Last Weekend

This was the last full weekend for the season in New Orleans, and I tried to get a full bite. Thunderstorms threatened on and off, but Friday and Saturday were beautiful.

After some house chores on Friday, I took a walk through the Quarter. It is interesting to me how the crowd ebbs and flows over the course of a week, with not only the numbers of people but the nature of them changing. Today it was bridal party weekend, apparently, with roving bachelor and bachelorette parties competing for attention, meaning that there were a lot of 30 something folks in groups of 8 or 10 reliving college days and mannerisms. De gustibus, I suppose, but both men and women were buying drinks for folks freely at the bars they took over the day. I hope they were tipping well.

I had an excellent old fashioned at Tujague’s with Melissa and a foodie tour group not quite understanding that a brandy alexander has a fair amount of liquor in it. I wandered from there to Checkpoint Charlies on the hot day for a shot and a beer in a place too scary for all but the most intrepid tourists. I sat with Chris on his porch for a while talking through the block party, and then we went to the R-Bar for a couple of games of pool. I took a small break, and then off the Buffa’s to watch the Cubs and to improperly use the ATM. I must have guessed the wrong numbers in the dark, and was locked out temporarily.

i went to dba for the late show, the Soul Rebels who were playing with a traveling group from Cuba called CIMA. It was really fun to hear the more modern brass band playing some songs with a rumba beat, and others with their rapper. It looked like there were 20 people up on the little dba stage, and they were all bringing it. The eclectic music cleared out the folks not there for the music after a few songs, and it got better and better. There was a $15 cover, high for Frenchmen Street, but the bartender comped me two glasses of whiskey as a familiar face, so it came out in my favor. It is good to have friends. It was late when the band stoped playing, but I was still pumped from the music so sat in Checkpoint Charlie listening to a loud rock band for a bit. Loud was good.

Saturday was a slow start, but I took an early afternoon stroll to Harry’s Corner, where I sat next to two hilarious Scotsmen who were bantering with Beverly across the bar in almost incomprehensible English. It would take a bit to get used to that dialect. I instantly had two best friends, who were busy buying drinks and attracting a crowd with their storytelling and rude jokes. I was saved by the bell before they bought more than one round by Seker calling to ask for help with the oysters at the block party, or Touro Street Armadillo Festival. I flashbacked a little to Northwestern’s springtime Armadillo Days, but in a good way. I saw some good bands on that long gone piece of lakefront.

Chris had purchased 4 small sacks of oysters, which is how they do it here, looking like 20 dozen or maybe more. He bought half small and half large, and the large ones were huge, looking like a quarter pound of oyster each. They were dredged wild oysters, so had a little more variation in shape than the farmed oysters of SE Alaska, and were covered in dirt that had to be washed off. They had been soaking in clean water for a few hours, and did not have dirt inside. Chris had hired a local barback to shuck oysters, and it was immediately apparent that he had never shucked an oyster before. I demonstrated on a couple, but refused to be Tom Sawyered into shucking 20 dozen oysters. It was kinda of funny to watch somebody trying to learn a new skill, having the right tools and instruction, and all kinds of time to practice, and just giving up. He would have learned after the first 10 dozen or so, but eagerly gave up the knife to a guest from Lafayette who was more than willing to show off his skills. I did end up hosing them off and toting shucked oysters across the street and shells back.

Mike was in charge of the grill, and cooked the large ones the Drago’s way and with Gouda cheese and bacon. We will have to try that at home. It was nice to have someone else in charge of the cooking. Ellen and Judy set up their house to eat, and we invited passersby to join us. A unusually cool group of bachelor partners were looking for a place to eat the 10 pounds of crawfish they had bought at Cajun Seafood, and shared by dumping it out on the table. Often those groups are insular and not interested in talking with folks, but these guys as well as several visiting couples mixed right in to the neighborhood party. It was good to see visitors getting a full on NOLA experience. Oysters three ways, crawfish, muffulettas, and lots of sweets made for a great party.

The whole day was filled with music, with two separate second lines walking by on Royal Street, musicians walking down the street, and good music being played on the stereo. The topper was the Riverbend Ramblers. They are two members of four-person band, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, who won a Grammy last year for roots music, and they set up and played on the porch. They played accordion and guitar, and sang in Cajun French as people danced in the street. It was truly excellent, and a great way to celebrate with friends.

Cecile missed the party, doing house business in Bay St. Louis, but Chris inducted himself as a native New Orleanian on his ten year anniversary of being in the city, and I got presented with a Team Touro pin.

