My prayers are with the people.....
Katrina has ripped two holes in the curved roof of the Louisiana Superdome, letting in rain as thousands of storm refugees huddled inside.
June Juanico recalls 'Camille' in her biography
Las Vegas, Nevada 1969
Wally phoned backstage at the International and paged Joe Esposito. Holding a cocktail in my hand, and having had several at the show, I wasn't the least bit nervous. It had been such a long time, I wondered what I would say.
"June, is that you, honey?"
"Yes, Elvis it's me. And don't call me honey."
"You haven't changed a bit, have you baby?" He laughed.
"I've changed a little, hopefully for the better. You've changed a little too. I saw your show tonight and you look better than ever. Your voice is better than Elvis too, I was impressed!" I said, knowing Elvis loved praise. And this came from my heart.
"Thanks June, coming from you that make me feel good. You have been on my mind for the past few days. Did you and your family survive the hurricane okay?"
"We had some damage, but nothing compared to most people. The sad part of it all is that there's nothing left on the beach. The Sun'n'Sand is gone, the Ko-Ko is gone, and the only thing left of the White House pier is a ew broken pilings. You do remember the pier don't you?"
"I remember it well. As a matter of fact, I remember it like it was yesterday. How about Gus Steven's Lounge? Did Mr. Gus make it okay?", he asked, remembering Gus had tolled out the red carpet for him on every visit. "What about Gulf Hills, how did they do?"
"Not too bad. The villas are all gone and so is the boat dock. The hotel and the Hack house are still standing."
"How about you? Are you happy? Do you need anything? Is there anything at all I can do for you baby?"
"I am fine Elvis. If things got any better, I couldn't stand it," I answered, using the same reply I always used when asked that question, even when it wasn't the truth. "I have seen a few of your movies and your acting is improving," I lied, trying to make him feel good about his acting career.
"The movies are sh*t and you know it June. I am still just spinning my wheels." His voice was the same, but his diction had definitely improved: ten years ago, Elvis would have said, "Ah'm jess spinin' mah wheels."
"I guess congratulations are in order - you have a beautiful wife and a new baby girl. All you need now is a little boy, and your life will be complete."
"Whoa June. Don't rush me! I'm still trying to get used to being a daddy. Yours must be getting pretty big now. How old are they? You still have just two right?"
"Right! Tony is eleven and Tori is seven. They are both beautiful," I replied, like the proud mother I was.
"Seven and eleven huh? They would be great at the crap table. Forget I said that June. My mouth is going ninety to nothing I'm so hyped up. And I still have another show to do before I can unwind."
"I noticed how hyper you were on stage. Are you sure you are okay? Is there anything I can do for you? How are you unwinding these days?"
"Don't worry about me baby. When I need to unwind, I go to be and read a good book."
"What are you reading? Anything good?"
"A long time ago, someone very special gave me a book to read. I've read it at least a million times. It is my favorite book. I try to keep a copy with me at all time. It's my unwinder." He laughed. I was so surprised. I kcouldn't think of a thing to say. I knew he was talking about The Prophet.
"Ain't it funny how time slips away? Shi baby I didn't mean to go and get sentimental. How's everybody in Biloxi? How is my old friend Buddy Conrad going? I used to see him all the time, but not lately. He's the joker who told me you named your son Elvis."
"Buddy died a few years ago. He had cancer."
"Damn! Damn! Why is it the good die young June? Why? Damn! I sure hate hearing that about good old Buddy.
"The few last days of his life, all he talked about was you and the good old days. Everything was EP this and EP that. He was grateful for the time we all had together."
"I am grateful too. They were the best years of my life. Listen baby. I will be here for another week, so if you need anything, just give ma a call. Just ask for Joe. How long are you going to be in Vegas?"
"I am not sure. At least until the power is restored back home. We live in the country and without power we have no water and no air-conditioning either."
"Do you have any horses?"
"We have the horses and two cows, but no chickens. You know how I feel about chicken sh*t," I replied, laughing.
"You haven't changed a bit June. I am really happy for you baby. You got your ranch after all."
"It's not really a ranch Elvis. We call it 'Oleo Acres, a low-cost spread."
"That's good. Sounds just like you. Are you sure there is nothing I can do for you baby?"
"I am sure Elvis. Thanks for asking. I don't want to keep you on the phone. I know how busy you are. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me. Take care of yourself, Elvis. I love you."
"I love you too June. Take care baby."
The neon lights atop the International Hotel were clearly visible from Wally's front door. And I thought of calling many times during the next ten days. But I never did. On the way to the airport I noticed all the billboards with Elvis's name had been taken down. Elvis had left the city.