Browsing CategoryThe South

louisiana cemetery

My grandfather on my mother’s side died before I was born. My main impression of him is a photo: in black and white, he stands next to a grill open to show a handful of baby chickens. As a child, I was horrified at the idea that he planned to cook them…until my mother explained it was a joke. Despite knowing he was buried in the cemetery next to the Catholic church in Church Point, where she grew up and where I still have family, I’d never been to his grave. On a recent trip with my mother, I asked…

The year I graduated and left Hot Springs, Arkansas, a magic show opened up downtown. I paid no mind to it when I came back to visit friends and family. Now I’m wishing I had. Twenty-two years later (man, I’m old), The Magic of Maxwell Blade is still serving up magic, but now it’s in a bigger and better venue: the historic Malco Theater. I’m pleased as punch that Maxwell Blade purchased and renovated this theater (to the tune of $1 million) because it’s a gorgeous gem of days gone by when movie theaters were a place you dressed up…

One of my absolute favorite things to do when traveling is go to the grocery store. Even in the US, you’ll find such diversity in products that you’ll feel like you’re in another country. That’s the case in Louisiana, where red pepper, pickled pig’sĀ feet, and frozen Cajun dishes fill the shelves. Where else can you buy pralines that someone’s aunt made at the checkout? I always stock up on Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning, Zapp’s potato chips, and maybe an Abita Beer Turbo Dog.

buena vista resort

For the first 12 or so years of my life, my family trekked from Houston (and later Fort Smith, Arkansas) to Hot Springs, Arkansas, for vacation. We stayed at Buena Vista Resort, a throwback to the 1940s when this lakeside oasis drew people from all the neighboring states. Even in the ’80s, the place was booked in the summer, and we’d often see the same people year after year. I made friends with the resort manager’s daughter, Wendy, and every summer I’d run up to her house, and then we’d explore the property, playing mini golf and rolling down what…