Steppin ‘Out: a sweet ticket from me to you

As the funeral procession for Fair Grounds personality Allen “Black Cat” Lacombe turned for one final lap, his mourners awaited the inevitable late fade. Ronnie Virgets bet the hearse would throw a wheel at the eighth pole.

It was just Black Cat’s luck. He has mainly supported losers since his first bet at the age of 10.

I wish my luck were so good.

Since promoting Stayin’-at-Home with Steppin ‘Out, we’ve hit a few entertainment speed bumps. White Linen Night, Red Dress Run, Gretna Fest, Jazz Fest all canceled since the creation of my Bingo Card. Next week, I’ll write about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ easy Super Bowl defense.

I pulled out Bingo card # 1 for a spin last week. I missed the first show, and therefore the Rouse commercial which tests the upper range of my hearing every week. Without Rouse’s ad, my card relied on the “Most Expensive Ticket <$ 50", turning my bingo into a bet on the minuses and keeping me on the edge of my couch until the "buh-byes" closed. .

Slowly pulling the champagne cork out with each announcement of a $ 25 ticket price, Poppy’s pick of the week slammed him and sobered me up. $ 160 for a 5-course meal? This is not common, but it is YES, not the Napoleon West Hall bingo hall.

With the dabber loaded and without further ado, welcome to this week’s edition of Steppin ‘Out…


As 7:00 p.m. ring, the Rouse pub is once again presented as the appetizer of the evening. Is it a little less peppered than usual? My eardrums aren’t ringing? Don’t I want the good old Christovich family to come back gallantly as sponsor of the show?

Did our bingo card accomplish anything?


No, we haven’t accomplished anything significant. I can name this opening tune in three notes. I wonder if there was a copyright issue with the Joe Jackson instrumental “Steppin ‘Out” they were playing before. A good blogger or half-decent law student would probably know the answer to this question.

Regardless of my opinions on the theme song, the warm welcome sets the mood. At least my mood. Isn’t anyone else sitting with a plastic bingo card and a laptop open for it all? Come on folks: updates on the restaurant, art and entertainment scene!


Once the introductions are made, we might have some work to do. At the Peg-Poppy-Alan Triumvirate, Doug MacCash and Jose Torres-Tama join. Doug isn’t wearing a neon tie, and Jose doesn’t have half of his face painted. I don’t know if their choices for more understated outfits bode well.

No trace of jewelry, knife, fork or spoon, but the exposed blazer set gives us an immediate square. Five jackets for five panelists, with Alan and Doug each in white linen. A quiet tribute to the night that must not be named or sweated?


Poppy takes pride of place as the main hitter, starting with a true tribute, this one to the late Roy Guste, Jr., Antoine d’Antoine’s great-great-grandson. Grandparent reference, check one box.

And a toast? With a sequence Seven Three Distillery and Alan Smason as a bartender? Sign me up and pay one for it all. Except Alan is a mixologist, isn’t he?

Poppy completes her batting debut with a food delivery service named “Dinner Saint”. I never celebrated her birthday, but the photos are party-worthy. Write down the promo code (“LouisianaEats”) and count it towards your box of Catholic Saints.


On Jose, without that face paint but with sequins, skeleton gloves and a red Cadillac jacket. Jose gets the threefold description of the threat “performer-artist-poet”, but his title should really read “passionate”. The religious order of the same name would be lucky to have it – like any organization. Jose is admirably committed to Latin artists and causes.

And he’s so perfectly bilingual. There is nothing like hearing a pronunciation “Maritza Mercado-Narcisse” effortlessly.


Doug’s turn, apparently due to another death, that of artist Mario Villa. Each guest has papers for the reference notes (Peg sometimes even has a binder), but they never seem to read a transcript. A few carefully transitioned promotional photos or slides help with this. Sometimes, however, we catch Doug reading.

But because he writes it, we get gems like this paragraph on Mario Villa tonight:

“He made simple welded iron beds, tables and chairs that looked like they came from the ruins of Pompeii, then added fun adornments like palm leaves, busts and heroic birds. His work was smart but unpretentious. It seemed so current but classic at the same time. It was elegant but ironically humorous. He really got New Orleans, and we loved him for it.


Alan should have run in the men’s 4 × 100 relay. On the one hand, the US team failed to even qualify, offering little threat of a worse finish. On the other hand, Alan takes over as easily as any panelist. All over. Already.

Unfortunately, he sprints us towards another memorial, that of Adella Gautier. Later, he will announce Memorial Grants for Carol Sutton and Sherri Marina. I’m not a math major, but even my addition of Jesuit fingers and toes puts us at three of the four panelists starting with deaths this week, five memorials this show. Alan probably needs a few more drinks to numb us from so much loss. But the Census Bureau says we’re back to 80% of the pre-Katrina population. As long as the fire, flood, and AirBnB don’t stop us first, hopefully a few more creatives will emerge in the coming decade.

Creatives who may be starting at Stage Door Canteen? Check this box. And that of music lovers169. And that for a url of more than 25 characters. In fact, doesn’t even fit on my screen. At 49 characters, one more and it would go in quotes.


Our anchor race, round two begins. Over the past year or so, the structure of “Steppin ‘Out” has been replaced with smaller, multiple segments for each guest. It was a good fit, getting things done and giving us more to look forward to.

Does Poppy take her own photos? They are not mentioned in the final credits. If so, I have to get down to its filter level.


José also devotes himself to photography. Quadruple threat. Discussion on immigration around a future book sponsored by the Jazz and Heritage Foundation. All during a “Steppin ‘Out” evening!


In vaults at the time WYES provided HGTV content! I don’t regret buying shares in the local PBS station in 1989. Keep your HGTV, with its escape and suburban envy and cute, twinsie hosts. Peg sounds the same today as that 32-year-old voiceover, thank you very much!

And what a feature on Mario Villa’s house. Bayou St. John meets the Grand Canal in Venice – without the pigeons and pickpockets. I’m glad the baptism was so powerful for Mario, his artist godfather who inspired his own career in art. My godfather is an orthopedic surgeon and I am afraid of blood. Different sacramental marks.

Bonus points for the collection of modern books among all antiques. The bright yellow “Personal Finances for Dummies” on the side table was either a cry for help due to the artifacts or a funny joke. Pick one and check off any square you want.


Under the cannon and our anchor is back over there. Alan always manages to slip in a “I’ll see you at the theater,” a slogan I enjoy almost as much as Coach O’s “Geaux Tigahs”. Forget about mission statements; we live in a slogan-sized world. Maybe our homework this week.


This week’s picks feature restaurant choices inspired by Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, a Latin funk band, an animated film set in Italy, and Tim Laughlin. “Steppin ‘Out” is the only space that could do that.


With the credits rolling, Mr. Larry on Esplanade hits. My fourth corner! BINGO!


But stop partying… Rouse screams again. Eugenie & Joseph Jones Family Foundation, come save my eardrums!


There are a lot of things in life right now that are not pleasant. When it’s easier to chart time in pandemic phases than garbage collection, mail delivery, and street rebuilding, you know it’s tough. I titled it A sweet note from me to you because we could all use a nice love note every now and then. I will find other subjects worthy of obsession with which to play pleasantly.

Enjoy Adella Adella the storyteller, better with an old-fashioned Alan.

Watch the Steppin ‘Out episode here:

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