The Beatles were not taken seriously by the adult world in 1964. Their "music" was noise, they were a fad, and nobody would know who they were in a year (1965). This opened the door for four teenagers to be appointed as special correspondents to cover the Beatles in New Orleans by newspapers in Baton Rouge & Jackson Mississippi, including the brother and sister team of Florence and Stan Hughes, shown in this photo. In Beatles Day in New Orleans all four "teen reporters" recount how they finagled their way into the press conference and concert, what it was like to meet the Fab Four, and the chaos, bedlam, and hysteria of Beatlemania.
On September 2, 1964, New Orleans rhythm and blues artist Clarence "Frogman" Henry joined the Beatles tour as an opening act, in replacement of the Righteous Brothers, who quit the tour after one too many nights of "WE WANT THE BEATLES!"
Frogman came from a musical family and some of his earliest memories were the sounds of his father sitting in bed at night, playing the guitar, and singing to his mother lying beside him.
"My God, let's get 'em outta here before somebody gets killed!"
—August 19th, 1964
The Beatles arrive at the San Francisco airport for their first concert date of their American tour. Five thousand fans are waiting. As soon as the Fab Four step onto a wooden platform surrounded by a five-foot chain-link fence to greet the crowd, a title wave of fans surge against the fence, some trying to climb over. "My God, let's get 'em outta here before somebody gets killed!" yells a police official, and the Beatles are loaded into their limousine and beat a hasty retreat, moments before the fence collapses. It was a sign of things to come.
The mayor of New Orleans in 1964 was sixty-year-old Vic Schiro, affectionally called "the little mayor" by President Lyndon Johnson. As a result of his love of the spotlight, a series of fortuitous events, and a humorous gesture of affection on John Lennon's part, Schiro would attain rock-star-like status among Louisiana Beatles fans as the "Lord Mayor" of New Orleans.
"I've got it on my calendar. Who are those guys again?"
The Beatles are penciled into Mayor Schiro's calendar for 8:00 p.m., September 16th at New Orleans City Park, with a notation to "follow up for names" for the Certificates of Honorary New Orleans Citizenship.
We never play to segregated audiences, and we're not going to start now."
—John Lennon during the '64 tour
During the spring of 1964, when the contracts with local promoters for the North American Tour were being negotiated, the Civil Rights Act had not yet become law, but the Beatles were adamant that they would not play if the audience was segregated, and their performance contracts included a clause to that effect.
Herb Holiday was a New Orleans radio DJ, promoter, and former race car driver. Although diminutive in stature, he did not shy away from taking on the biggest act of all time, although the price of the Beatles gave him sticker shock. On April 16, 1964, he signed the Fab Four to play in New Orleans City Park Stadium (now Tad Gormley Stadium).
Several cities made offers to the Beatles booking agency for the September 16th date on their first tour of the U.S., among them: Miami, Norfolk, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville. But the birthplace of rhythm & blues won out!
On August 8th, 1969, the photo shoot for the iconic album cover took place. 50 years later, there is a constant throng of fans walking across the famous crosswalk just outside the Beatles recording studio. You can catch them on the live cam at:
Best to look at it in the morning because of the time difference.