Originally created 08/16/97

12-year-old got dream meeting with the King

In 1956 Louise Cowart was a 12-year-old with bright green eyes and the knowledge that she'd never meet Elvis Presley. She wouldn't meet him because she never got to meet anyone famous, she told a reporter for the Augusta Herald.

The newspaper fixed that.

The Herald got her a backstage pass. But, she didn't have anything to wear. She had six brothers and sisters, her father was dead and her older sister Rita's hand-me-downs weren't spiffy enough to play court to the king, the newspaper reported.

So the manager of Sears Roebuck let her pick out new panties, frothy crinolines, an azure frock and a pair of 6 1/2 AA slippers. Then Evelyn Francis, who had a beauty salon at 216 8th Street did her hair.

"Louise's somewhat stringy locks took on the curly beauty of a junior grade movie starlet. Her grubby little nails bloomed under the first manicure of her life," The Herald told its readers 41 years ago.

The manager of Busch Jewelry store on Broad Street gave her a shiny, new wrist watch (to make sure she wouldn't be late) and Herbert Elliot provided an air-conditioned Cadillac, The Herald reported

As an extra bonus, Louise got to take her best friend Melvis Broadwater, 15, with her.

With the reporter, the girls battled their way through the sweaty crowd standing around Presley's dressing room.

"Hello," Elvis said, grinning.

He gave Louise an "Eskimo kiss" for the cameras, then draped an arm around her shoulders. Then he gave her an autograph and hit the stage.

Her memory was still fresh two decades later when a reporter tracked down Louise Cowart Green following Presley's unexpected death.

The next day, she recalled in 1977, she and her sister went to Elvis' hotel on Broad Street and pestered the desk clerk until he told entertainer she was there, Ms. Green told The Chronicle 20 years ago.

"He came right down, and we talked for a long time," she said. "It was just like talking to your brother, he wasn't snobby or anything, just really nice."

"When you talked to him, it was just like a dream and it follows you through the rest of your life. When you met him it was something you never forgot," she said.

Presley said he had to go to the airport and he asked if she wanted to see him off. She said no.

She's lost the autographs and the paper ring Elvis gave her from his Tampa-Nugget cigar, she told The Chronicle in 1977. But she still had the memories.

"For all these years I wanted to write him, but I figured, Oh, God, there must be a million girls all over the world, it'd probably never get to him, and I never did."


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