CD 4 Councilmember David Ryu presented an adjourning motion at today’s City Council meeting, honoring the life of Lucy Casado, founder and owner of legendary Lucy’s El Adobe, who passed away last week at the age of 91 after battling cancer.
Ryu introduced the motion, saying it was a sad occasion but a happy day to welcome back to the City Council chamber former Councilmember Tom LaBonge to share his thoughts on the passing of this great resident of Los Angeles, who gave so much to her community.
LaBonge recounted the opening of Casado’s restaurant in 1964 and how it became a respite for artists and musicians. He recalled a famous quote from singer Johnny Rivers, describing Lucy as “a mother to us all,” which is prominently displayed in the restaurant.
“She was a mother to us all,” said LaBonge. “I am sure when she passed, she went straight to heaven, not stopping at the TSA because St. Peter escorted her right into the loving arms of her beloved husband, Frank,” who passed away in 1990.
Lucy and her husband opened their restaurant across the street from Paramount Studios at 5536 Melrose Avenue, and it quickly became a home away from home for musicians and actors struggling to make it in Hollywood. Many never forgot Lucy’s legendary hospitality and helped make the cafe the place to be in Los Angeles.
According to the LA Times:
“It was where Jerry Brown met Linda Ronstadt when the future governor was merely a college school board trustee and fame had yet to fully encircle the singer. Singer Jackson Browne found solitude here. And future Eagles frontman Don Henley came in with regularity.
“They were all young, and they’d all wound up in Los Angeles and many of them were homesick,” said Casado’s daughter, Patricia to the LA Times. “They came here when they were stuck or lonely or had writer’s block or just wanted company.”
The restaurant was also popular with politicians, and the Casados were very active in the local community, helping to found the Mexican American Political Association, according to the LA Times: “National politicians who frequented the restaurant included former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, Robert F. Kennedy, when he was a senator and former Sen. Bob Dole.”
Lucy’s was also a must stop for any political campaign in the city, recalled Sarah Dusseault, Chief of Staff for Councilmember David Ryu. LaBonge, who represented the district for over 14 years, was instrumental in naming the intersection at Beachwood and Melrose “I Love Lucy” Square in 2007. He was a close family friend and served as a pallbearer at Frank Casado’s funeral in 1990.
Lucy’s funeral is planned for next week and promises to be a similar celebration.
“So many people are flying in to attend, it’s turning into an extraordinary celebration of my mother’s life,” said Patricia Casado. “The last time everyone was together like this was for my father’s funeral in 1990.”
Casado told the LA Times, “customers — many famous, other not so much — came to the diner to share their affection for the couple who had become part of their lives. Songwriter Jimmy Webb played piano. Ronstadt sang. Comedian John Candy came by. An everyday cop, who recalled Frank offering him a free meal and shade on a particularly hot day, stopped by to say thank you.”
Casado shared more details about the services she has planned for her mother with the Buzz.
“Even though you could find my mother hosting Tibetan monks, she was a hard core Catholic,” said Casado, who is planning a Solemn Requiem Mass that will be chanted entirely in Latin.
“I miss her, but there are so many people who loved my mother, I feel like I have a tribe around me,” said Casado. “And whatever happens next, is whatever happens next!”
The Mass will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., and will be celebrated by Father James Fryar FSSP.
Before the Mass, there will be a Rosary on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 4:00 p.m., led by Father James Fryar of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter. Governor Edmund Brown Jr. will deliver remarks.
All services will be held at:
Saint Victor Catholic Church
8634 Holloway Drive
West Hollywood, California 90069
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to Lucy’s chosen charity, the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter Los Angeles (FSSPLA), 645 W. 9th St., Suite 110-419, Los Angeles, CA 90015. 323.454.1002