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Society Diary


Mid-December:  Erin Turner emails and says she read the post about Richard Young’s party in After Dark, and they have a Girls Scouts exec retiring at the Hilton this evening– would I come? It’s a long way from Richard to the Girl Scouts. Mayor Joey Durel is there. I didn’t realize he was a girl scout. I have gone out a total of 20 times in 12 days.








Penny Edwards emails and says she is having guests for gumbo after the Le Triomphe holiday golf cart parade. The golf carts also do this at Halloween. Nobody likes an idle golf cart.

My daughter calls to tell me I’m doing Christmas Day at my house and yes, the pets must get presents. I buy her dog a Brett Michael “Pets Rock” hoodie. Nothing says Christmas like a skull hoodie.

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The ArtWalk crowd is disappointingly light because of the parties. The see-and-be-seen are elsewhere. Then suddenly there’s Brandi Lyles and Pastor Ty Cook of The Lighthouse Family Church. Lyles sings “O Holy Night” in the still open air and even downtown stops to listen. Because it only takes one voice to make church and one man to bring peace on earth. Tonight The Rev. Ty Cook’s your man.


Happy Holidays.

Society Noir

The phone rang. I recognized the voice on the other end. It was Richard  Young.


“Am I saving a place for you tonight?” he asked.

“I hope so,” I said.

“Park behind my Land Rover. I’ll give the police the details.” Magic words.

I took the two-lane out to the old mansion alone. The Victorian faced a barber shop, a relic of a bygone era turned party zone by Richard. The cops were okay with it, the neighbors not so much. The wind had stopped blowing but the temperature had dropped, and I noticed the moon was full.

The place was lit up like a Christmas tree. “I wish I’d known you could park there,” said a disgruntled lady in an evening gown. “My husband’s still looking for a place.”

“Sorry,” I said. I left her there and picked my way carefully up the steps, then took a detour into the back yard to where a red carpet pointed the way.

“I bought this jacket at the Goodwill for $16,” said a young man in a fedora, hurrying past.” Good for you, pal. You’re probably not the only secondhand swell here tonight.

Inside a young Frank Sinatra had taken the stage and you didn’t need a drink to think it was him. There he was, Old Blue Eyes, crooning to the crowd, and backed up by a sultry songstress named Julie. I knew these old places had their ghosts, but nothing had prepared me for this. “Stick around,” said Richard. “You won’t believe this guy.” I stuck for a while, and then quietly slipped away, leaving those people dancing in the dark.


Which is just as well, because the police showed up later and shut down the party.

That’s how I like it—one step ahead of the law.


Society Diary

Late November:  My daughter cooks her first Thanksgiving turkey and I loan her the Wedgewood platters. The boyfriend carves like Michelangelo and rearranges it to resemble the uncut bird. I doubt even the Hong Kong Hyatt can do this.


Senator Fred Mills throws his wife a birthday party at The Petroleum Club. The who’s who include quarterback Jake Delhomme, apparently a former student of Debbie Mills. Fred is also friends with The Shaq, who was not there. We would like Jake to come to our birthday party.


December 1:  Sharon Moss invites me to lunch by limousine in Grand Coteau and refuses to say when we’ll be coming back. If Jake is there, it doesn’t matter when we’ll be coming back.


Society Noir


The phone rang. It was The Italian and she wanted to talk business.


“I think The Boss and The Puerto Rican should bury the hatchet,” she said. The Italian was never one to wait for a green light.

“In each other?” I asked.

Unfortunately I was already familiar with the business she was talking about. The Italian wanted certain plans to go off without a hitch and what the Italian wanted usually went. She had a way of calling in favors.



“How’s that possible? I asked again.

“I’d hoped you’d take care of that detail for me,” she said.

Trouble was, The Boss needed The Puerto Rican like a mob informant needs the East River. They’d faced off before and neither were known for backing down. But recent events had made it necessary for the two of them to come together for the greater good.


The Italian was silent. There are people who can do that, who can put you on notice just by being quiet.

“I’ll let you know how it goes,” I said. She hung up.

Right, and if it doesn’t go well, I won’t need to let her know. She’ll be able to hear the sirens from her living room.


Society Diary

Early November:  My hard drive dies and I must say I have cried less over men. LUS Fiber is attacked on election night and everyone else at The Acadiana Advocate cries too. So does District Attorney Mike Harson.

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Edwin Edwards makes the runoff and at his election party the band plays Folsom Prison Blues.

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The Horse Farm gives a $500 per couple gala and there are real horses there, the mounted police, and David Vitter. There is one narrow dirt road in and the same narrow dirt road out. The invitation says outdoor chic, and there are lots of cowboy boots. No one is trampled.


The Symphony launches their Death by Chocolate event at the Petroleum Club, a locale that was never designed to handle the crowd that shows up. A board member asks me to bolt the side exit even though I’m pretty sure the fire marshal would object. Death by trampling is a real possibility.

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Triton has their royalty party. When you segregate the sexes you’re asking for trouble.


