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R.I.P. French Larry

photo: video grab by Bruce Ojard

Larry Whalen was an early member of Colder By The Lake, an original resident of Emerson and bohemian fixture here until he moved to Madeline Island.  Known for his oriental rug collection, early adoption of the interwebz and absurdist dancing, he is also noted in the “Beloved Characters of Duluth” PDD gallery. Recently he was in hospice in Ashland and passed away due to some form of tumor. I’ll fondly remember many rehearsals with CBTL, his love of Ramses cigs and hazy  coffee induced snickering. With the passing of Doug Moen and Larry we’ve lost some significant freak power here in Zenith City.

12 Comment(s)

  1. FrenchLarry

    I only met Larry once, but it truly opened my mind. One of the greatest characters, indeed.

    Paul Lundgren | Apr 17, 2013 | New Comment
  2. I used to hang out and party with Larry a lot back in the Great Day of Duluth’s Past. Much time spent over the pipe with Larry discussing the philosophy of Aleister Crowley, the esoteric Kabbalah, and many other topics of the arcane and unusual. Blessed am I for having known Larry at a unique point in the history of the city!

    Lord Phosphorus | Apr 17, 2013 | New Comment
  3. Larry’s room at Emerson was legendary. People wondered if he’d ever be able to move out with all that stuff. He got the life-size cardboard Canadian Mountie from me. What an eccentric. His dancing was an affront to my Lutheran sensibilities. He talked about dancing in the Milwaukee Ballet, and I found this reference to a Larry Whalen in the Milwaukee Journal. Not sure if ’79 would be the right year for that.

    DaVe | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  4. Does anyone out there have that old CBTL poster featuring Larry with a subliminal message written in his chest hair?

    DaVe | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  5. The poster behind the checkout at global village (why is this man still in Duluth) is Larry. The subliminal is in the eyebrow of the Colder Logo Dude.

    baci | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  6. I lived next door to French Larry at Emerson during his transition to Madeline Island digs. (He moved himself long before he moved his stuff.)

    He was one of the most interesting people I ever met.

    hbh1 | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  7. One December Chris LaForge, who followed Larry Whalen as Building Manager, procured a tree and it was put up in the first floor commons area at Emerson School, which had a very high ceiling. A few of us started trimming it. In my room had a big stack of those “Why is this man still in Duluth?” posters, featuring a portrait of Larry (with the word “sex” hidden subliminally in his chest hair) which we used for all of our cut-paper decorations. With scissors and glue, we made Santa Larrys, Angel Larrys, Snowflake Larrys…Amy Wilson even made a great Nutcracker Larry. Then, when we were finished, we sang a heartwarming rendition of “Have Yourself a Larry Little Christmas.”

    Beetle | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  8. bruceO | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  9. That’s the one.

    DaVe | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  10. I moved into Larry’s naked sunbathing pad-um, I mean-room at Emerson directly after he made the final move to the island and there was a lot of Larry left, especially in his side room…7 1/2 years later when I moved to the county I brought a little of Larry with me. Here’s one that I see every day.

    aleasha | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  11. Thank you Larry…

    aleasha | Apr 18, 2013 | New Comment
  12. Thank you for sharing your stories. We have created a Facebook page in memory of Larry. If you’ve got pictures or stories you’d like to share, we would like to hear them. He was well loved island character who will we will miss dearly.

    TheDoctor | Apr 22, 2013 | New Comment

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