Carnival as Goat Rodeo

From the Urban Dictionary: A Goat Rodeo… is about the most polite term used by aviation people (and others in higher risk situations) to describe a scenario that requires about 100 things to go right at once if you intend to walk away from it.”

Chris Thile

Thanks to this past Super Bowl, most of the country has gotten a bit of an idea of what it is to live in a goat rodeo as we do in New Orleans. Personally, I think if the scoreboard hadn’t gone out as well, play could’ve resumed right off in a half-lit Superdome, but that 34-minute delay sure made for a lot of fun on Twitter, most of it coming from the locals.

The thing most people cannot understand unless they live here is how much the week of Carnivalus interruptus has thrown us revelers for a loop. Honestly, if I hadn’t had the Abita Springs’ Krewe of Pushmow parade in which to march the Saturday just before the big game, I’d be running through the streets begging the greasy-food stand on my parade-watching corner that disappeared for the week before February 3rd to return and rounding up a bunch of people to throw the carnival goodies collected in my attic at nearby sidewalks and neutral grounds just to justify the booth’s presence. We don’t need all the famous people here to have fun, and if they happen to be here, we don’t particularly care.

Having said that, in goat rodeo terms, this has been one of the easiest-going Carnivals I’ve experienced in part because of that break, in part because I have a bit of a particular party pooper for a son (if he goes to the parades, they must be day parades unless he’s with peers who are attending a night parade, and the weather must be pretty good, and he must be plied with snacks – some of them coming from that greasy-food stand – and a few boxes of gunpowder poppers from the carts that troll the crowds just before a parade, looking to sell wares one can most likely catch off a float later on), and in part because I’ve got so much stuff in that attic I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t matter much to me what we get this year. As a result, I’ve been able to kick back a little and enjoy some of the quirkier aspects of New Orleans Carnival.

I got to enjoy my fifth year of marching in Krewe du Vieux with the Seeds of Decline. We had a marvelous float tweaking Chick-Fil-A, in case you couldn’t tell from my costume:

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(Photo copyright 2013 by Sean Ambrose)

I dragged my son to see the Krewe of ‘tit Rex, which he wasn’t thrilled about at first, until he got some of the mini throws the krewe members pass to paradegoers as they pull their elegant (and topical) shoebox floats through the Marigny.

Maximum Jindal: Bare Minimum State

We managed to fit in a look at the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus a few hours later on the same night – of which my personal favorite part was seeing these guys yip-yip-yip their way along the parade route. Uh-huh uh-huh.

Sesame Street Martians

But we all got together with friends for a beautiful morning of marching through Abita Springs as a band of pirates. I even emerged with sunburned shoulders this year – it’s tough being a faire pirate wenche.

Anyway, I’m sure the goat rodeo will be in full swing in this parade-packed march to Mardi Gras day. ‘Til then, roll with it, be safe

Pirate Me

and Happy Marrrrr-di Gras to all.

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Southeast Louisiana Winters

I’m from Massachusetts, so I’m familiar with the long, wet, cold winters. The driving during this time of year used to be horrific. We lived on a hill and not a winter would pass where we were out on the street during a snowstorm trying to help push cars up the hill in the stormy and icy conditions.

Driving in icy conditions looks like this:

Southeast Louisiana winters are gentle, but they are not without their hazards. I spent 30 years driving to and from work in New Orleans East in near zero visibility due to the fog. This time of year is the worst for the fog.

Since I retired in October I haven’t even ventured out of bed before 7. But Saturday I got up early and noticed how thick the fog was around our house. So I grabbed the camera and went outside to play.

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My dog thought he was hiding.

Taken in Slidell, La on January 26, 2013

Taken in Slidell, La on January 26, 2013

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Crawfish!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. We moved into our “final house” at the beginning of this month. I never realized how much stuff we had crammed into our old house!! Since the new home is less than a mile from the old, we moved everything ourselves. It took over a month to pack, move and unpack.

During that time there was no “play time” for us. We finally are settled in enough just in time for the festival season! Last weekend we attended French Quarter Fest and had a fantastic time. This weekend we had to decide what to do, as there were many events taking place in Slidell. But we chose our favorite event: the 9th annual Hospice Foundation of the South’s Crawfish Cookoff, where 60 teams compete for the title of best in show. Despite forecasts it never rained and was a cool, breezy day and the crawfish were fantastic. Needless to say, we got our fill of crawfish.

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Today we hope to visit the tall ships in NOLA before they leave.

Rebirth on the Bayou

Almost seven years after it was swamped by Katrina, St. Genevieve Catholic Church on Bayou Liberty has been rebuilt. I pass the church on my daily commute, so I watched in January 2007 as they demolished the old church , built in 1958. I have followed and chronicled her rebirth for the past five years .

