, Port Arthur, Texas

November 3, 2012

Gulf Coast Museum inducts Port Arthur native Becky Barksdale into hall of fame

Brooke Crum
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — The Museum of the Gulf Coast has a new addition to its Music Hall of Fame: Port Arthur native Becky Barksdale.

Sam Monroe, president of Lamar State College-Port Arthur, introduced Barksdale and her accomplishments at the Friday night induction ceremony at the museum.

“Becky deserves this recognition,” Monroe said. “The board of directors voted unanimously to include her in the Music Hall of Fame of the Museum of the Gulf Coast.”

To meet the criteria to be enshrined in the hall of fame, artists must be from Southeast Texas or Southwest Louisiana, have created a body of work in their respective fields and received national recognition, Monroe said.

“Becky Barksdale of Port Arthur meets all the criteria,” he said.

Barksdale was the first artist to be signed by the House of Blues Music Company and has performed with artists such as Canned Heat and Michael Jackson. She traveled with the King of Pop on his 1993 Dangerous World Tour.

“We’re very, very proud of her accomplishments, and our purpose here tonight is to recognize her,” Monroe said.

Shannon Harris, director of the museum, presented Barksdale with a certificate of induction into the Music Hall of Fame “in recognition of personal contributions to the musical heritage of the Gulf Coast region, the United States and the world.”

Stunned into silence by the abundant applause, Barksdale searched herself for words before thanking the museum.

“I don’t know what to say,” she said. “If this were the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio, this wouldn’t be as cool to me as this is right now, right here.”

Barksdale said she hoped to see everyone at the concert tomorrow night to even more applause. Harris asked her to unveil her exhibit, which was covered by a thin, black cloth, and Barksdale found herself at a loss again, apparently not accustomed to being in front of an audience without playing music.

“I’m freaking out,” she said. “Where’s my guitar?”

But she stripped away the black cloth and talked about some of the items encased in the display on the second floor of the museum.

Her most “prized possession” — a worn-out, simple acoustic guitar — was on display front and center.

“It’s a little three-quarter scale acoustic guitar made out of plywood that I think cost $12 from Kmart, but my grandfather gave that to me,” Barksdale said. “It means the world to me. I know he would just love the fact that it’s here in the museum.”

In the top right corner of the exhibit rests her Red Rooster Award, which the Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation gave to Barksdale for performing at several concerts and benefits for the foundation. The Blues Heaven Foundation helps blues artists and musicians collect the rights to their music and songs and educates adults and children on the history of the blues and the music business, according to its website.

“This is something that I’m really, really proud of,” Barksdale said. “I was recently told there’s only five of these in the world.”

Nestled in the corner next to her award and tucked behind a black leather Harley-Davidson jacket is a red and orange, spaghetti-strap dress.

“This is a dress that’s probably in tatters that I’ve worn a lot on stage,” Barksdale said. “I’ve had to sew those straps back on a hundred times.”

Located to the left of the Harley-Davidson jacket is a red and black leather jacket with Michael Jackson’s name and eyes stitched into its back.

“This was a jacket that was given to me on the 1993 Dangerous Tour, and it was only given to the band members, so there’s just a few of them and it was only for that tour,” Barksdale said. “It’s pretty rare.”

Barksdale will perform at the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Performing Arts Center Saturday night at 8. Tickets are $20. For ticket information, call 982-7000.