Showing posts with label New Orleans. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Orleans. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2017


Robert E Lee statue removed in New Orleans
In the midst of protests and controversies about taking down Confederate statues and monuments, seemingly enlightened people state that we judge Robert E Lee too harshly, that he was a complex man who is considered by many to be a person of honor and rectitude.  That may well be, but he led an army of rebellion against the United States to preserve an institution that he himself labeled a moral & political evil.

In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages.I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence. Their emancipation will sooner result from the mild & melting influence of Christianity, than the storms & tempests of fiery Controversy.

Robert E Lee's letter to his wife.

How unfortunate that Lee didn't follow his better instincts and side with those who opposed slavery.

Further, after the war ended, Lee expressed his opposition to Confederate monuments when he received letters asking his support for erecting a statue of Stonewall Jackson:

As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that, however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt, in the present condition of the country, would have the effect of retarding instead of accelerating its accomplishment, and of continuing if not adding to the difficulties under which the Southern people labor.

Yes, Lee was a complex man, but, according to the general himself, the country would be a far better place without Confederate monuments.

Picture from Wikipedia.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


A few weeks ago, Tom drove me to New Orleans to meet with old friends and classmates whom I've known for over 60 years, because my legs are still not up to driving that far.  He drove my car to my daughter's house in River Ridge on the outskirts of NO.  I told him he was not to drive my car anywhere.  He's had two wrecks in NO, one that totaled my car, and another fender bender that cost the earth to repair.  He no longer knows how to drive in the city, if he ever did, farm boy that he was and always will be.  Though I learned to drive in NO, now that I've lived in a small town for so many years, and I am old, driving in the city sets my nerves on edge. so I took a taxi from my daughter's house to Bravo's Restaurant in Metairie and arrived in a calmer state than if I had driven there myself.

On the way home from NO, we had experience.  We were waiting in traffic in a long line of cars near railroad tracks, and, when the line began to move, Tom moved ahead.  Then we saw the red warning lights flashing that a train was coming.  Tom stopped well short of the tracks but, with not enough time to see if he could back up, the crossing gate came down on top of the car.  No harm done to the car, but the experience was decidedly unnerving.  We made it home without further excitement, thanks be to God and the traffic angels.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


State officials sent a letter to members of the society [American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene] “disinviting” those who have been to the West African countries impacted by the deadly virus in the last three weeks or who have treated any patients on American soil.

“In Louisiana, we love to welcome visitors, but we must balance that hospitality with the protection of Louisiana residents and other visitors,” the administration officials wrote. “We do hope that you will consider a future visit to New Orleans, when we can welcome you appropriately.”
Jindal and crew know better than the experts.  Bill Gates is not afraid.  New Orleans depends on income from conferences and tourism for its very life.  Since the city tends to vote blue, the governor doesn't like New Orleans, and he doesn't care about the damage to tourism that will result from his ignorant decrees.

Jindal's hubris has no bounds. That was yesterday's reported stupidity, but there's more.
A major U.S. public health organization has become the second group impacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Ebola response policy as it prepares to bring 14,000 people to New Orleans.

State health officials advised the American Public Health Association that registrants recently returned from Ebola-stricken countries and those who have treated patients stateside should stay home.
Ai-yai-yai!  A convention of 14,000 public health experts will be welcomed only conditionally, because Bobby Jindal, once again, knows best how to safeguard the health of the citizens of Louisiana.  How unfortunate that the governor does not concern himself with the 257,000 people who would be eligible for health insurance if he implemented Medicaid expansion.  He won't, because he's running for president and advocates repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In the meantime, because of Bobby's ambition, people in Louisiana suffer.  Who knows but that among the hundreds of thousands of people with no health insurance, there are those who walk among us with communicable diseases?  If Jindal cared about public health safety in Louisiana, he'd allow people to buy health insurance that they can afford.

I'm not finished.  Not even ashes.
The incinerated remains and belongings of from Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, who died in Dallas will not be allowed into a landfill in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Fear, fear, fear - governance by pumping up fear in the citizenry.  Yes, I know other states are doing it, too, but the authorities act out of ignorance.   It's the American way. 

Friday, August 29, 2014


Our Lady of the Driveway
Thanks to Athenae at First Draft for the photo and the title. She took the picture when she was in New Orleans at the end of March, when a group of us led by FD bloggers, Athenae and Scout Prime, gathered to gut a house, view the destruction, and squeeze in a little fun.

