Section of N.C. 740 in Stanly County Named for Legendary Jazz Musician Lou Donaldson
Jazz musician Lou Donaldson is honored in Badin.
BADIN – A section of N.C. 740 in Stanly County was dedicated this morning in honor of Badin native and renowned jazz saxophonist Lou Donaldson.
Officials with the N.C. Department of Transportation joined Donaldson as well as local and state officials in a ceremony Friday at Cedar Grove AME Zion Church in New London.
Drivers can now see the “Lou Donaldson Boulevard” signs along a five-mile section of N.C. 740 in the Badin area in appreciation of the musician’s contributions to the music world.
“There are so many great things going on in Badin and in Stanly County, but this is one of the really important things that we’ve done,” said N.C. Representative Wayne Sasser, who participated in Friday’s event. “Keep Mr. Lou in your prayers that he will continue his sweet music for another 95 years.”
N.C. Senator Carl Ford, who is also a musician and participated Friday, offered to ‘jam’ with Donaldson, but figured he’d be told to stop.
“I think it’s great to honor this man here today and with those signs to honor him from now on,” Ford said. “There’s a lot of things that put Badin on the map, but not as much as Lou.”
“Sweet Poppa Lou” could recount an impressive list of prestigious accolades accrued over his lifetime. To name a few, Donaldson is an International Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, National Endowment of the Arts-Jazz Master, recipient of the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, and a member of the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.
Fighting a cold, Donaldson shared several amusing stories, introduced family members in attendance, and reiterated that his hometown and community mean more to him than those tributes.
“Everywhere I go, people ask me, ‘Badin? Where is this Badin?’”
Recalling a trip to Japan, Donaldson explained that once he found the Yadkin River on a map, he pointed out his hometown to observers. Soon, roughly one thousand people in a music club knew about Badin.
Other speakers at today’s ceremony included NCDOT Division 10 Engineer Brett Canipe and Badin Mayor Anne Harwood. The ceremony was emceed by Badin Town Manager Jay Almond.