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Society Diary

February 5-6:  And so it begins. Xanadu and Triton each have their balls.

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February 7: King Gabriel LXXVII Dewitt Clinton David has his lunch at the Cajundome Convention Center. There is none higher.

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February 8: Queen Evangeline has her luncheon at the Petroleum Club the next day. It is the premiere ladies social event in Lafayette.

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Bonaparte has their ball at the Cajundome Convention Center with deputies, purse- searching, and more, as there has been alleged illegal alcohol smuggling. Not by either of the men shown.

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Mardi Gras Day:  King Gabriel has his breakfast at City Club before the big parade. He is resplendent in his finery, as is most everyone else.

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Gabriel’s parade rolls past The Advocate office at 815 Johnston and he catches sight of me, says my name, and blows me a kiss with his scepter. I am now top dog. I have witnesses.

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My daughter rolls in the Independent Parade. That’s my hat she’s wearing from 20 years back when I used to pull floats. She throws me a bone.

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An altercation takes place outside The Advocate  over beads.

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Happy Mardi Gras.

Society Diary

January 27: My daughter’s birthday gift arrives, a portrait of her beloved Dingo by Austin-based artist Thad Morgan. If she wasn’t my daughter, I’d keep it.

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It still crosses my mind.

The FedEx guys stay and carefully unwrap it to make sure there’s no damage. They’re not always the bad boys they’re made out to be.

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Thad, I don’t know.

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February 5: In the end, there can be only one. I have my official interview with King Gabriel. His identity is always kept a secret until the Sunday before Mardi Gras. King Gabriel is the top dog of Carnival.

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The Gabriel ladies committee says there’s an embargo on the story, our metro editor in charge asks ‘til what time, the ladies say “You can’t post online until Monday” and the metro editor says,”Sorry, Sunday.” An editor is top dog at a newspaper.

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My daughter’s boyfriend returns from offshore and she borrows my hat from back in the day when I used to pull floats.

City Club hosts a $6,000 gypsy baby shower.

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God, I love Mardi Gras.

Society Noir

 

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She went down like a cheap Chardonnay.

I reread the letter, but there was no mistaking its tone. As a journalist for many years in Japan who was also an attorney, she wouldn’t strong arm me if I’d just go along quietly. It was either do what she wanted or “go ahead, make my day.” You know, Dirty Harry stuff.

It was also signed in Japanese. Nothing says intimidation like a ninja lawyer.

I’d gotten the heads up from the Puerto Rican that she was looking for me and I should have known. All of his friends are trouble. Just pick one.

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“There’s no easy way to put this,” he’d said. “She wants the picture gone.”

I was puzzled. What exactly had she been doing for an entire year? She’d been at one of those fashion shindigs last spring and I’d taken her picture. It had been a good party, but strange, like all New Orleans parties. She was fine with it. Even mugged for the camera, with her red hair and Japanese print dress. That should’ve been my first clue. Yakuza, maybe.

It’s not that I could care less. I’ve dumped photos a couple of times before. Once, because the guy was arrested on the way home from a party for decking his girlfriend. The other time was when a dame called after the Apollo Ball and didn’t want to be in that number. I don’t mind doing a favor, just don’t twist my arm. This one twisted my arm.

I thought it over.

I take it back. The Yakuza are nicer.

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Noir in the 21st Century. Where society’s the perfect crime.

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Society Diary

January 22:  My daughter goes with me to the Krewe des Chiens People Ball at City Club.  She is big into animal rescue and the ball, unlike the others, raises money for local animal charity.  Interestingly, there are enough humans in fur coats to spark a PETA protest. King Gumbo XVIII Oliver kisses her.

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I notice her shoes are better than mine.

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The Mystick Krewe of Louisianians hold their ball in Washington D.C. and get stuck in the Washington D.C. blizzard. Why I never go to this.

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January 23:  Don Allen accompanies me to Apollo’s “Forty Years of Fabulous.”

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More like a rave than a ball, Don gives away his glow-in-the-dark red light sabre to the first man who begs and I am the first one hit by beads.

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The New Orleans gentleman sitting next to me is curious to know what journalists say about Apollo. He mentions the MOMs Ball in New Orleans—Mystick Krewe of Orphans and Misfits– where you must go either fully costumed plus mask or naked. I could be wrong, but I don’t think The Advocate covers that.

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There’s a man in the parking lot wearing a tuxedo with red high heels.

His shoes are better than mine too.

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Society Diary

Mid-January:  Carnival season continues. My Apollo tickets are sent to #12, my street, not #21. I walk down to get them, but the neighbors tell me the gentleman works offshore and is gone. It’s $200 worth of tickets.

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January 16: It rains on the night of the 48th Attakapas “Trail of Flowers” Ball at the Frem Boustany Convention Center but there’s a very nice umbrella valet curbside. Attakapas was the first women’s krewe in Lafayette. Sorry, you can’t know who any of them are.

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Krewe of Victoria has their ball that very same night at that very same time– again.

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My daughter’s boyfriend returns from offshore and she celebrates his birthday. I give him a knife and he goes bowling.

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To be continued…

Society Diary

 

January 6: Mardi Gras officially begins.

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Triton holds a traditional 12th Night party at River Oaks. The event is also a prep session for new dukes, who find out this evening what will befall them during Carnival hazing. It’s evidently not enough to make them impersonate liquor in public on ball night.

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January 8: My tire pressure light comes on and I go to Moss Motors for service. It’s not the weather, but rather two nails and shredding from the inside and out. My tires are terminal and John in the service department comes out and gives me a hug. It’s a $1,378 hug. I miss Rio’s rehearsal.