The statue of the Virgin Mary lay in a driveway with the head broken off, but a kind person stood the statue upright and put the head back in place. The photo and the title struck me with such force when I first saw it that I have never forgotten it. The image of the statue of Mary in the driveway - "Mary, full of grace" as Athenae calls her - was the symbol of my destroyed and broken home town, my abandoned city, my beloved New Orleans - always full of grace to me.

Our Lady Of The Driveway

O Mary of the Driveway,
Broken like your city,
Your head lies on the ground.
A sorry sight, a sign,
A sign of devastation
Wrought by wind and water,
Angry blow and raging flow.

A passer-by, one of tender heart,
Sees and stops and mourns your head
Lying there apart,
And gently, gently takes it
And replaces it.
There. Our Lady's whole again.
Or so it seems. Or is it so?

June Butler - 5-13-07
I posted the picture, the commentary, and the poem first on May 13, 2007 and then again on the anniversary of Katrina in the years that followed. Until I change my mind, I will post the picture and the poem every year on the anniversary of Katrina and THE FEDERAL FLOOD, which, in New Orleans, was not a natural disaster but an ENGINEERING DISASTER. I remember the nearly 1500 people known to have died and all those who loved them. I remember the 275,000 who lost their homes. I remember those who survived, but suffered through horrendous conditions in the days after Katrina. I remember those who have not returned to their home towns, and who want to, but can't find affordable housing. I remember those in Louisiana and Mississippi still struggling to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Shield of The Episcopal Church
Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 11:00 AM  

Seeking Christ in all People: A Service of Commitment to Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation
Christ Church Cathedral- 2919 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans
On Saturday January 18, our Diocese will hold an historical service at Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans. The Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev'd Katharine Jefferts Schori will preach and witness this gathering. The purpose of the service is to mark several years of conversation surrounding the issue of racism and explore how the Episcopal Church can more fully live into the calling of Christ. This special service, entitled 'Seeking Christ in All People: A Service of Commitment to Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation' is both a culmination of the Year of Reconciliation and a celebration of the life and ministry of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. All are welcome. Reception following the service.
The service was lovely and quite moving.  Below is a splendid account at The Lens, an online news service in New Orleans, of the service, along with a brief history of the Episcopal Church vis–à–vis slavery in Louisiana. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori presided and preached. I'm grateful I was able to be present. "What next?" is the question.
Painting by Laurie Justus Pace

Fast forward to the Christ Church sanctuary two Saturday’s ago. More than a few of us were brought to tears by Tyrone Chambers, a young, classically trained tenor, long a fixture at Trinity Episcopal Church and the Opera Creole, now pursuing his career in New York. The hymn he sang, building on a passage from the Gospel of John, was both a comfort — and a warning: There’s no evading God’s wide love. You can’t go over or under or around it.

Our history and our liturgy beg a question: What next? If the spirit really moved the 500 people who attended the service of atonement and reconciliation, what will come of it? The church was filled mostly with Episcopalians, though I saw many Catholic brothers and sisters. I also saw several unbelievers, an Episcopal deacon who had condemned the very idea of a racial-reconciliation service, and a fellow reporter who is Jewish. She mentioned to a friend that this was the first Christian service she had ever attended.
Please read the entire article.

The text of the sermon by Bishop Katharine is here.

The website of artist, Laurie Justus Pace, is here.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


For the most part, those of us with deep roots in New Orleans and south Louisiana do not think of England as the mother country.

Monday, May 13, 2013


In a shooting so brazen that it shocked a city hardened by recurrent gun violence, 19 people were rushed to local hospitals after gunmen opened fire on hundreds who had turned out for an annual Mother’s Day second line parade in the 7th Ward.

The attackers sprayed the crowd with bullets, despite the fact that police were embedded in the parade and several of the revelers were children.

The victims included 10 adult men, seven adult women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl, said officer Garry Flot, a New Orleans Police Department spokesman. The 10-year-olds suffered graze wounds, as did most of the victims, Flot said. Many of the victims’ injuries were not serious, he said.

Jeb Tate, a spokesman for New Orleans EMS, said three of the nine people paramedics rushed to Interim LSU Public Hospital following the shooting were in critical condition.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu visited several of the victims in their hospital rooms, then, in a somber tone, told reporters that “the specialness of the day doesn’t seem to interrupt the relentless drumbeat of violence on the streets of New Orleans. ... It’s got to stop.”
Yes, it's got to stop, but how? It's way past time for Police Chief Serpas and Mayor Landrieu to deliver on their promises to reduce the the number of shootings in New Orleans, or my beloved home town will die a slow death from the rampant violence. 

