Family Bonding

St. Joseph Church

Visiting the South has become some what of an annual routine. Jo, my sister, and her family all live in Louisiana, most of them just outside New Orleans.

New Orleans 

Big Easy’s big problem

“We are not going across the river, it’s too dangerous.” This was one of Jo’s opening statements. I am familiar with the “Big Easy” and wanted to suggest visiting Cafe Du Monde, but I knew it was out of the question. New Orleans is suffering the same fate of all cities ruined by liberal politicians.

Homeless encampment New Orleans

I could not believe how the homeless population has expanded all around the Superdome. To my surprise, the displaced have been given  nice tents because, as in all cities where this  problem is out of control, temporary assistance is used  like a large bandage to keep the embarrassment at bay. It never works! Not in New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco or any other cities that are suffering from this not-so-silent takeover.

Water Under The Bridge

With the scorching weather and the humidity in this region, a large majority of the homeless population live under the bridge on Highway 90. There are no quick fixes for this growing problem; it continues to metastasize and create citizens who have mastered the art of helplessness. There are so many other issues that come with the tent cities that have been created. Litter seems to be one of the biggest ongoing problems. This particular pollution has created a workforce to sanitize the streets, and we all know that the tax payers will foot the bill for this expense. The more money cities invest in improving this situation, the worse it becomes. The collapse of New Orleans is looked on as water under the bridge.

The West Bank

Jo lives in the city of Harvey, which is located in the West Bank. The people here are a different breed; they ooze with charm. They are not putting on an act; being kind and charming comes naturally for them. “Hi, Miss Jo,” is a common greeting, always followed by a hug.  Even Antoine, a homeless man my sister helps on a regular basis, is humble and charming.

All four of our nephews were raised with Southern hospitality running through their veins.

The Restaurants

Rocky, Frank, Frank Jr., Nick, Jo, Norma, me, Angela, and Harris
Jo, me and Norma

I get a little offended when people tell me, “Let me order for you.” They do this because I always order the wrong meal. Many of the restaurants in the West Bank are family-owned-and -operated businesses. So even with my reputation for ordering the wrong meal, I was never disappointed. The Italian, Thai, and American restaurants were absolutely delightful.

The Bar

Jo has owned and operated a bar in the West Bank for over 30 years. Each morning she needs to restock her beer and clean up the place. Her help was on vacation, so my sister Norma and I helped with this responsibility. My job was restocking the beer. Believe it or not, I have never drank a beer in my life! It was an easy discovery that Budweiser was the lowest-selling beer in the inventory.

My sister Jo is the most generous person. She insisted on paying us for our labor ( 30 minutes a day). I will use my hard- earned-money to purchase school supplies to fill backpacks, a  project I share with my family.


Jo’s shotgun home
Shotgun home in Gretna, LA
Shotgun home in Gretna, LA

Shotgun Homes

Jo purchased a home and entirely gutted it. Her shotgun bungalow is perfect for her needs. These quaint homes are common in this area. The shotgun home got its name because you could shoot a shotgun straight through from the front door through the back door. Both Norma and I were fascinated by the unique style of these homes, some more charming than others.


We attended Mass on Sunday. This was the same church where Rocky, Jo’s son, and Angela were recently married. After fulfilling our holy day of obligation we  crossed the river over to Metairie and ate breakfast at the Ruby Slipper. In our family we have no boundaries on religious or political conversations.

Being Catholic

In all fairness to those who have been hurt by individuals in the Catholic church, I have compassion for their pain. Though this subject is an uncomfortable matter that has caused many good Catholics to question their faith or go astray, I will continue my journey in life as a Catholic.

During this trip I racked up a slew of venial sins: I spoke too harshly, offered unwelcome opinions and perhaps stepped on a few toes. I can repair all the damage by apologizing but I must also go to confession to remove the guilt. As I tried to express the importance of going to confession, I felt that it was not my responsibility to lead others to do this; instead  allow the Lord to guide them.

Rocky and Angela hosted a Bible study at their home, I taught a lesson on St. Paul

Being absolved of sin brings peace and keeps you connected and accountable to God. It’s like a private conversation between you and your Heavenly Father. The priest guides us into the direction of a road well traveled: forgiveness.  We are freed of sin and our conscience is once again cleansed.

This morning I was able to make a confession, I praise God for this wonderful Sacrament.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, I pray for all Catholics who are questioning their direction to seek You for answers. Lord, unite all Christians to understand the great love You have for us all. Teach us to speak when necessary  and to always use kind words of wisdom. Amen.






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