Archive for February, 2006


Watching ‘Puppy Bowl II‘ on mute, listening to a Lee Dorsey LP at a very loud volume, front door wide open, drinking a screwdriver, THIS IS IT BABY!!! Pure self indulgence. We all share in the traditional parades and revelry, but the real beauty of mardi gras to me is that we’re all celebrating even when we’re not lined up on St. Charles or standing in line for 2 hours at Popeye’s. Mardi gras permeates everything, there’s this electric sense of wonder that infiltrates your dreams and every thought in your head for that one week leading up to Fat Tuesday. It’s like the best disease that’s ever afflicted mankind.

Going to school in Wisconsin, I had a New Orleanian calculus professor. He was your stereotypical professor, 70 years old, white hair, not generally a flamboyant person. But one Tuesday in February he showed up to lecture wearing a giant “cat in the hat” hat, beads, tossing doubloons to the students… We all thought he’d had a stroke or something. It just didn’t translate. But this being my fourth Mardi Gras, I finally understand understand exactly where he was coming from. You can be 1,000 miles from New Orleans in a frozen tundra, departed from the city for decades, but when the season comes around, there’s no way you can’t celebrate. It is ingrained in all of us, some kind of heinous, wonderful instinct that commands the ingestion of granulated sugar frosting, the catching of useless plastic trinkets, the donning of stupid headdresses, and the shaking of asses to brass instruments until we’re all sick and defeated and useless on Wednesday morning.

That said, I think I’m feeling well enough to head up to St. Charles now.

All I Wanted Was My Tamiflu Prescription

A conversation at C’s Pharmacy on Vets in Metarie, yesterday:

Me: So I went by Sammy’s, and they’re closed ’til Mardi Gras. The deli, I mean. Where would you recommend I get a good po-boy?

Little Old Lady Waiting For Her Prescription: Oh, Mr. Roo’s is good. On Severn. I can’t imagined they’d be closed. They have good lunch plates, it’s all home cooked….

Me: Is that Rue’s like the street, or Roux’s like the gumbo?

LOL: No, Roo like R-O-O.

Me: Oh, like Kangaroo’s. Got it. I’ll check them out.

Younger Lady Also Waiting For Her Prescription: Oh, Mr. Roo’s is good. Sammy’s is good, too. You ever been to Sammy’s?

Me: Yeah, like I said, Sammy’s–

YL: They’re so good. They on Live Oak, you know, at–

Me: No, no, I went there before I got here, they’re closed. Not the grocery. Just the deli’s closed. ‘Til Tuesday.

LOL: It’s so hard to find a good po-boy in the evening, you know? Everything closes ’bout six o’clock–

YL: Oh, yeah, they gotta be careful of them looters, it’s been shameful.

LOL: You ask me, the wrong kinda people been coming back.

Me (desperate to change the subject): I had a wonderful Softshell Crab Lafitte at New Orleans Hamburger Seafood Company, that was after six.

LOL: Oh really?

YL: That sounds good.

Les Fetes du Samedi Gras

there's more where this came from

Society of St. Anne Ball, 2006

Cold Rain Cancels Endymion

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The police rode down St. Charles announcing the last minute cancellation of Endymion but the Avenue was still alive with partiers for hours after the announcement. It was like no one heard them. They were all just hanging out. The city seems to be hanging out. The college contingent is alive and well here and they are really adding a lot in the way of creative camping. The kids with the couches in front of Fortissimo’s have tarped their spot too so it’s like a little shelter over there. Perhaps this ingenuity could be applied to our housing problems. The are cop cars whizzing around all day and night with the sirens going. . . it really makes things seem kinda nuts. I was able to get across town to the pnola event yesterday AND get back to my parking space but a similar attempt early this morning was aborted. We’re in Mardi Gras lock-down. The good thing is that this means the crowds are robust.

