Tag Archives: Racism

Murder In Coweta County ~ Airlift Productions Style

The “Murder In Coweta County” made-for-CBS-TV-movie created quite the stir in 1983…starring Andy Griffith & Johnny Cash

If a radio or television :30 spot is the sprint – then the recording of an audio book would have to be the marathon.  And yours truly is off to the races!

I’m not sure how you spent this past weekend (aside from joining fellow Saints fans crying in their beers), but I was ankles & elbows-deep behind the microphone bringing the true southern crime drama “Murder in Coweta County” to LIFE for the krewe at Pelican Publishing.

Raw.  Gritty. Visceral. Shocking. Controversial.   And I feel quite safe in saying that the folks who live in and around Atlanta, Georgia today in 2014 …. would scarcely recognize Coweta County and life as it was … in 1948.

When greed, money, arrogance, power, bootlegging, racism … and southern justice collide, you have to know that it’s not going to end well.  And the picture that you’re left with?  Well, who’s going to want to paint that?

Enter Airlift Mike at the mic – with one big paintbrush!

~ Excerpt from Chapter One of “Murder In Coweta County”, as voiced by Airlift’s Micheal Ziants … courtesy Pelican Publishing ~

New Orleans VoiceOver Talent Micheal Ziants gives Voice to “Murder in Coweta County”

Honestly, I’ve recorded quite a few audio books – and yet never one quite like this.  It’s almost as if I’m helping to perform an autopsy on the very ‘Soul’ of America.  Too heavy a statement?  Well, you haven’t read this book.

While we, as a country, continue to wrestle with racism & violence – from Ferguson, Missouri to the locker rooms of the NFL –  now, let’s throw the legalization of marijuana issue into the pot (if you’ll pardon the pun), for this book deals with big $$ made off bootlegging during Prohibition … and the fallout that ensues.

Oh my.

Believe me, as a lifelong Champion of the Human Spirit, and the polar opposite, 180 degree antithesis of a racist – much of what’s in this book is awfully painful for me to articulate.

And to breathe Life into some of these characters is a seriously daunting task. Truth be known, I would never have read this book – I lean more towards spirituality, mysticism & inspiration – and now, I’m sleeping with this book.  Literally.

So, hey, light another candle for me, Lord.  And pray that I can effectively run this marathon … and come out the other side with even more compassion, understanding, and peace than I went in with.

Trust me.  This audio book is going to make a lot of noise!

The REAL John Wallace, as he made his way into the county courthouse fro trial, Coweta County, Georgia, circa 1949
The REAL John Wallace, as he made his way into the county courthouse for trial, Coweta County, Georgia, circa 1948


Airlift PROductions – Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Oscar Buzz At Airlift Productions – 20th Century Style

Academy Award Winning Documentary Film Maker Charles Guggenheim (1924-2002)  Making Tracks At Airlift Productions ~ on Iberville Street in ’93

Throw-back Thursday today throws the spotlight on Airlift Productions in the Fall of 1993 –  a most remarkable day, because when legends meet and connect, magic is created and sparks fly!

I mean, it’s one thing to meet powerful and important people, it’s another to get a quickie photo op with powerful and important people … and yet another thing altogether to spend an entire day with powerful and important people –  work with,  document and record the whole affair.

Academy Award Winning Documentary Film Maker Charles Guggenheim showed up at the Airlift studios that Fall morning in a rent-a-car from Baton Rouge.  After confessing he was a bit hungry, we took the elevator up into the commissary and I made him some toast – no butter, no jelly – just toast.  It’s what he asked for.

Not long after, Avery C. Alexander, along with his driver, arrived. Reverend Alexander is the closest thing New Orleans and Louisiana has ever seen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior.  A longtime civil rights activist, ordained minister & LA state representative – ‘the Rev’s’ name is carved above the entrance to our N.O. Charity Hospital!

Avery Caesar Alexander (1910-1999) being restrained by the NOPD during a scuffle at the controversial Liberty Monument re-dedication ceremony in March of 1993

Charles Guggenheim had contracted Airlift Productions & me to record his 60-Minutes-Style interview with Avery Alexander for sound bites to be used in his latest documentary project ‘The Shadow of Hate’.  

Wow! Some of the things that were said that day ….

~ Avery Alexander talks of prejudice, mistreatment, abuse, lynchings & murder at the Airlift microphones ~

Amazingly, with the historic impact that Avery Alexander made here in Louisiana during his life & civil rights mission – there is no audio record of him anywhere on the internet through a google or bing search.

There is now.

~ Avery Alexander talks of David Duke, the KKK, anti-Catholic/Jew bias … and the ‘dignity of man’ ~

Charles and Avery went at it for nearly two hours.  Guggenheim had me adjust the microphone for only Reverend Alexander – while he paced and questioned him persistently … drawing-out intimate and personal reflections.  Some session, I’ll tell you that.

The program that contained the recordings made that day in the Fall of ’93 at the Airlift Studios on Iberville Street – Guggenheim’s ‘The Shadow of Hate’ – was nominated for the Academy Award in 1995 … and opened more than one or two eyes and ears.  Yours? 


Charles Guggenheim accepting the Academy Award for Documentary Film in 1994

In 2014, the beat goes on …

And even though both of these extremely fine gentlemen now belong to the ages, sad to say,  the problems they attempted to address and remedy that day are still very much with us.

From the locker rooms of the NFL to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri … and from the playgrounds of YourTown to the Main Street of AnyTown, USA.

But as the planet continues to grow smaller and smaller as each day goes by, perhaps ONE day we can all learn to live by the mantra – and it’s pretty simple, four words – ‘ONE Father, ALL Brothers’.

increasethepeace ~ Micheal Z

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans … since 1984