Dateline New Orleans: Book Signing, College Tours, Po’Boys and Mardis Gras


So if you read yesterday’s post, I told you about a book signing I had at the Catholic Bookstore and all I can say is thank God for my mother-in-law because she was able to get some of her friends to come and we had a nice little crowd.  Many of her friends are in their 70’s and 80’s and I was asked to say a few words about my background and how the book came along and since none of us know how long they have left, particularly people who are in their 70’s or 80’s,  I tried to keep it short and only went back as far as 1813 when my great, great, great grandfather and economic contrarian, Joseph Hartnett,  decided that financial prosperity lay not with moving west but in moving east.   You probably remember this from history class, but he along with 247 citizens of Cape May, NJ drowned when he lead their wagon train into the Atlantic Ocean during high tide.

This morning, my wife and daughter and I took a tour of Tulane University which is located in uptown New Orleans.  It’s a beautiful campus and our tour guide was terrific and by that I mean he didn’t fall down once during the six and a half miles he walked backwards while citing key facts about the Tulane social, academic and meal plan experience.

skeletonThis was a skeleton we happened to see on the tour in one of the Tulane offices.  I asked the woman sitting at the desk if he was anyone special and she told me he was a parent who had asked why college tuition keeps going  up at a rate of 300 times the rate of inflation and was just waiting for an answer.

The picture below is a “Mardis Gras” themed tree that Tulane students decorate by tossing their beads around the branches.    After Mardis Gras, the beads are taken down so that all the students from New York City can store their sneakers there.

treeAfter the tour we went to lunch with a few relatives and had a couple of po’boy sandwiches, onion rings, and other assorted fried foods.  It was a cute restaurant in Metairie, which is a nearby suburb, called Randazzos and what was really special was that they had heart defibrillators on every table!  Repeat business is the key to any successful restaurant and while people surely enjoy fried food, you never know how long they’ll be around, so kudos to the folks at Randazzos for hedging their bets.


Tonight, I have to dress up in white tie and tails for a Mardis Gras ball.  It’s a very special event but since a lot of what goes on in the Krewes that parade during Mardis Gras is secret I can’t share too much other than I will probably start of with a drink and finish the same way.   Tomorrow is the day that we ride and I’ll try to get a few pictures.  In all seriousness, contrary to popular belief, Mardis Gras is overwhelmingly a family event and if you ever do come to New Orleans,  I recommend that you experience some of it away from Bourbon Street and the French Quarter and head up town to where many of the parades start on St. Charles Avenue.

Have a good night!

© 2013 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett

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