The Death of Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club King Larry Hammond

I know it’s fashionable to hate Daily Mail but our local papers did not provide anywhere near this level of coverage on the death of Zulu King Larry Hammond.

I’m writing an article about the massive backlog of second lines that is stacking up due to the city of New Orleans isolation mandate, and I’ll publish it soon.

Schwegmann’s Grocery has burned to the ground

The building that housed Schwegmann’s Grocery has burned to the ground.

Originally opened in 1869, it served as a launching pad for the birth of the modern supermarket in USA. John Gerald Schwegmann was born on Aug. 14, 1911 in the apartments above the old store that his grandfather, a German émigré had founded nearly a half century prior. Continue Reading

Rest In Peace Ronald Lewis of Big 9 Social Aid and Pleasure Club

Ronald Lewis has passed away.

Mr Lewis along with Artie Anderson, Edgar Jacobs Jr, Peter Alexander, Robert Starks and Ricky Gettridge created the Big Nine Social Aid and Pleasure Club in 1995.

Lewis was also founder, owner and operator of House of Dance and Feathers, one of the finest museums in a New Orleans that has hundreds of them.

WWOZ has a full eulogy here.

Rest In Peace 5th Ward Weebie

New Orleans bounce legend and hip hop mogul 5th Ward Weebie aka Jerome Cosey has passed. He was just 42 years old. In 2014 the Amistad Research Center sat down with Weebie for nearly an hour and the New Orleans native was feeling particulary loquacious. Cosey had been in poor health of late dealing with medical issues brought on by high blood pressure.


Rest in peace Vencil Mares

Old school barbecue man Vencil Mares of Taylor Cafe in Taylor, Texas has passed. How old school was Mr Vencil? He opened his barroom slash barbecue joint in 1948 and was involved in running the operation as owner until his death earlier this week.

That’s 71 years.

We last visited him in August of this year and had a fine feast for roughly $5. That fiver netted us two pluperfect Bohunk sausages with a full spread of cold onions, dill pickles and that signature sauce whose recipe people begged for like scurvy dogs.

Vencil Mares was born in the hinterlands of Fayette County on November 10, 1923 to Stan Mares and Lexie Zimmerhanzel- Mares. He died on November 24, 2019 in Taylor.

We were lucky to eat at Mares’ table since the late 80s when we began venturing up to Taylor in search of new barbecue as we were plumb tuckered out on what the Austin scene had way back then.

We’d rotate between Louie Mueller’s and Vencil’s old joint.

Texas hot guts and oak-smoked brisket always landed on our plates in those halcyon days.

Mr Mares was honored by the city of Taylor on November 10th of this year and was given the keys to the city. Henceforth that day will always be known as ‘Vencil Mares Day.’

Bohunk sausage at Taylor Cafe

Ruth Banks of The Money Wasters Social Aid and Pleasure Club

When my auntie Ruth entered the room there was no mistaking that a higher power was present. “Heeyy!! Sookie Sookie” she’d holler like a wild woman. Then there’d be a mad rush to the bar as everybody wanted to be the first person to buy her a cold Bud Light.

I didn’t see Miss Ruth often but every time I did she’d hug me, squeeze my neck and purr “how’s my favorite nephew doing baby?”

She was luminous.

Last Saturday Miss Ruth Banks passed away at the age of 69. Just the night before we were all sitting around at our neighborhood tavern and somebody wondered aloud where she’d been.

Ruth was a long-time member of the Money Wasters Social Aid and Pleasure Club. She did not roll with her crew in 2018 but was excited to get back out on the streets with them at their second line earlier this year.

“I don’t know how many more of these I got in me baby – I got to get back out there this year” Of course Ruth was the star of the show riding in the back of a fancy convertible and passing out extravagant party favors.

Wordsworth wrote a poem entitled ‘She Was A Phantom Of Delight’

She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleam’d upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as star of twilight fair;
Like twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay

…is how the piece began and I can’t think of words that better describe the lovely Ruth Banks.

Rest in peace sweet soul