Saturday, December 3, 2016

He brought roses

I was sitting at the bar at Vaughan's Lounge, in anticipation of a musical set by Corey Henry and the Treme Funktet. I was with some girlfriends, C. and J., hanging out. The crowd was building, and the place was getting busy. The door buzzer rang, the bartender pressed the button, and someone came in. He was at my shoulder. A greeting kiss and hug - that's how they do it here in New Orleans.

And then he held out a rose to me.

A florist's rose, a large-flowered hybrid tea. The bud with petals still tightly furled, just beginning to open. Like a Valentine's Day tribute only this one was a subtle mauve tipped with crimson on the edge of the petals. Faded from use, but still lovely. The stem was cut short - maybe six inches at the most.

Wholesale florist roses at the Los Angeles Flower Market
My friend works for a floral and special event company. They have been busy for the holiday season. He had just got off work and had salvaged some blooms from a display. He gave C. and J. rose blossoms as well (J.'s boyfriend filled an empty Abita bottle with water to serve as a vase), and there were still five or six clutched in his hand.

My friend is a working man, serious and dark, and usually wearing a Saints jersey, jeans, and a pair of sunglasses pushed up on his head. Kind of a badass. The hand that clutched the bouquet was calloused from hard work. I said to him, "I love the way you look, holding a bouquet of roses in your hand."

He said, "There were more when I started. I was walking through the French Quarter and handing them out to people who looked like they should have one. You know - a lady here, a couple there."

Fading but still lovely
Who got the remaining roses that night, I don't know, although I am sure they were just as charmed as I was. I tucked my rose into my neck scarf, and put it in water when I got home.

I love this city.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

Post time

A New Orleans tradition that is little known outside of the city is the annual Thanksgiving celebration at the Fairgrounds racetrack. Used to be, the track's opening day was on Thanksgiving, although in recent years it was been pushed back to conform with the autumn openings of other racetracks in the country.

But in New Orleans, traditions don't die, so Thanksgiving Day at the track is an important milestone. People come on out dressed in their finest, including - importantly - fancy hats.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


A view of the super-duper moon last night, from the levee at the Industrial Canal. Not a great photo, but I was there.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Rolling with Style

Click on any photo to "embiggen"
Yesterday was the Second Line for the Sudan Social Aid and Pleasure Club. They were rolling through the Treme in New Orleans, one of the oldest and most historic African-American neighborhoods in the United States.

Spirit 2 Da Street
There was a lot going on in the Treme yesterday - in addition to the Second Line, there was a Gumbo Festival in Louis Armstrong Park, and also a production of Verdi's "MacBeth" at the Mahalia Jackson Performing Arts Theatre. The streets were alive with music and rhythm.

Rolling with the Sudan were subgroups, including the Spirit 2 Da Street Social & Pleasure Club, the Unbreakable Men Social & Pleasure Club, and the Versatile Ladies of Style.

Unbreakable Men
The parade wound through the narrow streets and past the historic shotgun houses and Creole cottages that make up this neighborhood. The joy and pleasure in the faces of the participants was such a wonder to see, following a week of shock and disbelief.

Ladies of Style
Spirit 2 D Street keeping the "Baby Doll" tradition alive

Sudan gentleman
The Ladies of Style made a wonderful spectacle:

Their brilliant suits brought sunshine to a cloudy November day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


It is lunchtime, and I have gone into Horn's, a little breakfast and lunch cafe in the Marigny triangle, just downriver from the French Quarter in New Orleans. Horne's is a place where you can get a pretty good basic breakfast, a nice spicy bloody mary, and a cup of coffee in a handmade pottery mug.

I don't usually have lunch here, but today I am in the neighborhood and hungry. It is slow now, a little after one o'clock on a grey November day. The lunch rush - if there was one - is long over, and other than a guy at the bar reading the paper, I'm the only customer in the place.

Heart sick

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The spirit world

I am not a religious person, but I am aware of the importance belief has in the lives of people, and the comfort it can bring. I'm also aware of the very human need to petition something beyond our earthly selves when we are in need. You might call me a superstitious atheist.

If you are offended by my cavalier approach to religion, you might want to stop reading now. But please understand I have no intention to comment on your own personal faith or beliefs.