LL_From the Editor

'Lake Charles,' the Song

I am willing to accept that there are lots of things in life that I don’t know. What bothers me however, is the things that I don’t know, but everyone else seems to know. As I stood near the front…

Filé Jumbo

When your great uncle was known as “Blind Willie” and when the tools of his trade, which are still in use, are 107 years old, you have to figure there is a story there. And there is.Baton Rouge resident Lionel…

HOW HIGH THE WATER

My mission this particular afternoon was to photograph high water. Because our cover story for this issue is about Visual New Orleans, I thought I could contribute a photograph of what near-flood stage looked like as seen from one of…

A Chambers Stove: Turning on the heat

When I last saw my Chambers stove a group of Hispanic workers were, at my invitation, carrying it out of the house. It was not an easy job. The stoves are heavy – very heavy. That weight is also the…

The Case for a New State Flower

It was John James Audubon who first declared the vibrant flowers he spotted in the woods to be the “Louisiana iris.” Audubon would never know the full wisdom behind his selection: Centuries later that flower would commonly bloom in hues…

A French Quarter Story

A family from Arkansas was vacationing in the French Quarter one week during the 1960s. Their son was an aspiring musician who dabbled on the saxophone. The family had hoped to go to Al Hirt’s club to see the trumpet…

Uncle Earl and the Pompano

Earl Long wanted to convince his rural audience that he, too, was plain folk like them. There was no better way to illustrate the point than aiming a dagger to the heart at New Orleans.Those people down there at Antoine’s,”…

State of the Union

There’s only one reception hall that comes complete with Bobby Jindal watching over the wedding cake.Of all the votes ever taken in the building now known as the Old State Capitol, back in the days when it was just “the…

How Carnival Has Changed

I was talking to a parade captain, someone who has been very active in Carnival for many years, when he told me something that was surprising: His kids, he said, seem to be disengaged with going to parades. In their…

My Father's Bar

Bars, particularly those deemed best, are the subject of our cover story this month – coinciding with another feature in which our readers voted for The Tops Of the Town. With all this judging going on, when the subject is…

Masquerade

As our carriage approached the building that houses the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles, a group of masked revelers was waiting in the parking lot. When the mule stopped, the revelers approached us and began tossing…

PEEVES OF THE DECADE

For the last 10 years or so, this month’s column, with occasional lapses, has chronicled what it considers to be top restaurant peeves. Because, our Best of Dining issue corresponds with a change in decades, that provides an excuse to…

Last of the Big Bucks Burgers

There was no burger like the Big Bucks Burger. In this, our Best Burgers issue, I’m reminded of a classic hamburger that didn’t make it back after Hurricane Katrina. It was the specialty item at Michael’s Mid-City Grill, located at…

SEAT WARS

Some men, as our cover story illustrates, have an obsession with owning airplanes. I, on the other hand, have an obsession with getting a good seat on an airplane.I am one of the people who, after selecting my seat when…

THE CLASS OF ’95

Michelle Miller was one of our People to Watch in 1995, which, incredibly, is now 15 years removed. At the time, Miller was a weekend anchor and reporter for WWL-TV Channel 4, but there was something about her that said…

The Big One

Five years ago from right now Louisiana was a different state. Not since the Great Flood of 1927 had there been so many refugees encamped on the state’s higher grounds, but back then the refugees were mostly from down the…

OF DOCTORS AND KATRINA

On Halloween night 2005, we were heading for a party along the city’s bumpy streets. We had come in for the weekend to work on our drenched house, so the party gave us an opportunity to get away from the…

THEY ARE “POOR” NOT “PO’” BOYS

This might be a losing cause but someone has to say it. The indigenous sandwiches are “poor boys” not, as is becoming more common, “po’ boys.”This, our Best New Restaurant issue, seemed like a good time to bring up an…

bobbing in the gulf

There was a mysterious white object bobbing in the Gulf. Our cruise ship had cleared the Yucatan straits, re-entered the Gulf of Mexico and was heading back to New Orleans.News of the oil spill and those hurtful pictures of the…

A DENTAL STORY

Teeth are a theme of this month’s issue. Our vampire story deals with those that have a couple of extraordinary teeth – if you know what I mean – and then there’s our annual Top Dentists section.| In planning for…

PHIL Johnson at the table

Twenty-four men dressed in black-tie were standing at the table in Antoine’s stately Rex Room. Addressing them was Phil Johnson, the TV editorialist, who that evening was acting in his capacity as the Master Chancellor of the Escargot Club, a…

Carville

In 1968, when Jose Ramirez Jr. was 20, life in Laredo, Texas, looked promising. He had just been awarded money to attend an area junior college, so now he had a chance to launch a career, but then he got…

SPLASHING FROM THE FEST

If it weren’t for Jazz Fest I probably wouldn’t own a bicycle. Each year after the first weekend in May, I put the bike in the shed with the promise of riding it again before Jazz Fest the following year,…

IN SEARCH OF ST. JOSEPH

I found the town I’ve been looking for and I’ll reveal it here, but first let me tell you what the search was all about.This is our travel issue, and that brings to mind two trips I’ve made to Sicily.…

The Biggest Win

A photograph in the Shreveport Times showed a group of people rummaging through T-shirts and caps at a sporting goods store. The picture was dated Jan. 25, 2010, the day after the Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings and received a…

SORROW AND JOY ON THE EPIPHANY

Carnival is usually best remembered for its big moments, the spectacle of parades, the echo of bands and the imagination of maskers. I, however, will always remember Carnival 2010 for the quiet and touching way in began.In my December 2009…

ON BEING TOPS

As I was leaving my seat after that big Monday night game between the Saints and the New England Patriots I happened to come face-to-face with a couple who, as I could tell by their jerseys, were from Boston. We…

Potomac Revelry

Louisiana can rightfully claim to be the capital of Carnival in North America, but in the eastern province of Carnival’s empire stands another palace, known to the peasantry merely as the Washington Hilton Hotel. Below the hotel’s lobby exists a…