Archive for June, 2008

A Sunflower

A few weeks ago I wrote about the house that has been torn down right behind mine. Well as yet nothing has happened with the property with the exception of a bunch of wild flowers. For some reason the only things that grow in our yard are sand spurs and clover type weeds, we are having the hardest time getting the grass to win over the weeds right now. But the empty lot next door is filling up with all types of wild flowers, daisies and little yellow and purple flowers. And this huge beautiful sunflower sprouted up almost exactly in the middle of the lot as if someone planted it there on purpose. Now I do not know for sure that someone did not come and plant it there, if they did then thank you for giving some character to an empty lot. I sort of hope it is natural though, it gives me a happy warm felling inside to look out my kitchen window to see it growing there. It’s a confirmation that the world does work itself out in the end. You see things like this staged on the big screen all the time, a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel of life, these things are so easy to miss in real life. Sunflower

A cigar kinda night

We’ve turned the corner into almost full-bore summer, given today’s temperatures and the afternoon thunderstorms. They’re the popcorn kind that are a Southern Thang — borne of the afternoon heat and the chunky air. But by about 8:30 or so at night, the cooler air has taken over and, though it’s still humid and warm out, the storms have pretty much dissipated. This gives way to what I call a Cigar Night — the kinds of evenings when it’s good to sit on the front stoop with an Adult Beverage and smoke and watch the neighborhood drift by. Sometimes it’s a solitary event, but so often it turns into conversation, more Adult Beverages and, at times, an impromptu party. The fact that it’s midweek makes little difference.

I used to indulge in cigars periodically, but they were little understood (and, I guess, looked a little silly) when my friends and I were in our 20s. Then came the time of raising small children and doing so damn many things and this and that and them other things that cigars and too many other lay-back pleasures were pushed aside. But (thanks in part to my brother-in-law Tyler — a truly good human being) I returned to cigars a couple of years ago. I’m fortunate to live near a very good tobacco outlet (Mayan Import on Magazine) and there are several others in the city as well.

Much of what I enjoy so about good cigars is that they drive away the annoying, the malingerers and the Just Plain Weird. As soon as you fire one up, you’re pretty much done dealing with the health nuts, the yammerers, the hipsters, the posers and the wannabes. You’re either left on your own or you’re left with those who Really Get It.

I like that. I really do.

Win some, lose some

Bad news: Representative Ernest Wooton (R-Belle Chasse) introduced a bill into the Louisiana legislature that would allow concealed handguns on college campuses throughout the state.

Good news: The Louisiana legislature told Representative Wooten and his wingnut cronies to shove it. At least this session.

Bad news: The legislature’s hesitancy to allow students to pack heat might have something to do with the college tuition hike they just approved. ‘Cause, you know, angry, indebted young people aren’t always a force for good.

And to think that I saw it on Chartres Street


There is something strange and magnificent going on in that photo above. Can you guess what it is?

Can you?

Give up?


That’s right: it’s a mailbox. A damned mailbox (though Pastor Hagee might prefer to think of it as a mailbox of the damned). For those not from New Orleans, this may not seem like a big deal, but trust me: it’s a big freakin’ deal.

Leaving, coming back, blinking and deciding

Though the calendar won’t admit it yet, it’s summer in New Orleans and that means a series of things. Hot and humid, of course, touching off snarky arguments that escalate more quickly. It also means the sidewalk traffic on Magazine and elsewhere in the city drops off the table like a 16-pound bowling ball. Many of the city’s restaurants are offering special deals to those who are to venture out, while others will simply close up completely for a month or so. We’ve opted to close for two days in the middle of the week — giving us time to actually leave the city last week and visit our sailboat over in Florida for the first time in nearly a year. It was the first time in seven months we’d spent a night away from the house. We returned two days later — sunburned, sated by simple goodies we can’t buy here (Yuengling beer! Whataburger!) and, though we loved the break, thrilled to be back.

