An article by Phil Ward
Shortly after Chester Burnett AKA Howlin’ Wolf passed away, Eric Clapton and a passle of Rock greats and Notables bought a really nice bronze statue of Howlin’ Wolf. They wanted to put the statue on the Triangle on St. Catherine Street across from the site of The Rhythm Night Club Fire. As it would have been a traffic nightmare, the City of Natchez told them they could place the statue in the Park on The Bluff.
This park was set aside by the Spanish, and protected by an act of the United States Congress. Fair and free use to anyone from anywhere. The statue was massive, had a octagon granite base, and a bronze plaque that read something along these lines. In memory of Chester Arthur Burnett also known as Howlin‘ Wolf (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976) You weren’t from here, but you remembered us in your song, and we will never forget you.
Well some people I knew wanted to get together at the Under the Hill Saloon owned by Andre Farrish Sr. I was early so I thought I would stop by the Statue and pay my respects. It was gone. A city worker happened to be passing by in a pickup truck so I flagged him down and asked him, What happened to the Howlin’ Wolf statue that was right there? (pointing at the exact spot). He said he was told to take a 950 Caterpillar Front End Loader and knock it down, then cut it up into scrap metal and haul it to the scrap metal yard owned by Mr. Krause. I asked who told him to do this dastardly deed but he wouldn’t give me a name, all he would say is, „with that Saloon down the hill that statue was a traffic hazard, if one of those drunk rich kids would have come flying around this corner and hit that thing it would have killed them.“
I drove down Silver Street to The Under the Hill Saloon and Andre Farrish Sr who was the uncle of one of the people I was supposed to meet, came over and sat down across the table from me. I said, „Hey did you notice the city took down the Statue of Howlin‘ Wolf at the top of the hill?“ Andre stuck out his chest and boastfully proclaimed, „I got rid of that God Damned eye sore. I got tired of driving past the ugly thing.“ Back then there was no social media and the local media wouldn’t have touched the story with a ten foot pole. God intends for The Rhythm Night Club Fire Scene to become a memorial and the statue of Mister Chester to be placed there. I have no no doubts about it. The stars have aligned too perfectly for it not to happen.