Lu Anne Henderson


Mrs. Neal Cassady I


The Beat Generation writers have often been accused of being an exclusively male club. If you scratch that surface a little bit you'll see that women were a driving force in the nexus of relationships that many of the Beat writers wrote about.

In Kerouac's On The Road, as the car careens down the highway from New York to New Orleans through west Texas to the west coast, it is Marylou, sitting between Dean and Sal.

Dean, driving naked, tells Sal and Marylou to

disemburden yourselves of all that clothes-- now what's the sense of clothes? now that's what I'm sayin'-- and sun your pretty bellies with me. come on!

And there they are, the three of them, bellies opened to the rushing wind. Truck drivers would swerve off the highway as they glimpsed "a golden beauty sitting naked with two naked men".

The "golden beauty" Marylou was, in real life, LuAnne Henderson. Neal Cassady married the fifteen year old LuAnne in 1945. By 1948 he had divorced LuAnne and was married to Carolyn Cassady. By 1949, when the trip described by Kerouac in On The Road took place, Neal was cheating on his second wife, Carolyn, with his ex-wife, LuAnne.

The trip started on the evening of January 19, 1949 as Kerouac, Cassady, LuAnne, and Al Hinckle departed New York City through the Lincoln Tunnel en route to see William Burroughs in New Orleans.

Kerouac's biographer, Gerald Nicosia writes Jack's feeling for LuAnne ran deep." In New Orleans, Jack and LuAnne went to a park together, smoked some marijuana, and then Kerouac described to LuAnne all the different things he saw in the clouds. Eight years later, in San Francisco's Golden State Park, Jack and LouAnne would again be together. Holding her hand, Kerouac would tell her, sadly, "I don't see anything in the clouds anymore."

LuAnne was one of the earliest of the Beat muses. She was beautiful with long curly hair, blue eyes and a wild spirit. She did much to inspire and inflame the passions of Kerouac and Cassady. More than an accoutrement, LuAnne Henderson was an accomplice.

LouAnne Henderson

Batting Record YEAR TEAM POS BA AB H HR RBI 1983 Beats if .281 128 36 3 14 1984 Beats if .241 170 41 4 18 1985 Beats 1b .255 612 156 14 67 1987 Beats 3b .239 201 48 4 22 4 Seasons .253 1111 281 25 121

Then we all took our clothes off when we were going across Texas. Jack went through that thing in On The Road, saying I smeared them with cold cream, and all that, which was totally unreal. We did take our clothes off, because it was sweltering hot. I mean, we were just dying. We didn't have any cold cream. I would have loved to have had some. Any kind of cream.

--LuAnne Henderson
Source: Jack's Book by Barry Gifford & Lawrence Lee. 1978

1997 Dharma Beats Roster

1997 LouAnne Henderson Cosmic Player Plate
Published: December 24, 1996
Updated October 21, 2011