No Place like Home in New Orleans

Ideas and Issues Personal Writings

New Orleans        One of the things I do after time on the road even though it takes days and sometimes weeks, is I read the old papers in stacks of Times-Picayunes, Wall Street Journals, and New York Times.  It takes some time but it’s my job and there are some subtle rewards that perhaps one can live without, but certainly not as well.

Bud Rip’s is a bar about halfway between where we live now and where we used to live.  I’ve never hung at Bud’s even though he has also come by the house where we live and told us stories about how his family used to live there many years ago.  Bud Ripoll was an old conservative, republican mossback who deserted the city and moved into St. Bernard Parish.  I was always convinced that if I wanted to become a drinker, then I had better choices.  But, as part of the neighborhood, I could applaud the bar from time to time if they were representing well.  My daughter and I on a long plane ride once watched a movie intently that had John Travolta and others on film walking down our street and then dancing in Bud Rip’s.  Of course during the filming they had created another name for it and so forth, but the point was that the Bywater was in the movies!

Seems on this trip, Bud Rip passed on.   His daughter was quoted liberally in his obit.  She said that “at the corner spot where Mr. Ripoll always liked to sit she found an open bottle of beer on a napkin.  The little barmaid would not let anybody sit there.”  When asked, she said, “You know who’s sitting there.”  His daughter was “touched.”  She also shared that “Mr. Ripoll was cremated.  His daughter said his ashes will go into a brass urn inscribed with his nickname, the years of his birth and death, and the words: 
‘This Bud’s for You.'”  Welcome home.

There is also advice that I would miss without this happen of reading the old papers.  In light of a New Orleans scandal about email and now a national scandal, a columnist for the paper, James Gill, quoted a famous maxim from former Governor Earl Long, brother of the more well known Huey outside of Louisiana.  Earl used to caution way before the age of email the following:

“Don’t write anything you can phone. Don’t phone anything you can talk.  Don’t talk anything you can whisper.  Don’t whisper anything you can smile.  Don’t smile anything you can nod.  Don’t nod anything you can wink.”

That’s good Louisiana political advice.  Marc Morial, when he was Mayor of New Orleans, used to tell me that he was looking forward to learning how to use email when he left City Hall and returned to private life, because he “sure wasn’t going to use anything like that as Mayor!”

‘Nuff said!

October 10, 2006

Earl Long