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‘Mel Waiters Way’ Passes Amidst a Teary-Eyed Council Chambers

Written by on May 22, 2018

The Life, Love and Legacy of “Marvelous Mel”

The musical accomplishments of San Antonio’s own Blues Legend Mel Waiters is impressive, however, after a unanimous vote by the San Antonio Mayor and City Council in Chambers late last week it is clear his heart of gold was the driving force behind the street name changing to honor him as Mel Waiters Way, with the outpour of public support and testimonials of his love, kindness and dedication to community. 

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the building,” reported Portia Waiters, wife of the late Mel Waiters.  “He took care of people and treated everybody he encountered with respect, I don’t think there was ever a time he said the word ‘no’ to anybody, ever, when they needed help.”

It was a longer than usual process for the Waiters family due to the changing of District 2 Council Members, previous Councilman Alan Warrick supported and sponsored the fee required to start the process.  After last year’s municipal election, William “Cruz” Shaw emerged as the new Councilman for District 2 and with his victory the Waiters family had to reintroduce their mission of honoring Mel with a street name.  Once Councilman Shaw began his research, it was clear that Mel Waiters was more than a flashy rhythm and blues singer, he was the heart of soul of his community and just about everyone supported the move to honor his legacy.  

According to Ms. Waiters the biggest advocates for the name change was “everybody on Rio Grande St.”  She visited everyone and every business on Rio Grande St. face to face and what she found was that everybody she talked to had stories to tell of her husband’s kindness, expressing her gratitude she said, “we thank everybody on that street.”

Waiters was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas where he honed his skills as an artist.  He was known throughout the South for his hits including “Got My Whiskey” and “She Ain’t Drunk,” where his music set the tone for dancing and socializing in juke joints, dives, and small clubs.  This Monday, May 28th marks the third year of his passing. His family plans to keep the community informed on the upcoming street dedication of Mel Waiters Way.


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