Author: Illustration by Lori Osiecki

Holding Up

Never did I think I would show up on “People of Walmart.”  My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda says it is my own fault.  I got to explain. I bought a bralette— you know, a little elastic bra with no hooks or…

Along the Parade

I used to stare at the gorgeous houses on the St. Charles Avenue parade route, and think what I would  give to live there— just for Carnival season. Not no more. I got to explain. My sister-in-law-law Gloriosa has a…

Hear Today…

These days, when the Gunches get together at my mother-in-law’s, we watch her like a hawk. If she steps out the room, we skulk around, and  whisper bad words to every lamp and  potted plant and throw pillow. I got…

Modine Gunch: Mousy

“T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a...” “Mouse-EE!” sing-songs my niece, Flambeau. Something scurries over my foot. Oh, gawd. A mouse ran out from under the  couch —this same…

Family Thanksgiving

The Gunches usually have Thanksgiving at my sister-in-law Gloriosa’s, seeing as she has the biggest house. Now, even though she’s a perfectionist and wound pretty tight, Thanksgiving is pretty easy on her. Her house is always clean, so she just…

Toil in the Soil

I am not what you call a traditional gardener. Whatever I grow is on leftovers in the refrigerator. But once— ONCE— I did real good with a poinsettia that I got at Christmas. I watered it every day and it was…

The Heat of Summer

My grandkids got a little education before school even started this year. Not that we planned it. What happens is, my daughter Gladiola calls me all excited. She has been volunteering at her school, Celibacy Academy, helping the nuns get…

Showing Your Wits

People will tell you that the reason we usually have Mardi Gras in February —the coldest, most miserable month of the year in New Orleans— has to do with the church calendar and the stage of the moon or something…

Learning What’s Important

First we had the “Marie Kondo Magic of Tidying Up” to feel guilty about. Now we are hearing about the “Swedish Death Cleaning” (pretty much the same thing, but morbid.) In New Orleans, we got “In-Case-of-Hurricane-Cleaning.” We don’t ask, “Does…

By the Numbers

It’s one of those days where everything goes wrong. I am counting. I wake up late (#1) and rush around and grab a stick of Icy Hot and smear it on like deodorant before I realize, so I got to…

How to Flush

Used to be, you would go to the ladies room, do the necessary, wash your hands, dry them, check your lipstick, and leave. Not no more. Nowadays, you practically need a choreographed dance routine to get a hand towel out…

Hog Wild

I am buckling my seatbelt on this airplane. I glance up, and I notice the passenger in the aisle seat two rows ahead is a pig. I ain’t trying to be mean. Everybody has a bad day once in a…

Biodegradable Beads

Remember when the city pulled 49 tons of Carnival beads out the storm drains on St. Charles Avenue? And everybody said, “Well, looka that. So THAT’s why we been flooding.” This gives my daughter Gladiola a brilliant idea. She can…

The Perils of Reveal Parties

Used to be, you waited until a baby was born. Then the doctor looked at its privates and said, “It’s a boy!” Or “It’s a girl!” Now you can find out way ahead of time. So you don’t have that…

Modine's New Orleans

What do you do if your car has a honking problem? I ask you that.I am driving my mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, to Rouse’s in Metairie for her New Year’s resolution supply of Weight Watchers food.We stop at the McDonald’s for…

Modine's New Orleans

It’s a good thing God put Thanksgiving at the end of the hurricane season. Then we know for sure whether we got reason to be thankful or not.The Gunch family is taking a chance this year and celebrating it a…

MODINE GUNCH: MASKING MAKEOVER

When I was little, I thought somebody three feet high and disguised in a bed sheet was extremely scary. So that’s what I wore on Halloween and I always collected enough candy to make myself sick. My own kids wanted…

MODINE'S: PUSHING THE WRONG BUTTON

I am trapped in my mother-in-law’s garage.It could happen to anybody. I knock at Ms. Larda’s front door and nobody answers. I see her garage door standing wide open so I go in that way, thinking maybe she’s in her…

BEAUTY AND THE BIN

My mother-in-law Ms. Larda is usually so busy minding other people’s business she don’t think about herself.  But now she got a problem. She decides to ask for advice from her daughter Gloriosa, because this problem involves money and Gloriosa…

MODINE'S: TALKIN’ DIRTY

Just for a change, the Gunch family decides to take a little trip that don’t involve fleeing for our lives. We’re gonna spend a couple days at the Beau Rivage casino in Mississippi.The kids can splash around in the pool…

MODINE'S: WASTE MANAGEMENT

If you live in New Orleans, you’ve heard a lot of Jazz Fest stories. Most of them involve music.This one don’t.Here’s how it starts: Last year, me and my teenage kids, Gladiola and Gargoyle, got hired to sell T-shirts out…

MODINE'S: Making a Statement

Most people in New Orleans have a tradition for Carnival day – circling their ladders on St. Charles Avenue, riding a truck behind the Rex parade or walking from the French Quarter to wherever the parade is.My daughter Gumdrop has…

MODINE'S: HOW TO REVIVE A KING CAKE

This is a story about King Cake shrinkage.Now, a King Cake is the easiest cake in the world to sneak a slice of without nobody knowing. If you cut a wedge out of a regular cake without asking, you’re in…

MODINE'S: SCANDAL IN FOLSOM

My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, is back home in Chalmette.Not a minute too soon. She says she can’t never show her face in Folsom again.She had been staying there on the Northshore with my daughter Gumdrop while her house was getting…

MODINE GUNCH: A YULE DUEl

This Christmas, I don’t have to worry about what to buy for the person who has everything. Everybody I knows got nothing.My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, says she could use a sack of grout and some roofing nails, and her sons,…