There is a saying that one should take what one needs from a situation and leave the rest without resentment. That is how I try to approach the Holiday Season. I love the music, the decorations, gift giving and all of the good food. I love the fellowship of family and friends. I like the aromas of the holidays, the trees, the baking and the smell of candles. I like the ideals of Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men. I like that I live in a nation that affords each of its citizens the right to worship the God of his understanding, as he sees fit.
I choose to ignore the commercialism and the exploitation of the season. I regret that there are some who would try to dictate how the rest of us celebrate our religious holidays. I hate the plastic garbage (usually with 500 pieces) that television sells to our kids. The good news is that I don’t have to take part in any of the things that I don’t like. I am free to ignore them and save my energy for the things I love.
Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I would like to wish each of you a wonderful HOLIDAY SEASON and I hope everyone will have a safe and prosperous NEW YEAR!
2010 FOOTBALL SEASON
The 2010 regular season has come to a close and several things are clear. Cam Newton is the best football player I have ever seen and he makes Auburn the number one team in America. Auburn is not the best football team I have ever seen, that distinction still goes to the Ole Miss 1959 squad. Yeah, I know, they lost to LSU in the Halloween shootout in Baton Rouge, but they spanked the same LSU team in the Sugar Bowl in January, 1960.
Auburn will play Oregon in the BCS Championship game to decide the 2010 National Champion and I believe if Cam Newton is able to play the Tigers will win their second national championship. On Saturday evening Cam was named the 2010 winner of the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded annually to the best player in college football. In spite of the controversy surrounding Cam’s father, this has been a pretty darn good year here on the plains.
Since I live in Auburn and my office is in Opelika, everyone assumes that I have the straight skinny on the Cam Newton saga. I only know what I read in the papers and hear on the sports talk shows and they have darn little in factual information. The Southeastern Conference and the NCAA have declared that there is no evidence that either Cam or Auburn had knowledge of his father’s activities. He has been declared eligible and cleared to play. Could this change, of course it could. Evidence might surface that he is actually an extraterrestrial alien that landed in Atlanta by flying saucer. I consider this a distinct possibility considering his football skills. He might well be a higher life form, as he certainly plays that way. If this were to prove true, it would cause the SEC, the NCAA and the Heisman Committee some heartburn. It would also result in Alabama building Nick a spaceship to recruit Cam’s home planet. In the absence of something really bizarre, the only question regarding Cameron Newton that I have any interest in is: Will he be back next year? I love to see him play, but I hope he is in the NFL in 2011. Otherwise the rest of the SEC West will start the season with one sure loss.
Some seventy or so Division I teams will play in the post season. The only one that matters will be in Glendale AZ., the rest are designed to scrape the last few cents left in the fan’s pockets. The best thing about going to a bowl is that you get to continue practicing for most of another month. This gives the bowl teams an advantage that tends to make the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. We need a playoff system in the worst way; at least the games would have some meaning.
As I Like it!TM
If you grew up in Mississippi in the 1950’s, your world was defined by two cities of which neither was within the State. There was Memphis on the northern border, just barely across the Tennessee line, and New Orleans to the South. If you lived north of Jackson you watched WMC Television and read the Commercial Appeal and the Press Scimitar, and did your serious shopping at Goldsmith’s, Lowenstein’s and Oak Hall.
If you lived south of Jackson, you watched WWL-TV, read the Times Picayune and shopped at Masion Blanche and D.H. Holmes. Jackson had TV and newspapers, but they were considered too provincial. Little Rock probably had both, but that would have been like listening to Radio Free Albania. It was so not Southern.
We went to Memphis for football, shopping, selling cotton and doing business. We went to New Orleans for eating, drinking and sinning. Memphis was a brash, cotton trading river town, and New Orleans was a tropical, French speaking enigma, a Paris on the Bayous kind of place. A trip to New Orleans roused the adventurer in me when I was 10 years old, and it still does today.
In the 1950’s it was a good plan to take the train to New Orleans. Highway 61 ran through the swamps once it got south of Hammond, and it was two lane the entire trip. It could take up to ten hours to get from Cleveland, Mississippi to New Orleans by car. It was much better to drive to Winona and catch the City of New Orleans or the Panama Limited. It might take almost as long, but you would travel in comfort and would end the trip within blocks of the French Quarter.
I want to be your guide on a trip to this Mecca of music, food and mystery. Today the combination of the interstate highway system and Amtrak make driving a far better choice. New Orleans is accessible from all parts of Mississippi by either I-55, I-10 or I-59. One way you enter to city is on the western edge of Lake Pontchartrain and the other is on the eastern edge. The approach through the swamps filled with cypress trees and Spanish moss will enchant the most skeptical visitor with an exotic sense of impending excitement.
The elevated expressways, providing a bird’s eye view of the suburban neighborhoods as you near the city, makes it clear that this is not Kansas. Most buildings are one or two stories and are painted in the pastels of the colonial islands. Palm trees and palmettos accent the large spreading live oaks and flowers are everywhere. One knows, as this aerial view unfolds, New Orleans is a city of churches, cemeteries and bars, and nobody is much concerned with zoning.
We have quite a few choices of inns and hotels in the greater New Orleans area, but we are basing our visit in the French Quarter or the Vieux Carre, which means “old quarter” in French. This is a 78 square block area encompassing the original site of the French Colonial Settlement founded in 1718. It is bordered by the Mississippi River and stretches inland to Esplanade Street and runs from Canal Street to North Rampart. My personal favorite of all New Orleans hotels are the Audubon Cottages at the Masion de Ville.
The hotel is located at 727 Toulouse Street and offers 16 well appointed rooms in the main building and 7 accommodations in the Audubon Cottages, which are located several blocks away in an enclosed compound. The hotel offers valet parking which is a necessity in the French Quarter and will deliver your car to the cottages upon request.
The entrance to the Audubon compound is a plain door in a typical French Quarter façade. It leads to a lush garden area with ivy covered Colonial cottages connected by old brick walkways. In the spring and summer, the air is filled with the sweet aroma of jasmine and gardenias accented by the gurgling of pools and fountains. Each of the seven cottages has an outside seating area perfect for alfresco drinks and le petit déjeuner.
The interior of the cottages are each different, but all share colonial furnishings and rustic décor. One feels the ambiance of the French countryside. Each cottage will have a well appointed common room, an equally well appointed kitchen and from one to three bedrooms. The surroundings are enchanting and the service is impeccable. Maids seem to pop out of secret closets and wash every glass and dish you use and the hotel’s room service is prompt, accurate and friendly.
I will continue our visit to the Crescent City in my next newsletter.
Copyright© 2010 Capital Consultants Company. All rights reserved.