Wednesday, June 28, 2017

BLOG THEMES ............TABLE OF CONTENTS




Yes,there was a childhood....

          Bones and Pennies
          Spaghetti Sunday
          Monopoly and Batman
          An Attitude Adjustment

I was a bungling, fumbling boy scout

           ScoutHOOD #1
          ScoutHOOD #2           
          ScoutHOOD #3

I Found my true niche with BRLT
          My BRLT - The 70s

When WBRZ (Ch 2) was in its infancy I was there
          
          Shirley Temple
               WBRZ and the Mike Boom Era 
              Hit or Miss (1955 - 56)
         Oran (Doc) Teague (Always Acadia)

When GSRI (Gulf South Research Institute) was born and when it died,  I was there

          John Wayne 
          Let's go "Joy-Flying"       
         The Pelican "Grief"

Development of the Motion Picture Industry in Louisiana   Click here for access
     

Stars, Stars and More Stars 

          Kim Novak
          Ralph Waite
          Carrol O'Conner
          Dennis Hopper
          Ed Asner 
          Bette Davis
          Clint Eastwood
          John Wayne
          Paul Newman
          Oliver Stone
          Cicely Tyson
          Orson Welles
          Jackie Gleason
          James Wong Howe
          Jean Trippenhorn
          Sam Shepard
          Yosemite Sam
          Rex Reed, et al          
                      

Family and Lifestyle anecdotes

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New Orleans Mardi Gras 1957

Until 1957 I had never attended a New Orleans Mardi Gras.  So my best friend at the time, Jerry M, said "Hey Jer why don't you and Ruth (my girl friend at that time) join me and Bernadette (Jerry's fiancĂ©) to the New Orleans Mardi Gras. We can stay at my uncle's home on St.Charles Ave and enjoy the parade activities from his front porch." Sounded like a winning idea.  Ruth was willing. 


So on Mardi Gras day we departed for New Orleans and pulled into the uncle's gorgeous 2-story home's generous driveway and before we could knock on the door,   his wife, Aunt Anna Maria, opened the door and gave us a warm Italian welcome. (NOTE: The home pictured here is not the same, but does resemble their home).

Neither Aunt Anna Maria nor Jerry's uncle Lorenzo had much command of  English.  Aunt Anna Maria spoke some English with a healthy overlay of Italian accent while Lorenzo spoke no English at all. Lorenzo was a big man  and looked as though he could take care of himself, which I'd find out later he often had to do since he was well positioned in Carlos Marcello's shady gambling syndicate.









Anna Maria had prepared a scrumptious italian feast for us which  included spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, italian salad, hot rolls and enough food to have fed 20 though we 6 were the only diners that day.

Forgetting the communication barrier I decided to engage Uncle Lorenzo in some small talk.  I asked "Uncle Lorenzo what's your line of work?" He then leaned into Aunt Anna Maria who translated to him in Italian, then to me she said somewhat sheepishly "Lorenzo doesn't care to talk about his business affairs." I construed that reply to mean exactly what he meant and I wisely chose to shift my small talk to less personal topics.

My buddy, Jerry, spoke fairly fluent Italian and had a few exchanges with Aunt Anna Maria.  Uncle Lorenzo  also chimed in to that exchange -- all in Italian. Because of my earlier  gaffe with Uncle Lorenzo my paranoia kicked in and I wondered if I was the subject of their Italian exchange.  I had  meant to ask Jerry while returning to Baton Rouge, but forgot.

Because of the generous table setting I and everyone else consumed hearty servings. Anna Maria was not bashful about discussing her recipes and encouraged all of us to eat plenty since plenty was there to be had. And indeed we did.




The language barrier notwithstanding we did manage to enjoy warming to Anna Maria's limited English efforts.  And soon she asked if we would like some coffee and lemon cake.  We all said yes and soon she returned with a beautiful silver tray loaded with cups of coffee and slices of lemon cake which we thoroughly enjoyed.  But then she went back into her kitchen and returned with a large casserole of Strawberry shortcake.  Though I was full from the hearty meal and the lemon cake,   I prepared myself for a serving of Strawberry shortcake.

minimu


But then came the shocker.  With a hint of embarrassment Aunt Anna Maria  placed the casserole of shortcake in front of Lorenzo saying "Lorenzo loves his Strawberry shortcake which he does not share with anyone. Sorry." So we all continued with our coffees and what was left of our lemon cakes while Uncle Lorenzo, who was not in the least embarrassed, managed to consume the entire casserole.

On our drive back to Baton Rouge Jerry explained why Uncle Lorenzo would not discuss his affairs.  He was high up in the "Godfather's" (Carlos Marcello's) corruption network and adhered to the Mafia's strict code which prohibits discussions of syndicate affairs with outsiders.

We all thoroughly enjoyed Aunt Anna Maria's and Uncle Lorenzo's hospitality.  Within 4 months Jerry and Bernadette would be wed. Ruth and I remained friends and within 18 months I would meet Gloria who
would become the love of my life and my wife now of nearly 60 years.