Lord, have mercy. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013



The weather here is nasty, with thunderstorms, a tornado watch, and flash flood warnings.  I had an appointment for a check-up with my ophthalmologist in New Orleans, but I cancelled.  The street in front of my house is already flooded, and who knows what the streets would be like in Metairie.  The radar map is from Wunderground and is active and moves without refreshing the page.

Below is a picture from my front porch.  As you can see, it was quite dark.  The spots are rain blowing on the camera lens.  The storm is slow-moving and is likely to be with us for much of the day.  I hope we don't lose power.   


Thursday, May 31, 2012


At the time the picture was taken, the little girl in the left of the picture, Briana Allen, had not yet died from the gunshot wound.  A 33 year old woman, Shawanna Pierce, also died in the the shootings.  The three shooters were armed with two pistols and an assault rifle.

Dirty Sexy Ministry posted a crie de cœur for New Orleans and its people which ends with the following words.
So, I ask that you would pray with me for New Orleans. Pray that we have hope. Pray that we can believe in ourselves, believe that we have value.
Read her entire eloquent and moving post, and please pray for my beloved home city and the people who live there.

The story may be found at

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Since Thursday, I've been trying to write the story of the death knell sounded for the Times-Picayune, the 175 year old newspaper that serves New Orleans.  Oh, the powers say that they will produce a paper version three days a week, but they're just prolonging the agony, because the paper version will die, and I believe it's quite probable that the online version will eventually wither and die.  I hate to make such a statement in the face of the staff members who will not not lose their jobs in the cuts, but I believe it to be true.  So, New Orleans will be the largest city in the country without a daily newspaper.  How special.

The online version, produced by is pathetic.  The search function is useless, so I go to Google to search for articles on the NOLA website.  We subscribe to the paper version, and I cannot imagine reading the online version in it's present form.
The Times-Picayune won two Pulitzers, including the prestigious Public Service award, for its coverage of Katrina. The paper was forced to evacuate its offices and publish online for three days. As the only major newspaper in the city, it was heralded as the most vital source of information for besieged residents.
No matter.  The once proud newspaper is going, going, gone, and I am grieving.  I grew up with the Times-Picayune, and I've read the paper as long as I've lived in Louisiana, with a only a three year hiatus when we lived in Mobile, Alabama, many years ago.

I'll let Athenae at First Draft, who has worked as a journalist for a good many years, speak for me.  She lives in Chicago, and she cares!
Paywalls have nothing to do with what happened to the Times-Picayune. I saw a lot of carping last week about "how many people bitching about this on the Internet actually subscribe" and whatnot, as though commenting on Twitter was itself an act destructive to Noble Print. I saw a lot of whinging about how "people don't read" anymore. I saw a lot of eulogizing about newspapers being a dying form, as if the Times-Picayune wasn't profitable.

Make no mistake here: The Times-Picayune is not the victim of the Freedom Loving Internet or changing times or reading habits of the young'uns or anything other than a rapacious corporate desire for profit over the public good, and that's a problem that afflicted journalism long before the Internet came into being. Speaking as someone who worked in newspapers when we went from cut-and-paste to actual computer layout, who saw two newspapers create their very first web sites, both before and after the same problem existed: The people in charge were greedy, venal, lazy and stupid, and liked playing with matches.

They liked fudging circulation numbers and screwing up distribution routes, undermining newsroom budgets when they weren't outright stealing. They liked telling reporters there was no money for journalism while buying drinks for their parties. They liked firing people who had been in place too long, hiring young cheap college grads, and then telling the older folks still left that it was the younger folks' fault for taking a job that was offered to them. They liked changing what was covered from one day to the next. They liked letting minimum-wagers "sell" their subscriptions and they liked delivering so inconsistently that even if people wanted the paper, they couldn't find or get it.

And they could get away with all this because even with TV and radio, they were still the dominant form, and there was enough money to cover up all but the most catastrophic of their mistakes. When the dot-com bubble burst and American manufacturing went into a death spiral and the economy started to tank, the money started to dry up and people started seeing fire where before there'd only been smoke.

