Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Crescent City’ Category

If you have been following these posts, you may remember why I call this The Life I Think I Lived. But for those of you who are just joining in the reason is because others who were a part of my life, and who still are, may have a different view. I would appreciate their contributions since they may have seen things differently.

Field House at Jefferson Playground

We had great recreation facilities in Jefferson Parish. I remember riding my bike to Jefferson Playground. It was less than a mile away and Jefferson Hwy was the only major road to cross. Everybody rode their bikes to the playground and nobody locked their bikes. Everything worked fine, unless, of course, someone was made at you or you were made at someone. Then there might be less air in your tire or something equally sinister.

I remember playing basketball for a season or two. I liked basketball and was pretty good as a player. The biggest problem I had was my big feet! I seemed to be unable to keep them from accidently kicking the basketball while I was dribbling down the court. I didn’t dribble much, so I got to set picks and shoot jumpers and hook shots off passes from the guys who could dribble. One game, I was making a jump shot and got hit in the back by one my opponents. The hit took me out of the game and eventually out of basketball. Somebody’s bike tires were flat after that game. No one seems to know who did it, but as I rode off I promised that I would keep my eyes open to see who would have done such a thing.

I tried football for a couple of seasons. I even made the JV team in high school. That is until they realized I was slow and didn’t like getting hit. Since I was a tight end that was a problem since we ran a lot of patterns where the tight end crossed the middle of the field and always got hit. My helmet got knocked off on one route and I got cleated in the head near my left ear. I thought about what I was doing and decided my talents would be better served playing baseball.

The announcer's booth at the baseball stadium

Baseball has been very, very good to me! I played almost every position in the field. Louis, Jr. was a catcher and a good one at that, so I tried to be a catcher. I was OK, but the coach had other ideas. He moved me to 3rd base! I had a great arm and my throws to 1st based were always on target! I had good enough reflexes to cover up the fact that I was slow…for a little while anyway. Coach decided that 1st base was the perfect position for me even though I was right handed. It workout for quite a while and then I move to the outfield and played each of the three positions. I had a strong accurate arm. We had good pitchers and there weren’t that many fly balls hit my way. That was a good thing since I was slow. But I could hit!!! I had the highest batting average in the league and lead the league in home-runs each year I played in Little League, American Legion and Senior League, a league that competed with American Legion for players and ball parks. When the Senior League built their fields near the Huey P. Long Bridge, I hit the first home-run out of the main field. That got a lot of attention locally, including a free haircut at Bob’s Barber Shop, and gift certificates for the hardware store and a new steakhouse nearby called Ruth’s.

League play took us all around Jefferson Parish. At one park I was introduced to Florida Water. It wasn’t for drinking. It was something added to ice water to make it colder. We needed that during July and August. I played for a couple of All Star teams and we took trips around the Gulf States Region. One time we played some good old boys in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The name of the town really described that team! They were big boys and they could hit a baseball! We were down by 10 runs by the top of the second inning. Even though we did make it a game, we didn’t feel like All Stars. I think they put in their third string after the 2nd inning.

There is more to tell about baseball and the softball league I played in. You could hear the story of “Meatball Mark” and the .757 hitting average. There is the story about try-outs were I had chance to make the team based on what I did with 10 pitches (made the team.) But, that can be for another story at another time, or not.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Read Full Post »

I know, I’m tardy again. Once you read this post you might understand that that could be my normal. Some house keeping first though. I received a comment from my cousin Phillip: “GREAT JOB– PLEASE TELL US MORE — I ONLY REMEMBER THINGS AFTER 1960—- WHAT DID BIG LOU DO WHEN HE 1ST CAME BACK FROM WWII AND WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT MY MOM AND DAD. I REMEMBER WHEN WE ALL GOT TOGETHER TO CLEAN ALL THE WOODS OUT OF THE BACK YARD WHEN YA’LL 1ST MOVED TO 540 JEFFERSON AND MY DAD SCRATCHED HIS EYE BALL!!” Phillip, you have a short memory, don’t you? (Kidding) I want to answer as much as I can about this for Phillip. So lets get that out of the way.