Society Diary

Last Week in October:  I drive out to Lafayette Animal Aid to do interviews. Every year, I look for a charitable endeavor for the upcoming holidays, and this year Read to Animals is it. I meet Mohawk. Mohawk is a biker cat. You can always tell.


The March of Dimes has its Roaring 20’s Gala and Signature Chef’s Auction. The combination of costumes and the ballroom at the Petroleum Club is straight out of Titanic, but the only urgency is in the buffet line. Lead Chef Mark Alleman is the cat’s meow.


Penny Edwards hosts an All Hallow’s Eve party. The scary part is the line of cars trying to get into Le Triomphe to go trick or treating. Penny’s dressed as a witch, forgets she’s cutting the cheesecake, and answers the door with a large knife. Trick or treating thins after that, but the real scare of the evening is Col. Rob Maness’s call-in to KPEL’s Go Acadiana with Dr. John and Ken Romero.


A Krewe of Bonaparte member calls to un-invite me to a party she’s already invited me to and says she’s sure I’ll understand.

Do I look like I understand?


Society Diary

Society Diary

Late October:  I am overlooked by the Lourdes Foundation this year but picked up by The Beaux Arts Ball. I have never been to this event before, hosted by the University’s College of the Arts, but the theme is water and there are costumes. I go as the Black Sea. It means I don’t need to change.


Dean Gordon Brooks has dressed up as Poseidon and assistant dean Michael McClure as The Atchafalaya Swamp. There are lots of mermaids, old and young. I thought mermaids stayed perennially youthful but no. There is a very pretty Oyster Girl and some not so pretty oil spills. Some faculty members are fishing for donations.


The UL Jazz ensemble plays and I can’t hear what famous photographer Philip Gould says to me.  All I hear is “bad” and “work” and hope he’s saying it’s too bad I have to work. Raoul Blanco posts my picture to Facebook and starts counting the likes. At least he says there are likes. He also says he’s the Black Swan and must help judge the awards. He picks the light-up submarine and Oyster Girl for first place. He also reports that River Oaks has decorated the men’s room with burlesque and asks if I want a photo.

Oh, hell yes.

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Society Noir

I ate a lonely dinner.


Reporters have souls, same as anyone else. My feet hurt, that’s the good word. Then a message arrived, except it was a number I didn’t recognize. I like good stuff, I thought. Maybe this is my lucky day.

“Are you planning to be at my next two events?” It said. Who’s asking?  He wasn’t too smart. I like that in a man.

A woman will  give her name but a man will always assume you know who he is, that you’ve filed his number away for safekeeping. Other times he’ll give you his first name, as if there can be only one Rob or Bob or Bill. I’ve had men’s number for a long time.

“Yes and no,” I said, and hit reply. Let’s see what you’re made of, sport. I don’t make deals.

The next message was from a woman who gave her name up front, discreetly asking if I knew an out-of-town divorce attorney for her society friend. Seems the lady finally had enough of the husband and his stray cat strut and wanted to make sure she got what was coming to her.

“I know you know everybody,” she said.

You bet.  He’ll get what’s coming to him too, sweetheart.


Society Diary

Second Week in October:  Triton gives a party on Rue Catholique in Carencro.  Not even the Pope could find this.  They told me 11 but the party is actually at 12, so no one is there. Queen Triton is wearing a football jersey and King Triton doesn’t have his crown. They didn’t know I was coming. Triton is a men’s krewe. Men never see it coming.


Friends of the Humanities holds a nice luncheon at the Petroleum Club and Provost Jim Henderson  attends with the deans. Liberal arts is the best college education you can have, and my daughter and I both have one. When mothers ask me what my daughter does with her English major, I answer, “Anything she wants to.” Which is pretty much what my daughter does. Whatever she wants.

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Attorney Warren Perrin hosts a Festival party for foreign dignitaries and many chic French-speaking people are there. Warren wages a one-man campaign against the word coonass. Saying this isn’t nice, and neither is the French word it comes from.  So stop it.


Judy Dunn hosts a cocktail benefit for Animal Aid called Bark in the Dark.  I already have a rescue cat. Rescue animals can sometimes have issues and don’t like it when you leave. Waffles sleeps with one eye open. Like Nam.


Society Diary

Late September-Early October: Apollo has its announcement party and its theme this year is Cirque de Soleil.  Lafayette General Medical Center has its carnival fundraiser.  There were bearded ladies at both.  


Don Allen and I stop at Royal Panda for dinner. I tell proprietor Tony Liu how much I enjoyed the sake, and he brings out a bottle of Summer Snow. Tony says tasting different sake types is expected. Summer Snow is unfiltered sake and very cloudy, hence its name. There are styles of sake:  ginjo (rice polished to 60%) junmai (no alcohol added) honjozo (alcohol added) and nigori (hasn’t been filtered.) This is nigori ginjo. It is 18% alcohol.  Don likes it.


The bottle reads “A deluxe label for nigori  fans, this unfiltered sake is voluptuously rich and brimming with exuberant flavor.” Don has some more and is brimming with exuberance. He begins to growl, “Sake!” and “Hai!” By now, the sediment has settled, and looks like snow in the bottom of the bottle.  After a third glass, he becomes imperious.


 Don-san is sent home.