Southern Hospitality

I am writing this from the Roosevelt, a landmark hotel in New Orleans. I am waiting to be whisked off in a private, air-conditioned bus to my daughter Augie’s best friend’s wedding.

Cody is one lucky daughter. She has a lot of moms, a lot of step-moms, a lot of love.

We met Cody her first week at our grammar school. Cody’s mom, Dell, had put in long days at the school handpicking Augie to be Cody’s new friend. Augie is extra friendly and warm. So is Cody. It was a perfect match. I won’t even say how adorable they were. Cause, you know, it goes without saying.

Dell had just moved with Cody from Pasadena. That first week, she knocked on my door to introduce herself. We stood there trying to get acquainted. She disarmed me by announcing she was a lesbian. And I don’t shock easily. In fact, I’m usually the one doing the shocking. But this threw me — probably because the Palisades is so white and straight. Big American flags adorn many houses. You get the picture. So I was a touch taken aback. I stammered awkwardly, something like, “Oh my, God, I think I should be a lesbian too…because ….you know…. you guys, I mean gals, stay with your partners…. and my husband left me for another woman when I was pregnant with my baby….” I had a fantasy that lesbians were like birds, mating for life. Cody’s mother set me straight (no pun intended). Dell said lesbians are notorious players, and that her relationship with Cody’s other mother had recently broken up. She was in a new one now, and this is why she moved to our area. Whew, good that this conversation was out of the way. All of it taking place right there at my front door in about five minutes. Until now, my family had been targeted as the neighborhood freaks. Jews, single mother, who knows or cares why. So, Welcome to the hood, lesbians!!! Thank fucking God!!!!! Let’s be in this together.

What an amazing group of women they/we were/are raising Augie and Cody. Tena and Dell toasted me at the engagement party, calling me “another mother” to Cody. In fact, I did nothing. I’m a lazy-ass mom who hates crowded places like Disneyland, hates to drive. They did 99% of the chauffeuring, always taking Augie on great trips in which they then had to deal with her separation anxiety. I should thank them for including Augie in their oh-so-fabulous, fun-filled lives. Seriously, I would get exhausted and have to lie down for a nap just hearing about all the activities they did in one day. Tena might pick the girls up after a sleepover at my house, drive them to an amusement park, then drop them off in the evening for Dell to take them to a bonfire and beach party. Seriously, I need a nap again.

There were a few bumps in the road in Augie and Cody’s friendship, mostly having to do with hair. Yes, hair. One year I talked Augie into getting a bob but Cody already had a bob and thought Augie jocked her style. They stopped speaking over that one for a bit. Another fight broke out between all of us over who caused the infamous lice outbreak. Their grammar school was notorious for chronic infestations. The girls were on vacation with Tena in Georgia, sharing a bed, passing them back and forth. When they got home, Dell had arranged for a local Palisades woman to “treat” the girls by combing and handpicking each nit out of their heads. I‘m still grateful to that woman, and to Dell for picking up the tab.

No detail has been overlooked in this well produced wedding. Sitting comfortably in our air-conditioned private bus to the church, we all watch a video of the couple, Josh and Cody, to the soundtrack of Florence and the Machine.

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Now, I’m sitting in a pew on the bride’s side. St. Patrick’s, a historic landmark building, is one stunning cathedral – gothic-style, built in the 1830’s. Spectacular stained glass and exquisite murals. I’m hearing a cacophony of Paula Deen voices. Seriously, everyone who is speaking around me sounds identical to chef Paula Deen. I kind of like it. My mom is from the south and a southern girl who sits on the porch drinking lemonade and baking biscuits lives inside me.

It’s getting serious; the music begins as Dell and her partner Ruth, both dressed beautifully, walk together down the aisle. Mother and stepmother. Fanfuckingtastic!!!! Are we in a red state or a blue state? This is one wonderful, evolved group. I’m scanning people’s eyes for any flinching. Nothing. We have come a long way and I’m so proud to be sitting here, not just celebrating the union of two great kids, but because it’s a new day. A day when it doesn’t matter what color or religion or sexual orientation you are. A day when it’s become legal for gays to marry in the state of New York. Already legal in a few other states. Don’t mind me here, but I’m thrilled by it all. And now the most beautiful and perfect bride is walking down the aisle with her mother Tena, dressed in a tuxedo. The mother of the bride walking her daughter down the aisle. Blowing me away with pride. A smile from ear-to-ear on Tena’s beaming face brings tears of joy to my eyes. I want to stand and cheer, “Hallelujah, you go girl!” but everyone is so civilized, all I do is stand up on the pew to catch a better look.