The idea of that "industry" (really a disparate collection of corporations that have no incentive to cooperate in any way and in fact share little beyond a medium) "swallowing hard" and coming to one conclusion about improving itself is impractical at best, even if you believe paywalls are the answer. Any smart companies will let the stupid, greedy ones burn, and paywalls or no, the stupid greedy ones will end up as charcoal because this isn't about form, it's about managing money and mission, and these people suck at that and have no incentive to change. What incentive is there, when you can gut a company and walk away with millions?
Forever and ever.  Amen.

Photo at top from Wikipedia.

Thanks to Steve Buttry via Paul (A.) for the picture of the Times-Picayune T-shirt.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


All right, you naughty-minded people, the name of the krewe is not Tit Rex, but 'tit Rex, short for petit, meaning little Rex, pronounced T-Rex. The krewe paraded in New Orleans on Saturday, with their floats made from shoe boxes. The big Krewe of Rex, which parades on Mardi Gras day, charged infringement, thus the reversed 'e' in the name, which I'm not able to type in lower case, because I cannot find a code. I hope big Rex doesn't sue me.

The name ‘Tit Rex was a shortened form of Petit Rex and was pronounced like the dinosaur. In January the mini krewe announced that, though the pronunciation would remain the same, the name would be changed slightly by adding the phonetic symbol schwa (an inverted e) in place of the normal e in Rex. Though the name change may have avoided a legal showdown, it produced plentiful typographical troubles.

See the video of the wee parade below.

Adorable! My children, grandchildren, and I made shoe box floats for school parades, years ago for my children, and many years ago for me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


In a short while, I will meet Muthah, who blogs at Stone of Witness, and several other folks for dinner here in New Orleans. I'm looking forward to meeting another blog friend face to face. Tomorrow, you'll hear all about our gathering.

UPDATE: Muthah took pictures of our gathering, so I'll wait until I have the photos to write more, if that's all right with the rest of you.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Oh, I love this video of the Soul Rebels marching and playing their way across the Golden Jubilee Bridge, a pedestrian bridge which crosses the River Thames, linking the Embankment with the Royal Festival Hall. Now if this group had been marching in New Orleans, a number of folks would have joined the band and made the march a parade. Ah, but the Londoners heading across the bridge were in a hurry to get on with their very important business. I can read their thoughts, 'Who are these black dudes on our bridge playing jazz and blocking our way?' What can I say? I kinda like it that the band 'took the bridge', so to speak, but then, I am from New Orleans, and I have the soul of a rebel. Since applause is audible at the end of the video, I gather some folks 'got it'. The comments at YouTube

Last summer I heard the Soul Rebels play at the music festival at the Sage in Newcastle upon Tyne, fronting for Soul Queen, Irma Thomas, and they were terrific, a taste of home upon the River Tyne.

When I was in London last summer, after a bit of difficulty in finding the stairs, with help from my friend Cathy by cell phone, I walked the London Millenium Footbridge from the Bankside to meet Cathy on the City side to view the Miró exhibit at the Tate Modern, which was fantastic.

Oh dear! I feel a wave of nostalgia coming on.

Friday, November 25, 2011


The shameless, choreographed manhood that is New Orleans' own 610 Stompers grabbed the Big Apple by the shiny nylon scruff Thursday, rendering "Today Show" hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker nearly speechless during the group's minute-long feature performance in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Or maybe it was the tube socks.

The group of 60 dancers, donning their regulation pale-blue short-shorts, shiny red jackets and gold sneakers, boogied a two-mile stretch of parade route from the start along Central Park West down Seventh Avenue to Herald Square.

Wedged, somehow fittingly, between a TV promo for the 2012 Olympic Games in London and a pink four-story Energizer Bunny balloon, the Stompers busted out to Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For a Hero" from the 1984 movie "Footloose."

They thrust their hips. They pumped their fists. Some wore shades. All wore white terry headbands.
The moves, the outfits...awesomely cool in every way. Heh, heh.
Gwyn Andersen of Montana, who had camped out early on 71st Street and Central Park West for the parade, said her group of 11 agreed that the Stompers stood out as the favorite in a mostly traditional parade roster.

"We're like, wow. The thing that really catches your eye is they actually were quite polished. And unusual. Just that -- and their haircuts," Andersen said. "We all suddenly realized they actually worked at that. Some of the guys standing around us were saying, 'I could be part of that group.' "
On Wednesday morning, members of the group appeared on the "Today Show" with an appreciative Hoda Gotb, who once worked in New Orleans and knows a bit about the madness that characterizes the city.
But it was all prelude to the parade, where the Stompers showed off their "ordinary guys with extraordinary moves" bona fides in front of an estimated 50 million TV viewers.