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January 9: Les Brigands de Lafitte holds its ball at the Heymann Center. Men in this krewe have figured out how to make women wait anxiously on the sidewalk for half the day just to get in and they’re not about to stop.

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Carnivale en Rio has its ball the same night at the Cajundome Convention Center. Their theme is Back to the Future  getting ready are Mad Max, Austin Powers, Judy Jetson and Rio board member Rachal Sudul, who is extremely cooperative and allows backstage photos.

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Yes, that’s smoke coming from the Fembot’s brassiere.

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January 10: My tire pressure light comes on again.

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Society Diary

Society Diary

Late December: My daughter nails Christmas start to finish and Don Allen gives me a Riviera ring made of rose gold, pavé-set stones, and hand-strung Italian rubber, the same material used in Ferraris. It is the Ferrari of cocktail rings.

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The Petroleum Club cancels their NYE party due to lack of interest.

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On the other hand, ball invitations from Rio, Brigands, Attakapas, Triton, Apollo, Krewe de Chiens, Krewe de Bayou and Troubadours roll in. They have all chosen the same Saturday nights. Krewe de Chiens will also have human royalty this year. Mardi Gras is dog-eat-dog.

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New Year’s Eve: Mother of the bride Connie Guidry invites me to a 9 p.m. party at Abacus, a combination pre- nuptial event and New Year’s Eve. The Jewel of the Bayou, Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Road Runners play, and the out-of-towners take a run at the dance floor. Groom Andrew Dillard and soon-to-be bride Renée Guidry ring in the New Year by getting married Jan. 2 before reporting for naval duty in San Diego.

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Jan. 1, 2016, New Year’s Day: The Advocate wishes everyone a Happy New Year and my name does not appear.

Again.

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Society Diary

 

My daughter takes me to New Orleans overnight as a Christmas gift. We stay at the Bienville House, an historic hotel on the Quarter.

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We do French Quarter things, like stroll the street, cross the street, block the street, and give money to street people. Two violinists play such haunting music even the Quarter stops to listen. Someone accuses the baby on one musician’s back of being plastic. Every Christmas has its humbug.

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One man has a  dachshund dressed like Santa Clause and makes no bones about what he does. “I’m panhandling, call it what you will,” he says. Then he looks at me and adds, “You can call me anytime.” He makes $10.

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We shop the Shops at Canal Place. They are taking plenty of money off people also.

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My daughter has made a dinner reservation at Tableau, a Brennan’s restaurant. Unknown to me, Brennan’s gives out bells on ribbons at Christmas time and my daughter says she’s chased one for years without success. We arrive, only to hear they do this at lunch, not dinner.

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She speaks Orleanian and orders the Chicken Tableau, the Velvet Devil wine, knows what sous-vide means, has the crème brulée plated not potted, orders after-dinner port and strikes a deal on the side, all at the same time.

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The Brennan’s bells arrive with the port, one for her and one for me. The waiters line up to salute her as she exits and says, “Drop the mic, peace out.”

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And be it big or small, may you get your Brennan’s bell this holiday season.

Merry Christmas.

Don’t You (Forget About Me)

This past December 7 marked the 74th anniversary of America’s entry into WWII. It seems so very long ago, as wars have come and gone since.

Nevertheless, Infantryman Sid Hardy landed at Normandy Beach only to end up in Hürtgen Forest—the longest single battle the U.S. has ever fought—where he was captured by the Germans. Due to the fog of war, his wounds never made it into his record. Although his teeth were all replaced in 1946 as the result of an SS rifle butt, the Veteran’s Administration refused to honor subsequent claims for 67 years, citing lack of evidence and no proof of service. The VA claimed the large bandage over his face in old photographs obscured his identity and his records were destroyed in a 1972 fire in the St. Louis archives.

For Hardy, the big battle wasn’t D-Day, it was the VA.

Denied for nearly seven decades, it took one congressman and the notarized testimony of Hardy’s 92-year-old brother, by then in a nursing home and near death, to end the standoff.

Hardy now lives quietly in Breaux Bridge, a widower since his wife of 39 years passed away. No longer as battle-sharp as he once was, during a recent visit to the VA clinic, Hardy, now in his nineties, was ordered to a Lafayette hospital ER for treatment where a SNAFU–failure to show his VA card– led to being admitted without proper authorization. The hospital later turned him over to a Baton Rouge law firm for collection and Hardy received a demand for payment Thanksgiving week.

And Mike Day of Disabled American Veterans Chapter 2 in Lafayette is tired of it.

“We have a motto in my office,” he said. “It reads No vet left behind on a jungle trail, a desert trail, a mountain trail, or a paper trail. Sid’s picture is right next to it,” he smiles.

It’s a great motto.

As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

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Society Diary

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Gayle Benson sends me a hard-bound copy of Palm Beach Pet Society and the subjects look better behaved than many socialites I’ve known. Her own dog is on the back cover with a football captioned “Woof Dat.” All of the proceeds from the sale of the books go to support animal charities. Do not dog the Saints any longer.

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Jennifer LeBlanc and I go to Windsor Court in New Orleans for holiday tea and meet up with Ferrari enthusiast Giorgio Valobra. Everyone and his dog is at the Windsor including Mary Landrieu, and the tables are set with Wild Strawberry Wedgewood china. Windsor Court is the Ferrari of tea rooms.

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The Acadiana Symphony Women’s League has their Christmas tea at The Settlement home of Debra Sonnier. An unattended chocolate martini accidentally falls to the floor and Lily the poodle and Bella the Havanese clean it up. They have to sleep it off in the laundry room.

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Here are more stars of Lafayette dog society. They are left-to- right Tootsie the Italian Greyhound, Dingo, Dixie the Dachsador, and Kaiser.

Kaiser is something of a party animal.

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