On Sunday, I watched the Cubs game at the Great American Sports Saloon with Chris over a sandwich and a beer. I intended to go to the late show at dba to see the Iguanas, but the threatened thunderstorm passed over just as I was headed out. It takes a lot of energy to be a bon vivant, and I couldn’t summon enough to walk through a downpour to the 10 pm show, even on one of the last nights for live music for a while.

I’m ready for final packing and cleaning today, planning to fit in a visit to the newly renovated Historic New Orleans Collection museum and an appetizer meal at the Hermès bar at Antoine’s for one last fancy meal before the travel day from hell Tuesday. I have an evening flight from New Orleans to LAX, midnight from LAX to Seattle, early morning from Seattle to Ketchikan, afternoon ferry to POW Wednesday. Door to door 30 hours or so, and I am glad it was a mileage ticket.

Big Blue

Immediate post-tattoo photo. I like that you can see the puffy skin and the little trickle of blood. Earning this one, and it is coming along swimmingly!

I leave for Alaska in a week. I swam this morning, a slow 1000 yards that felt good and smooth.

Yesterday I cooked the last of the Alaska fish in the freezer, a nice chunk of halibut, and shared a piece with Steve. I replaced the interior door knobs while listening to arguably the worst Cub game in years. Six errors and no offensive production with poor pitching. Ouch. Ron Santo would have been groaning for about four straight innings before he broke his mic. The house project was one of those that will be hard to see if you aren’t looking, but the old ones were corroded and had been inadvertently painted several paint jobs in the past. I went with the $10 versions, and now that they are installed think I should have gone to the Green Project to get some cool looking ones, or Restoration Hardware for swanky ones. Maybe next year. The interior doors gave me a chance to practice on non-critical locksets before doing the main door today.

I am looking forward to being back in Southeast Alaska, if not the house and boat chores, and to getting back in the weight room. This has been a good break, and I should work on a program for the summer/fall, or just jump back into the familiar schedule as best I can. I will have to decide if I can actually use the kayaks, and if not, sell out of that activity as I did the dive stuff. Hard decisions.

I finished the door project, replacing the entry lock set, and enjoyed a late afternoon dinner in the courtyard. It is awfully pleasant at 65 degrees in the sun. Susie had a day off and spent most of it barhopping before ending up in the courtyard. We chatted for a bit, and then went to dba to see Dinosaurchestra. It was a good show on a mellow night in the club. I walked the street, listening to the street band for a few minutes and seeing some good black and white photography at the art market. I ended up at Checkpoint Charlie for an open mike night for singer songwriters.

It always seems like a good idea to listen to one more set, but it makes swimming in the morning fall off the schedule.

We have a tenant for the summer, a recently divorced woman who is just starting at Johnny White’s. She was recruited fro the restaurant and referred to us by last year’s tenant who was an excellent person to have watch the place. Financially, it would be more lucrative to Airbnb the place, but that would require bending some rules and pissing off the neighbors. I would prefer not to deal with the hassle of being a long distance landlord, and like the privacy of not having a tenant, but being able to help out someone with a below-market rent in exchange for looking after the place through the hot summer months in a compromise I am willing to make. And it might pay for a sailing trip, or….

It was a good day for a tattoo, if not for the walk to the tattoo shop. There was a serious thunderstorm all morning, starting about three followed by a torrential rain. The lightning seemed close, so I skipped my last potential New Orleans swim for the season in favor of not being electrocuted. The news said it rained four inches in 24 hours, and my sweatpants said it took about three minutes to become thoroughly soaked. I stopped t a grocery store to buy a towel to dry off before the work started.

Jamie Ruth pumped me full of blue ink, filling in on my back. The best parts look 3D, and a little more shading ought to really make it pop out. I was in the chair for 5 hours, and she was able to get about a third of what she had planned done. I am learning that this is kind of how it works, and also that the extra time put in makes for a better result. I am glad she is putting the work in.

I got a dramatic histamine reaction, not unexpected, with the skin getting too puffy to work on unless she switched to a different body part. I have heard the tattooing process compared to bee stings, and I think that is accurate, although tattooing pokes you tens of thousands of times it feels like half a dozen bee stings, thankfully not hundreds or thousands. Like a bee sting, the pain goes away with the histamine reaction, leaving a sunburned feeling for a few days.

