Joseph Street

Adan and Agate’s first home, for they were young, was on Joseph Street just south of Saint Charles.

It was a tiny apartment carved out of a clapboard building by clever carpenters, an add-on and it showed. There was, however, a porch where the puppy lived.

Agate was a dog person, so she came with a puppy which was not Adan’s preferred lifestyle, but there was the puppy in any event, pooping everywhere.

A Joseph Street plus was the proximity of Langenstein’s supermarket just a block and a half away. A source of real coonass dining.

Though they had not been married long, Agate was already with child. And Adan had a job as a secretary at a battery factory situated in the Free Trade Zone abutting the Mississippi River.

He rode every cool winter morning from the apartment a couple of miles to the battery factory on a bicycle with ape-hanger handlebars. He had bought the bike cheap somewhere. Cash was scarce.

The battery factory had hired him as secretary because, for some reason unknown to Adan to this day, there were bathroom facilities only for men in their area of the Free Trade Zone.

But he did not last long there because he was a misfit.

And Joseph Street did not last long either. Adan and Agate found another apartment, larger, but also carved from a big building, on Dryades Street not far from the corner of Napoleon and Saint Charles.

streetcarProximity to Saint Charles was a plus due to the streetcar that ran that avenue. The bike with the ape-hanger bars was poorly suited for two persons especially when one was pregnant.

And one day they were three. A beautiful baby was born.

They named her Amoretta.

By that time, Adan was selling insurance, and the bicycle had been stolen from the front yard of the apartment on Dryades Street.

Yes, it was a multicultural neighborhood.

All of this transpired nearly half a century ago. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent, as they say.

Adan, long divorced from Agate, passed by the apartment on Joseph Street eight or so years ago. The porch had been sliced off. No puppies in residence.

Many things had changed.

But Langenstein’s was still there. Coonass dining never dies.

11 thoughts on “Joseph Street

  1. Langenstein’s is uptown and upscale. Coon-ass, or as I prefer to say, Cajun dining is not to be had there. Creole, maybe. It’s a place for the entitled to buy wine and cheese.


    1. Laurie: I figured the coonass word would stir you up, and it did! According to certain sources I unearthed in cyberspace, coonass is just another Louisiana way of saying cajun, and coonass food is cajun food. I imagine you disagree with that. According to Langenstein’s website, they sell prepared coonass, er, cajun food. And, yes, it is a high-end place. I was happy to see it’s still around.


    2. Not sure exactly what the difference is between cajun and creole, but I bet you know. I tend to feel it’s hair-splitting. It’s Louisiana grub, all of it. And good!

      Houston has a far superior restaurant landscape, which I am sure is blasphemy to a coonass, er, cajun.


      1. Creole, to me, is high falutin’ Cajun food fixed in New Orleans. Langenstein’s has these type of dishes. Rouse Supermarkets, now a fixture all over New Orleans and south Louisiana, has Cajun food like gumbo, potato salad, and boiled crawfish and shrimp. As far as Houston having better restaurants, I don’t know. I never spent much time there.


        1. During my almost 18 years in New Orleans, I noticed that it was popular to look down upon Houston as a redneck wasteland, especially as far as dining opportunities were concerned.

          However, during my subsequent 15 years in Houston, I was pleased to discover that the restaurant landscape there was far superior to New Orleans. While New Orleans restaurants are more uniformly good, they serve basically the same thing: Louisiana food. Houston, on the other hand, is far more cosmopolitan, and restaurants are immensely more varied.

          Restaurant-wise, there is no competition.


  2. I am a coonass and proud of it. It’s not a pejorative anymore but has progressed to a term of cultural pride even claimed by non-coonasses by heritage. How many can say that? In Acadiana a creole is mixed black and white. In the New Orleans area it is a mixture of French and Spanish. The influence on cooking is varied. Cajun is equivalent to coonass, only considered slightly more polite because of the reference to “ass.”


    1. Carlos: Down here where I live the word Gringo is considered pejorative by some Gringos who live here in spite of most of us calling ourselves that. And 99.9 percent of Mexicans call us that when we are not within earshot.


  3. Please consider the use of “long handlebars that require you to extend your arms upward” rather than ape-hangers,

    There may be apes among your readers as well as coonasses. I wouldn’t want you to offend anyone,


    1. Ray: There are apes among my readers. Mostly, they stay quiet and stew, but the catnip quality of The Moon keeps them coming back again and again.

      You are not an ape.


  4. This Ape tends to keep his peace these days, as a train wreck is what it is but who can fail to watch.


    1. Norm: The analogy I prefer is Mike Tyson’s biting off an opponent’s ear. Instead of his being barred from professional boxing, as he should have been, it just increased his popularity.

      Sometimes I nibble on ears.The taste is foul, but the effect is fun.


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