Patricia Gannon: Caffeine as art

Coffee has always been a society drink, ever since the days when well-off Victorian men spent their money on coffeehouses and clubs.

Coffeehouses are still a badge of status among the elite, maybe even more so. People now parse a cup of coffee the way many do fine wine, straining not for grounds, but to detect its country of origin, roast and particular blend.

In the same way that the bartender who used to pour your bourbon has magically become a mixologist, being a barista is now a career path. The trend is fueled by foodies, those who for whatever reason have more intense relationships with their food than their friends and to them coffee is as artisanal as wine. Should it be Ethiopian Cheffe Yirga Konga, so much the better.

For anyone who still makes his own cuppa joe in the a.m., you are what’s sadly termed First Wave. For those who frequent Starbucks and think your gift card is gold, you’re Second Wave. Third Wavers must have more than a skinny caramel soy latte or extra shot. The foam on their organic, single-origin coffee should form a heart — there are even latte foam “art” competitions.

But take heart. I am proud to be a First Wave coffee drinker and have been all my life. I drink it the same way Orleanians have drunk theirs’ since the blockade days — with chicory — and don’t like it any other way. I make my coffee as the Irish say, “So strong the cat could walk across it,” otherwise known as prescription strength, and I have exactly two cups every morning.

Any more would be an overdose.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at

Ils sont partis!

Diehard Ragin’ Cajun fans gathered at Evangeline Downs in Opelousas for cocktails and more, and what better way to hang out with retired quarterback turned owner-breeder Jake Delhomme? The John Henry Room laid on the luxury for its Night at the Races VIPs including the best view in the house. “The event was created as a “party board” sign up at the second annual Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics Celebration last August to help raise funds to retain and attract quality coaches,” said committee member Ken Blanc. Betting modestly on the ponies but all the way on their alma mater were Zack Carlisle, University of Louisiana at Lafayette athletic director Ken Meyers, Brent and Stacy Romero, Darren Thibodeaux, radio god Don Allen and good-looking guys Troy Hebert and Michael Barras. UL’s Aaron Martin won his gas money back to Lafayette, and Evangeline Downs saw its first-ever triple dead heat. Missed it? This year’s RCAC will be Saturday, Aug. 23.

UL Lafayette Spring Gala

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Alumni Association honored Randy K. Haynie for his dedication and support to the university and community at its Spring Gala gala set against a backdrop of perfect weather. The president of the lobbying firm Haynie & Associates greeted guests at the door to the Alumni House while turning out for cocktails was a regular red carpet of locals, not the least of whom was former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and husband Raymond, Congressman Charles Boustany, Sen. Fred Mills, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, Paul and Madlyn Hilliard and Judge Susan Theall. Others sporting the red ‘n’ white were current Alumni Association President Michael Judice and wife, Maureen, Judice’s up-and-coming replacement, Margaret Trahan, and UL’s Kathy Rosenberg. What we loved: Theall’s leopard heels, redheads Sally Ware and Claudy Hebert, Jennifer Jackson’s brave white dress and Dale Savoie’s Cajun name story — good one, Dale.