The reaction settled right back down as I watched the Cubs play at Buffa’s over a cheeseburger. Once again the Aurora Nealand show was SRO, odd to me on a rainy night. She is outgrowing her venues, a good thing I suppose, but hard if you want to sit and listen for a bit.

I made peace with being wet, and wore shorts and flip flops under a rain jacket to walk to the coffee shop, figuring there was no way to be fully clothed and dry. Envie was full of people taking shelter. Hopefully the weather will break for the Chris’ block party Saturday, and so our roofers can get back to work.

Spring Breakers

It was good to get back in the pool this morning on a crisp sunny day after a long week of Spring Break. Deanna was here for the whole time, and Stef and Rosemary visited for parts. We ramped up the activity level a little bit, hearing some great music and eating great food while enjoying the warm weather and the city.

Deanna arrived late Friday after a long travel day, and we began our establishment as regulars at Horn’s for brunch Saturday. We walked across town along the river to the Upper Quarter, enjoying the Italian-American parade at the Chart Room, and then meandering through the Quarter back to Touro Street before a late night show from the Rebirth Brass Band at dba.

On Sunday we had a mellow start, including some grocery shopping where we ran into Kermit Ruffins in the deli aisle. Fun stuff! We were invited to a neighborhood crawfish boil in the driveway/courtyard of a neighbor’s house and met some interesting folks. It is good to get dug in deeper to the neighborhood. Rosemary arrived, and we had a good first meal at Buffa’s while listening to Steve Pistorius from the table closest to the stage. The unamplified tone from the clarinets and saxophone made the set a special one.

We had another great meal at Horn’s the next day, and walked the neighborhood a bit, touring the St. Augustine Church, the Unknown Slave memorial, Armstrong Park and Congo Square. The highlight of the afternoon was the Backstreet cultural museum focused on Mardi Gras Indians and Second Line groups of the Treme. It was a very detailed look at the history of one of the Indian tribes. That evening we ate at Snug Harbor, and because of a ticketing snafu, ended up seeing John Boutte at dba for an excellent and moving set, and then seeing Charmaine Neville back at Snug in the company of a memorable couple from Guyana by way of Maryland.

On Tuesday, we ate breakfast at the Clover Grill and then walked the galleries on Royal Street, stopping for a tour of the beautifully restored 1850s era courtyard and a drink at Finnegan’s Easy, and a good traditional meal at the Napoleon House. The street musicians seemed to be especially good on this sunny day. We stopped for refreshment at Tujague’s and Molly’s at the Market, with a stop at the costume shop to buy sparkly clothing. A black and gold sequin jacket and a glittery cape turn out to be the perfect wardrobe choices for a Tuesday night Treme Brass Band show at dba, although I did break my Lenten prohibition against costuming after Carnival. I suppose I will have to repent harder.

The next morning I found the Banksy “girl with umbrella” piece on the way from Buffa’s to the airbnb, and showed it to Rosemary. It is fun to have an internationally known work of street art two blocks from our house. We took the long walk through the Bywater for a little change of pace, and ended up at brunch at Elizabeth’s. The shrimp and grits in beef and tasso gravy is one of the great dishes of New Orleans. Stef met us there, and we spent an hour in our courtyard, and then we were off to the Elysian Bar at the very fancy St. Peter and Paul hotel in the neighborhood. We were joined by Chris Seker for a drink and conversation, and then were off to Cane and Table for some excellent seafood.

Rosemary left early the next morning after a great visit, and we had a casual morning in the lower Quarter walking with Stef, ending up at the Great American Sports Saloon for Opening Day for the Cubbies. We watched the first part of the game and then made for the N-7 restaurant on Montegut. It is a speakeasy style restaurant, behind a wood gate unmarked except for a stenciled and painted sign. Open the gate, and it is beautiful courtyard with excellently restored small buildings, and a rusted Citroen straight out of a 1940s European gangster movie. The crowd was different than most I hang out with, richer, hipper, and whiter, with fewer obvious tourists or street people. The food was excellent, French-inspired but local ingredients and a lot of care taken in preparation. We shared nine big “small plates”, each of which with a distinctive flavor and texture profile, followed by two perfect desserts. A soy sauce Creme Brullee? This is a great restaurant. We tried to meet friends at our local wine shop and tasting room, Second Vine, where we heard Mojo Working (Mike from around the corner) play a few songs in a singer-songwriter style, and met Danny the wine shop manager. This is a very cool space in the back of a small retail shop that I had passed many times without stopping. They also had a grill going outside, serving charbroiled oysters.