"Finally a group that would take us," Lauer said.

"Tell Matt Lauer he still needs to audition," [Stompers leader Brett] Patron responded.
And it's only right.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Sixteen people were shot and at least two killed in a bloody Halloween in New Orleans that included gunfire on Bourbon Street, the tourist hot spot in the French Quarter.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, at a news conference called Tuesday in response to the five separate shootings, said a “culture of violence,” that involved young black men with illegal guns has plagued the city and must be stopped.

“This continues to be a battle for the future of our city,” Landrieu said.

Around midnight, two men started firing at each other on Bourbon Street — near the famous Chris Owens night club. When the gunfire stopped, Albert Glover, 25, of New Orleans, was dead and seven others injured. Police spokesman Garry Flot said the injuries were not life-threatening.
I've told visitors to New Orleans that they are safe where the people are, but I don't believe I can say that any longer. The mayor is right. New Orleans' future is at stake.

It's like the Wild West with shootouts in the street. In the culture of violence amongst the boys and young men, arguments, even over minor incidents, are all too often settled with guns and then followed by revenge shootings. Breaking the cycle of violence will be a difficult task.

Will I stop going there? No, but the convention and tourist trade may be gravely affected by stories such as this, and the New Orleans economy is heavily dependent upon tourism.

I weep for my home city.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred, or bitterness, or violence and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer with slight editing)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


From Matt Davis at The Lens:
After plenty of research, reporting and countless conversations on the riots in England, it is my considered opinion as a native Englishman with dual U.S. citizenship, that sometimes, weird things just happen, and that the riots in England were just that: weird.

I arrived back in Blighty on August 20 for a long-planned vacation, burdened with a question many Americans had asked me: What was with those riots, anyway? Somehow, the more people I asked, the more the question came to feel basically unanswerable.

That’s not to say there is no merit in the many theories being put forward. Some of them, anyway.

Case in point. On August 10, the British newspaper, The Independent, ran an editorial under the headline: “Britain has experienced its Katrina moment.” On the same day, a photograph of my hometown ran on page one of The Times-Picayune with the caption: “A building burns Tuesday in Croydon, South London.”
Matt is a transplant from South London, Croydon specificaly, who so far as I can ascertain, moved to the US, because his South London accent would never, ever be considered posh 'over there', but 'over here', any English accent sounds posh. (Just kidding!, and aren't we glad to 'ave 'im)

Matt continues:
I considered calling The Independent to ask why its editorial writers had chosen to diminish the experience of disaster victims in my adopted city with such a glib and ridiculous reference to Katrina. Yes, British Prime Minister David Cameron was lost in a Bush-like moment of political disengagement when the disaster struck. But what’s next? Describing a leaky dishwasher as a Katrina moment?
When Matt returned to Croydon, he walked the ruined areas with his high school friend, and they discussed the reasons for the rioting. Was it a race thing? Was it a class thing? Was it the have-nots getting back at the have-mores? In the end, he comes up short. The best he and his friend can come up with is 'weird'.

Matt tells of a conversation with 'a man in a suit' in Croydon:
“I think we’ve created an underclass,” the man said, when I asked him what he thought had happened. “There’s too many people without fathers, and there’s no structure. What bothers me is we have to spend taxpayer money to babysit these people to give them places to play, otherwise they do this.”

He was affable, perhaps a little conservative by English standards, but then his tone changed, and so did the look in his eyes.

“What we really need is a good war,” he said. “Send ’em all to the front and they’ll all get shot. The Nazis had the right idea.”
Oof! We have that kind over here, too.

I confess I'm intrigued by a South London transplant living and writing in and about my beloved city of New Orleans. I'm sure Matt has more than a few experiences of two countries divided by a common language and of misunderstandings due to cultural differences, as the wedding comparison story which he relates in his post demonstrates.

Read his entire post. I hope I have not gone beyond fair use. Sometimes I get carried away.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Palm Sunday procession in 2010 to St Anna's Episcopal Church in New Orleans

I dunno. Is all that jazz enough? Some might say no. ;-)

Click on the images for the larger view.

From EDoLA, the Newsletter of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


From Ormonde at Through the Dust:
Murder capital of the US of A

The following have been murdered in the New Orleans metro area this week:

1/27 Justin Martin 26 M Shot Orleans
1/27 Dorian Meyers 24 M Shot Orleans
1/28 Terrill Andrews 26 M Shot Orleans
1/28 Joseph Emilien 35 M Shot Orleans
2/2 Information not yet released (killed last night in Gentilly, Male)

Please pray for the victims, their murderers, and their families.

