No to Demo of Historical Canal St/Tchoupitoulas Buildings!

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For historical info and how to contact the City Council click here. The council vote is this Thursdsy, May 22.  Let your voice be heard!

Downton Abbey season 4, episode 5

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Well guess what – Lady Edith is pregnant! And oh no, Mr. Griegson has gone missing! Poor Edith is a wreck, and we got a sneak preview of next week’s episode in which she confides in Lady Rosamund – we’ll just have to see where it goes next, or if Mr. Griegson reappears. Personally I think he’s a spy for the British government and has gone deep underground. I just hope Lady Edith doesn’t do anything rash. I so truly want Edith to triumph, she more than  deserves it.

The footman Albert got a second letter from the Ritz, offering him a spot in the culinary training program. Of course Daisy is now brokenhearted and Ivy is the recipient of everyone’s wrath. And James went a bit fast on her on their last date, so now the downstairs romances have had a huge bucket of ice water thrown over all of them. Also in the big chill still is Anna and Mr. Bates. They are struggling to recapture their magic, but I am starting to have my doubts. The long suffering Mr. Molesley seems to have won a position as Albert’s replacement, and I wonder if a romance buds between him and Mrs. Baxter the new ladies maid for Lady Cora. Thomas is still pressuring Mrs. Baxter for information, but she is starting to have misgivings. I can’t wait to find out the bond between those two and exactly what Thomas has hanging over her head.

Lady Rose’s birthday surprise for Lord Grantham seemed to have been a hit. The jazz band certainly livened up the Abbey. But Lady Mary found her and the bandleader kissing downstairs at the end of the evening. Rose is playing with fire flirting with all of these different men, I hope she doesn’t get into trouble like poor Anna. Lady Mary is still planning for the future of the estate and a new man has entered the scene, the handsome Mr. Blake. So far he and Lady Mary seems like oil and water, unable to mix properly and sniping at each other. We’ll have to see if he becomes smitten with her too: Mr. Napier visiting alongside Mr. Blake, certainly seems like he is still smitten with Mary.

Lastly the tug of war between Lady Violet and Mrs. Crawley forges on, and a welcome witness to those two fighting is Dr. Clarkson. It is a hoot to watch him roll his eyes while they spar. The butler Spratt is added comic relief and his facial expressions are priceless! I do believe that the battle royale this week was dominated by Lady Violet, “game, set and match” according to Dr. Clarkson.

Cora’s brother Harold is in trouble financially, and seems to be drawing in Lord Grantham. That story line promises to be interesting. So just when I was losing hope, Downton becomes more intriguing, leaving us hanging on for more. Until next week…

Downton Abbey season 4, episode 3

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If I can sum up this episode in one word its PUSHY! Lord Gillingham was pushing Mary to marry him (my if this only happened in real life maybe more people would couple off and marry!), lady’s maid Edna got Branson drunk and pushed herself on him in his bed, then Mrs. Hughes pushed her right out of a job, my my (to quote Mrs. Hughes) what tangled webs they weave. And what’s to happen with Lady Edith? She has fallen from grace and now we are left to wonder if she has left herself flapping in the wind with Mr. Griegson leaving for Germany?

The relationship drama downstairs is starting to devolve into a circle of repetition: while cute, we want them to make up their minds! Yet we have the Bates and Anna saga, with poor Anna now scared of her shadow and rejecting Mr. Bates affections. For once, Lord Grantham has words of wisdom for the aching Mr. Bates, comforting him and reassuring him that yes its a relationship with ups and down and that this too shall pass. I certainly hope so I hate seeing Bates emasculated like this. And I miss the bubbly Anna.

For one, I’d like to see a story line develop for Lady Rose, and watch a suitable mate hunt her down. The bandleader Jack Ross saved her virtue after her partner wobbled off in a drunken stupor, and he was quite chivalrous towards her despite the fact that he couldn’t sing a lick!

The Countess dowager is reemerging and she is ever at the ready with a sharp quip. Check out this website for some cool quotes to remind you of her wit.

In all the chaos, the one person that holds it all together is the beloved Mrs. Hughes. She is such a rock for that estate, everyone including Mr. Carson that I shudder to think what would happen if she was not such a bedrock of stability. She is an honorable woman, but I would like to see her obtain a level of personal gratification, instead of giving of herself to everyone else. Maybe that is her satisfaction, being the stable force that everything else swirls around. I hope she gets her due, in a good way.

