Shortly after noon on September 10, 1897, on Bond Street in London an electric motorcar began to behave erratically. It swerved this way and that, then veered sharply and slammed into a wall. The gentlemen driving the vehicle, a taxi, was 25-year-old George Smith. George was quitetaxi drunk.

A police constable who witnessed the incident asked George to step down from the driver’s box. George complied, and the constable, seeing his silly grin and inability to walk straight, hauled him off to a nearby police station. At first George denied being drunk, but when a police surgeon certified his inebriation, he admitted to having had “two or three glasses of beer.”

“How fast was I going?” George asked.

“I should think about eight miles an hour,” answered the constable.

“I was going up an incline and could not have been going six miles an hour,” George argued. “The fastest these cars will travel is eight miles an hour.”

“You are not charged with driving furiously, but with being drunk. What about that?”

“I have nothing to say to that.”

George apologized, was fined 20 shillings, and found his way into the history books as the first man ever arrested for drunken driving. Today well over a million Georges are arrested every year for driving while intoxicated.

Do Do That Voodoo

Get a lover, keep a lover, get rid of a lover. She could do it all. “She could keep anybody from harming you and she could do anything you wanted done to anybody. How she used to do it, I don’t know. She used to say prayers and mix different things to give people to drink, to rubMarieLaveau with, to throw over your shoulder, to throw in the river. Oh! She had a million things to do but everything would happen just like she would say.” (Aileen Eugene, 1930)

For most of the 19th century, Marie Laveau was the most famous and powerful Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Rich and poor, black and white, they all respected and feared her. She was born a Free Woman of Color on September 10, 1794. A devout Catholic, she attended Mass daily. She worked as a hairdresser and a nurse before becoming involved in the practice of voodoo, a religion that draws freely from both West African ancestor worship and Catholicism.

Even after he death in 1881, she continued to influence the people of New Orleans. People still visit her grave in the city’s St. Louis Cemetery, voodoolovesongleaving money, cigars and rum with the hope she will fulfill their wishes.

Speaking of Voodoo . . .

I got your voodoo.  It’s all in this fun little novel — charms spells, magic, romance, danger — all sorts of things that go bump in the Caribbean night.  Take a look.  I’ve been known to stick pins into little dolls to get what I want.

Inspirational Quote for 9/10/16



2 thoughts on “September 10, 1987: In a Taxi, Honey

  1. I’m more interested in the electric motor car than in George’s drinking habits. Why in the world 120 years later are we still driving on gasoline? Maybe we should ask George.

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