Louise Trotter was born in Port Arthur, Texas on September 4, 1923 to the late Oren and Grace Lantz. Her dad was known as “Pop” Lantz and was the band director at Thomas Jefferson High School for 40 years. Louise, lovingly called “Weezie”, graduated from the same school in 1941 and attended Texas State College for Women (TSCW) in Denton where she studied music. Louise married George P. Trotter in 1942 and they enjoyed a few short months together before he deployed to the Army in World War II. When the war was over, he went to work for Gulf Oil Co. for 40 years as they lived happily in Port Arthur, Puerto Rico, Baytown and Houston until George’s death in 1979. They raised three children, Gary, Caryl and Tracy and have 7 grandchildren: Jessica, Ryan, Ariane, Katie, Stephanie, Carly and Joshua, and 5 great-grandchildren whom she adored.
Her father couldn’t afford to buy her a new harp at age 12, so he visited a harp factory and figured out how to BUILD one for her! She learned the art of performing and entertaining at a very early age and her career really took off after her children were grown and she landed a professional gig playing nightly at The Brownstone Restaurant and the Adam’s Mark Hotel. Throughout her vocation, she performed with the Baytown Symphony orchestra, 100’s of church events, weddings and programs, but was perhaps most well-known for her concerts at annual pop and folk harp workshops across the globe. She went on to become an internationally renowned professional harpist for over 70 years. Friends and colleagues from around the country reminisce about her famous performances highlighting her country and western arrangements of Steele Guitar Rag, Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue and Chattanooga Choo Choo. They loved her amusing Willie Nelson impersonation while her family especially enjoyed her versions of Harvest Moon, Summertime and various boogie-woogie compositions. She was honored to be on the cover of the National Harp Society magazine just a few years before her passing and still has many friends in the harp community that stay in touch. After producing 14 cd’s and selling 100’s of harp arrangements online, she finally retired at age 95 but continued playing the piano for the other residents at her home until a week before her death.
Louise’s dear friend Kay Martin has also set up a memorial in her name for Music For Healing and Transition (MHTP). Kay played Autoharp for her in the nursing home. Shortly after that gift, Louise passed peacefully. She was 96.
This memorial will be added to by members of this organization who knew Louise oh so well. For example, Louise was at her most creative as an octogenarian. She improvised an entire CD and recorded it in her hotel room in Somerset, NJ during the Somerset Folk Harp Festival. She also started taking Gospel Piano lessons in her early eighties in order to authentically create a book of hymn favorites in the gospel style.
And the gloves – her country western gloves which she stripped before performing. And her Willie Nelson braids. Oh so many stories.