I may be out of pocket today, so I'll top the morning with an open line and invite comments, perhaps from now on.
Clearing out e-mail, I see the Democrat-Gazette tomorrow is expected to work over the legal sleight of hand by which the developer of a Main Street center for veterans installed another service organization in the building and thus threw a monkey wrench in city legal efforts to stymie the project by bringing it under a new ordinance requiring a public hearing and city board permit for such uses. The coverage will continue a news side pursuit of the project — remember the story about the Austin homeless center and how it had ruined development there for as much as one block of downtown? — that just so happens to fall in line with the newspaper's editorial outlook against the center.
In that vein: I happened yesterday to drive past a New Orleans day center for veterans, installed in one of the older buildings along the street car line on Canal, not far from the central business district. A number of men were sitting and standing outside the center. Just a note, should the Democrat-Gazette need a photograph.
I'd prefer to focus on the plate of barbecued shrimp served at Pascal's Manale last night. This neighborhood joint, now 99 years old, still draws a crowd amid a host of trendy and praiseworthy newcomers. But all the hot spots were jammed with impossible waits last night because of the French Quarter Fest and we didn't end up regretting the drive out to the Garden District for crab remoulade, shrimp, grilled fish (just for you, elwood) and immersion in a venerable piece of New Orleansiana, complete with a wall full of horse racing, football and entertainment photographs. (Two Arkie natives — Charlie McClendon and Bear Bryant — hang side by side, right next to Y.A. Tittle, just to give you some idea of where this place is frozen in time.) I was pleased beyond measure to look down the block from Manale's and see that a favorite of my dad and his beloved cousin for whom I was named (he was a surgeon just down the street at Baptist Hospital) lives on. It's been at least 55 years since I first heard about Charlie's Steakhouse and Bar, its sign still glowing with a cheery promise of stiff drinks and a bloody piece of beef. Hurricane or no, they just can't kill some things in New Orleans.