On Friday we met with Stef and Eileen at her bakery on Magazine Street, and had a nice shopping walk up the street. I scored a seersucker jacket at a thrift store that will make at least a great prop or semi-costume. We had a nice break at the Balcony Bar and Grill, looked at furniture at West Elm, walking away without a comfy chair, and ended up at Parasol’s for a roast beef po-boy. We fought the clock, and ended up at the Blue Nile to hear a late night show from Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers. He had a woman soul singer and dancer join the group for a couple of songs which was the highlight of the show, unless you count Kermit doing “Wonderful World”, a show-stopper.

Stef met us for another great meal at Horn’s in the morning before she had to fly out, and we had a relaxed day in the Lower Quarter, with a drink and snack at Manolito, home of the perfect Cuban daiquiri, a very good and unusual Chinese food meal at Dian Xian that included a wrap filled with good veggies, a couple of fried crackers, and seafood. Another excellent spot to discover in the extended neighborhood. We watched a little of the baseball game, and Deanna headed out the next morning.

Perhaps appropriately, the temperature dropped and it rained for a good part of the day Sunday, so I spent the morning doing house chores and then went out to watch baseball. I ended the evening with a sandwich at Buffa’s, sitting next to a couple of musicians trying to write rap beats in 5:4 time. A great neighborhood, and an almost exhausting week!

Getting Ready

This week has been kind of mellow, with the Indians on St. Joseph’s Day the highlight so far. I went to dba for a set of music from Dinosaurchestra to let the excitement die down. I have been doing the deep cleaning not-so-fun stuff in preparation for visitors and for shutting the place down for the summer.

I have turned the corner on the tattoo and don’t feel feverish or punky anymore, but it is still scabby and a little painful to touch. It was a lot of square footage. We’ll see if it will be healed enough to go for the next round in a couple of weeks. I still haven’t made it to the pool, keeping the molting skin out of the pool and the chlorine off the shiny new skin, which makes me feel a bit sluggish. Soon enough.

Yesterday I took advantage of the contractor up front taking a break from painting for the morning and used their porch and floor paint to put a couple of coats on the outside stairs, which get weathered to bare wood from the rain dripping off the porch roof. It looks good today, and it is good to keep paint on. And the contractor did a much better job of color matching the trim than Susie and Booth did with the back stairs. Now the steps match the door frame, but not the outdoor stairs. It was a good way to spend a couple of hours in the sun, and it is a little disconcerting in a good way to be painting dry wood at 70 degrees in the sun-the pain actually adheres to the wood, and dries. Our Alaska porch project would be so much easier at sunny and 70 for a week.

I took a walk around the Healing Center on St. Claude, and re-oriented myself to the Siberia-Hi-Ho-Allways Lounge entertainment district, right across the street from the Robert’s. My mental image was that they were on the other side of St. Roch, and I was glad to prove myself wrong. It might be time to venture into that area now and again.

Seker texted as I was grocery shopping, and suggested a walk through the Quarter. That was a good suggestion on a warm sunny day. We walked Royal at a brisk pace, stopping only in one art gallery and at the Touché lounge, a fancily decorated dive bar attached to the Rib Room, a fancy steak house style restaurant. He was on a mission to buy Birkenstocks and went to the Good Feet shoe store on Bienville, where I bought some flip-flops to replace the ones I blew out in the Caribbean. There were no pop-tops involved. We took the hyper-drive shortcut (along the river) back to the French Market where he bought cheap sunglasses.

I finished the night at Buffa’s with a burger and NCAA basketball. I’ve got no real dog in any of the games, but the win or go home aspect of the tournament makes every game exciting in some respect. I did appreciate the Nevada team took the individual names off their jerseys and replaced them with the team name. They still lost, but it was a fun game to watch.

It is another beautiful day, and a crowded morning at Envie. The spring breakers are overlapping with the BUKU fest people, which makes for a younger, richer, and more obnoxious crowd. At $700-1200 a ticket for the BUKU fest that specializes in electronic and pop dance music, the economic inequality of our society is on full display. 20-somethings with $500 haircuts wearing Rolexes and fraternity sweatshirts waving $100 bills at baristas to try to get service from the back of a long line is not America at its best. Perhaps they should stick to the massage parlors in Palm Beach.

I’m looking forward to a busy week with Deanna here starting later tonight and Mom and Stef here for parts of the week. It will be fun to see what trouble we can collectively get into, and it will be good to look at the city from less experienced perspectives.