Can’t wait for next week! If you want to refresh this past episode, you can watch it here

Downton Abbey season 4, episode 2

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For  a one hour episode, there sure was a lot of drama packed into the episode! The highlight was a house party at Downton Abbey, but I say there was no forewarning for it in the previous episode (maybe I missed it). From the list of guests we meet a potential suitor for Lady Mary, Lord Anthony Gillingham. Quite the dashing figure, he come in and subtly reawakens Mary’s spirit. But alas, he is engaged, however we all know that Julian Fellows likes to blow up conventionality for love…

Lady Edith continues her romance with Mr. Griegson, and with the house party in full swing, has him blend into the festivities. Several attempts to bring him and her father closer together fail, but in the end a card game in which Mr. Griegson wins back all the money lost to the card sharp, including Lord Grantham’s finally elevates him to be acknowledged. I’m sure Lord Grantham may have much to say if it comes to pass that Lady Edith moves to Germany to be with her intended. I am happy for her, she deserves the love in her life…

There is continued drama downstairs and it seems like Jimmy is finally falling for the sweet Ivy. Now if only Albert would set his eyes on Daisy, but for now, Albert has his eyes set on rattling pots and pans in a high class restaurant. The new lady’s maid, Edna is silently stalking Branson, and I don’t know if you caught this but she silently slipped into a bedroom at the end of the episode and I’ll bet you dollars to none she forced herself into Branson’s bedroom. She wasn’t the only one forcing herself: Lord Gillingham’s valet forced himself onto poor Anna, with a horrid rape scene at the end while Dame Kiri Te Kanawa was singing upstairs and all the kitchen staff were out of earshot to Anna’s screams. I knew about this happening, and read about the huge outcry in England against the graphic portrayal of a rape scene. But I don’t know that there will be such an outcry here in the states; haven’t read any kind of online protests as of yet. This is not to minimize the fact that rape is a brutal crime against nature, because Anna certainly did not deserve being brutalized. I fear that the fallout from this will drive a wedge between her and Bates, it seems to have already begun. Slate had an interesting take on this, with a story exposing the continued mistreatment of the Downton Abbey female characters. I just hope that Anna can pull herself out of this tragedy.

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Lady Violet continues her background manipulations, correcting poor Branson’s interactions with the Duchess for one, but I saw in her a soft side. Isobel continues to mourn Matthew terribly, and the dowager has been quietly supporting her in her grief. Can it be? The dowager has turned the corner to become an old softie? I for one am glad to see it, this makes her character even more lovable.

The episode is online to stream if you’d like to watch again, I know I certainly will before Sunday nights. The next episode airs on Sunday January 19 on WYES at 8pm with a one hour episode. And while you’re at it, leave the TV on the same channel afterwards, Masterpiece Mystery Sherlock season 3 begins right after.

Downton Abbey Season 4, episode 1

I really cannot put my finger on the reason for the obsession with Downton Abbey. Its like an addiction to anything: an opium fix, double chocolate fudge cake, sex with someone you really click with, the fixation on Downton Abbey ranks right up there with them all. It was evident in the fall building up to last Sunday’s premiere: searching for any news on the cast, trying to avoid all the spoilers (there are some very shocking events in store!) and the cast tour of America and all their interview videos, I couldn’t get enough!!!

But the wait is now over and I watched it Sunday night, the Tuesday night repeat and this morning I watched it again online – its hopeless for me!

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Please stop reading if you haven’t see the episode yet, but if you haven’t, where have you been hiding under a rock for the last 4 years (lol!)

The show opens with O’Brien, Lady Cora’s ladies maid, leaving the Abbey in the middle of the night to go to India to work for “gasp!” Lady Cora’s cousin Susan Flincher. The search then commences to find a replacement and Lady Rose intervenes and who turns up but Edna Braithwaite, the tart that tempted Branson last season. Now Edna has received a “proper training” and manipulates her way into Lady Cora’s boudoir. Poor Branson, I hope he doesn’t get caught in Edna’s spider web again, but for now she is weaving a nest alongside Barrow the underbutler to trap poor Anna and Bates. She fit quite nicely into O’Brien’s wicked shoes.

But back to Anna – it seems like she is becoming a bit more deceptive in her role. Previously playing by the rules, she has taken a twist and it may come back to haunt her. She is embroiled into helping Lady Rose, the dowager’s great niece staying at Downton to behave badly. Anna took Rose to a dance hall, where Rose met a handsome worker to dance with and by the end of the night there was a fight erupting over Rose. Needless to say, the young man later marched right up to Downton’s back door wanting to see if Rose was OK. Anna then helped Rose change into a maid’s uniform to have a secret tete-a-tete with the young man, but when would you have thought Anna to pull off such a ruse! Jimmy the footman bore witness to all the events so I suspect there will be more with all of them and the smitten young village man.