All those people who camped out overnight to save their spots must be pretty mad, especially if they drove in. I walked down St. Charles, it was a scene like usual but it seemed like a lot more people have furniture set up. It might be because of the abundance of furniture for discard which has been lining the streets for months, now it lines the street with a very useful purpose. And there are a lot of these cube trucks….we were crackin up at these kids. “Yeah come on over and hang out in my U-Haul.” This truck is one block off St. Charles and they are sort of pushing it with the rowdiness. Our friends live across the street so we watch them peeing in the yard and holding each other up over the keg. They took some chairs off our friends porch and we can see the legs of some poor reveler who has been passed out in the courtyard for hours. We took their photo and they told us to come back, they love us. I told them we love them too. I do anyway. They’re crazy. Their parents might not be lovin ’em too much if they saw this but hey, they have great energy to add to the scene. Maybe the Red Cross could pass out some gatorade or water along the route for these kids at risk of deadly binge drinking.

The weather was pretty sucky, I went home and watched a nice movie. But tonight, Sunday, there are two super krewes rolling. Bacchus and Endymion will roll back-to-back. Yikes, it’s going to make for a long day.

C’est si bon

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Last night the krewes of Hermes, D’Etat, and Morpheus rolled. I was thinking about taking the night off but once you are out there, those marching bands get to you. And I love to see everyone having fun, like these girls who were out there with mom. There were lots of super cute kids out there last night, this one little boy was ’bout up to my knee and man, he was breakin’ down.

I got the blinky skull/jester throw from D’etat, which is pretty good with the kid competition I was up against but I found this longish set of glass beads on the ground. That is some magic. This is the gold standard jewelry of MG. It don’t get much better than that . . . maybe a Zulu coconut. I caught myself saying “I’m so happy!” a hundred times again but I stopped myself.

Today I am heading over the Tulane/Iberville Corridor to help Paul Ikemire with his neighborhood rally. I know, it’s the middle of freakin Mardi Gras but Paul is an unstoppable force, you can’t not help him. He’s incredible. He’s agreed to include Louisville in his organization. Check out what he’s done so far at

I was out at about 8 am and there are all kinds of people staking out their spots on St. Charles for Endymion already. There are about 3 couches out in front of Fortissimo’s. Endymion will be following the traditional St. Charles route, thus it will be the furthest uptown this parade has rolled in years. Usually it only goes as far as Lee Circle. I usually do not watch this parade, it’s just too big and because people are out there drinking and waiting for it all day, there’s a bunch of waaaay too drunk jackasses out there. Including the riders. I got stuck in a mini-riot one year, bottles were flying everywhere, you couldn’t get out of it. I had to hunker down against a building. I started going to MOMs ball instead but this will be the second year I let that go because it’s at Mardi Gras World and transportation is always a pain in the butt, so we’ll see. . . if it rains I really won’t feel too bad about watching a movie.

Speaking of Puccino’s

Speaking of Puccino’s, I have a Gripe. Yes indeedy I do. I mean, besides not being able to connect to their wi-fi this morning–their router probably needed kicking, happens all the time, can’t get too bent out of shape about it. And yes, there were indeed signs at the booths saying “Students! Booths are for diners, not for studying!” which is probably just a miscommunication. I mean, yes, I felt like this meant that my sitting there working on my novel after finishing my breakfast was a Bad Thing, and I thought it was silly to discourage lingering in a cafe endowed with free wireless internet, yes yes, but they probably just wanted to make sure the booths were used by customers, not non-paying cyber-squatters.

I am not even going to gripe about the Puccino’s Zeppole, which is indeed a long-time favorite of New Orleans, yes, but we call the dang thing a beignet, OK?

But no no no no. My gripe is this:

On the wall is a poster, an artful tasty poster showing a plate of beignets–oh, sorry, Zeppoles–and a cup of coffee and a rolling pin. The rolling pin, like the be–Zeppoles, is covered with powdered sugar.

Who the hell leaves the rolling pin out to get covered with powdered sugar?