The Indians come out on St. Joseph’s Day

St. Joseph’s Day is a Sicilian holiday falling near the vernal equinox, a spring feast that is superficially Catholic, but probably a lot older than that. People make massive quantities of their fanciest food and leave it as an offering to the saint at a St. Joseph’s altar. Some are double wide garages with a statue, packed with homemade food. The food is later shared by all, with the poor getting first spot in line and first dibs at the leftovers.

This is a cool tradition, but it is New Orleans so there is always something cooler. St. Joseph’s Day is the day when the Mardi Gras Indians meet at sunset in their neighborhoods in mock battles dressed in their prettiest suits. They chant, sing, and beat the drum(usually a tambourine), calling out the other tribes and showing mutual respect for the work put into the regalia and the relative social position of the big chief. Each tribe has a big chief, sometimes a queen, a spy boy whose job it is to look for the other tribes, and a flag boy who announces the presence of the tribes. There are usually family members or junior members of the tribes walking with the group, supporting them by joining the chants and bringing drinks, controlling traffic, etc. They wander the streets of the neighborhoods, seeking each other out for a meeting, not unusually for New Orleans often outside a bar, perform a little ceremonial conflict, and move on to the next tribe. At sunset, a large group of tribes meet under the I-10 overpass, and re-enact the challenge and response rituals. This is also a relatively modern tradition, begun in response to a ban on public marching by black people in the latter days of slavery and Reconstruction that carried on right through the 1990s including a lot of police conflict with the un-authorized marching groups, that clearly is part of an old tradition.

I saw the Indians marching in my neighborhood last year around sunset at Iggy’s after having given up on them(and put away my camera) for the year, and didn’t want to make that mistake twice. I walked out my door this St. Joseph’s Day, and towards the Treme. I saw the flag, a feathered sign on a long stick carried by the flag boy, of a tribe from about four blocks away, and crossed St. Claude to follow. This was a neighborhood thing, with people opening their garages and cooking, little kids all over the street, some dressed in their suits and others in school clothes, and people out in the street with go-cups full of hard liquor. I walked with them for a couple of hours, stopping as it got darker and the procession got towards the middle of Treme. I saw three or four distinct tribes in spectacular colors and embroidered beadwork, and two challenges that ended amicably with both big chiefs being respected.

Downtown Super Sunday, the next time the tribes meet, and perhaps the last for the year before these suits are retired, is coming right up, and I hope to shoot that as well.

More photos here:

St. Patrick’s Preview

The weekend started rainy and cool, in the 50s, and I was feeling the after effects of square yards of tattooing. My skin was hot to the touch, and I just did not have the energy to head out on the streets in the rain even for one of my favorite walking parades, the Jim Monahan memorial on Friday, or even a set of music. I did read a couple hundred pages of the Plessy history, for a half-hearted stab at productivity.

On Saturday, I was invited to be a guinea pig for Susie’s literature tour. She did a dress rehearsal of the walking tour she is preparing for the upcoming Tennessee Williams festival for a group of friends. It was an interesting way to see what a tour guide does. We started at the Monteleone and looped through the Quarter, with Susie pointing out a half dozen or so places and telling anecdotes about famous or at least familiar figures like O. Henry, Lyle Saxon, William Faulkner, and, of course, Tennessee Williams. The highlights of the tour for me were the explanation of the role the petit Theatre and petit Salon played in the revival of the Quarter, and the story of Madame John’s Legacy.

It was interesting to see the tour “mechanics”-basically using the time to tell half a dozen stories, pointing out an interesting building or two while walking, building in a 20 minute break at a nice bar, and letting the city sell itself. It is not a lecture, but using the physical prompts to make the stories, true or not, real. I am really not interested in the exterior of a building where author x allegedly lost his virginity to a drunken sailor, but it is one way to structure a walk through the Quarter.

After the tour, I got a text from Chris, and tried to get uptown. I tried to catch the bus, my usual way to the Irish Channel, but missed the noon bus and the next one wasn’t for an hour. As i waited, one of the Envie baristas stopped and chatted for a bit, but didn’t want to make the trek after a full shift. I called an Uber, which also took half an hour to arrive. As we got close to the parade route, traffic just stopped, and I bailed on Jackson well short of Magazine. This was my first Uptown parade, and I got stuck, twice, on the wrong side of police barricades walking against the flow of the parade, kind of like speed reading the parade. I’ve been Chicago-trained on the barricades, and am reluctant to cross them, even if my destination is on the other side of the police line. The rules here seem more relaxed, but I’d hate to spend time in the Orleans Parish jail. I caught a bouncing tennis ball throw, and ran into a black lab who looked like he really wanted it more than I did. A happy dog.

