Tag Archives: France

True Action Hero: Eugene Bullard

Eugene Jacques Bullard was a real life action hero. James Bond, Indiana Jones, Wolverine, he was all of them.bullard Born in unreconstructed Georgia he ran away from home and joined a group of English gypsies where they employed him as a jockey. In 1912 he stowed away on a steamer and landed in Scotland. In Europe he began travelling along side a vaudeville troupe as a prize fighter. He was boxing in Paris when World War 1 broke out, and he joined the French Foreign Legion. He fought in Verdun, earning the Croix de Guerre, France’s medal for bravery. After being wounded twice in the trenches Bullard joined the Lafayette Flying Corps. He had flown more than 20 missions before the USA joined the war, but when he tried to join the American fly boys, they turned him down for being black.

After the war he stayed in Paris and bought a night club. He hung out with Josephine Baker, Louis Armstrong, and even married a Countess. When the Nazi’s started gaining power in Europe, Eugene was paid to spy till things got too hot (1940) and Bullard escaped to Spain, and then New York.

Once stateside, Bullard hustled from job to job, a perfume salesman, an interpreter, and a security guard. I’m not sure which one of those jobs he was doing in 1949 when the press got a photo of Bullard being beaten by cops as they rioted at a Paul Robeson concert. Just to be clear, it was the cops who were rioting, not Bullard.

In 1954 Bullard was called back to France where he re-lit the everlasting flame and was knighted by Charles de Gaulle.

He was working as an elevator operator and living alone when he passed away in 1961 and is buried in Flushing Cemetery in Queens.

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Viva La Farce! Let Us Eat Cake!

The Bastille was stormed again…  this time it was on a Saturday… in Philadelphia.

Expressing our Frenchness

Each year the Eastern State Penitentiary and surrounding neighborhood celebrate Bastille Day with a fun-filled poke to France’s funny bone.  The celebration which includes America’s version of French culture, a.k.a. cross-dressing, culminates with Marie Antoinette atop the castle walls, surrounded by gendarme and storm troopers, showering the crowds below with Tasty Kakes.

Viva la Farce

Last year she avoided execution by being traded to the Redskins, this year she was sentenced to be Schwarzenegger’s house maid.

Reminds me of the time I played rugby against a team from France.  They arrived wearing Berets, red scarves, striped shirts, and carried loaves of French bread.  Thier skin-tight jerseys were hot pink… and they were good, VERY good at rugby.  That is another story…

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