On January 15, 2012 St. Genevieve opened to her parishoners. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

This is what she looked like before Katrina

During the groundbreaking in October of 2010, parishioners were asked to place a small amount of dirt from their home into the groundbreaking hole in celebration of their unity.

The doors to the church were donated by Dr. John Breaux and were produced in Honduras. They depict the history of the parish from the time it was a mission until the present new church.

In 1852, a brick chapel was built by Mrs. Anatole Cousin on land she donated.

In 1914, Father Francis Balay renovated the old church and rededicated it

In 1950s another Bayou Liberty Church – St. Linus – was merged with St. Genevieve

In 1958, a new church building was built and dedicated Dec. 28 by Reverend Joseph Rummel.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the church. Immediately following the storm, Mass was celebrated under an oak tree for several weeks and then in the parish hall.


It was such a good feeling to see the old steeple rising toward the heavens again

The original stained glass windows are used in the new church (photo by Slidell Sentry News)

The altar looks out over Bayou Liberty

The old Chapel is shown here after the church was razed

And now the Chapel is once again united with the church

After Katrina, St. Genevieve’s pastor is quoted as saying: “The church is not the building, but the people, we are the church.”
~ Reverend Roel Lungay

I salute the strength and faith parishioners of St. Genevieve and congratulate them on this long-time coming occasion.

Pelicans and such

Southeast Louisiana’s winter weather is so fickle. One day it’s cold, damp and gray and the next is sunny with blue skies and mild temperatures. During Christmas break from work hubby and I decided to go looking for pelicans in their winter habitats around Slidell during a warm, sunny day. We didn’t have to go far to find our first group. There are about 5-10 pelicans staying about a mile from our home in Bayou Liberty.

These majestic birds gave us all the time in the world to photograph them, much to our delight. Here are a few shots.

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Another perfect Saturday

Please let me preface that with the fact that I am not one of those “Northshore Snobs”, I’m a yankee who’s been here since ’75, mothered a cajun girl and am not going back. Louisiana is my home and that’s that!

It has been a crappy week at our house this week. We had to put a cat down, we adopted a cat, hubby’s still out of work on medical because of a cat tripping him on the stairway, a coworker and her father died unexpectedly last week and we attended the funeral and I’m losing a special girlfriend at the spaceship factory who’s transferring to DC. We definitely needed a getaway.

We found out about the fantastic 3 Rivers Art Festival in Covington. We like to attend this every other year because it takes place on one of our favorite weekends to check out the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in Hammond (a MUST attend event if you like fall fests)

With artists of every ilk from Louisiana to North Carolina, this festival’s enjoyment factor was multiplied by 10,000 because of the perfect November Southeast Louisiana weather.

I apologize ahead of time for the number of pictures, but these are just the favorites of the several hundred that we took. I hope you enjoy and make the effort to attend in the coming years. Festivals in this area are fantastic.
So without further ado, here are some of what we thought were interesting pieces of art or sites found at Three Rivers Arts Festival in Covington Louisiana:


This was the end of our day, taken at Bayou Liberty – close to our home.

Saturday outing

This weekend was the perfect time for outdoor activities.   The sun was shining, the skies were blue and there was a steady breeze.  With so much going on around us, we decided to stay close to home.  We had breakfast at Sunrise on Second Street and then wandered over to Slidell’s Antique District to check out their biannual street fair.

We like this fair for people watching, finding unique Christmas gifts and eating good food.  There are many one-of-a-kind items for sale and you can’t beat the prices. Here are some of the things that caught my eye.

I didn’t buy anything above, but I DID manage to grab some neat stuff. Next weekend we’re off to the Picayune Street Fair

Butterflies and Bayous

We were pleasantly surprised today when we finally decided on what to do on Saturday…

we went to Camp Salmen Nature Park to see what updates have been done since our last visit in February. Originally a Boy Scout camp from the 40’s to the 70’s, Camp Salmen has an interesting history in the Bayou Liberty area.

(click on pictures for larger versions)

When we visited in February we were unaware that the Park would be undergoing a metamorphosis of huge proportions. We truely enjoyed one of the first upgrades of the Park: the butterfly garden. The entire park will be changing under the direction of Edward Blake, director of The Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi. If you like interpretive journeys trail system to observe a park’s biological diversity you’ll like both Camp Salmen and Crosby Arboretum. But I digress.

The butteryfly garden at the Park contains all native wildflowers. The blanket of purples, golds and reds attract scores of butterflies. During our visit we enjoyed the sights of butterflies and bees enjoying a cool, sunny Saturday morning. Check it out:

There were several butterflies with these markings.


Can you see the tiny butterfly in this picture?

There are boardwalks that bring you closer to the Bayou and trails that roam throughout the deep woods. It’s difficult to take a bad picture there.

