Pulpit to the Pew

New Orleans: A movable, in-between feast

  New Orleans is an in-between place. Life holds hands with death. Round the way reminds of ain’t dere no more. Soul-rattling laughter encircles soul-crushing despair. Always with us, always together, always separate. Is it any wonder that Homer Plessy…

There’s no replacement for Church

  When did you feel your Freon kiss? This is no idle question in our neck of the swamps, especially after an idle post-Ida week. Jen and I rode out the storm with my now tried and thankfully true Costco…

Waiting for Bergoglio

  All summer I’ve been thinking about the most notable performance of Wendell Pierce’s career. The selection from the proud Pontchartrain Park-er might not be obvious. Not his four seasons as Detective Bunk Moreland on The Wire. Not his four…

Ringing Relief: From the Pulpit to the Altar

  Experience is the best teacher. Amen to that. Also: Learn Chinese. Children, Hai-zi 孩子 I’ll take the first half of the fortune cookie, at least. Google says the translation is faulty, and Google knows all. (The search engine of…

God or the Girl, and Other False Distinctions

  During my two years in college seminary, one reality show proved must-see TV. As Mr. Nielsen would report, “God or the Girl” performed exceptionally well in seminary television rooms. The provocatively titled, five-episode A&E series followed four twenty-somethings in…

Steppin’ Out: A Billet-Doux from Me to You

  As the funeral procession of Fair Grounds personality Allen “Black Cat” Lacombe turned for a final dirt track lap, his mourners awaited the inevitable late fade. Ronnie Virgets placed a bet that the hearse would throw a wheel at…

Public Broadcasting, Personal Joy

  August is the worst month of the year. The broiling heat, the return to schools, the threat of storms. No matter the year, blue tarp has become the sad, soggy anniversary gift. Of course, the Delta variant chose August…

'Tis Better to Give a Defense Than Receive One

  But what about the poor guy offering the bribe? This was the question that bounced through my head as Errol Laborde began his recent tribute to Edwin Edwards with a classic parry from the state’s charmer-in-chief. Illegal campaign contributions…

Surviving the Summer with Legal Aid

  Thank God we’re below sea-level. I’m sure we’ve all had this thought. If we work for a shoring company. Or if we dream of a boating commute. Or if we move back home with our parents in our mid-to-(admittedly)-late…

You Did Think About All This, Right?

  If awkward conversations were a sport, I could be in medal contention. Unless, of course, the IOC also has a rule against trace amounts of espresso beans in the bloodstream. “I’m sure you did think about all this, right?”…

I Could Do Priest, But I Couldn’t Be Priest.

  I thought about a billboard, but there’s little wiggle in an unemployed budget. About a postcard, but that would be a bit brief. A homily, but an ellipsis is not an endpoint. So I waited. I waited for a…

The Grand Ol’ Flag. To a Great Extent.

  To a great extent. If my dad prepared me for the lucrative life of a blogger, my mom prepared me for everything else. To a great extent. That pet phrase of hers often lurks just behind the sentence, crossing…

Mask On, Mask Off

  Do I need a mask for that? Our question du jour tells us how long our COVID-19 recovery has come. Longer still, the answer ever more consistently is coming out “no.” I, for one, wish to bid a fond…

Red Beans and Ricely Yours, Your Local Federal Court

  One facemask, one manbun, two pairs of red sneakers. And with that, the first federal jury in fifteen months was seated. In a second floor, Camp Street-facing courtroom, our twelve-person peer group fidgeted into place, picking up their individually…

Bad Jokes and All

  Bad jokes make good stories. I don’t mean the cringeworthy, the off-color, the we-don’t-call-them-that sort. Bad jokes of that type are just bad jokes. Bad jokes that make good stories are better than that. A few years and one…