It took about half an hour of wending my way through the crowds to Tracey’s block party, which was packed like a frat party with college age kids and a smattering of older folks. I got a shot and a beer, and worked my way towards Parasol’s, figuring that is where the cool kids might be hanging out. I texted Chris a couple of times with no response, and was about to give up and take a long walk back to the neighborhood when he texted he was at a house party just above Parasol’s. I looked up, and Seker was on the balcony directly above. I got a wristband from the doorman, and joined the Touro Street Irregulars upstairs. Cecile, Judy, Jill, Seker, and his friend John were enjoying the hospitality. They had a full spread of New Orleans specialities, mini-muffulettas, red beans, a gumbo, and an open bar. This house was not on the parade route, so the crew moved on to another house party on Magazine and Jackson.

Cecile narrated the walk over, as this was the neighborhood she had grown up in, and stopped a few times as we walked to catch up with old friends, and ran into her sister. We ended up at a big party where they were serving crawfish and Popeye’s fried chicken and the sides. We popped in and out of the party and the parade route itself, enjoying the six or eight floats, and the Irish themed costuming. This was the end of the route, and the pipers and other bands seemed to have dropped out, with 10 hours of drinking enough to fell even a bagpiper, We picked up her car at the fancy apartment building her parents live in and drove back to the neighborhood.

I had a sandwich and a beer at the bar at Buffa’s, chatting with a guy who had grown up in Geneva and moved to Hawaii as a young adult. I guess I am not the only one who used the escape pod.

I’m peeling like a lizard, a good sign in the healing process, and looking forward to the Downtown Irish walking parade today and St. Joseph’s Day, with the possibility of Indians on Tuesday.


St. Patrick’s day turned out to be a good day fro photography. I walked the Quarter and Bourbon Street in the afternoon. There was a daytime parade in Metairie, Tracey’s was continuing the block party in the Irish Channel, and it was the Mardi Gras Indians’ Super Sunday in mid-city, so the crowd was a little thin. There were some tourists looking lost, and competing gangs of Spring Breakers in matching costumes on Bourbon, benign at 3 in the afternoon, but a real potential fro frat boy antics and fights as the evening wore on.

I took my camera out to lower Decatur for the Downtown Irish parade, staging up at Checkpoint Charlie with a good view out the window. I met some fun folks from Shreveport using it as their party base for the weekend, and had fun watching the parade. I followed it for a bit to Molly’s, and sat for while there. A good holiday!

The Photos:

Salmon on the Grill

It continued hot and relatively pleasant, with a breeze blowing. Locals were exclaiming that if it only could stay like this for more than a month out of the year they would be happy. Many are making plans or just having fantasies about pulling the plug for the summer. I am hearing a lot of Alaska envy.

The project for the week was tattooing. I sat for 5 1/2 hours, perhaps a new record for me. Jamie Ruth has a plan, and now we are in the paint by numbers phase, and only she know where the numbers are. We will try to get the background color done before I take the long break for the summer in Alaska and work on the creatures and the details when I get back to the city. This day it was the black shading and scalloping to give the borders definition. I am liking how it is coming along. Blue is next, filling in some of the wave shapes. I added a heart shape in solidarity with the Rothwell girls after the big stuff was done, and got the “Are you sure you want more? You know you can come back” question from Jamie Ruth. It was a long day.

That evening and the next day I took it fairly easy, but cooked a big piece of king salmon on the charcoal grill to share with Susie and our new neighbor Steve. The fish turned out great despite being a little the worse for wear from the freezer and thawing maybe once too many times during travel. Lime juice and Tony’s creole seasoning made for a nice jerkish finish. It really hit the spot. I might be getting ready to head back to the ocean.

Mark Ingram left the Saints for Baltimore in normal free agent fashion, so I bought a Ingram II jersey before that becomes impossible. It was really fun to meet him in the team store this fall, and he seemed like a solid team player who will be missed. I hadn’t remembered that he had won the Heisman Trophy, and it will be good to have a souvenir of his presence.

On to St. Patrick’s Day! Maybe photos tonight for the Jim Monahan memorial through the quarter, but we will see who is out and about, uptown Saturday for the Irish Channel craziness, and back to Decatur for the Downtown Irish on Sunday. Then I will try to find some Indians on St. Joseph’s Day in the neighborhood, this time with a camera.