Tales of the unexpected
I received an incredible and unexpected email the other day from Lue Isaac informing me that her brother, Keith Keller, was briefly the guardian of Jim’s first gravestone in the late 90s. So it is with my sincerest thanks to Lue that I share with you this amazing story.
“My deceased brother, Keith Keller, who was a music producer in New Orleans at Chez Flames Recording, died of a broken heart after Katrina. For a couple of months, he briefly had possession of the original gravestone shown in one of the 1972 photos which Breeze Minnis sent to you.
As I understand it, the person who took it off of the grave in the early 70s was a friend of a friend, the identity of either of whom I do not know, which was my brother’s intention. The plaque had been left for a number of years with this mutual friend, who just kept it in storage, I guess.
New Orleans was evidently a spot both of these people occasionally frequented, so it was left at my brother’s studio so that the person who had pinched it originally could pick it up, which he evidently did after a couple of months. It was creepy and spooky having it in the studio, even by New Orleans standards. My brother died without revealing the identity of either person to me.
It is my assumption that the plaque is now in the possession of the person who had removed it from Paris in the 70s.
Keith photographed the plaque during the time he had it, as he was aware that this was one of the big mysteries in the music world. The close-up photo hung in my brother’s studio, Chez Flames Recording, for many years, and was seen by many artists and players, who, seeing the ardor of fans from the other side, simply accepted it as another magic coincidence from the spiritual vortex which is New Orleans, and kept the secret.
Incidentally, a similar mystery surrounds the remains of Gram Parsons, some of which ended up in a cemetery in New Orleans. We used to visit that grave, which had been marked with a steel arrow hovering above it in the cemetery. It had a small round grave marker which read “God’s own singer”. The arrow has disappeared, and after 10 years, I am no longer able to locate that grave.
Neither I, nor my brother, has been to Jim’s grave.”