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{ Category Archives } Places

Escape from New Orleans

{ Archive: the following essay appeared in Java Magazine in 2005 – Photos (except old family photo) by Jon Gipe } The hurricane victims landed in Phoenix wearing the same clothes they’d been in for five days. I met them at the gate, the last two off the plane. Each hugged a faux leopard skin purse […]

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Grave Stories

Being from New Orleans, where cemeteries are genuine tourist attractions, doesn’t make me appreciate our western variety any less. Our sometimes ornate gates and occasional elaborate headstones make up for the more plentiful slabs half buried in dead grass. Although each one represents a life lived, the chiseled facts are few. They were born and […]

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Little Miss Nobody

For some inexplicable reason, cemeteries intrigue me. I’m not otherwise morbid but find it hard to pass one without wanting to drop in. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to be on the inside when they lock the gates for the night, but there is something fascinating about our dearly departed’s final resting […]

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My San Francisco Treat

{ Archive: the following essay appeared in Java Magazine, and won First Place for Feature Writing at the Arizona Press Club in 2005 – Photos by Mr. Lee } San Francisco is undoubtedly one of the nation’s most beautiful cities—a dream destination for many a traveler. So it was for us, the first trip in years […]

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New York’s Better Little Italy

I have three very good reasons to visit New York City (and two equally good ones to visit DC) at least once a year. If I’m extraordinarily lucky, I get there more than once. And every time I’m in Manhattan, I think about leaving—but just for the better part of a day. I want to […]

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Plane Math

New Orleans is not all fun and games. It’s serious business. And it requires paper, pencil, and plane math. Begin by making a list of everything you intend to eat. It’s best to do this on the airplane, when hunger is most acute. Next, divide the items on the list by the number of days […]

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Rod’s on Route 66

Rod’s Steak House has been a fixture on historic Route 66 since 1946. But I never knew that. In fact we (Mr. Lee and me) happened upon it quite by accident only a few weeks ago, while driving through Williams. Don’t ask what we were doing in Williams, a little-known town whose only claim to fame is […]

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Everybody has a state flower and a state bird. For Louisiana those are the magnolia and the brown pelican. Their official musical instrument, I’m pleased to report, is the “Cajun” accordion. (I admit a fondness for accordions of all sorts since I appointed one an important character in a hopefully-soon-to-be-completed novel.) If you know any […]

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Verde Canyon Caboose & Fermin

If you have the good fortune to ride the Verde Canyon Railroad from Clarkdale to Perkinsville, and the even better fortune to do it in the Caboose, you’ll likely cross paths with Fermin (pronounced, Fair•meen). He is the knowledgeable, self-proclaimed ex-hippie, caboose butler with whom you’ll spend four solid hours. He’ll point out caves and rock […]

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Willow Lake

When your creative juices begin to dry up there is only one thing to do. Go for a drive. Usually it’s to Goodwill to check out the kitchen wares or the DAV Thrift Store for art books. But this day it was beginning to rain. So we just drove. Only a few months ago Willow Lake […]