charles enlisted her to help him find someone to join the Raelettes did she truly get back into music. Charles later got the idea that, instead of trying to find someone else, John should join him and the Raelettes.

John was recruited to help lead the Raelettes both on stage and with other behind the scenes issues, such as contracts.

Mysterious Burial of Blind Joe Reynolds

Dec 10, 2018
Lesli Rambin

Blind Joe Reynolds, also known as Joe Sheppard, was born in Tallulah and recorded 8 songs in the 1930s for Paramount and the RCA Victor, 2 of which are undiscovered.

Reynolds passed away in 1968 after being admitted to St. Francis hospital and dying of pneumonia. He was buried at Richwood Memorial Gardens but nothing is known of his actual funeral and was never given an actual headstone at the time of his death to mark his burial. No family of Reynolds could be found or contacted to get more information on him and his burial.

Entertainer Mable John returns to the area for a celebration of her talent. The community of Bastrop will celebrate John's 88th birthday at a celebration at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 3, 2018, at Evans Business Plaza, 710 South Washington Street. Admission is free, and the community is invited to attend.

        At 6:30 p.m., the historic Rose Theatre in Bastrop will host a screening of the Academy and Grammy Award-winning 2013 film 20 Feet from Stardom. The documentary film features John and other performers who served as backup singers to famous artists.


Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker grew up in a musicial family. Born an only child in Newellton, Louisiana, he learned how to play several instruments over his lifetime, but he was remembered most as a trombonist.

In 1935, Whittaker and his horn took off to Monroe, Louisiana and joined the band Rabbit Foots Minstrels. During his time with the band he toured up and down the Mississippi River.

Blues Legend Ivory Joe Hunter Called Monroe Home

Jun 28, 2018

Blues legend and pianist Ivory Joe Hunter was a Monroe, Louisiana resident for several decades. With over 7,000 songs written, Hunter’s “Since I Met You Baby” and “Blues at Sunrise” gave him instant success in the 1950's. Born in Kirbyville, Texas, Hunter began his journey to stardom by recording his first song with Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1933.

Susan Roach

Born in Rayville, Louisiana, Po’ Henry and Tookie's music has an international appeal. Their music represents the best of northeast Louisiana traditional and old Delta blues. They have been designated as ambassadors of blues revival in the region.

Stax Records

Mable John, “Motown’s first singing lady” is a Bastrop, Louisiana native. The eldest of 10 children, she became the first female signed by Berry Gordy to Motown’s Tamla Records.

When she was just a baby, her family moved from Bastrop to Cullendale, Arkansas where her father worked at a paper mill.

Doug Duffey

National Blues Hall of Famer, Doug Duffey was born in Monroe, Louisiana.  Named as the “Louisiana Ambassador of the Blues,” Duffey was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Blues Hall of Fame in 2009.

Born in 1950 at St. Francis Medical Center, Duffey began performing Blues and playing the piano at the age of 14. Influenced by his aunt who also played the piano, Duffey started taking lessons from a local piano teacher and began combining his love of singing and playing music.

Miller-Roy Building Once Housed Famous Blues Musicians

Apr 14, 2018
Miller-Roy building in dowtown Monroe PRESTON LAUTERBACH / PRESTONLAUTERBACH.COM

In 1929, The African-American Enterprise established the Miller-Roy building in Monroe, Louisiana. The  building, once owned by prominent African-American figures Dr. John T. Miller and Dr. Joseph C. Roy, is located on DeSiard Street. 

The building was also a part of what was known as the Black Business Strip. Stretching from South 5th Street to South 15th Street, the strip was made up of many African-American owned businesses including pharmacies, hotels and insurance companies.