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Society Noir

Society Noir

The Redhead was having a party. I had prayed for rain and low temperatures but I noticed the Lord hadn’t answered as I flashed my ID to the guard at the gate. He looked at it for a long time, went into the lodge and reading from my card, spoke briefly on the phone. Then he came back, pressed a button, and the barrier came up.


“Have a good evening,” he said.

The road wound its way beside long, high walls, manicured lawns and golf cart crossings. A single right turn brought me to her door.

I saw immediately it was an interesting group. The Italian was there, of course, along with an ex- newspaper publisher and her husband, The Redhead’s mother, a decorator and a washed-up sportswriter. By the way, a bottle of bourbon and a sportswriter will get you everywhere.

I knew the Redhead meant business.  She’d unpacked the Lalique and done the cooking herself. It was a holiday feast, a regular Christmas in July–even The Redhead herself was in green. She was leaving soon for Europe and this was her last hurrah until the luau she intended to give in a month or two. Some pig’s number was already up.


I leaned back on a neat little sofa with a high back, making myself look relaxed.  More champagne opened. I sipped my drink and glanced around the room.  

No one saw the karaoke coming.


Society Diary

Society Diary

Last Weekend in June:  My daughter’s boyfriend comes and goes.  Again.


The first Moms & Me Expo takes over the Town Square in River Ranch. There are live princesses and lines of little girls out to the street. The Anna and Elsa impersonators refuse to give their names and their princess rep intervenes, saying it ruins the mystique. Princess Belle whispers hers, Claire Varnado. Radio’s C.J. and Debbie Ray are there, Debbie says hello but he doesn’t. Princess.


 02 Face & Body Spa and Taylor Your Look opens also in River Ranch to a packed crowd. If you’re not a princess, you can still look like one. The men did not let one another out of their sight.


 I watch Ironclad with Don Allen.  If you were a princess  in medieval times,  you had to marry Derek Jacobi  imagesCABF5JVOjames_purefoy_pa_photos[2]instead of James Purefoy.


Society Diary

Last week of June:  My daughter’s boyfriend leaves again.

Penny Edwards says she’ll give a turkey dinner instead of a luau in a few weeks, sort of a Christmas in July. Giblets instead of leis, still potentially the party of the year.

The 705 has its Learn & Lunch at the City Club. Dr. Derrick Hines speaks on modern movement and pain, and says only 8% of jobs today are considered active. Journalism is not one of them.  He also teaches and practices Medical Dry Needling. I tell him an acupuncturist once gave me a diagnosis of “too many difficult men.” He says there is no needle big enough for that one.


 I watch Boondock Saints with Don Allen. According to the movie, the cure is actually pretty simple.


Society Diary

Society Diary

I invite my daughter’s new boyfriend to a get-acquainted dinner at Café Bella.


 Penny Edwards calls for her party photos so she can publish in Le Triomphe’s neighborhood magazine, Behind the Gate. I like that name. She intends to give a luau in October featuring Cirk Romero, a former Maui chef who moonlights as a floor finisher. Potentially the party of the year.


 Sacred Heart’s Dancing with the Stars gears up. It’s not until next October, but it takes them that long to practice. There’s something entertaining about regular people dancing, and this event has to move to the Cajundome Convention Center this year.  Cane River’s Jady Regard says he had to decline because October is pecan season and it would drive him nuts. AcA’s Gerd Wuestemann says when the sisters ask, you can’t say no. Just in case.


I watch M. Night Shyamalan’s Devil  with Don Allen, a movie about five people stuck in an elevator and one of them is Satan. The socialite is the last to go and suffers the most. By the way, the Devil can apparently take many forms.



Society Diary

Society Diary

June 12:  My daughter’s new boyfriend comes back from Mexico. He leaves again immediately.


 Penny Edwards gives another party, an extension of her first one. The first one featured her nephew, the second one her mother. I like the concept of featuring relatives. My daughter does not.


Stagebackers gives its first backstage funding to local actors. President Don Johnson gives new meaning to the phrase “break a leg.” He did. His wife insists I put the phone on speaker when I interview him and says it’s because he’s on medication.  I assure her he’s safe with me, I don’t prey on the lame ones. Their organization seeks to pump up the local theater community and they tell me for $25 I can join and become an officially-designated “Diva”.   I suspect I already am one.


 Alliance Française calls with plans to celebrate Bastille Day. Actually, the French see to it that everyone celebrates July 14, the day they broke into the Bastille. If you’re the least bit French, you have to do this and if you’re not, you still have to help. Show up at the Blue Moon Saloon the night before and pretend it’s prison. With music. To be continued…

Storming the Bastille

Society Noir

I turned into the driveway. It looked like a normal driveway, but I knew better. It was a tea, you know, pearls and hats, a few tiaras. I parked and got out of the car. One of the hats was already waiting for me and I could tell she was trouble.


“Well, now we know how The Boss gets into the newspaper so much,” she said, looking over my car.  “You got it for free?”

I can look at their heels and know the score. This one had it in spades.


 It’s not like I drive a status symbol. I guess I live in the past because all the cars today look alike to me. The black Honda V-6 coupe corners pretty good, though. I’d traded my last truck and some cash to The Boss for it. We were square. I don’t make deals.


 The Boss had come up the hard way—cars. A woman who made the rules for men who knew no laws, she never confused business with sentiment. Like I said, usually her deals were clean, and she liked to keep them that way.  She didn’t like mooches, she didn’t like tire- kickers, and she didn’t particularly like be-backs. In exchange, you could count on her not to rip your head off.


 Well, maybe with one or two exceptions.

The Boss was tough and the last thing on her mind was giving away anything. A straight proposition, take it or leave it.

