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Mississippi Man's Museum to Honor Wife Int'l Attraction


Mississippi Man's Museum to Honor Wife Int'l Attraction

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Charles La La Evans outside of the museum

A Mississippi man has gained international attention for a museum that expresses his enduring love for his wife. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, their story of love spans nearly sixty years.

In a quiet neighborhood just off a busy downtown street in Starkville, sits a tan brick house with a circular driveway and red shutters. It's the home of Charles "La La" Evans. Folks stop to see his creations. People around here call the 85-year old "La La."

"This is it. What is it? 'La La's Junkyard Park.' That's what it is," said La La.

"La La's Junkyard Park" is the first stop on a tour of his two acre property. He always saves the main attraction for last.

"Now where's the museum,? said Desare
We'll get there. We're on our way, Okay," said La La.

Image - Charles Grove IMG_4647.jpg

La La begins at the "Umbrella Grove," a big lot next to his home filled with100 beach and picnic umbrellas. There are lawn chairs and decorations with trivia questions on large white signs posted along the path. La La loves music, dancing and quizzing people.

"Can you answer, Swing Low Sweet," said La La.
"Chariot," said Desare.
"O.K," said La La.
"Down by the," said La La.
"Riverside," said Desare.
"O.K," said La La.
"Somewhere Over the," said La La.
"The Rainbow," said Desare.
"Girl, listen at this lady. You are so sharp," said La La.
"Thank you," said Desare
"This is awesome," said La La.

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Finally, we come to the large yellow shed with the red roof. This is the main attraction, "La La and Louise's Place." He turns on the stereo. La La asks for a dance.

"I have to dance with you. Ooh my, wow, hey" said La La.

Thousands of photos of La La with his wife Louise line the walls; pictures of them wearing disco outfits, on vacations and celebrating their 50th anniversary.

"Here, we went out to the lake, the county lake, and those alligators we took those pictures you see. While I was taking the pictures she wouldn't get out the car you know. I said come on girl. I'm won't let them getcha," said La La.

La La and Louise met when he shined shoes at a local spot near her uncle's cafe.

"Oh my gracious. She was a beautiful lady and I think it, it was love at first sight," said La La.

They became a popular couple, going to dances and entertaining at their home. He recalls their wedding day as we talked in the front of his house.

Image - La La and Louise Land IMG_4628.jpg

They got married on his father's front porch across the street. They were both 18.

"He got down to the part he said 'well now you may present the ring.' I looked at him. I looked at her and I said to myself, what's this man talking about? He finally realized we were only 18 and I didn't know anything about a ring," said La La.

The couple had two children. Sixty-four year old Wanmond Evans is the oldest.

"I've never seen them argue. I've never seen them fuss. I've never seen them fight. I've never seen them drink. I've never seen them smoke," said Waymond.

What La La's Niece, Annie Love saw was a couple passionate about one another.

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"As far as I can remember they just simply adored each other. They showed love. They loved each other and they complemented each other well," said Love.

La La was a mailman and Louise worked at a felt company. La La started collecting all types of items after they retired, which is how the junkyard emerged. Then, after 59 years and 11 months of marriage, Louise's health began to decline. He points to a picture of their last dance.

"This was July 16, 2011. A cousin of mine, her granddaughter had just gotten married and we were there for the reception. So we spinned and danced around and then I dipped her for the last time and brought her back up and put that last one on her," said La La.

Image - La and Louise Last Dance IMG_4615.jpg

An affectionate kiss for the love of his life. The following week they were at home when Louise had a massive heart attack.

"So I called 911 and they came in about 10 minutes. But before they got there she looked up and she said 'I love you,' and that was it. It gave me a chance to reflect and think about what we had, and what we had the most, was each other," said La La.

The couple talked about building a space to showcase the pictures they'd taken over the years but didn't get around to it.
La La worked to make their project a reality. It's been nearly seven years since Louise died. Yet their whole marriage remains vivid in his memory and their love for music and dancing.

"We started out as 18-year old kids doing everything together. And I'll share it with anyone. Try to keep it together. My main secret was to keep that woman first," said La La.

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It's a message Charles shares with everyone--marriage isn't perfect he says, but when you put your partner first and set your mind to it, you'll have love that lasts a lifetime.

Charles La La Evan's was invited to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in January, 2016, to talk about his museum. A longer version of this report was featured on the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation Network, in May of this year.