October Photo Challenge Day 25: SELFIE

Last night, Tallulah and I accompanied our humans on a little stroll to see Ghost Manor. Let me take just a moment to state the obvious: My family really, really needs to step up its SELFIE game. Can you believe that we took literally dozens of selfies and this is the best we have to offer? This selfie is, as the kids would say, definitely not on fleek. But it got just a little embarrassing to continue the attempts as the crowds milled about, so this is what you get. Selfie failure aside, Ghost Manor at night was even better than I’d imagined when we visited a couple of weeks ago in the daytime. (Click here to refresh your memory.) The skeleton quartet serenaded us from the porch. A beautiful lady danced in an upstairs room . . . before she was consumed by flames. And all the while giant eyeballs peered down on us from above. Creepy!

OK, friends, we really need your help. What are your best secrets to capturing the perfect selfie?


October Photo Challenge Day 15: YOUR NIGHT

To understand my October Photo Challenge entry for YOUR NIGHT, you have to understand my day. Saturday started with a Visiting Pet Program outing to see my friends at Colonial Oaks Living Center. I stayed true to our VPP motto–Bringing Love and Leaving Smiles–as I went from room to room to see the residents. I also visited with the staff, who needed a little cheering up after a sad week. There was no time for a nap when I got home, because my LSU Tigers had an important football game against the Auburn Tigers . . . or War Eagles . . . they can’t quite decide who they want to be. My Tigers found themselves in a slight scoring deficit early in the game, but I didn’t give up on them and they rallied to capture the win. It took a lot of effort on my part to get that victory for my team. I was tired, but I had one last social engagement for the day. Tallulah and I closed out the night by accompanying our humans on a little Magazine Street stroll to celebrate New Orleans’ Art for Arts’ Sake. We visited with artists, saw lots of costumed humans who were getting a jump-start on Halloween, and stopped into our favorite watering hole where our human mommy enjoyed the air conditioning, our human daddy caught up on college football scores, and Tallulah and I did what we usually do: attracted and reveled in attention. By the time we returned home, I was a bit exhausted. I curled up on my blanket on the couch, which is kind of a special treat for me, and I said goodbye to a busy day and hello to a relaxing night.

Tomorrow’s photo challenge is BEST FRIEND. I’m pretty sure you can guess who that’s going to be. 🙂


HL Does NOLA from A to Z: I is for IGNATIUS

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I is for Ingnatius Eatery, serving authentic Creole comfort food in a traditional New Orleans atmosphere. I know what you’re thinking: not another restaurant. Yes, another restaurant. Here in New Orleans, food is very important. We currently have more than 1,400 open restaurants in our city, and that’s not counting the fast food joints. It’s not surprising that visitors and locals alike will sit down to eat one meal and immediately start talking about the next. And Ingnatius Eatery is worth talking about.

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The Uptown Magazine Street restaurant has quite a few awards under its belt–Travel Channel’s Chow Masters Golden Skillet, Trip Advisor’s Best in Excellence, and OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice–and offers dishes like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, red beans and rice with smoked sausage, and bread pudding. My human mommy is a big fan of happy hour, which happens daily from 3 to 7 p.m. She usually goes for the $10 bottle of wine, cochon de lait sliders, and catfish sliders. She shares with her friends. Really.

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But even more important than Ignatius Eatery is Ignatius J. Reilly and the book in which this one-of-a-kind character appears: the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Confederacy of Dunces by New Orleans native John Kennedy Toole. The novel was published in 1980, 11 years after Toole’s suicide. Toole’s mother found a copy of the manuscript after her 31-year-old son died in 1969. She tried unsuccessfully to have it published and then turned to Walker Percy, a Southern author who, at the time, was an instructor at New Orleans’ Loyola University. Here’s how Percy remembers the event:

There was no getting out of it; only one hope remained—that I could read a few pages and that they would be bad enough for me, in good conscience, to read no farther. Usually I can do just that. Indeed the first paragraph often suffices. My only fear was that this one might not be bad enough, or might be just good enough, so that I would have to keep reading.

In this case I read on. And on. First with the sinking feeling that it was not bad enough to quit, then with a prickle of interest, then a growing excitement, and finally an incredulity: surely it was not possible that it was so good.

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And it is so good. The characters and settings are quintessentially New Orleans, from Canal Street to Lucky Dogs to Lana Lee, who runs a French Quarter strip club. But it’s Ignatius who steals the show. A Chicago Sun-Times reviewer described him like this: “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter.” I highly suggest a quick read of A Confederacy of Dunces before your next trip to the Big Easy . . . and then you can roam the streets hoping to see the characters come to life. Happy reading and sweet dreams.

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This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of  the bloggers who are participating.


HL Does NOLA from A to Z: F is for FUNKY FLEURTY FUN

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F is for funky fleurty fun, and you’ll find it all in one small block of Magazine Street.

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Let’s start our little shopping spree at the Funky Monkey, a purveyor of vintage clothing and accessories, costumes, and wigs. Need a pair of pink go-go boots? Funky Monkey has that. What about the perfect bright blue bobbed wig? Yep, it’s there. A Superman costume for Mardi Gras? Funky Monkey is your place. If you can imagine it, you’ll probably find it in the Funky Monkey. From vintage t-shirts to formal gowns, the clothing racks are full of items you won’t be able to live without once you’ve seen them. You may need to buy another suitcase for your return trip home.

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And then there’s Fleurty Girl. Fleurty Girl’s story will make you believe in the American dream:

Fleurty Girl was born out of a vision of New Orleans-native, Lauren Thom. Using just $2,000 from her 2009 tax return, this single mother of three put everything she had into printing t-shirts that celebrated New Orleans. Just six months after launching her online store, she opened her first retail store on historic Oak Street and moved her and her family in the back of the old shotgun house. “We all crammed in the back of that house in order to see if this would work. We went from 2,000 square feet to just under 1,000. My kids went from each having their own rooms to having to all share one room together. People said I was crazy, but I believed in this.”

Fleurty Girl has the perfect New Orleans souvenirs (and by that I mean not the tacky kind). You’ll find beautiful dish towels, original artwork, scarves, soaps, and more. And those t-shirts? They’re not the French Quarter tourist trap sort of things. My human mommy’s favorite is the one that says, “The longer you live in New Orleans, the more unfit you become to live anywhere else.” So true.

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Last stop for the day: Funrock’n, which describes itself as “a dimestore for the 21st century.” Where do I even start? Inflatable flamingo inner tubes, leggings printed with hamburgers, old-school xylophones (for the inner child in all of us), and so much more. You just need to visit. You’ll have a rock’n good time. Trust me.

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And now that we’ve shopped until we dropped, I’m a little tired. Time for some rest because we have another big adventure scheduled for tomorrow.

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This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of  the bloggers who are participating.