Six weeks before the dedication Montgomery elected itself a new mayor. In a startling upset, unassuming and inept attorney Bobby Bright bested incumbent Emory Folmar in a spirited run-off. My personal ogre was gone. Our city was heading down a new path, and all the RSA’s and my relationships with the City were to start over with a clean slate.
As part of our official dedication duties, PH&J was to invite Mayor Bright to officiate at the ceremony. The duty fell to Ren Jones, who contacted his friend Bobby. A day later, Ren came into my office with a long face and reported that Bobby Bright has said he was too busy, that his schedule on January 6th was too full. Both Ren and I were incredulous. Didn’t the Mayor know he was poking a ten-ton gorilla, a bad man to have as an enemy? Surely Bright realized that Bronner had infused $200 Million into the Montgomery downtown, and that the park was the cap for all of it. How could the Mayor not know what the stakes were?–for him as well as the City.
Ren and I strategized over our plight. Ultimately we decided to enlist the aid of one of the Mayor’s lieutenants–Roy Boudreaux yet–to enlighten His Honor as to what was at stake. Roy, was the city functionary assigned by Mayor Folmar seven years earlier to be the RSA’s liaison with all city departments in the monumental construction we were about to undertake along Monroe Street. Roy had survived the mayoralty transition and was still there.
Roy, by the way, is a ramrod straight, no-nonsense kind of guy who had retired here after an Air Force career. At his retirement, he was the highest ranking enlisted man in the entire U.S. Air Force, a rather exalted position.
In short order Roy Boudreaux told Mayor Bright where the bread was buttered, and that he damn well had better rearrange his schedule. It was mission accomplished, but then Boudreaux told poor Ren that he had to tell His Honor what to say. I never cease to marvel at the things architects get into.
-Charles Humphries (“Peril and Intrigue Within Architecture”)