, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

January 19, 2008

Janis Joplin’s childhood home “marked” for fans

The knocks on the door are fine. Stopping on the road for photos are fine, but please don’t ask Alicia Sanchez to come inside. The house at 4330 32nd St. is hers now, not Janis Joplin’s.

Just so fans from all over the world aren’t confused about exactly which house belonged to their beloved singer, the sightseers have a sign now. It’s a literal sign in the form of a Texas State Historical Marker, which the Port Arthur Historical Society helped dedicate Saturday.

Before marker dedication guests gathered in the street for the unveiling at the property, once numbered as 3130 Lombardy, they escaped the day’s wet chill with a program at Trinity Baptist Church. Joplin, the Port Arthur-born rocker who achieved international fame, lived on Procter Street until her family moved to the second site in Griffing Park.

Monteel Copple, a childhood friend of Joplin’s, spoke at the ceremony recalling riding bikes on the neighborhood’s winding roads and hearing her pal laugh as they tried to keep their skirts in place while hanging upside down on the school’s monkey bars.

“I can remember her giggle,” Copple told the rapt crowd.

The marker was dedicated on Jan. 19, Joplin’s birthday. She was born at St. Mary Hospital in 1943 and died on Oct. 4,1970 from an accidental overdose of heroin and alcohol.

“I also remember the morning I woke up in October and heard the news from California,” Copple said.

Joplin was a free spirit and caused controversy in her conservative town. Copple said she didn’t remember the negative in her friend. She has made many a friend through her memory over the years, she said. On the London underground she spoke to a man with a white dog named “Pearl,” after a stage name of sorts of his “friend” Janis. He considered her a friend, as so many did, simply through the soul she beared in her music.

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