I must say that early autumn in Southeast Louisiana – while not as beautiful as the northern states – is one of the prettiest around.

After leaving the park we headed for the Slidell Trailhead of the Tammany Trace and hubby caught two butterflies attempting to mate.

According to him, the female butterfly must’ve had a headache, because she didn’t want anything to do with him.
Guess humans aren’t the only ones who have problems “connecting”. Good to know.

Have a good week, y’all.

A Change in Plans

This week’s post was supposed to cover the Crescent City Blues and BBQ festival which we were excited about attending.

Unfortunately, the little criminal below decided to derail my husband from descending the stairs on Friday night, forcing us to spend Saturday morning in the ER instead of heading to Lafayette Square in New Orleans.

Lucky for Beignet, the use of those blue eyes and cat charm has kept her from being evicted from our home.

So instead of wonderful pictures of Tab Benoit or Kenny Wayne Shepherd all I have are pix of our beloved Deuce (McAllister) still trying to figure out what ‘retrieve’ means.

I apologize ahead of time for the fact that I recently did a post on Deuce a few weeks ago. But I spent the day in a dang E.R. and didn’t have anything else to post about at this late date. Besides, the pictures are great and he’s a pretty dog. (just kidding in case you didn’t know).

We’re proud of Deuce and can’t get enough of him and he can’t get enough of our stuff. Heck, this morning he stole the medicated pain patches and aspercream I pulled out of the cabinet to help hubby and spread them all over the back yard after chewing them up.

So here are a few of the 500 pix I took of Deuce in his first class of retrieving yesterday (Oct 14th) in the Bogue Falaya River in Covington, Louisiana.


I love his concentration in this pic


Check out the water droplets at the end of his tail in this picture

Hopefully I will put together something for next week’s post that doesn’t involve our pets…..or not! Have a good week, y’all

Puppy Happiness!!

In July we adopted a 5 month old puppy from someone whose son moved away without the dog. Hubby found the dog through a facebook friend.

I’m a cat person. I have had cats for most of my life and currently share my home with five felines. I enjoy their company and love the fact that cats make it easy take weekend away from home and not have to worry about them; cats are – for the most part – quiet critters. But I figured “what the hell”. Hubby and my daughter have been pining for a puppy. So we drove to Chalmette, Louisiana one rainy Monday to pick up our new pup.

While thinking about a puppy, I envisioned a small, fuzzy baby dog. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the Deuce. My first thought was “he’s very tall, look at those legs!!”.

The pup’s owners named him “Duke”, which really didn’t click for us. On the ride home we played with names and finally decided on “Deuce”, after the former New Orleans Saint Deuce McAllister. It fit and that was “dat”.

Deuce is quite a dog. He’s responsible for turning me into a dog lover.

The few months that we’ve shared our home with Deuce have not been dull. He has grown like a typical puppy: gnawing on furniture, full of energy. A few things that stand out in my mind:

– Deuce eating a pork tenderloin that I put out to rest on the counter (I forgot how tall he is)
– Finding my phone in pieces in Deuce’s bed.
– Realizing that I could not leave magazines around because the newly acquired dog is a live shredder.
– I have never seen a dog de-stuff a dog toy as fast as Deuce.
– He drops bones and heavy “chew toys” on the hardwood floor which causes my 17 year old cat to have seizures.
– He eats anything (wood, cloth, CDs, etc).
– When he jumps on me, his paws are as high as my shoulders.
– Dog spit is sticky.
– I have seen this dog eat things he regurgitated earlier (ugh!).

With that said, I would like to present the pictures of Deuce’s debut in da bayou today.

He made me a dog lover today. There is nothing like seeing a dog discover his calling, his breeding.

Deuce is part Labrador, part Chesapeake Bay Retriever, which makes him a true water dog. Hubby was worried that our pup would go brain crazy and swim away from us once he touched the water, so he tied Deuce to 50 feet of nylon rope to be sure we didn’t lose him.


Deuce’s first dive


He looks pretty happy about things here


Deuce wanted to be sure he found a “stick” suitable for his size


We brought our pup to the bayou unprepared, and the only sticks I could find were not enough to keep Deuce happy. He promptly ate this stick


After eating the “excuse for a stick” that I presented him, Deuce rediscovers his stick


Does this dog looks upset? Nope!


Trying to shake of the water while he’s still in the water


Deuce swam up and down the bayou for about 20 minutes, completely satisfied


After about 30 minutes we noticed that something under the water was taking Deuce’s attention and decided to get him out of the water. Hubby thinks it was a gator. Me? I think it was crabs.


Here’s a peaceful shot I took looking down the bayou. This has got to be one of the prettiest places I’ve ever spent time in.

It was a well-spent Saturday. Our adopted “puppy” experienced his first of many swims and we were there to share it with him. I’m glad that Deuce has come into our lives, making it a little richer.