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Re: Julia Street. February 2011 issue.

In New Orleans Magazine’s February issue [in the Julia Street column] there was a request from a lady in Shreveport for information about the lady who used to usher at the Lakeview Theater in the 1940s and ’50s. This was my mother. Her name was Florence Asher Roche. My two brothers-in-law, Sammy Wright and Frank Lais, owned the theater and my mother was the ticket lady and usherette. All the kids in Lakeview called her Mamaw.

Sometimes people would use the show as a babysitting service; they would leave kids there all evening while they went out. Once in a while, someone wouldn’t pick up their kids by closing time and Mamaw would have to wait for them. Boy, would she raise cain, “What kind of parent are you?” They would promise not to do it again. If a single man came in during the kiddie matinee, Mamaw would sit down next to him until he got the idea and left.

Flo Roche Lanier
New Orleans

The Beast on the Label

Re: “My Father’s Bar,” Inside, column by Errol Laborde. January 2011 issue.

I’m a longtime reader of New Orleans Magazine. Although I’m a Washington, D.C., native, I consider myself a quasi-Orleanian. My dad’s family is from NOLA (Dupre, Peychaud – yes, the Sazerac Peychaud – Leaumont, Bodin), I went to Loyola University School of Law (1983-’86), and more recently, I’m one of the founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail and a regular presenter at Tales of the Cocktail.

I thoroughly enjoyed Errol Laborde’s recent column, “My Father’s Bar,” and I have a couple of comments. First, the Gordon’s Gin label doesn’t depict a wolf; it’s a wild boar (though I can see how you thought that). Interesting to note, the boar’s head on the Gordon’s Gin label has been the official insignia for the U.S. Navy Red Rippers fighter squadron since the 1930s, left. Official permission to use the boar’s head by the Rippers was granted by the president of Gordon’s in 1956. Even more interesting (for me, anyway), I’m on the trademark counsel for the U.S. Marine Corps, and I’m in the process of negotiating a similar permission for a Marine unit (though not a gin label, sadly). While we’re on the subject of the gin and tonic, I note that Ernest Hemingway liked to add Angostura Bitters to his G&T and wrote about it in Islands in the Stream. (I’m writing a book and have done presentations on Hemingway’s drinks.) This is from that novel:

“Thomas Hudson went into the bar where it was cool and almost dark after the glare of the coral road and had a gin and tonic water with a piece of lime peel in the glass and a few drops of Angostura in the drink.

… He stood there, holding the long, pleasantly bitter drink, tasting the first swallow of it, and it reminded him of Tanga, Mombasa, and Lamu and all that coast, and he had a sudden nostalgia for Africa. Here he was, settled on the island, when he could as well be in Africa. Hell, he thought, I can always go there. You can always make it inside of yourself, wherever you are. You are doing all right at that here. … ”

Phil Greene,
Museum of the American Cocktail,
Washington, D.C.

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