Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Windows Wednesday

In anticipation of attending Our Lady of the Gulf Church's annual Crab Festival this weekend, I looked back to my post of last year's fest. In the post was this picture of stained glass found in Century Hall where you can shop and enjoy the art gallery in air conditioned comfort.

RIP Nora Ephron

Journalist, writer, director and more. Nora Ephron succumbed to leukemia at the age of 71 on June 26th. I listened to a piece on NPR about her life and there was one part that really hit home for me.

Here is an excerpt from an interview done with NPR in November of 2010

"You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can't put things off thinking you'll get to them someday," she says. "If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I'm very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it."

For Ephron, there was a moment that helped bring that realization vividly home. She was with friends, playing a round of "What would your last meal be?"

(Her pick, by the way: a Nate & Al's hot dog.)

"But (my friend) Judy was dying of throat cancer, and she said, 'I can't even have my last meal.' And that's what you have to know is, if you're serious about it, have it now," Ephron says. "Have it tonight, have it all the time, so that when you're lying on your deathbed you're not thinking, 'Oh I should have had more Nate & Al's hot dogs.'"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Live Mermaid

For Charlotte over at Traveling Mermaid.

We saw this "live" mermaid at the Hot Air Balloon Fest and the first thought that popped into my head was "Charlotte!!".

Monday, June 25, 2012

Evacuation Day

Just in time for the Hurricane Season. A new song by Bennie Grunch and the Bunch.
"Evacuation Day"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


We made the trek to Foley, Alabama for the second year in a row to attend the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival. Now in it's 8th year, the festival attracts balloon teams from Ohio, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana and Alabama.

While the real action takes place at 6 A.M. both days of the Festival and at sunset, the grounds offer vendors from photography to soap makers, the Disc Connected K9's and carny food.

To pass the time during the day when there wasn't much going on we paid a visit to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo (the little zoo that could). It was fantastic and will be the subject of another post.

There is nothing more awe-inspiring than watching the balloons inflate.

Look how huges these balloons are.

First balloon to fly is "Hope Floats" from Alabama

One balloon rises above the others

The Constitution balloon, "Freedom Flyer" from Florida.

The "Smiley" from Ohio balloon was a big hit.

I kicked myself for not bringing my wide-angle lens!

The black balloon is "Wind Spirit" from Alabama.

Here's "Wisdom Racer" from Baton Rouge rising into the sky

There's "Cheaper than a Wife" from Missouri.

Flying over the tree line.....

Left to right "Touchstone Energy" from Texas, "Smiley" from Ohio, "Let's Get High" from Alabama and "Big Red" from North Carolina.

Here's "Dean's Dream" from Mississippi

I liked the way the setting sun was reflected on these balloons.

One of our favorites: "Synchronicity" from Nevada.

Floating away.....

Smokey the Bear from New Mexico.

The "Budweiser" balloon's from Mississippi.

After the first half of the balloons took off, the "Glow & Twinkle" started.

It's fun to watch and try to get the pictures as they glow.

Sunrise Fellowship from Arkansas is dwarfed by "Oggy the Friendly Dragon" from Indiana.

Here's another shot of the glow.

It was a great weekend and we learned to eat before we went to the festival because carny food is not so good. So if you're ever looking for something unique to do for Fathers' Day weekend, keep this festival in mind. It's worth the trip. Plus Foley and the Orange Beach area have quite a few attractions.

Window Wednesday

Taken in Raglan Road Irish Pub in Downtown Disney.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SaintsWin: Analysis & Opinion: Closing the Casket on BountyGate

SaintsWin: Analysis & Opinion: Closing the Casket on BountyGate: M onday's events at the players' appeal seemed to provide some finality and closure to the noxious bloodletting Saints' fans have endured fo...

Seeds of Revolution

Why the disgusting hate?

I have seen all of the low life name calling and discussions from his opposites

Here we go again.

Another straight up a-hole racist has disrespected President Obama and black people.

Barbara Espinosa, radio host of Arizona’s “Hair on Fire” program called President Obama the nation’s “first monkey president”.

