Joe Polack says my story about a visit to the French Quarter “brings to mind what it was like in the late ’30s.
“I grew up in New Orleans and was a student at Tulane in the 1940 era.
“My friends and I spent plenty of time in the Quarter, mainly drinking beer and listening to music.
“It was different then.
“It was before the days of air travel, so there was no tourism to speak of.
“The great restaurants were patronized mainly by locals.
“There were no strip joints on Bourbon Street — they were strictly a postwar phenomenon.
“There were ‘houses of ill repute’ on St. Louis Street, not openly spoken of nor frequented by anyone I knew.
“When we (college kids) went to the Quarter, we went for music.
“A popular spot was the Napoleon House for beer and enjoying the big jukebox that played only classical music.
“There were jazz music spots on Bourbon Street — the 500 Club and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and others — that had vocal, piano and other performers.
“Preservation Hall was there, too, on St. Peter Street. We sat on boxes, smoked cigarettes, and put maybe a quarter in the hat that was passed after a few numbers.
“I believe Preservation Hall may have shut down during the war.
“I understand it reopened in 1961, somewhat more formal and with an admission charge, but still with wonderful jazz.
“Air travel and tourism changed the nightlife. Happily Royal Street, the French Market and other parts of the Quarter have maintained their traditional character.”
Maturity at work
Chuck Falcon, of Donaldsonville, says our mention of old words with new meanings “reminded me — just the other day I was sitting in my back yard watching the birds and the bees and thinking how amazing nature is.
“Then it hit me how time changes the way we think of certain words and phrases.”
Kathleen C. Couvillon says, about our mention of home alarm systems tied to landline phones, “It is possible to have home alarm system monitors that are wireless.”
She adds, “And if the cellphone is misplaced, send an APB via email asking, ‘PLEEEZE call … I can’t find my cellphone.’”
To bundle or not
A reader warns folks planning to keep a landline phone in case of hurricanes that “bundling” plans might mean that “when the power goes out they are no longer useful.”
So if this is a concern, check before you bundle.‘
Frank Fronczek adds to our discussion of Brett Favre and his “Farve” pronunciation:
“In a standing joke with my son Chris regarding how that quarterback pronounces his name, we always refer to him as ‘Bart Frave.’”
Nice People Dept.
Owen J. La Cour, of Kenner, says, “We were having lunch at Andy’s Bistro in Metairie, and when we asked our waiter for the check upon finishing our meal, we were told a young couple at the next table had paid for it.
“They thought we reminded them of grandparents, or most likely great-grandparents.” (Owen says he’s 95.)
“Not knowing the couple’s name, we are unable to thank them for such thoughtfulness and generosity.
“Hopefully they read your column. …”
When Joe Cooper read that Typhoon Usagi had missed Hong Kong, he thought back to 60 years ago during his time in the military when “a typhoon completely destroyed my birthday party at the Hennessey Hotel in downtown Victoria City in Hong King when I was on R&R from Korea.
“This storm nearly destroyed Manila a few days before.”
Special People Dept.
- Ray Brown, of Central, celebrates his 103rd birthday Saturday. He’s a World War II veteran.
Hazel Marchand Schaubhut, of Lutcher, celebrates her 99th birthday Friday.
On Friday Jane Carles celebrates her 90th birthday.
Shirley Fleniken tells this story, “When my friend was looking to buy property, an overzealous real estate agent showed her what can only be described as a totally worn-out old farm.
“The land had just been worked to death — the weeds on the property were hardly even growing.
“The smiling super-salesman said, ‘Now really, all this land needs is a little water, a nice cool breeze, and some good people.’
“My friend replied, ‘Yeah, I agree. But couldn’t the same be said of hell?’ ”
It’s news to me …
Paul Major, of Livonia, says, “When we showed my mother the notice in your column about her celebrating her 99th birthday, her reaction was: ‘Hmph! He’ll cover anything!’ ”
Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.