There continues to be more secret crushes in the downstairs milieu, what with the episode opening on Valentines Day. One of the more interesting unrequited love stories involved of all people Mr. Carson and a long lost love of his. A man from his past surfaced and Mrs. Hughes took it upon herself to assist him and try to arrange a meeting between him and Mr. Carson via the help of Mrs. Crawley. The episode ended with Mr. Carson coming to terms with his old friend, despite the fact that the friend wound up marrying the love of Mr. Carson’s life. In parting the friend shared that this woman had died, and at the end she confessed to loving Mr. Carson and regretting not being with him. How sad that this happened to him, its shows how missed opportunities in life can haunt someone until, if they are lucky can get some kind of closure – definitely ending the episode in tears.

Which come next to the heartbreaker, Lady Mary. After 6 months she is climbing out of the abyss of grief over the death of her beloved Matthew. Her state of mind is palpable and we all want her to “buck up” for the sake of baby George. It takes Mr. Carson to lend a hand to climb out and get back with the land of the living to quote the Dowager Countess. Speaking of, Lady Violet was somewhat subdued this episode, but I expect her to unleash her trademark zingers soon. Meanwhile, I am pulling for Lady Edith, and her happiness, she so deserves her reward in the form of handsome Mr. Griegson.

Aside from some drama with the nanny getting caught treating poor Sybbie badly and being immediately dismissed by Lady Cora, this about sums up episode 1. I know I’ll probably watch the online video 2 more times before next Sunday. Its hopeless…..but in a good way!

halloween in New Orleans

Folks in New Orleans really get into Halloween, decorating everything in celebrating the big holiday of fall. Many homes parallel the decorations on homes during the Christmas season. One of the more infamous homes that celebrates the end of October can be found along St. Charles Avenue near Audubon Park. Here they are, the New Orleans skeleton gang!

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Fall is truly the best time to be in New Orleans – Happy Halloween everyone!

Bucktown Bash – 4th of July

Bucktown was established over a hundred years ago as a fishing village along the 17th street canal. Bucktown has been somewhat of an enigma, straddling the boundary of New Orleans and Jefferson parish unlike anywhere else in the well defined city, with both sides peacefully claiming the village as part of their own. A variety of entertainment venues hugged the lake in Bucktown with brothels, bars, restaurants and dance halls coexisting alongside the boats. Mother nature however has not been very kind to Bucktown, virtually flattening it 6 times, with the most recent being Katrina.

After the storm, the fleet of fishing boats and trawlers formerly docked along the canal were relocated to the Bonnabel boat launch, after the Army Corps of Engineers took over the mouth of the canal to install a new pumping station. So finally with the money from the storm and the impetus to build, the Bucktown Marina came to life after the initial proposal to build it in the 1960’s. To celebrate, the Bucktown Bash was held today, complete with bands, food, kids activities and the Blessing of the Fleet at noon. Here are a few pictures…

The Marina sign

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There was a $5.00 entry fee, and temporary fencing was erected

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There were vendors and booths selling tickets for food and drinks

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The crowd got thicker as the afternoon progressed

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There was a kite building tent that the kids were enjoying

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About a dozen vendors were selling food, drinks, beer, daquiris and snowballs

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The boats were decked out for the blessing of the fleet in 4th of July bunting

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The Navy brass band was having fun

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The Bucktown Allstars had the crowd on their feet dancing

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The weather cooperated and a good time was had by all

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Happy 4th of July!

Nostalgic New Orleans

This morning I finally finished reading “WTC building, Algiers ferry, live oaks among city’s most endangered historic features, preservation group says”  in Friday’s paper – yes, I’m two days behind so I guess that puts me right in there with the 3 day a week published someTimes-Picayune. (As a subscriber, I don’t consider the new TP Street part of the paper since it’s not delivered to my door.) See? Even a paper that prints old news has a place in someone’s world. Anyway, I’ve been somewhat following the WTC building conundrum which brings back the memory of my first trip to New Orleans as a teen-ager in 1974. My then boyfriend (now husband), another couple and I all ended up in the Top of the Mart revolving bar at the top of the WTC where I enjoyed my very first cocktail. I don’t remember what it was but I do remember chilling out in the revolving bar with it’s spectacular views and feeling very grown up. It’s all such a fun memory that I dug into my closet of all things old and found the swizzle stick, spoon and doubloon from the bar and scanned them Here they are:

I hope city officials will decided to preserve the building and put it to good use. To me, it’s an iconic part of the New Orleans skyline and a great example of mid-century modern architecture. Isn’t preserving the past a big part of what we’re all about in this city?

So, later in the morning, I followed a link from a FaceBook buddy which led me to other links and I found the following fantastic video of an iconic New Orleans commercial with a bit of history added, narrated by Ronnie Virgets. Do you remember the Seafood City commercials? I watched this and it took me right back to 1978, to our Parc Fontaine apartment, sitting by the pool in the summer listening to WRNO, watching Garland and Angela on the news and so many “firsts” in my life. I just loved this commercial!

{sigh} Yeah, I guess I’m officially at the age for the “remember whens”.