The Last Loose Caboose T-Shirt That Never Was

Old Loose Caboose T-Shirt Design Cleaned Up
Old Loose Caboose T-Shirt Design Cleaned Up

So it’s been over 10 years since the Loose Caboose Coffee House shutdown and stopped making all that racket in West Monroe & Monroe, Louisiana. I thought it would be fitting to post the artwork for the t-shirt that I was working on that final year. Before the Loose Caboose was morphed and resold to become the University Pub, then  Atomic Coffee & Tea, then finally Cottonport Coffee. I hear the espresso machine is somewhere in Ouachita Parish.

My wife thinks it’s a pseudo-self-portrait. It might be a little. Inspiration for it actually came from a Billy Goat performance at the Caboose. If you drank coffee, went to show, or loitered at the Loose Caboose in the 90’s you might understand.

It’s not like you expect to see great rockin’ performances in northeast Louisiana, but there were quite a few. I would list some of them here, but I know I would miss mentioning a few and it really wouldn’t be fair. I’ll just post my favorites in the comments instead.

Between 1993(?) and 1998(?) the Loose Caboose served coffee and mayhem to the population of Monroe and West Monroe, Louisiana. The coffee shop was originally owned by Shannon Willis and Mahlon (Lonnie) Davis. With the awesome support from a cool caffeinated community of culture lovers, they ran a barely accepted all-ages venue. There was good music, art, and conversation. I still eat my dinner at a table painted by Stacey Thomas.

Old Loose Caboose T-Shirt Design Scans
Old Loose Caboose T-Shirt Design Scans

I got involved in 1995 after graduation from college and because circumstances with my roomate almost left me homeless. I moved into the house on Riverbend with Lonnie and Shannon. I did some design, website, and other work for the Caboose in exchange for coffee, food, and (yep) music. I got my first webmaster gig by meeting Tom Johnson at that infernal coffee house.

I really don’t want to gush over it too much, but it definitely was one hell of a once in a lifetime experience.

5 responses to “The Last Loose Caboose T-Shirt That Never Was”

  1. Okay, favorite shows. Not in any order.

    Pain from Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Mushroom Groovy from Denton, Tx.
    Man or Astroman with a huge Van Der Graaf generator. Lightening is cool.
    Neutral Milk Hotel did a show for Avery Island
    Wally Pleasant

    See I know there are too many to mention. Local groups like Maggie Doll, Disco Soul Savior, Howard Shaft, Ross Beach. Geez, I would have to go digging for t-shirts.

    Maybe someday Lonnie will give up the Loose Caboose tapes recorded off the mixing board.

  2. Yep, those were some good times.
    I still have those tapes in the same box that I packed them into so many years ago when I shoved everything I could into a sixteen foot uhaul trailer and made my way to Maine with my trusty assistant, the infamous Young Brad, who is not so young anymore. The tapes await. I hope that someday they get digitally mastered and then compiled.
    I’m pleasantly surprised to see this web listing, but knew it would probably be from Jess. Thanks Jess for all your work. That Tee shirt looks familiar.

  3. I’m working on the cd’s right now. So far… I have transferred from tape
    Green Magnet School
    Frigg-a-Go Go
    Addison Blue opening for VAUDEVILLE
    The Honey Dogs
    The Subsonics

    You have my email Jess, how many copies do you want?

    • Hi there. I actually just replied to this article before I saw your reply here. I should’ve read here first, oops. I was wondering if you have a recording of the Elliott Smith show from the venue? I’ve been a fan of his since 1995 and collected live shows off and on all those years. But recently I’ve been working on compiling/documenting every Elliott show that was recorded. If you don’t mind emailing me at or just replying here, I’d love to at least know what you have and any info on the show. Of course, I’d love to be able to get a copy of it if possible too, if a recording does exist. Thanks so much!!!

  4. Hi, sorry for commenting on a really old post. I saw something mentioned online about this site knowing something about the 1996 Elliott Smith show at The Loose Caboose being recorded. I’ve been a fan of Elliott’s since 1995 and I’ve recently been trying to compile and document all shows that were recorded. Do you have a copy of this show or have any info about it? I’d love to find out what you know. You can email me at Thanks so much!!!

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