No, really. You roll out the dough. Then you leave the flattened dough to rise, right? In which meantime you clean off and put away your rolling pin. By the time the Zeppeignets are fried up poofy and ready to sprinkle, that rolling pin has no excuse to be anywhere in the vicinity. Treat that poor utensil right and put it away, OK?

[This announcement sponsored by the Association For Preventing Onerous Cruelty to Kitchen Implements. Be kind, y’all.]

Tuesday morning, 7am, any channel

btw, the the hell happened to Dianne Sawyer's freaking face?

Attention journalists: I know what you’re thinking.

No, seriously: I know what you’re thinking.

You see, I possess many special powers. For example, I can install window-unit air-conditioners. I can blend eyeshadow, making a smooth gradient that runs from the crease of my eyelid to just below my eyebrow. But perhaps best of all, I am journalistically clairvoyant–that is, I can accurately predict, to within a phoneme or two, the exact report that you will file on any given story.

Using this last power, I’ve glimpsed the report you intent to file from the streets of New Orleans next Tuesday morning, and let me just say, it sucks. In fact, it’s so full of inaccuracies and half-truths that I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting it–leaving a little room for your personal tastes to shine through, of course. It’s still got that canned, cheesy tone you blondined broadcasters love so much, but it’s far less likely to get you pummeled by the locals hanging out just behind your left shoulder in the hopes of getting glimpsed on national TV. So grab a bloody Mary, fill in the blanks, and laissez the cameras roulez.


Going In and Out and Under and Through

After two nights in town, here’s the score:

Time spent biking around Metairie: about 40 minutes.
Restaurants eaten at: 2.
Number of successful attempts to get wi-fi at Puccino’s at Lakeside: 0.
Parades watched: 4.
Parades watched from friend-of-family’s balcony on St. Charles: 3.
Footballs, thrown from parade floats, successfully caught on balcony: 1.
Salads spilled on balcony during unsuccessful attempts to catch footballs: 1.

And there that is. Moving right along….

There’s this line in C. S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength where Merlin shows up (sorry for the spoilers, but the book is about 60 years old by now) and he says something like, “Just let me spend a day going in and out and under and through, and I’ll have all my magic back to put at your disposal. This land will remember me.” (Not an exact quote. I’m going from memory here. My copy of the book is back in Boulder.) I keep thinking of that line whenever I come home…

It’s All About the Pageantry

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Here’s a picture of the throws I got last night and my friend, Robin. Yeah, like, Batman and Robin. Robin got his groove on and was workin’ his way into the parading dancers. And for those of you stateside who are assuming that we’re all wasted down here. No, he’s not a big drunk, nut. This, dear reader, is a family man. Robin’s an academic. Robin and his family lost everything in Lakeview. I have total respect for Robin, he is a superhero.
This is how we do it.

Boughten or Boughted??

So I’m buying a house or maybe a horse – I get confused easily. Wait, no, it’s a house. I close on March 30th if everything goes well. What are the odds? So sometime between now and then I’ll have to go look a the place and see if I like it. A year ago i wouldn’t consider buying a house in Orleans Parish but since the storm it seems that if the city is going to get up off its knees then we, the people, need to get on the ball because George II and his band of Cronies aren’t going to do it for us. I was trying to figure out how I could do more to help since I’m out of town 80% of the time so I thought buying a house might be a good idea. I don’t mean to make it sound altruistic or anything as it is a good time to buy in NOLA. I looked into it thoroughly before deciding. And with the rental market so high, I may just rent it out and stay in my apt. That sounds counterintuitive, but it might actually be the right idea. Interest rates are sort of high right now, but there are some really good deals around town. My boy Eric (Eric Wilkinson at French Quarter Realty) did the impossible by finding me something not flooded in the uptown/mid city area for under 100k. Not only that, but it’s a two family so I can be a slum lord to boot! I’m gonna be the best slum lord ever! I ain’t fixin’ shit! Honestly, though, the place isn’t very pretty, but it’s a good investment with a lot of potential. It’s livable now and with a little work, could really be a nice place. All you renters out there, you might want to look into buying. It seems scary, but it’s really not.

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