Coach Alton "Red" Franklin
This year’s Louisiana Legend is Coach Alton “Red” Franklin. Coach Franklin is one of the winningest high school football coaches in Louisiana and the country. As head Coach of Haynesville’s Golden Tornado for 35 years he won 11 state titles, 4 runner-up titles, reached the state playoffs in 31 of his 35 years, had 8 perfect seasons and compiled a record of 366-76-8. He was twice named National High School Athletic Association Region 5 Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
In addition to his impressive coaching skills, Coach Franklin is generally credited with easing the transition of school integration which occurred during his first years as head coach, reassuring his athletes by posting a quote in the locker room stating, “Those who stay will be champions.”
Dr. James Andrews
Our Louisiana Legend this year is Homer native Dr. James Andrews, a nationally and internationally known orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Andrews is renowned in the field of sports medicine. He is a past president of the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine and has served on the Board of Directors for the Arthroscopy Association of North America and the International Knee Society.
A graduate of Homer High School, Dr. Andrews played on the legendary Iron Man Team of 1957. He was the SEC pole vault champion while at LSU. He's been inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine Hall of Fame. He has been a Clinical Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at medical schools in Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and at Tulane in Louisiana. In 2020 he was named Tulane Medical School's Alumni of the year.
Born November 10, 1933, in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, Bobby Rush (Emmett Ellis, Jr.) is an American blues musician, composer, singer, and entertainer.
Rush is the son of Emmett and Mattie Ellis and he grew up on a farm in the community of Colquit, Louisiana. Emmett Sr. was a respected church pastor and farmer in the Claiborne Parish community. Bobby reflects on his days working with his father in the sugar cane fields. Bobby recalls the hard work cutting sugar cane resulted in the wonderful syrup for the biscuits his mother made. Emmett, Sr. had a love for the guitar and harmonica and his playing had a huge influence on young Bobby’s love of music. Bobby tells of hanging around the back of Mr. Beer’s store looking for an old empty tub. He soon found an old syrup bucket, a stick, and hay bailing wire, he made his first “didley bow” and his love for music grew.
When Bobby was 14 years old, he and his family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas as his father moved to a new church. Over the next seven decades, Bobby Rush has been a consistent force in American Blues Music. Bobby has traveled the world entertaining, noted as the first American Blues Artist to play in China. Bobby’s dozens of albums and thousands of shows have resulted in great recognition of his talent, his influence, and his impact on the world.
Bobby Rush is a two-time Grammy Award winner, Best Male Soul Blues Artist, B. B. King Entertainer of the Year, a member of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame and a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. At each step, Bobby has worked to honor his mother and father and has remained proud of his heritage and has supported worthy causes in his native Claiborne Parish.
In recognition of his talent, perseverance, his patience, and his influence, the Louisiana Legends Festival is recognizing Mr. Bobby Rush, as the inaugural Louisiana Legend.
“I was born in a shotgun house in Carquit (Colquit), Louisiana. Carquit (Colquit), smack-dab between Haynesville and the county (Parish) seat of Homer, was like a million other tiny towns in the South. It was just a road with a sign.”
Bobby Rush, I Ain’t Studdin’ Ya; My American Blues Story.