I found myself in a Christmas shop on Decatur St. in the Quarter last October. My son in-law and I were wandering around when we came across a sizable display we didn’t recognize. There were books, ornaments, plush toys, coloring books etc. of a snowman in a flying pose. We joked about ‘Frosty on steroids’ as we tried to figure out what this was. There were a lot of items with this theme so, it must have meant something. As we joked a store employee passed behind us and in a somewhat indignant tone informed us “That’s Mr. Bingle”.
In this way I was introduced to the lore of Mr. Bingle, Christmas Icon.
Sometimes, you just want a bar. Not a tourist bar. Not a place full of girls going “WOOO!”. Just a bar you can go to and have a drink, maybe watch the Saints on TV or just relax. A bar that’s more local hangout than a tourist stop. To me, Harry’s Corner Bar is that kind of place.
I have passed Harry’s Corner Bar a few times, always intending to get there. A couple of weeks ago, I did.
I have been reflecting recently on the New Orleans tradition of the Lagniappe (pronounced Lon-yap).
The Lagniappe is charming custom in which the merchant gives a little extra value to the customer in appreciation of the customer’s business. Think of it as the 13th doughnut in a Baker’s Dozen. Just a little token.The tradition goes back in New Orleans as least as far the 19th century where writers, including that chronicler of the Mississippi, Mark Twain, mention it. This custom can be found in other cultures and countries and contributes to the ‘Old World’ feel of New Orleans
I recently had the chance to visit a bar I’ve been wanting to get to for a while.
The 21st Amendment Bar is a block or so off Bourbon on Iberville St. in the French Quarter. It has three arched doorways leading directly into a small, cozy space. At one end is a copper topped bar with about a dozen seats. The bar is decorated in the gangster era style in fitting with the bar’s prohibition era theme.