“And by the way,” the hat continued, “we’re leaving for a week at the mansion. Would you care to come and stay in the cupola?”

Lady, my idea of a getaway is a cupola Jack Daniels.

Society Diary

 Society Diary

May 26:  The new boyfriend leaves for Mexico and must shave off his beard. You can’t have a beard offshore in Mexico.  I wonder if the pirates know this.


Raoul Blanco writes and says he will design the evening gown Mrs. Louisiana will wear in the upcoming Mrs. America Pageant in Las Vegas. In return, she’s going to have to model it at his now-postponed fall show. Every canceled fashion show has a silver lining and now Raoul has more silver than a Las Vegas casino.


 May 27:  Penny Edwards writes, finalizing plans for her June 6 soirée.  MasterClass Big Band lead vocalist Jace Fogleman is going to sing jazz. She’s giving up a cruise to St. Petersburg—the Russian one—to do this. Don Allen also writes, miffed he didn’t get his own personal invitation to the soirée. Best Dressed always goes to their heads. Fellow honoree Gordon Greig writes requesting his photos.  What’d I tell you.


 Jolie’s & Julie Calzone host a spring menu tasting for media.  This is where chefs make small portions of things for writers in hopes of publicity. Rock star Chef Gregory Doucet makes Roasted Bone Marrow, duck, and cracklins (not together) with a featured cocktail, which the bartender tells me is London Dry Gin, yellow Chartreuse, muddled cucumber, Szechuan peppercorn and coriander syrup, absinthe, and Envie beer (together).

He may have been drinking when he did this.




Society Diary

May 18:  I have dinner with my daughter.  The new boyfriend has left for Saudi Arabia.

May 19:  My red Advocate “A” pin arrives and now I have one like everyone else. However, I notice in Sunday’s paper the regular weekly ad with my picture has been replaced with one featuring country music heartthrob Billy Currington and the 2nd Annual Shindig on the Sand at Flora-Bama.  He’s short. My daughter knows him.

Picture 013

 May 23:  Raoul Blanco’s bought himself a new black Altima and dresses in a suit now that he’s been hired by David’s Bridal as management. His job is to get women to say “si” to the dress. He has his fall couture show ready to go at the Hilliard when it is suddenly postponed. In the wedding industry this is called cold feet. In fashion, it’s called scheduling a show for Memorial Day Weekend. 


 May 24:  Krista Richmond has her e-book reception at Pour. You can’t sign an e-book so an author just chats, like Don Bacque did with his Viet Nam e-book. Richmond’s book is about celebrity journalism. Let’s see, Viet Nam or celebrity journalism. There’s a real toss-up…



Society Diary

May 11, Mother’s Day:  My daughter cooks breakfast for me.  The ex-boyfriend biker emails me three times.  The new boyfriend is leaving soon for Saudi Arabia and Don Allen surprises me with a new cat.  I’m relieved to see it’s not Una.  This one has two eyes.

 photo (4)Una


May 12: Judge Susan Theall also emails me because I listed her among the supporters at a recent political fundraiser.  It seems judges attend all political events no matter what and are prohibited from endorsing anyone.  I am found in contempt and throw myself on the mercy of the court.

May 14:  Advocate  owner John Georges holds a reception at the City Club and Lafayette’s Who’s Who attend.  I’ve never met him before and ask if he’s feeling well, and he says yes, this is my regular voice.  Everyone has a nice red pin with an “A” on it except me. They tell me mine was overlooked.  Editor Peter Kovacs still looks like he’s from central casting and a good time is had by all. 



Next door at Best-Dressed of the Teche their photographer from The Daily Iberian is a no-show, so I walk to the rescue.  I take their pictures, which include one former and one current Mrs. Louisiana, George Doerle, Jr. and Don Allen, who informs Grammy-winning DJ Joshua Murrell that he wants to walk the runway to Sympathy for the Devil.  I was hoping he’d escape the obvious.


We stop by Pour in River Ranch and my daughter walks in with the new boyfriend.  When you run into your children in bars, it’s time to go home.


Society Diary

May 9:  Today is my birthday.  I wake up to 57 Facebook howdy’s and an email from a long-ago man that reads “My mom is really not doing well, the nurse is giving her weeks. Sorry to be a downer.  Happy Birthday.”


I work that evening.  The Hilliard has Sonny Landreth scheduled to play alongside Dickie Landry and an eclectic crowd has shown up to hear them.  Hugo, the bouncer at the museum, has the door locked and is letting VIPs in through the back, more like a nightclub.  Sonny arrives and ducks in the men’s room. I start down the hall with my camera and the staff gets alarmed, so I explain The Advocate is not that kind of newspaper.  Hugo finally unlocks the main door and the crowd streams in, a mix of academia and artists, rogues and reporters.  Todd Mouton and Sonny have vanished to practice somewhere deep in the museum, so the crowd falls on the cheese and crackers instead.  Some buy wine.  A gentleman steps up and says, “I see you in the paper all the time.  I hate that fold-over front page ad.  Please stop doing that.”  I promise to mention.


I’m talking to my ULL neighbors Jim and Lise Ann Slatten when a man steps into their photo and asks about Billy.  Billy Gannon is my ex-husband.  Nobody ever asks me about Billy.  I don’t often answer questions about my husband, but when I do, I drink Dos Equis.  A lot.  “Billy?” I ask, firing a warning shot to give him time to run, which he doesn’t, and bumbles on to tell me what an outdoorsman extraordinaire Billy is, Boy Scouts leader, and consummate fly fisherman.

He was no boy scout when I knew him, but glad to hear he has the fly under control.


Lafayette's Social Scene with Patricia Gannon