It happened after a listener called in, ranting about how he calls the president “Rabbit Ears” and wants to know who voted for “the idiot.”

Then Espinosa put in her two cents saying, “Well, I don’t call him “rabbit ears,” I call him a monkey,” she said. “I don’t believe in calling him the first Black president, I call him the first Monkey president.”

But a listener didn’t let her get away with her racist comment. A man named Joe called in and blasted her for her ignorance.

“This show just took a very interesting turn. I’ll be honest with you; It’s amazing that people who supposedly care about freedom are unwilling to be tolerant of any other idea other than their own. You know, I’m not saying
their ideas are right, but how about citing them intellectually instead of calling names. I have to say to you, the few things I just heard, they’re insulting. I mean, straight up insulting, and I think anyone listening would feel the same way. I think that if all you’re trying to do is get a little bit of notoriety by what you said and maybe that will bring some attention to your show, well you know, that’s your choice, but you know what, that was wrong.”

And as usual, whenever a racist gets caught, they try convince themselves and anybody stupid enough to believe them that they’re not racist.

In Espinoza’s case, she’s pleading she can’t be a racist because … well, because her name is Espinoza.

Check out her “monkey” comment:

Monday, June 18, 2012

We are not "noise"> Errol Laborde gets it right in his editorial at Gambit.


T-P’s ownerships just do not get it. On the day of the staff cutbacks The New York Times quoted Steven Newhouse, Chairman of, the Newhouse web division, saying, “We have no intention of selling no matter how much noise there is out there.”

So now we see the mindset of the opposition’s leadership, a guy in New York who dismisses all of our concerns as “noise.”

We’re trying to save the dignity of our city, Mr. Newhouse. That’s not noise, that’s passion.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Scenes from the 2012 Louisiana Bicycle Festival

Scenes from the 2012 Louisiana Bicycle Festival: 2012 Louisiana Bicycle Festival features antique, vintage, new and unique bi-pedal bikes.  Held in Abita Springs every Fathers' Day weekend, it looks like a crazy event.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Legend Passes

Jack Dempsey, a beefy, boisterous son of the Irish Channel who became a police reporter renowned for a booming voice, an ever-present straw hat and cigar, and a dogged determination to get the story first, died Thursday at Live Oak Village in Slidell. He was 92.

Mr. Dempsey, who wrote for The New Orleans States and, later, The States-Item, happened to reign over his realm of criminals and cops during the final decades of the period when an afternoon newspaper was the main source for finding out what had happened during the day. Until 1958, New Orleans had competing afternoon papers, The States and The New Orleans Item. They were combined to form The States-Item, which merged with The Times-Picayune in 1980.

In his heyday, when The States and The Item relied heavily on street sales, Mr. Dempsey employed what his States-Item colleague Angus Lind called "a combination of guile, contacts and natural curiosity" to stay just ahead of the competition with the latest development in a sensational crime story.

Once, acting on a tip Mr. Dempsey received that the husband of a murdered woman was going to be charged with killing her, editors at The States had an extra edition ready to go, but no word came for three hours. They were anxious hours, but editors had faith in Mr. Dempsey.

When he finally came through with the news at 6 p.m., the presses rolled. "We sent 12,000 papers downtown, and they were sold out in minutes," Walter Cowan, Mr. Dempsey's boss, told Lind in an interview.

On at least one occasion, Mr. Dempsey relied on sheer brass.

In a sensational murder case, the judge heard arguments from both sides over whether the slain woman's child could testify. When the judge said he would announce his decision at 2 p.m., Mr. Dempsey, who was sitting in the jury box with other reporters, popped up and said: "Make it 1 o'clock, judge! I got a 1 o'clock deadline," Lind wrote.

The judge complied.

Mr. Dempsey, who retired in 1981 after 39 years as a police reporter, "never quit trying to gain an advantage on his competition," Cowan said. "He did anything to meet and beat the competition, and beat was the word."

