Big mmile. Getting ready for Big 9 Second Line.
Big smile. Getting ready for Big 9 Second Line.

I wrote the headline four times. I don’t know what to say except that I get to better work… you know, once again, the work is the prayer.

Here’s why.

As I sat down to prepare this work for you, my little AP bell rang on my smart phone. AP is The Associated Press. I should learn how to turn it off. Most news is bad news… and so it goes. What did the AP want to let me know? Joe Cocker passed. He was 70. Apparently, lung cancer was the cause.

This has been a year for that. Great musicians, some we knew a little and some we didn’t, left the planet. It started early in the year and doesn’t seem to want to let go. So what? Right?

Here’s the thing, even if I didn’t know them I knew their music. Their music was the sound track to my young life. Their music motivated me to do whatever it is that I do. It got me through tough times. And, helped me pass through good times somewhat graciously. One by one they are passing from the scene. Faster than ever. The wheel keeps turning and it won’t slow down.

Our reaction? To do what we do. The work. The prayer. That’s the best honor I can think of. Oh, and listen to their work. Cocker’s major influence was Ray Charles. If you think about it, take a few minutes — or hours — and listen to their music. That keeps them alive.

Last night? And, these pictures? Keep reading.

Big 9.
Big 9.

Even though we did not go to the French Quarter, some of our friends did. All seems fine. That’s good. I’ve rolled the dice too many times as it is. We made the right decision… for us. Instead, we walked a couple of blocks and went to Commander’s Palace for the same, albeit a more expensive, dinner. Then we took a stroll around our own neighborhood to look at the Christmas decorations. Maybe it’s the start of a new Christmas tradition. Our neighborhood is pretty. Tourists come here. To eat. To look at the houses. To steal our mail.

The mail thing? That’s a whole other story. Someday I’ll tell you. Just know that it’s pretty annoying.

The pictures? Keep going.


The pictures. See? I kept my promise. Even tough we didn’t go to the Quarter for Christmas music, we did go to a more blighted neighborhood. The upper end of the 9th Ward. Everybody should see a second line parade at least once in their life. So, off we went. All of us.

The top picture was made inside the neighborhood bar where the krewe, gangs and ladies were assembling. My first thought was to crank up the ISO to about a million and stop the action and make a sharp and “clear” picture. Then, thankfully, my soul beat my brain into submission and I thought, “Wait a minute. There is so much energy and motion in here that I can’t separate one from the other. THAT’s the picture.” So, I took it.

Picture number two. On the street. In the parade. The youngest man in either krewe. That’s saying something. Most of the social club members are anywhere from about 40 to somewhere around 80 years old.

And, finally. This is what it looks like as the parade begins to roll from wherever the members are getting ready. That’s the outside of where I was when I made the top picture.