Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good job, Mr. Mayor

This week was the Times-Picayune's annual holiday party, held in the actual newsroom. An invitation to this event is highly prized in this town. The first year, I finagled my way in, but the past two, I've actually received legitimate invites in the mail even.

Anybody who's anybody is there, wending their way through the boisterous crowd, to the open bar, to the buffet of hors d'oeuvres or to editors or customers who need stroking. The PR tribe is out in force, hugging and gushing over writers and stories told. I shudder to think I've been in that gaggle of lovely young ladies and now see how my pitches might have fallen short while just sticking to the facts.

Hiding in their cubbyholes, a few conscientious writers continued to plug away at deadlined stories while the production staff stayed glued to their computer screens.

While lingering at the bar with another contributor and holding a gin and tonic, I noticed a familiar figure squeezing through the narrow path. He was shorter than on TV, but still definitely the mayor. How cool is that? I couldn't resist extending my hand to Mitch Landrieu to say, "You're doing a good job." I'm not actually sure about that, but he definitely needs encouragement, considering all the problems that need to be fixed.

We have a certain royalty in New Orleans, in addition to Mardi Gras kings and queens. We've got the Landrieu family. Maurice "Moon" Landrieu was mayor from 1970-78. He headed HUD under Carter.
Now we've got Mary as senator. And Mitch for mayor. Why not?

Later in the evening, I chatted with a prominent author while nibbling on ceviche. Everyone was up in arms two years ago when BBQ shrimp came off the menu. That was the hottest topic in the newsroom. My editor told me that for a while, there was discussion about canceling the party. But no such talk this year.

Things are looking up for the city. We've got a new police chief, new mayor, newly paved streets, new school system and new garbage contract. Things are looking up for 2011.

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