In one case, Mr. Dempsey's scoop was worldwide. In several columns of courthouse news, starting late in 1966, Mr. Dempsey relayed the rumor that District Attorney Jim Garrison was going to launch an investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

John Wilds, The States-Item's city editor, asked several reporters, including Rosemary James, to get to the bottom of it. Garrison refused to talk, James said, but when she and her colleagues investigated court fees and fines, they found several trips to Dallas, where Kennedy had been killed.

That was the beginning of a sensational string of stories that ended in 1969 with the acquittal of Clay Shaw, a New Orleans businessman who was the only man arrested in Garrison's wide-ranging inquiry.

"Without Jack reporting these rumors, it may have taken us a lot longer to come across it," James said. "He was good at ferreting out things."

To get his scoops, Mr. Dempsey assiduously cultivated his sources. That meant stopping at Freitag's Bakery every morning to buy hot doughnuts for the police at headquarters, he said in a 1985 interview, followed by a stop at Charity Hospital's emergency room.

"There was an old head nurse there," he said, "and (when) I found out when her birthday was, (I) used to bring her perfume and candy from time to time. So sometimes, she'd let me put on a doctor's smock, and I'd go in and ask the patient what happened. They'd just assume I was a doctor and tell me everything. Got a lot of scoops that way."

Mr. Dempsey was a character, and he knew it. At States-Item staff parties, he could be counted on to sing "Every Man a King," Huey Long's theme song, in what he called, in the tones of the Irish Channel, "a loud, stentorian verce." At the end of every dispatch he teletyped from the police headquarters press room, he used the signature "alihot," which stood for "a legend in his own time."

"I'm a novelty," he said in the 1981 interview. When his wife, Martha, urged him to take things seriously, Lind said this was Mr. Dempsey's reply: "I tried it for a week, but it didn't last."

Mr. Dempsey never used his first name, Richard. He grew up in the Irish Channel, where he sold newspapers to help his family make ends meet. One of his high-school friends was Russell Long, who became a U.S. senator -- and the best man at Mr. Dempsey's wedding.

Although he aspired to become a boxer like the other Jack Dempsey, whom he met years later, Mr. Dempsey went to LSU, where he studied journalism.

He served in the Navy during World War II and in the Marine Corps during the Korean conflict.

When Mr. Dempsey returned to civilian life, he resumed the role for which he will be remembered.

"He had a good time as a police reporter," James said. "He was motivated partially by a desire to get the news, partially by a good, strong Irish ego and partially by having a good time."

Mr. Dempsey's name and legend live on. Shortly before he retired, two policemen he knew received his permission to attach his name to a seafood restaurant they were opening on Poland Avenue.

And James, working with her husband, Joseph J. DeSalvo Jr., and William Faulkner scholar W. Kenneth Holditch, established the Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society to celebrate creativity. When the group decided to give out awards to honor achievements in literature, journalism, music, art and community service, James had the perfect name for them: The ALIHOT Awards, which, she said, "are given to men and women who qualify as legends in their own times."

Survivors include two sons, Richard and Patrick Dempsey; two daughters, Colleen Carmichael of Slidell and Katherine Del Grande, of Sewickley, Pa.; a stepbrother, Donald Hayes of Metairie; a stepsister, Mary Louise Hayes of Metairie; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home is handling arrangements, which are incomplete.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Window Wednesday

Bet Glenn Meche knows where this is.

They killed our paper

American Zombie - as usual - tells it like it is.  Thanks, Jason.  
American Zombie: The TP is dead....long live the TP

Here is an excerpt from Gambit, the part that broke my heart:

No one from Advance Publications or Newhouse, the parent companies of The Times-Picayune, was on hand to deliver the news — leaving the job to the paper's editors in brief individual meetings with those whom they supervised. The paper's new publisher, Ricky Mathews, was not seen in the building.

Richard Thompson, a business writer, brought a bottle of Crown Royal to his individual meeting. He ended up splitting it with business editor Kim Quillen. Both were fired.

