In honor of Ray Sr.
In uniform, clutching your sweetheart, standing outside your shop
Photos of you linger in my mind long after you breathed your last
It’s been 27 years since you first marveled at my funny red mop
Your name, your memory, your photos inspire me to give all I have
Retirement City. I coined the phrase to describe Thibodaux, La., the town where I went to college. The name is not meant to be flattering. The city suffers from an identity crisis. On one hand, it has a small university with 7,000 students. Yet, the city’s leadership seeks to turn it into a retirement community.
In related news: I turned 27 last week. Yes! One year closer to the new retirement age — death!
My friend G-Ratt joked on my Facebook wall — I think he was joking — my birthday meant nothing while I lived away from the “bayou land.” He concluded with a line that stuck with me: “Retirement city misses her children so (song title?).”
I promised him I would turn his line into something. Here’s what I penned tonight. It’s a tad melancholy. The first verse is me talking. The second verse is Retirement City speaking to me. Yes, I gave Retirement City a voice. Enjoy!
I caught a lot of beads! YAH MON!
Portland is not a carnival town. Maybe it’s the rampant veganism, the skinny jeans, or the cold+rain. Or the lack of Cajun and Creole influence. Whatever it is, the city doesn’t throw down like south Louisiana circa Mardi Gras time.
I miss Mardi Gras — the booze, the beads, the drunken boob flashings for beads, etc. — and that’s just in Thibodaux. The thought of experiencing another Endymion in New Orleans nearly makes my brain explode.
I am a professional paradegoer. But sometimes life gets out of control and you get down on one knee in a street cluttered with trash and propose to a Univ. of Texas co-ed with chicken on a stick. It happens.
I digress greatly. Mardi Gras is a time for losing yourself in frivolous pursuits. There’s nothing like seeing two grown men fight over a dollar store trinket. Seriously guys, you should charge people if you’re gonna put on a show. Ah hell, don’t listen to me. Just fight in the middle of the street, you know you wanna.
I am preparing to interview this afternoon for a reporter vacancy at a mid-sized daily newspaper in the Portland suburbs.
As I look at my portfolio and my clips from four years working full-time for the Daily Comet and Houma Courier newspapers, I am reminded of a mother and her two children whose tragic tale has had a major impact on my life.
It was a morning not unlike this one on Aug. 20, 2007, when I got a tip that there was a swarm of police on St. Anthony Street in Mathews, La. I asked Lafourche Sheriff’s spokesman Larry Weidel what was going on. His response: “Just get here. It’s bad.”
Tonight, as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed, I learned the disheartening news that the coffee/sandwich shop Demitasse was burning down in my old town of Thibodaux, La.
After spotting this on a friend’s status, I reached for my phone and called my old coworkers at the town’s newspaper to alert them. A reporter was already on the scene, of course. I returned to refreshing my Facebook page.
The news from the home front — in this case, my Facebook news feed and my coworkers — was grim. The Demitasse and Debbie’s Antiques, which are housed in the same building, were fully engulfed in flames.
Eventually photos and iPhone video emerged on Facebook. They confirmed the worst. The local newspaper’s web site also posted breaking news about the fire.
This event is significant for two reasons: The Demitasse and Debbie’s Antiques are treasures of Thibodaux — a town beseeched by corporate fast food chains and sorely lacking in local charm — and this is the first time I can recall watching a local news event unfold on my Facebook news feed.