I gotta tell ya — it’s w-e-i-r-d out there, y’all. Smooth streets, you can call City Hall and a real, competent person answers, sidewalks are bizarrely clean. Stuff like that.

Anyway, I brought back something new from this particular trip. I returned with much less patience about How Things Are. Much less tolerance for That’s Just How It Is. The 50 or so hours we spent outside of New Orleans (and returning to the headlines of the latest Jefferson family indictments) provided the final impetus to push me out of my self-imposed New Orleans Acceptance Bubble and into being a more proactive individual. Not that I’m going to go all Falling Down or anything. But I’m now a lot less willing to simply accept the trash on the street, the crackhead stumbling down said street, the utter loons we continually put into elected office, the decrepit, rat-filled, derelict houses in my neighborhood, the incompetence of “public servants” and the overall throw-up-our-hands posture that’s a way of life for too many in New Orleans.

….so I’ll be bitching a bit more about stuff and being more Out There now that I’ve got a couple of days off each week.

…just so y’know.

Yeah.

…and thanks for the bump, Rayna.

Two Kid Friendly Restaurants on Magazine

A trip down Magazine Street has taken us to a couple restaurants that are very kid friendly so I want to share them here with you.

First is J’Anita’s. This is a cute little place on a part of Magazine we had not been to many times because it is that little section on the downtown side just before Magazine turns two-way. Usually when I drive down Magazine I am headed in the downtown direction so I do not see much of the block where J’Anita’s is located but even if you have to go around the block to get to it the food and atmosphere is well worth the extra maneuvering. The family and I stopped in for some lunch not too long ago. We were greeted at the door, before we even stepped inside actually, with a warm hello and a promise of animal crackers for the little one. They have plenty of high chairs (thumbs up) and after settling ourselves at the table of our choosing a little plastic (they know kids) bowl full of animals crackers was presented for the baby to play with and munch on which he did with great gusto. We ordered a sandwich and Nachos with BBQ beef brisket on top. I had never tasted Nachos with brisket topping but they were very yummy. The brisket turned the Nachos from an appetizer into a meal. The staff was very friendly, playing peek-a-boo with the baby and generally giving the restaurant a very comfortable vibe. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner opening at 7am and closing up shop at 8pm 7 days per week. This is a great place to grab a bite anytime and with their kid friendly atmosphere they get two thumbs way up. Don’t let those new summer hours get you though, they are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the season.

Another place a little farther down Magazine Street is Nacho Mama’s Mexican Grill. This is one of the few restaurants that my husband and I frequented pre-baby that we can still enjoy post-baby. They have a bar but no gaming machines so we are allowed inside and for allowing us a little piece of our pre-baby lives in this crazy world we live in now Nacho Mama’s makes the list. Ok it is not for that reason alone, they also have pretty good food. Their décor is an interesting array of Mexican inspired art done New Orleans style with the whole place being drenched in that adobe/terra cotta color scheme. I am a fan of their regular chicken burrito; their burritos are “California style” which I take to mean not covered in melted cheese. Now I like melted cheese as much as the next guy but what I like about Nacho Mama burritos is I don’t feel as if I am clogging an artery as I eat it (thumbs up for not actually clogging an artery at the table). The hard walls make it a noisy place at times when they have a full house but the baby does not seem to mind and high chairs make it an easy visit. There website boasts celebrity dinners so if the food and the high chairs aren’t enough to bring you in maybe the celebrity watching will.

New Orleanian Wins Lambda Literary Award

Closepersonalfriend and fellow New Orleanian Greg Herren just received a Lambda Literary Award for his gay mystery novel Murder in the Rue Chartres–which sounds eerily like a below-the-fold headline in the Picayune, but hurrah anyway!

I’m not much of a mystery reader, and I wonder if having separate categories for “men’s mystery” and “women’s mystery” might be a little much (really, is the GLBT mystery genre that big?), but I’m a huge fan of Greg and his partner, Paul, so it’s going on my list. Consider that a recommendation.

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