When Big Lou returned he found Gert (that’s one of his names for Carmel) and Little Lou were staying with the Mullens on Magazine Street. You should know

Louis, Jr, Me and Terry

that Big Lou only knew about Louis, Jr. from letters. One thing I know about his return is that I showed up in about 9 months after he showed up on Magazine St.

My first memories of your mom and dad were from our visits to their homes near Audubon Park and on Magazine St. We had fun when we visited, but Aunt Nina was always yelling: “Don’t leave things dragging!” As to the move to 540 and your Dad scratching his eyeball, well, weren’t we all great woodsmen, being city boys and all?!? I had a wonderful time back than and that leads me into Starting School.

It was a very traumatic experience, I think. I remember crying and begging to go home. That didn’t work and the nuns finally got me to go to class…I hated it and believe I was scarred for life by the experience…those of you who know me will agree, I’m sure. Seriously, though, that first year set the tone for many school years to come. I remember  only a few specifics about first grade. Within a few grading periods I made the Honor Roll for the first time. It was also the last time! I thought that it was easy to do, so I didn’t need to pay attention because it didn’t mean anything to me. I think I had ADD before it was popular. All of my report cards were checked with: “Waste Time and Annoys Others.” Some who know me now might say that in a lot of ways little has really changed in that area. I remember being in love with Mrs. Keifer who taught 6th grade. Her son was in my class for a number of years. Sis. Mary Jane Francis was one of the teachers who did take a special interest in me. She may have saved my life (at least figuratively) a time or two.

There was the time that Mom was teaching at a Jefferson Parish grade school on Jefferson Hwy and Dad was at work. Terrence and I were supposed to catch the school bus, but we missed it, so I decided we could walk to school. We arrived just as the school was emptying for a fire drill and I decided we that school must be over for the day and we should go home. The rest of this story needs its own post. There are more stories than I can fit into this post. I may need to do a part 2. Let me know what you think. If at least a few of you want to hear more I will add a few stories to a Part 2.

I will try to find a few more pictures to include in my blogs. I may have to get help from Brother Garry and maybe Terry. They seem to have all of the old prints. If the Crottys have any to add or if Phillip has a few, I would appreciate copies. See y’all next time!

Read Full Post »

I promised to be regular with my posts and that is what I intend to be. This week has to be early since we (Patricia and me) are leaving town on Thursday.

Lions Street is where our family moved sometime after Big Lou returned from WWII, and things were getting crowded, me and Terrence appeared on the scene, on Magazine Street. The Mullen/Crotty compound on Magazine Street was in a section of New Orleans that had the tony Garden District on one side and the fringes of the Irish Channel on the other side. That house was in the heart of everything! At least, that’s what I thought as a little boy.

This is what we probably looked like when we moved to Lions Street.

I could walk a couple of blocks to the Happy Hour Theater, or to Berman’s Dry Goods Store. There were other little stores along Magazine Street that were full of wonder for me, candies, toys, odds and ends that always seemed important. In either direction there were little stores, some with groceries and sodas, others with a variety of goodies. I could walk to any of them without fret or bother. And if I had a nickel, a dime, or quarter I could get almost anything I wanted! Lions Street was different.

Lions Street was no Magazine Street! It was in an unincorporated area of Jefferson Parish. Lions Street was the country compared to Magazine Street, the heart of everything. It was new and not all the houses were built.There were vacant lots! There was no Happy Hour Theater or Berman’s Dry Goods Store. No candy stores or variety stores that I could walk to no matter how much money I had in my pocket. There was a Frost Top, a Drive – In Theater and Tucker’s Steakhouse. There was a roadside farmers’ market, a couple of drug stores, and a Firestone Tire Center. But these were on Jefferson Highway, a busy two lane highway!

