The Editor’s Room

Three Times (At Least) Mardi Gras Helped Save New Orleans

  This Mardi Gras marked 163 year since Comus started what would be the continuing parading tradition. The current Carnival post-season is the first time that a virus has ever been an issue. To the discussion, I submit the following:   1872…

Joseph and Patrick: The Lost Feast Days

  Late in the afternoon last Thursday, March 19, I stood at the front door of Angelo Brocato’s. In the world of Italian confections Brocato’s is perhaps the best there is, including the old country. There is significance to the…

When Life Turns Everything Upside Down

  For most of our Katrina exile we stayed at a relative’s home in the central Louisiana town of Marksville. One Sunday evening I needed to get a fill-up at the nearest gas station, which was down the highway at…

Lindy At The Vatican

  This Friday, March 13, will be the birthday of the late Lindy Boggs (1916), who during her career served as a member of congress and then later was Ambassador to what is officially known as “The Holy See.” No…

Speaking Of Tandems

  Usually when people have travel stories, the tale seldom centers on the part when the airplane was taxiing on the runway. For August Perez III, a glimpse through the window would open the way to a major innovation in…

Lundi Gras - The Making of a New Old Tradition

There are some old traditions in Carnival. There are also some traditions thought to be ancient, but really are not. One of the latter is “Lundi Gras.” While, the practice of Rex arriving…

Making Of A Carnival King

It has happened before – the evolution of a head of state in America was rumored to be linked with a prominent Russian. Legend has it that the first parade of Rex King of Carnival, was created in 1872 as…

Mardi Gras: The Mobile Connection

  You hear it said every year during Carnival time. Someone will tease that Mardi Gras, the celebration for which New Orleans takes so much pride, originated in Mobile, Alabama. At its birth, the argument would imply, Carnival was nourished…

Carnival's Confusing Anniversaries

  Suppose you started a new job in February of a certain year. When then should you celebrate your first anniversary? A reasonable answer would be February a year later. That is, unless you use Carnival time. In that case…

King Cakes In The Post-Katrina Era

  There was a time when there was no debate about King Cake. There was, for the most part, only one brand, McKenzie's, and only one flavor, Mckenzie’s- style – which had a slight cinnamon coffeeroll taste. The purple green…

How Carnival Got Its Colors

  Ed. Note: This has become an annual obsession with me. Several years ago, I was involved in a project in which we discovered the true origins of Carnival’s colors; purple, green and gold. It was not justice, power and…

Thoughts for Recovering on the Day After

  So, today we experience a community funk because of what happened in the Superdome yesterday. Fate is good to us, however, because our big disappointment happens to be followed the next day by Twelfth Night and the beginning of…

Christmas '89

  I was at a Christmas week party when someone commented about the weather, which was cold, even for Christmas time and added that a heavy freeze was on the way. She wasn’t wrong. But the next morning an icy…

The Woman In The Song

For Lisa Layne, Sept. 27, 1989 would mean more than just her 27th birthday. She was standing at the microphone at Nashville’s Masterfonics recording studio. Nearby were some of the town’s finest studio musicians…

Daring To Say "Christmas"

While at a party several Christmases ago I was talking to a teacher from a local private school. During the conversation I asked her how they celebrate Christmas at the school. “We don’t,” she answered. “We have many cultures there…

The Great Cultural Mix: Mirlitons on the Table

Whenever we visited my mom her recollections quite often turned to family gatherings. As a holiday, such as Thanksgiving, approached her ongoing wish was to be able to fix “a big dinner.” In her generation, cooking for others was a…

Louisiana 10 Most Influential Elections

  With the state elections mercifully over now seemed like a good time to look back at elections that were defining moments in the state’s political history through the 20th century to now. Here’s my list. If there is disagreement,…

Anniversary Of An Urban Victory

  Fifty years ago, New Orleans saved it historic district and in doing so set an example for other American cities. Though some did not heed. Salvation came from an unlikely source but the one that counted the most. On…

Nick Saban And Me

As we brace ourselves for the annual LSU/Alabama smash down this Saturday I am reminded of my brush with former LSU coach Nick Saban in 2008. My timing was bad. I was driving from New Orleans to Marksville. Heading west…

Learning From Morgus The Magnificent

Last night, Morgus the Magnificent had a rare live appearance, speaking before an adoring crowd at the Orpheum Theater. Because my flight from Transylvania was late, I was not able to attend, however his appearance prompted me to dust off…

Roffignac – The Mayor and The Cocktail

Compared to the guillotine, moving to Louisiana didn’t seem to be such a bad choice. That was the plight of Count Louis Philippe Joseph de Roffignac, a native…

Jacques Chirac: New Orleans Days Of A Future President

  Except for Andrew Jackson, we’re not sure any future President of a nation spent as much time in New Orleans as Jacques Chirac, who was chief executive of France from 1995 to 2007. Chirac, who died last week (Sept.…

Elvis On The Hayride

  Standing on the stage at Shreveport’s legendary Municipal Auditorium, Winston Hall, a musician and tour guide with a passion for the city’s music legacy, pointed to a spot on the floor, right up front in the center. The auditorium…

Hank Williams' Louisiana Links

  Expect for there to be an upswing in interest for country music over the next few weeks as PBS presents producer Ken Burns’ latest series, this one about country music. Segments include one about the music’s greatest performer and…

Do You Still Think About It? I Do.

  Last May I was attending a conference in Minneapolis. One morning I was in a breakfast buffet line when a man across from me, whom I did not know, looked up from his pancakes and asked a question that…

Farewell Zephyrs/Cakes

  This is the last week of home games for the Triple-A baseball franchise formerly known as the Zephyrs then changed to the Baby Cakes. After a homestand against Memphis, the team will finish the season in Oklahoma City. After…

The Pilot and the Passenger

  When I last talked to Franklin Augustus the occasion was a party to commemorate the life of a minority pilot who perished while flying. Augustus was the pilot of the two person aircraft in which he and news anchor…

Should We Try Again With Hurricane Modification?

  We have wondered this about warts, colds and crabgrass and now each time a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico we ask the same about the storms, “why can’t they make them go away?” In fact, “they” have tried.…