Oh yes, in fairness to the title of this post, we did indeed enjoy watching some of the Mardi Gras parades .... comfortably relaxing on Uncle Lorenzo's and Aunt Anna Maria's cozy and luxuriously furnished porch.  My next New Orleans Mardi Gras was in the company of Gloria, my wife, back in the early 90s.

Back to HOME page and TABLE OF CONTENTS

















Saturday, June 10, 2017

BLOG THEMES ............TABLE OF CONTENTS

Friday, January 27, 2017


BLOG THEMES ............TABLE OF CONTENTS



Yes,there was a childhood....

          Bones and Pennies
          Spaghetti Sunday
          Monopoly and Batman
          An Attitude Adjustment

I was a bungling, fumbling boy scout

           ScoutHOOD #1
          ScoutHOOD #2           
          ScoutHOOD #3

I Found my true niche with BRLT

           My BRLT Adventures (1958 through the 60s)
          My BRLT - The 70s

When WBRZ (Ch 2) was in its infancy I was there
          
           Shirley Temple
          WBRZ and the Mike Boom Era 
          Hit or Miss (1955 - 56)
          Oran (Doc) Teague (Always Acadia)

When GSRI (Gulf South Research Institute) was born and when it died,  I was there

          John Wayne 
          Let's go "Joy-Flying"       
         The Pelican "Grief"

Development of the Motion Picture Industry in Louisiana   Click here for access
     

Stars, Stars and More Stars 

          Kim Novak
          Ralph Waite
          Carrol O'Conner
          Dennis Hopper
          Ed Asner 
          Bette Davis
          Clint Eastwood
          John Wayne
          Paul Newman
          Oliver Stone
          Cicely Tyson
          Orson Welles
          Jackie Gleason
          James Wong Howe
          Jean Trippenhorn
          Sam Shepard
          Yosemite Sam
          Rex Reed, et al          
                      

Family and Lifestyle anecdotes

Bucks to the Bookie

"" 

Back in the 1960s and 70s you may remember a lady named Nell Rose English.  She was a singer/pianist who performed at a piano bar on North Acadian Thruway near Choctaw Dr.  I don't remember the name of the bar, but this anecdote has more to deal with this bar's notoriety rather than its evening performers.

One day my wife, Gloria, was going out to the car and I asked "Where are you going?"  She said that she was going over to the ???Piano Bar to pay off a gambling debt for her brother, Tommy.  SAY WHAT!!!  No way.  I said "Honey, let's talk about this before you go gallivanting over there."  She said "Tommy gave me this $300 and asked that I go pay it for him. That's all!"  I said "No, that's not all.  Why isn't he going himself?"  She said that he was out in the Gulf shrimping and that that debt was overdue and expected to get paid.  


I then said "You are not going over there.  I'll deliver the bucks to the bookie."  She was relieved and gladly handed the money over to me. 



It was Saturday mid-day.  I figured maybe no one would be there mid-day on the weekend.  But I was wrong.

The bar was open, so I went to the bar-keep and asked for Mr ???  He said "What do you need with him?"  I said "To pay off a gambling debt."  He said "Wait here."

I waited. Moments later this big goon with a handlebar mustache appeared and asked "Who are you?"  I said I was here to pay off a debt for my brother-in-law, Tommy Gartman.  He said "You mean T.C.?"  I said "Yep, that's the one."  He said "Follow me.



So I followed him. We went through a door, then down a dark and dingy hallway through another door and another dingy hallway.  We came to a door.  He opened it and I was greeted by another goon. He was seated at a small desk and had a cash box opened.  Chewing on a big cigar he said "got me some money?" "$300 from Tommy Gartman." "You mean T.C.?" I said "Yes T.C." I handed  him the money, then waited.   He counted the money then said "okay, debt paid."  Again I waited.  He looked up at me and said "what are you still doing here?"  I said  "I am waiting for a receipt." 


"Cigar" looked up at "mustache" and chuckled saying "he wants a receipt." Then both goons started laughing.  I wasn't laughing, but continued waiting.  Then "cigar" spoke up.  "get out of here."  But my naivete persisted.  "I need my brother-in-law to know that it was paid."  "Cigar" said  "he will know when he realizes nobody's on his tail."  Hmmm.  I got the message, then left.

A couple of weeks later,  Tommy came in and I had a few words for him.  "I can't believe you expected your sister to deliver that money to those goons.". He said she was in no danger. I took issue with that statement and then told him that they wouldn't even give me a receipt.  Just like the two goons Tommy started laughing.  I said  "what the hell is so funny?"  he said  "you know nothing about this business do you." To which I said "all the more reason that we should not have been involved."

He said " first of all this is illegal gambling and second they don't do receipts because they don't want a paper trail. "

With that cheerfull "revelation" I just shook my head and said "Well, La-dee-dah. You've justified why you will NEVER again get Gloria or me to make your deliveries."

Tommy and I remained friends for the 40+ years left of his life, but Glo and I were never again asked to make any deliveries.

To be fair to Tommy, he seldom lost at gambling. And he was forever fun-loving and an eternal optimist. His passing in October of 2016 leaves a sad void in the lives of all who knew and loved him.