There were good things about Lions Street. There were those empty lots and houses under construction. To a boy these were really private little playgrounds. I could sneak through the lots to get to Jefferson Playground, a huge recreation center with a shop that sold chocolate malts! I could walk to school or to the Winn-Dixie Supermarket. As I grew older Lions Street started to look better to me. New families were moving in and I met Mary Ellen H. I went to grade school with Mary Ellen H. What memories!

Big Lou had a few cars that I remember. One on Lions Street had a rumble seat, I think. Dad was mostly a GM man when it came to cars, but he occasionally would buy a Ford and even a Chrysler. Big Lou would let me think I was helping work on the cars. I was probably causing him more work, but he would never say anything…although, he did run me off a few times!

The boys, Louis, Jr., Terrence and me, learned about a new world on Lions Street! No longer in the heart of everything like on Magazine Street. No more Happy Hour Theater or Berman’s. But Lions Street offered so many things. The empty lots, the homes under construction, the short cut through the empty lots to get to the playground where I could buy chocolate malts! Oh, did I mention meeting new people? To quote Joey: “How you doin’?!?”

Read Full Post »

On and off for the past several weeks…months really, I have been stuck. It seems as though every time I would try to post a blog my mind would go blank! Nothing! So I ‘cheated’ a little. I used some canned stuff about your home, maintaining it and insuring it. I am determined not to have that happen again…but I make no promises.

One way to get around the block was to commit to a series of posts on one subject. I decided to get a little autobiographical. I came up with the title The Life I Think I Lived. It is OK, not great, but it is serving a purpose.

Big Lou, Gert and the boys.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will add posts about the life I think I lived, but some people may not agree with what I remember about MY life. My brothers and cousins and the wives and children lived their own lives and where our lives intersected, they may remember things a bit differently. I do not claim to have a perfect memory. I invite their comments on changes that they would make to my story, but would rather hear their comments in the context of their stories in their own blog someday.

I started to outline the series below. This is a work in progress and is subject to change. I may leave out parts or add others. It should be fun…there are no axes to grind, no resentment for anything that happened or any of that stuff. What I learned from Carmel (Mom, the only woman in the photo), is that you should only remember the good about others. That is what I will try to do.

Please leave a comment. Tell me what you think of the plan. And, if you’d like to, share it with your friends on FB or Twitter. That would really get me motivated to write more!

When I Was a Child

– Lion’s Street

– Starting School

– The Years of Playing Ball (Jefferson Parish Recreational Department)

Growing Out of, and Into My Skin

– Grocery Stores, Paper Routes and High School (St. Aloysius)

– My Older Brother and His Girlfriend…long before Glee

– My Dating Days (Should I Really Tell?)

Where Have All the (Peter, Paul and Mary) … Gone?

Then There Was the Career?

Losses and Gains

Learning to Live Together

Read Full Post »

New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Lower 9th...

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend is the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina‘s devastation of the Gulf Coast. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana were dealt devastating blows by the storm. In Mississippi, coastal cities, such as Waveland, were almost totally destroyed. The television pictures we saw ripped our hearts as we felt helpless to do anything to stop such an onslaught. But those events were precursors of what was to come.

Initially the reports were that New Orleans was spared a direct hit. And while there was significant damage in the eastern part of the city, the city itself seemed to have escaped the worst once again. Then something unthinkable happened. Levees that were built to protect the City, and pumps that were supposed to keep the City dry, began to fail. One separating Orleans Parish from Jefferson Parish failed on the Orleans Parish side. Then came reports of another failed levee protecting the Lower 9th Ward. The waters flowed into the residential neighborhoods and moved family homes from there foundations. And we were able to see these events from the comfort of our homes wherever we were living at the time. We also saw the images of the New Orleans Convention Center and the Superdome, reported as shelters of last resort. For some, they proved to be profoundly a last resort. They died in or around those shelters. Our hearts almost could not handle what we were seeing on live televisions.

