Because I was a child of the 1970s, being 10 years old in 1974, I knew Frenchy Boutan as a voice on Racine’s radio station, WRJN (1400 on the AM dial). However, many old Racine residents know Frenchy as an amazing pianist in Racine Motor Inn and other venues.
Silent footage of backyard party with Hammond Organ studios owner, Bob Ploetz, featuring Barb Ploetz and Erv Johnson, Frenchy Boutan
Racine Journal Times article: Racine Friend Needs Our Well Wishes
Mention the name Frenchy Boutan and nearly every longtime Racine resident can relate a fond memory of listening to him entertain.
Whether it was at Salmon-A-Rama, Roma Lodge’s Italian Festival or at any number of local events and fundraisers, Frenchy Boutan always brought a smile to our faces. Now the tables have turned and it’s our turn to bring a smile to him.
Boutan was recently diagnosed with a very serious illness and could use a little of our support and good cheer.
Your cards and letters of support can be directed to: “Notes for Frenchy,” AM 1400 WRJN, 4201 Victory Ave., Racine, Wis. 53405.
The get-well wishes will be forwarded to Boutan at his home in Largo, Fla.
Boutan served as program host at WRJN Radio during the ’60s, ’70s and into the ’80s and acted as summer fill-in host on WRJN’s “Open Line” program.
He also was the station’s host when it broadcast from the Wisconsin State Fair each year.
In addition to his work at the radio station, he also performed his musical act at clubs from New York to Florida and has released numerous albums and recordings over the years.
Gray now, and half retired, Frenchy Boutan
still croons old songs in the smooth baritone
that filled piano bars around town
though today he sings for free in a tent
at the Sacred Heart church’s summer festival,
while ladies of the church bartend
My son and his wife always used to go
hear him play when they’d visit, and come home
laughing, so today we sit and sip coke
watching kids dance on the grass, while bored, tired
grandchildren debate whether any ride
in the carnival is worth the long lines
We are outsiders here, have always stood
apart, amused or perhaps just wistful
but when we go inside today to look
at arts and crafts in the gymnasium
a girl in the sash and gown of Mrs.
Wisconsin recognizes and hugs us