Lord, have mercy! Prayers for all.

Friday, January 7, 2011


From History of the King Cake:

(The above link for the quote below went missing and is now dead. I can't find the source in a web search. Sorry.)
When Christianity extended its influence and began overshadowing the religions that came before it, many of the local customs were not outright abolished, but instead were incorporated into Christian tradition and given a new spin. This even happened to the tradition of Mardi Gras, and from what we have researched so far seems to be the case, but that's another story. Catholic priests were not predisposed to human sacrifice, so the King's Cake was converted into a celebration of the Magi, the three Kings who came to visit the Christ Child.

In 12th century France where the cake would be baked on the eve of January 6 to celebrate the visit to the Christ Child by the three Kings. A small token was hidden in the cake as a surprise for the finder.

French settlers brought the custom to Louisiana in the 18th century where it remained associated with the Epiphany until the 19th century when it became a more elaborate Mardi Gras custom. In New Orleans, the first cake of the season is served on January 6. A small ceramic figurine of a baby is hidden inside the cake, by tradition. However now, the tradition is giving way to the baby being supplied and the customer placing the baby were ever they wish in the cake. Whoever finds the baby is allowed to choose a mock court and host the next King Cake party the following week (weekly cake parties were held until Mardi Gras).

In 1870, the Twelfth Night Revelers held their ball, with a large king cake as the main attraction. Instead of choosing a sacred king to be sacrificed, the Twelfth Night Revelers used the bean in the cake to choose the queen of the ball. This tradition has carried on to this day, although the Twelfth Night Revelers now use a wooden replica of a large king cake. The ladies of the court pull open little drawers in the cake's lower layer which contain the silver and gold beans. Silver means you're on the court; gold is for the queen.

Jane R. at Acts of Hope posted a picture of the French version of the cake, la galette des rois, which looks delicious.

The king cake consists of coffeecake dough, which is then shaped into strips and twisted to form an oval or circle. The original king cakes were decorated with only granulated sugar dyed purple, gold, and green, the official colors of the New Orleans Carnival season. Today most king cakes are covered with icing of some sort, like the cake pictured above, with the dyed sugar topping the icing. Other present-day variations on the original include cakes with fillings of all sorts, from cream to fruit-flavored jelly and whatever else the bakers may dream up.

The funniest commentary I've ever read about a king cake is about the baby, which was once baked into the cake, but is now, for fear of litigation, placed somewhere in the package or box for the customer to place in the cake, thus making the customer liable, rather than the bakery or the market. Here's the link to the commentary by blondiusmaximus at Live Journal. I must warn you that the post is x-rated and forbidden to my readers under the age of 14. And no lying about your age!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010



Seven people were shot in New Orleans on Monday, two of them fatally, on the heels of a violent weekend that saw 18 people shot in the New Orleans area, eight in a single high-profile incident on Canal Street as the second night of the French Quarter Festival wrapped up Saturday.

Police responded to a call of shots fired Monday around 1:20 p.m. at Law and Desire streets, where they found Terence Butler, 36, dead. Two other men were taken to the hospital, where one of them, Derrick Jones, 32, died, said John Gagliano, chief investigator for the coroner's office. A third person was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Minutes later, police responded to a separate shooting three blocks away at Clouet Street and Lausat Place and found a man who had been shot several times. He too was transported to a hospital in critical condition, said New Orleans police spokesmen Garry Flot and Jannsen Valencia.

If my count is correct, three people are dead and 15 were wounded, some critically, from gunshots during the weekend and on Monday. What's going on? There's a vacuum at the top. Ray Nagin seems to be MIA. He's pretty much departed from his job as mayor before the next mayor is sworn in, except for his attempts to commit the new mayor to as many contracts as possible before he leaves office. The New Orleans Police Department is demoralized, and Chief Warren Riley seems unable to implement a strategy to stem the violence.

May 3, the date of Mitch Landrieu's swearing into the office of mayor of New Orleans, can't come fast enough for me. I know he's no savior, but he'll be a better mayor than Nagin if he only half tries. He faces the daunting challenge of reducing violence in the city.

Ormonde at Through the Dust keeps count of the murders in New Orleans. He'll have more names to add to the list for his next post in his series, "Murder capital of the US of A".