grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Monday, September 30, 2013

24-30SEP13 - Houma, LA (the stork has landed)

Tuesday, 24SEP, was the BIG day! Our daughter Rebecca & husband Raymond had headed to the hospital for delivery of their second child (aka our second grandchild) at midnight. A little after noon time, & with a little encouragement, Mason Ryan Pitre was born. Soon after his arrival Corrie (aka Oma) & big brother Jaxson headed to the hospital. At about 5PM everyone else (Opa, Uncle Joe, & Tasha) gathered at the hospital to be introduced to Mason.
Tuesday & Wednesday we (Oma & Opa) babysat the first grandchild, Jaxson, while mom & dad stayed at the hospital. Jaxson was aware that his parents were not at home but the babysitting went very well. During the day on Wednesday Dan & Joe (mostly Joe) finished the roofing shingles & installing a ridge vent on Joe’s new shop/shed. Early that evening Raymond, Rebecca & Mason came home from the hospital.
Thursday, 26SEP, Joe & Dan, along with Joe’s friend Ben, got the “house wrap” installed on the shed/shop sheathing; along with painting most of trim & installing it. Friday Joe, Dan & Tasha continued painting trim & installing it around the doors. After that they started to install cement board siding & got 1/4 of it done. It was then decided to take Saturday & Sunday off from construction & enjoy the weekend!
Saturday, 28SEP, we head downtown for the second annual Best of the Bayou Festival. This festival is funded by BP oil company as a result of their major oil spill two years ago in the Gulf of Mexico. This is one of several “payments” to the affected local communities they have agreed to; to rebuild tourism after the oil spill response was completed. Since this is the last year that BP will underwrite the costs, the organizers are hoping that future Best of the Bayou Festivals will be self-supporting. Dan is not to sure that will happen.

Why? Because the festival has some pretty impressive musical talent (ie pricey) & depends on food & drink sales to break even. This is the model successfully used by the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans we attended in APR08 (see our BLOG links below about that festival). But there is a big difference to us in having tens of thousands of tourists already in New Orleans to draw on (not to mention the locals), & expecting people to drive an hour from the New Orleans or Lafayette area to some unknown festival in Houma. In addition, many of the locals are still bringing their own food & drink even though there are large signs not to!

Anyway we headed to the festival & found a shady spot to listen to the musicians Dan had read about in the local entertainment magazine called the Gumbo Entertainment Guide. Although most are not known outside of Louisiana or Texas; many have played with world renowned artists; have been nominated for Grammys; or are very popular in Europe & Asia. Corrie lasted for three hours, Dan went to the end of the night.

Here is a quick synopsis of the musicians we saw on Saturday & Sunday:

-Blue Eyed Soul Revue – southern Louisiana favorite for many years, playing rev’ed up soul & blues like James Brown or the Blues Brothers.

-Kermit Ruffins – outstanding jazz/blues trumpeter with a voice similar to Satchmo, recognized around the world as one of the best.
-Gal Holiday & the Honky Tonk Revue – original & excellent country western singer in the style of Patsy Cline.
-Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys – probably the best zydeco & cajun musical group in Louisiana.
-Marcia Ball – very good R&B/blues singer.
 -Honey Island Swamp Band – has been around for many years & many line-up changes, but still plays some great “swamp rock”.

But the musician Dan really wanted to see & thought was best, was Susan Cowsill; who he first saw at the French Quarter Festival in 2008. As we noted back then - For those that remember 60s/70s rock groups, Susan was a family member of The Cowsills. Susan joined her mother and four brothers as an eight year old. The Cowsills had many hits, “Hair”, “The Rain, The Park & Other Things”, “Indian Lake”, etc. In fact, the Cowsills were the model for the TV show The Partridge Family. Anyway, after the Cowsills Susan continued as a musical artist in other groups, as a soloist, and most recently as a song writer/performer. She has lived in NOLA for twenty years and lost everything, including her brother Barry, to Katrina. And even worse was that her oldest brother, Bill, died on the day of Barry’s memorial service! But like many others, she refuses to leave and works endlessly to revive the New Orlean’s music scene. Susan wrote a beautiful song about a very rare Xmas snowfall in NOLA back in 2004, entitled “Crescent City Snow”. The song became the unofficial anthem for New Orleans post Katrina.
It was a great two days at the festival, with excellent music, food, gator races, & even Mickey & Minnie. Hopefully it will continue & thrive even without BP monies!
Also on Sunday, 29SEP, Joe, Tasha, Jaxson & Dan made a Lowes run for more material for Joe’s shed/shop. That evening Corrie made excellent chicken wings for dinner (look out Buffalo & WOW!).
Monday, 30SEP, Joe & Dan tried to get most of the shed/shop siding installed before Joe headed offshore for another two weeks. Unfortunately heavy rain hit after lunch & only one more side got completed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

