Streetcar

Streetcar: A Drink by Any Other Name

Well, it has come to this, a column based on information gleaned from blogging. Here I come, new world. At least the subject is worthy. I recently commented in a blog about a series on The History Channel entitled “How…

A Change in Figs

To me, the measure of any self-respecting New Orleans-based fig tree is whether it can produce fruit by July 4th. That was always the case with the most common local variety, the Celeste, whose produce seemed programmed to turn purple…

Long Live the Garden Sprouts

Lunch this day was at the Courtyard Café inside the New Orleans Museum of Art. As I wrangled my way toward a seat with a view I heard a voice from a nearby table. I turned and saw about a…

Southwest Airlines Roulette

My strategy for this February afternoon flight on Southwest Airlines to Baltimore was to head to the back of the plane. Because I’m one of those people who waits to the exact allowable moment 24 hours before the flight to…

STORIES FROM SEAT LEVEL

Like the flashing scenery outside, you sit long enough in any form of long-distance transportation and many life moments pass by:After graduating from high school, a buddy of mine and I took a trip to Los Angeles in the back…

REMEMBERING HAROLD

Harold Judell never revealed the end of the story, but the beginning was certainly intriguing. At the time of the outbreak of World War II he worked for the FBI in Washington, where he was a go-to guy for J.…

When Rex Met Aida (Part 2)

Editor’s note: Last month this column waxed on about the parallels between the founding of the Rex organization in New Orleans and the first performance, in Cairo, of the opera Aida whose moving grand march is performed during the Rex/Comus…

When Rex Met Aida

Cairo, Egypt and New Orleans share the same latitude, 30 degrees, which makes both towns sort of steamy and subtropical – places where vegetation and the spirit sprouts, even in the winter.That was certainly the case in 1871 when an event…

What Happened in Morganza

I always drive slowly through Morganza ever since a local policeman stopped me on the adjacent spillway named after the town. He had clocked me traveling a breezy 65 miles per hour in the business part of town alongside Louisiana…

The FIRST POST-K Christmas

For most of us, the song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” took on a different meaning five years ago – just three months after the levees broke. At issue was not so much if we would be home for Christmas…

Big Shot’s Big Anniversary

There was a time when working guys would take their daily lunch break from unloading sacks of coffee beans at the dock, head to the nearest corner grocery and either order a poor boy or grab a prepared Mrs. Drake’s…

THE FIRST KATRINA HALLOWEEN

Three police officers were walking together patrolling the streets of the French Quarter on the afternoon of Halloween 2005. That in itself wasn’t unusual, except that the three were all New York State troopers. As though to not look menacing,…

THE SEASON OF ’05

While others shopped, I sat in the car outside a Marksville, La. strip mall on a hot September day listening to the Saints game on radio. The year was 2005, we were in our Hurricane Katrina exile and not much…

OUR STORY: PORT ALLEN DAYS

Scott Ferguson, our company’s financial officer, was sitting behind a desk in a small room located toward the back of a Port Allen printing company office. In those early days after Hurricane Katrina, while New Orleans was still legally off…

MY WALDEN, OR LIFE AT BIG LAKE

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Walden, or Life in the Woods, Henry…

Nashville: “After the Storm”

Not that we haven’t our own water-based crises to contend with, but the news of the tragic flooding of the Cumberland River and the damage done to Nashville reminds me of what a great experience the South’s other musically important…

ONE MAN’S WAR

Like many other out-of-work confederate officers, John Bell Hood came to New Orleans after the war hoping to find a future. The recent past had been tough. Early in the war the Kentucky native had been regarded as one of…

GONE BANANAS

Here is a tip: If ever you’re conducting a business deal with a man who’s on a bike, carrying a machete and who speaks a different language, be sure to get his cell phone number.There will be no banana harvest…

Words of Circumstance

Had it not been for Richard Collins, life in New Orleans would be less platonic. Derived from “Plato,” the word, which in the local context referred to a passionate appreciation, isn’t generally part of the common language in any city…

THE THROW

At 7:14 p.m., Marty’s arm acted as a pivot sending a stash of throws from his spot on the float toward the crowd standing along the St. Charles Avenue sidewalk. An instantaneous jerk of the float caused the throw to…

DAVE DIXON AND THE MAKING OF THE SAINTS

Dave Dixon still breaks out in a laugh every time he tells the story that happened 42 years ago. Dixon, now 86 and as spry as ever, has plenty of reasons to smile these days. For all the hero worship…

REMEMBERING HAROLD

Harold Myers Jr. loved Carnival in New Orleans and he celebrated it in a way unlike anyone else. He didn’t ride in a krewe and never reigned as a king, but he mastered capturing the spirit and integrity of the…

MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT

Four years ago this Thanksgiving we all might have been forgiven if we asked ourselves, “Just what is it we’re supposed to be thankful for this year?” With our houses – if they survived – smelling of mold, our lawns…

THE INCIDENT

I called 9-1-1 yesterday to report an accident that didn’t happen.My saga began innocently enough in the parking lot of the Rouses Supermarket on North Carrollton Avenue. The store is quite popular, especially on Sundays, so much so that I…

On tossing a first pitch

Barack Obama and I have something in common, other than that we’re southpaws. This past summer we both threw the first pitch at a professional baseball game. Obama’s toss came at a trivial affair, the Major League All-Star game. Mine…

When jazz met bluegrass

Were it not for my believing that something really special was about to happen, I wouldn’t have been at Preservation Hall on this particular Sunday evening. I am guilty of being one of those people who has dismissed the Hall…

Mother's Day

Someone told me that Alzheimer’s is the worst disease because you lose a person twice. I know when the second time was because of a call from the nursing home that came at 3:15 on a Sunday morning.I will always…

Zephyr Tales

Perhaps it wasn’t the best choice of shirts to wear. During the Zephyrs’ first season in New Orleans, 1993, the team’s home games were played at University of New Orleans’ ballpark, as they were for a couple of years until…

Thelma and John

Forty years ago this month, March 26, 1969, John Kennedy Toole died at his own hand. Twelve years later, in ’81, Toole was reborn as a writer.There are two main characters in the life story of Toole: John himself, the…

When Zulu Saved Mardi Gras

During the bad days shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin went to Atlanta where he met with a group of black displaced New Orleanians. The crowd had the concerns that might be expected with their lives uprooted and the…