So was dining critic Brett Anderson, the James Beard Award-winning writer who had chronicled the rebounding of the restaurant industry and the seafood industry after Hurricane Katrina and the BP disaster. So was longtime religion reporter Bruce Nolan, who had confronted editor Jim Amoss in a speech that was taped and leaked out of the newsroom after a contentious meeting with employees. So were education reporter Barri Bronston, reporters Katy Reckdahl and Paul Purpura, sportswriter Lori Lyons, editor Dennis Persica, graphic artist Ryan Smith, political cartoonist Steve Kelley and photographers John McCusker, Matthew Hinton and Eliot Kamenitz. So were managing editors Peter Kovacs and Dan Shea, who had been shut out of discussions with Mathews. Shea told colleagues his last day would be Friday.

Read the entire well-written article here

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tomatoes and Zydeco

This past weekend was the Creole Tomato and Cajun Zydeco Festival in New Orleans. Despite the wet, wet weather, we were lucky to catch the fun in between rain bands. It was well worth the gamble.

This festival duo took place from the Jackson Square area down to the U.S. Mint. There was food and beverages, music and shopping, happy people and happy dogs everywhere!

As we arrived the U.S. Navy Brass Band was performing Do What You Wanna and I think they did a damn good job.

We spotted this beautiful ice sculpture before it melted away. When we passed by later in the day there was a different sculpture.

(it's a pelican in case you couldn't figure it out)

At the Mint we watched Bruce Daigrepont perform. Good stuff! The crowd thought so too.

We watched a cooking demo by Chef Chris Montero of Cafe B (a new Brennan Restaurant). He made creole tomatoes with green tomato relish, topped with crabmeat. It was tasty!

But that's not all we ate. We enjoyed a catfish poboy from Ninja Restaurant . The fish was perfectly fried in a tempura batter with a wonderful remoulade.

The spring gazpacho from Covey Rise Farm was quite refreshing.

Crepes a la Carte was serving Creole Tomato, Bacon and Mozzerella Crepes. Decadent!

And the crawfish bread!!! mmm-mmm-mmm!

We spent the night in New Orleans at the Westin because we planned on going to the House of Blues to see Kenny Wayne Shepherd, a Louisiana native.

Here's his bus outside the venue. The show was EXCELLENT. We're hoping to see him in Orange Beach this August. It was a great staycation!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Thursday, June 07, 2012

My Kids

Last December I witnessed my only child graduate from college.

I'm extremely proud of her. Although she still lives with us, she's all grown up now, with her future laid out ahead of her. She'll be leaving home soon, but I still have "kids" at home. Here they are

This is Deuce. He's part Lab, part Chesapeake Bay Retriever. He is constantly happy and he thinks he's a small dog. Deuce is very smart, too. He amuses us constantly and thinks that if one of the other pets get a treat, HE should get a treat. Deuce is 18 months old and is not finished growing yet. (yikes!) When he stands on his hind legs he can look me in the eye.

This is "Squirrel". Hubby initially named him Chipper, but he answers to anything, really. In October of 2010 a cat that we no longer have (eaten by something from the woods behind our house) brought Squirrel and his brother into our house. We think the two fell from their nest during a very windy storm the night before. We bottle fed he and his brother, but his brother was weaker and didn't make it.

Sweetpea is 17 years old. We got her when my daughter was seven. She may outlive us all. We see Sweetpea about an hour a day when she comes out to eat. The rest of her time is spent sleeping under my daughter's bed.

Here's Gizmo/Moses/Gray Cat. He is also in his teens. Gizmo's hobby is going towards the back of the house howling his head off. Gizmo is a little wimp, but we love him nonetheless.

That's Meeko on the left and Midnight - her brother - on the right. We lost Midnight last October very suddenly when the vet discovered a mass on his kidneys. It was difficult because it all happened in one day. While we were at the vet's, we noticed a huge cat behind the counter in a cage. The girl working there said he had been looking for a home for over a year.

We adopted him right there. His name is Sam and he likes ham. He's 5 years old and 18 pounds of love. Sam softened the blow of losing Midnight a little bit and I believe part of Midnight is inside of him.

We'll always have pets, I think, especially rescues. I like that thought.