All of the major news networks have broadcast from the Gulf Coast acknowledging this 5th anniversary.  Most have chronicled the things that went wrong and seem to be focussed on attributing blame. However, Brian Williams hosted Meet the Press on Sunday morning and his approach seemed different by focussing on the things that are working. His guests included Wendell Pierce, Garland Robinette, Douglass Brinkley, Mitch Landrieu, and Mary Landrieu. Their was a filmed piece with Brad Pitt on his Make It Right Foundation and the homes that foundation is building in the Lower 9th Ward.

New Orleans is my family home. We lived in the Irish Chanel and in Jefferson Parish. I worked in the 9th Ward from time to time. I have not lived in New Orleans for close to 30 years, but it is still home. I appreciated all the coverage of the progress made and the things that still need to be done. One thing really stood out to me in though. In spite of the good that men wish, it is not within their power to solve the tremendous problems that were exposed by this disaster, and other subsequent ones. The good news is that a real solution will soon be realized.

Read Full Post »

Art and music surround Jackson Square.

I received this clip the other day  <http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741>. The clip is a collection of various musicians playing a single piece of music. It is a very skillful complication jumping from one musician/place, to another musician/place on the beat of the song. Very clever and inspiring in a certain way. I was inspired to write this post.

I started thinking about not only what I was seeing and hearing, but also how coincidence comes into play in the lives of all of us. All of these musicians were skilled. They all had great voices for this piece. Yet none of them are well-known outside of the place that they are in. Most aren’t even known by name as much as they are by the place. Several were in, or near Jackson Square in New Orleans. Others, in countries we might want to visit someday. We might even want to see the musician from that country that we saw in the clip. But here is the point: None of these musicians is famous outside of their little stage! Time, place and coincidence are at play.

I’m reminded of a passage that reads: “Time and unforseen occurrence befalls us all.” Often when I remember this passage, I think about the negative unforseen occurrences that can befall us. But the passage doesn’t say anything about the occurrences being positive or negative does it? Some musicians are in the right place at the right time and they become famous, even rich with material things. Is that a positive occurrence for them? But not all musicians have that experience. Is that a negative occurrence for them?

An unforseen occurrence happened to me when I received the video clip. I thought it to be a positive thing. After reading this you may see it differently even if you enjoyed the clip. Some might see the post as a positive unforseen occurrence for themselves if it causes them to think differently about the clip.

Whatever the case, art was created over time in a place and we coincidently got to share that art in our own time and our own place.

Read Full Post »

A view from the roof at Morgan Creek Grill.

I just love where I live! I’m guessing that you love where you live, but if you don’t, the Low Country is a place that you will fall in love with very quickly. I took this picture with a Blackberry from the roof top at Morgan Creek Grill one afternoon this past week.

We were having a nice visit with our friends, the Samuelsons, and enjoying the food at the Grill. It has been very hot for the past several weeks, but on this evening the breezes were cool and comforting. Great friends and good food!

Patricia and I have lived here since 2002. We moved from Morristown, NJ where we had lived on and off for over 25 years. That last winter in New Jersey was difficult in many respects, but the weather was really nasty. We left in a snow storm that followed us down I-95 for many, many miles. When we finally arrived very late at night, there were our friends, the Samuelsons, who greeted us and helped us to settle in for the night.

Living in the Low Country has always reminded me of New Orleans where I grew up. There is so much in common between the two. In New Orleans we had swamp. Here we have marsh. There the canals in New Orleans that were like the area around Shem Creek, in some cases. In New Orleans we had heat and here we have heat. On the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain there were places like Morgan Creek Grill. We always had fresh seafood, just like we have here. Great friends there, just like here.

All of these things are in common between here and there, so for me it was easy to fall in love with this place. After all, it was like I had come home! You can make this your home, It is an easy place to fall in love with, and as Mikey’s brother say: “Try it! You’ll like it!”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »