Men of Iberville: From Fluorescent Smogg to the Iberville Council

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
gfischer@weeklycitizen.com
Warren "T'notchie" Taylor

Parish Councilman for White Castle's District 1 Warren Taylor is perhaps best known by his nickname "T'notchie," but how about as former singer of La. Connection?

That's right. Before becoming a councilman, Taylor was an R&B star.

"I played percussion," he said. "And I was one of the lead singers for La. Connection. It was Fluorescent Smogg first, then La. Connection."

The White Castle native got his nickname for having a small face as an infant. People said he looked like bank robber "Baby Face" Nelson. Somehow, that eventually evolved into "T'notchie."

"It's been that way since I was born," Taylor said. "And I'm about to be 65 years old on April 27."

Taylor grew up near the Cora Texas Sugar Mill in White Castle, Louisiana.

"Matter of fact I worked there," he said. "That was during my younger days when I was like 16 to 18 years old. It's like a family thing around there with the Kessler's."

Taylor began singing at 14 or 15 years old, as he tells it. His early influences were Smokey Robinson, Tower of Power, and Frankie Beverly. He also loved Earth, Wind and Fire, The Commodores, and Kenny Rogers.

"I could go on and on, but we'd be here all day," he laughed.

He began music by playing gospel songs. At 17 he was singing in church and doing concerts with gospel acts such as Shirley Caesar, Mighty Clouds of Joy, and the Five Blind Boys.

"After we did that for four or five years, we got the band together," he said. "It was me and my [first] cousins Wilbert Richardson and Charles Richardson. Wilbert played lead guitar. Charles played bass, and I was one of the lead singers.

"We toured with Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass, The Gap Band, which was Charlie Wilson, they called him 'Uncle Charlie,'" he said. "We toured with multiple groups--Frankie Beverly and Maze, The Bar-Kays--those types of groups.

"We played at the Superdome on the same stage as Rick James," he said.

His band La. Connection toured all over the country and even played as far away as Japan. The album "La. Connection" has been released a few times under different labels but was originally a 1982 release under MCA Records. It has been known as both a self-titled album or under the title "Now Appearing."

Taylor said the Post South published an article about Fluorescent Smogg when they were in their prime, and "it was awesome." Their hit song is called "All My Life," by the way, and it is playable on Spotify. The vocals on the track are Taylor's.

"The hit [song] for La. Connection was 'Promise Me,'" Taylor said.

Moreover, when asked if they made any money off of the album he said, "Yes, we've done real good, and this was like 45 years ago."

Currently, Taylor works for the Iberville Parish School Board at White Castle High School as the head custodian. He retires in April after 30 plus years. He graduated from White Castle in 1972 and even played center for the football team and guard on the basketball team.

Additionally, Taylor has enjoyed serving on the parish council for 23 years and has witnessed much change. In the early police jury days a meeting could last five or six hours. Today the meeting may last 45 minutes. The council is also evolving. Courtney Lewis of District 6 is the first woman to be elected during the most recent election.

Taylor served for two years on the police jury before the home rule charter was created, and the modern Iberville Parish Council formed. He is now the vice chairman of the council and has been elected to that position each year for the past 12 years.

"When we came off the road, I decided I wanted to be a public servant," Taylor said. "I decided I wanted to bring things back and help the people. I thought that by being a councilman and joining the political scene that I could do that. I'm happy. I think I've done an excellent job, and we've accumulated many things."

The big thing he and the council are pushing to achieve today is a bridge to connect St. Gabriel with the rest of the parish. Taylor recently noted that during rush hour it took two-and-a-half hours to get to Plaquemine from Baton Rouge.

"We don't see why we have a river splitting the parish and we couldn't get a bridge here," he said. "That's the next thing the council wants to see happening now."

Taylor is married to Lois R. Taylor, and he has five grandkids: Kennedy, Garret, Kinsle, Shania, and Sergio; two daughters: LaTonja Butler and Shaurona Brown; and two sons: Sheldon Taylor and Javarius Asberry.

At home he does all the cooking. He does not fish or hunt, but he enjoys when his brothers bring him some deer sausage. Of course, his favorite hobby is watching live music.

Moreover, Taylor attends St. John the Baptist Church in Dorseyville, Louisiana with Pastor Gregory Coates. He sings and plays with the choir there, sometimes also with Southern University Band Director Kedric Taylor.

"It's an antique church," he said. "It's really old. Pastor Coates can bring it to you."

Growing up there were 11 children in his family, eight boys and three girls. Today, four men and one woman remains. He said his parents were strict.

"They gave you that thing that if they were gone, they made sure that you could be responsible," he said. "They made sure that we could take care of ourselves."

He recalls a time when his father was sick and his mother was stuck working in the cane fields. He said he told his mother that he would soon provide for them, and he did.

A large family atmosphere is something that stuck with Taylor, who plays the role of patriarch to many in White Castle. He recalled when his daughter LaTonja was growing up how he used to take as many as 12 kids down to the Bayou Classic game.

"Those kids enjoyed it," he said. "We had kids at the house all the time."

Taylor finished by saying he wouldn't want it any better than in White Castle, especially when it comes to hospitality.

"All of them are nice people in White Castle," he said. "They are going to treat you fairly."