How I Spent My Birthday

9 A.M. Beignets from Café du Monde
Yes, it’s a cliché. Shut up and eat and get incredibly messy. (stock photo)

The Presbytere used to have a Mardi Gras exhibit that was completely awesome. It’s been replaced by a spectacular exhibit on hurricanes.

That’s Fats Domino’s piano, which he donated. It’s been cleaned up, but that how it sat in his front yard when he got back to his house in the lower 9th Ward. Photo by HP! (as are all other photos in this post unless noted.)

Of course, Katrina is the focal point, but Betsy and Rita (1965 and 3 weeks after Katrina, respectively) get some air time, too. One room is frightening as the water pours in on 3 rapidly changing screens, using video taken from dozens of sources in a long, 10-15 minute loop. Lots of handsets with people talking about their different experiences. The kid was fascinated, I was kind of a wreck. Very emotional, powerful.

I had heard that the St. Louis Cathedral was ugly, but we beg to differ. Not as beautiful as a mission, nothing like a European church, but lovely and restful inside.

Next stop: the Cabildo. Excellent history exhibits.

Me to Kid: “Why do guys like weapons so much?”
Kid: “Because they’re awesome. Hey, a blunderbuss!”
“How the hell do you know what a blunderbuss is?”
Eye roll. “Video games, Mom. They teach me Everything.”

OK, one of the dorkiest things I’ve ever done is go to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. See the child here agreeing.

But then we got into the warehouse and it was crazy cool. HP particularly loved it, taking dozens of pix.

Central Grocery mufuletta. The kid didn’t parse as he normally would, just took a bite. “I don’t like 70% of the ingredients, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” Down with that. It’s got to be the olive salad they put on the thing. HP hates olives. Didn’t matter. (stock photo)

Dinner at Muriel’s. They had been kind enough to make allowances for the pickiness of the child and prepare him a burger; not on their dinner menu. He said it was one of the best he’d ever had. My dinner….not as good. Don’t order alligator; it’s alternately fatty and tough (though the julienned carrot and mirliton salad was a saving grace). The puppy drum, whatever that is (some kind of fish) was pretty tasty, the brownie as well.

The company was spectacular.

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