01-23SEP13 Houma, LA (still waiting for the stork)

The first three weeks of September were spent waiting for the arrival of Rebecca & Raymond’s second child (aka our second grandchild). In between preparing the baby’s room, & medical appointments to insure all was “medically” well; we also busied ourselves by:

Monday, 02SEP, son Joe & Tasha hosted a Labor Day BBQ for members of Joe’s family, Tasha’s parents & grandmother, & miscellaneous friends & co-workers. It was good food & good company; with grandson Jaxson being the only smart one spending most of the time in the kiddie pool. After that a few of us headed to Cold Stone Creamery for a little dessert that wasn’t really needed. Unfortunately Joe goes back to work for two weeks offshore tomorrow.

Saturday, 07SEP, the Ryans & the Pitres met Tasha at Osaka for dinner. Thanks to inter-connectivity between smart phones & websites like Facebook; Tasha was able to send real time pictures to Joe offshore. He was very disappointed that we hadn’t waited until his return:(!

Monday, 09SEP, Corrie had minor medical issue requiring an unplanned visit to the local hospital. Thankfully it was nothing significant & solved. But the next day Tuesday, was another unplanned situation with Joe’s house AC acting up on Tasha. Turns out the outside unit needed cleaning big time; but the technician also discovered that new unit installed before Joe bought house was too “big” for the existing ducting & the ducting needs to be increased to make entire system more efficient!

Thursday, 12SEP, we headed into the CG base at Michoud NASA facility in east New Orleans for Corrie’s new ID. The supposed simple task of issuing a new ID did not go well & we will be required to return at the end of the month! As we were driving away from the base we stopped for lunch at Dong Phuong Bakery Restaurant that we had just seen on PBS TV about the Vietnam community in New Orleans. Many of New Orleans finest chefs hang out here.

For desert Dan headed to Hansen’s Sno-Bliz shop in New Orleans where the sno-ball was NOT invented, but the mechanical ice shaving machine was -

“Hansen's Sno-Bliz was first conceived during one typically hot New Orleans summer day during the Great Depression. Ernest Hansen and his older son were trying to cool off outside when a man pushing a snoball cart wheeled by. Ernest, although tempted by the frozen treat, disapproved of the lack of cleanliness of the operation as each snoball was shaved by hand from a large block of ice. Being a master machinist, he envisioned a machine that would hold and shave ice cleanly and safely. Ernest promptly set about building one, earning U.S. Patent 2525923."

"His wife, Mary Hansen, a shrewd businesswoman and fantastic Italian cook, created her own line of syrups. In 1939 Hansen's Sno-Bliz began serving its first snoballs under a Chinaball tree on the sidewalk outside of Mary's mother's house on St. Ann Street. Back then, a snoball was 2 cents, an exorbitant price for the time, and was served in a little cardboard tray. After a short time on Valmont Street, they moved to Hansen's current location on Tchoupitoulas Street in 1944.”

Dan had Mary’s Sno-Bliz with condensed milk on it. Although in an out-of-the-way location, highly recommended if you ever visit New Orleans! Last stop was at the Hong Kong Market in Gretna, a very big Vietnamese supermarket that we also learned about on PBS TV.

Tuesday, 17SEP, Joe was back in town, so Dan helped him start on the shed/shop that Joe had a concrete slab poured for back in August. They were able to frame three walls & get them up. Wednesday, 18SEP, Raymond helped out on the shed/shop. The three of them get the fourth wall done, along with one roof truss. They would have got more done but it took a little time to remember high school trigonometry to get the angles right on the trusses – remember side opposite divided by side adjacent! Then Tasha made an excellent dinner for everyone including Oma, Rebecca, & Jaxson.

Thursday Dan & Joe get all the rafters up except the last two because of another of Louisiana’s fall rain squalls. Friday, 20SEP, Raymond was back to help Joe & Dan sheath 3 & 1/4 walls and the entire roof of Joe’s shop/shed. Saturday was more bad rain, so not much was done on Joe’s shed/shop. Tasha made another delicious dinner for her parents & us.

Sunday, 22SEP, Joe, Raymond, & Dan finished the walls & roof sheathing; then Dan & Joe installed hurricane clips.

Monday, Joe & Dan started installing trim & metal drip edges; then added roof tarpaper; & by the end of the day they got one-third of the roof shingled.

Lastly at midnight Monday, Raymond & Rebecca headed to the hospital in preparation for the birth of their second child (aka our second grandchild)!