Monday evening’s Jim Croce tribute in Natchitoches features music, memories

NATCHITOCHES — Legendary singer/songwriter Jim Croce’s story ended in Natchitoches almost exactly 50 years ago.

His legacy and music will be celebrated Monday evening in the City of LIghts at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

He wrote and performed such iconic hits as “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” “Time in a Bottle,” “Operator,” “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” “Photographs and Memories,” “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song,” and “I Got a Name.”

Croce played what turned out to be his final concert at Northwestern State’s Prather Coliseum on Sept. 20, 1973. He and five others perished shortly afterwards in a plane crash at the Natchitoches airport.

“Photographs and Memories: A Tribute to Jim Croce” will include local musician Billy O’Con playing some of Croce’s greatest hits, the screening of an 18-minute NSU student-produced 2022 documentary film called “The Night the Music Died,” a panel discussion with audience involvement on Croce, his final day and his 42-minute last concert at Prather Coliseum.

Those attending will also be able to enjoy the first-ever viewing of a four-minute movie trailer introducing the soon-to-premiere “Jim Croce” feature film, which includes at-home footage of the singer with his family, in-depth interviews and comments about him from iconic musicians Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina and Randy Newman. The film is a Hollywood production of Dardan Entertainment, directed and produced by former Natchitoches resident Robert Langpaap.

“Photographs and Memories” is hosted by Friends of Louisiana Sports and History (FLASH), the local support group for the museum.

The event begins with a reception at 5:30, when the museum doors open. The program starts at 6:15 and should finish about 7:30.

The first 50 students in the door will be admitted free. Students will be treated to free pizza.

Patrons will be able to enjoy refreshments and appetizers during the reception, with Croce music playing in the background.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors, military families, first responders and students who aren’t among the early 50 arrivals. The program is free for current FLASH members.

Tickets and FLASH memberships will be on sale at the door payable by Venmo, cash or check.

For information, visit the FLASH Facebook page or call the museum at 318-357-2492.