Meridian Star

July 3, 2013

Johnny Donald


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Johnny Donald, entrepreneur in the teenage nightclub business, has died. His idea was to give the young folks of Meridian and surrounding areas a safe place to congregate.  He didn’t want them to have to travel to town and get harmed or killed on the road.  His clubs were “Just Friends,” “Gimme Shelter,” and his most successful, “Downtown Ponta” near Briarwood Country Club. He promoted live music and musicians. He gave a head start to Steve Forbert and Paul Davis, who wrote his Grammy-winning album “Ride ‘Em Cowboys” at “Just friends,” in downtown Meridian across from The Meridian Star.

    After a ruined marriage from never being home, he moved to New Orleans and formed his own band, “Sassyfras”, traveling up and down the eastern seaboard and Midwest. Johnny promoted Cajun and Zydeco music and was a member of Codofil and The Cajun French Music Association. Johnny also owned “The Bayou Jubilee” Club on Printer’s Alley in Nashville, promoting live music with his successful Red Beans ‘N Rice Songwriter’s Night. Johnny is survived by sons Lance and Lyle, grandchildren Jeremy and Jason, brother Stuart, nephew Harmon III and wife Valerie, still playing her accordion and singing swamp music.

    Funeral services are set for Sunday, July 7 at 2 p.m. at Causeyville Baptist Church, 6192 Causeyville Clarke Rd., Meridian, MS 39301. Everyone is welcome.