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The Pope Sisters Interview Clip


The Pope Sisters Interview Clip


Eoline Pope Scott and Odile Pope Owen talk about their father in the Excelsior Band and family memories


National African American Archives & Museum,
Museum of Mobile


National African American Archives & Museum,
Museum of Mobile
Mobile Public Library, Local History & Genealogy






Oral history interview




Kern Jackson


Eoline Pope Scott
Odile Pope Owen


263 Marine Street
Mobile, AL 36604


Jackson: Because now-days we don’t have…the Excelsior Band leads the parade, it doesn’t come at the end of the parade, it leads the parade.

Scott: Well it used to be at the end of the parade when my Daddy was a member, and when he had his band. That was my Daddy band. Did you ever know the beginning of the Excelsior Band?

Jackson: No ma’am. Why don’t you tell me about that.

Scott: Would you like to hear about it?

Jackson: Please.

Scott: The day my Daddy was born, his Daddy was so happy over the fact that he had a son, he called on his friends and they started playing. And that was the beginning; that was in 1883. And when my Daddy was 19 years old, my grandfather turned the band over to him. And they played all the big balls at the Battle House, the Courthaulds, you name it, they were the band.

Jackson: When you were coming up, who were some of the other members of the band, if you could em out?

Scott: Oh, let’s see, Mr. Hayes, I can't think of his first name. Mr. George Washington, he had a George Washington, and Ernest Pompenette. His Daddy had a band, and he left his Daddy’s band to play in the…he had the Pompenette Band…and he left his Daddy’s band to play in my Daddy’s band. And lets see now. I can't think of all those names.

Jackson: What instruments basically were, was the band made up of.

Scott: Brass instruments, you know, all brass instruments.

Jackson: So you had your trombone, trumpet…

Scott: Trombone, trumpet, sax, quite a few.

Jackson: Did you have a drummer?

Scott: Oh yes. Yes, the bass, you know bas horns: the tubas.

Jackson: The picture that I always see of the Excelsior Band, of the few that exist always have, I always remember seeing the bass drum with the, you know, the name of the group. But tell me some more about these parades. Now he would be out front, he would be in the back right before the maskers.

Scott: Now listen. The floats, after the floats were passed, then the Excelsior Band would come up. They brought up the end of the parade practically, and all these maskers were behind. That’s just some people who attended the parade in mask. It’s not the people who were belonged to the society, or anything like that. That was just people that used to mask. They don’t do that now.

Jackson: What did, did they pay your father and his band for participating?

Scott: Oh, of course. Sure. They’d all get the money. They didn’t get the money then that they get now, but they were paid. Sure.

Jackson: It's important for folks to know that this was part of a profession, not just strictly for fun, although I'm sure they had a lot of fun. Tell me about the route. Where would you stand when you watched a parade.

Scott: At Government and Washington Avenue.

Jackson: Why there?

Scott: I don’t know. It was because we had been going there all the time, I guess.

Jackson: Are there any like foods you associate with Carnival time?

Scott: Beg your pardon?

Jackson: Are there any foods?

Scott: Food?

Jackson: Yeah that you associate with Carnival. Like I know I associate…

Scott: Gumbo and ham, soup.

Jackson: What kind of gumbo?

Scott: You eat gumbo?

Jackson: Yes.

Scott: Huh?

Jackson: Yes. What kind?

Scott: Well, they would get filet gumbo or okra gumbo. My favorite was okra gumbo.

Jackson: Why?

Scott: It's just because I like it better.

Jackson: What's in it?

Scott: Well, they would seafood. They have crab, shrimp, not oysters in okra gumbo.

Jackson: Okay.

Scott: And you could add a little beef if you want to. Whenever I make some gumbo, I’ma call you up and tell you to come get some.

Jackson: Bless your heart. When y'all were coming up, what were some of the favorite things you liked to eat that your mom made?

Scott: That my mom made?

Jackson: Uh huh.

Scott: My momma was a good cook. She cooked gumbo, I liked the gumbo. She made good salads, and I don’t know, she used to make floating island for dessert, lemon pie…

Jackson: What's floating…?

Scott: See you don’t know about floating island.

Jackson: What's floating island?

Scott: Floating island was like a custard. And it had like a whipped cream like a beaten up eggs on top of it, and that was the island. But it was delicious. She’s make apple pies, roast. Oh we ate. WE loved each other so much, we didn’t even know we were poor.

Jackson: How bout that. Speaking of loving each other so much, what were some things that our parents really, really valued? When you think back on the things they taught you, what did your parents really value?

Scott: What they didn’t like, you mean?

Jackson: Well what did they really stress, or find to be important? Or that they made sure that you understood.

Scott: To always carry ourselves as ladies, and especially in public. Don’t do anything that we, that they would be ashamed of. I tell you one thing I did. I smoked, and I hid from my Daddy for years and years. I guess I was about 18, and he still didn’t approve of me smoking. And I loved to smoke. I don’t now.

Jackson: What did you used to smoke? What brand?

Scott: Oh I can't remember now. I guess it was Chesterfield’s or Camels or something like that. I tried to smoke the cool cigarettes, but I didn’t like em. I stopped smoking in 1980. Oh heck, you not a priest.

Jackson: Some people wish I would.


Original Format



7 min 6 sec



National African American Archives & Museum, and Museum of Mobile, “The Pope Sisters Interview Clip,” Mobile Public Library Digital Collections, accessed June 27, 2019,

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