The whole wedding party arrives back at the hotel and we are met by our own personal marching Dixieland band that escorts each group off the bus and through the hotel and into the ballroom. This is one high-budget production. I forgot that Cody had worked as event planner in New York and that Tena is a very successful producer and composer. This wedding has swag, and I don’t even know what that means. We kicked off our shoes, or in my case changed clothes entirely, so we could dance the night away.

During the vows, the preacher looked Cody and Josh in the eyes and proclaimed they would love each other until the day they died. In a Hollywood wedding, people would now start placing bets on how long the marriage will last.
No one was placing bets on this marriage because the smart money is on it lasting a lifetime.

The Food.
Big Shout out to Deborah and Ron for inviting me to the rehearsal dinner. Oh, and for raising that amazing son Josh, Cody’s now husband. I walked into Bourbon House Restaurant wearing gold lame shorts and not one person acted like they thought I looked like a refugee from a 70’s disco. They hugged me from the start and treated me as family. I love this whole group who fed us a great shrimp remoulade salad and a very memorable chocolate bread pudding.
And thanks for making the evening so fun to all of Cody’s sorority sisters!

Next morning I went with the Nicole’s, and Liz, friends of Augie and Cody to Mothers. A cajun/creole restaurant around forever. The Nicole’s shared a po-boy sandwich they loved and I basically ate biscuits. We ran into the whole men’s side of the wedding party but mum was the word to the women’s side that we ran into them.

Took a trolley with Augie and the Nicole’s to go vintage clothing shopping and ran into Commanders Palace, an institution that had just closed. They recommended Coquette Bistro and Wine bar up on Magazine street and we were in heaven. Sometimes there are no accidents. Three courses for lunch was under $20. We shared all the dishes since we honestly weren’t all that hungry. I just insisted we needed to try it. Everything you order is amazing, that’s all I’m saying. But the bread!!!!! Fresh and hot from the oven with perfect slightly salted butter. Next trip, I’m going back.

You can’t go to New Orleans without a trip to Cafe Du Monde and I did that trip twice, of course. In case you haven’t heard of it, they serve beignets. Beignets are sort of like donuts, only lighter and much better. They are served hot with tons of powdered sugar poured over them. It’s a New Orleans experience that can’t be missed.

One night, Augie and I went to The Court of Two Sisters, a staple in the heart of the French Quarter. I really wasn’t expecting much since some of the old restaurants have had their day. And judging by the only okay first few appetizers, turtle soup and shrimp salad with a remoulade sauce, I was fully thinking we were about to be disappointed by the entree. We were THRILLED with our dish. Two little happy campers eating the Fresh Catch of the day special. Blackened puppy drum served with a garlic and shrimp risotto sauce meniure brown butter, white wine and garlic. Big wonderful surprising garlic all through the dish. Oh, and our waiter, he was worth the trip there. We sat in the outside courtyard which is certainly holding it’s charm.

Cody, the bride, Augie the bridesmaid!


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18 Responses to “Southern Hospitality”

  1. Augie Duke says:

    wow wow wow wow…..

  2. Once again – FABULOUS!! What a wonderful feeling to be there with these people you so apply describe!! What a wedding to attend – so much love!!! As for new orleans’s – one of the most fabulous places in the world – especially for food and Jazz. So sorry you missed Comanders Palace – it is by far one of the most wonderful culinary and entertainment experiences in life. Their pecan pie is superb as is there entire dinner menu… On Sunday – the brunch is beyond belief!! They even have a four peice traveling jazz quartet that seranades table to table. I felt like I was back just by reading!!! Thanks Duke!! xxoxoxoxox

  3. Janet Petkin says:

    You are evolving into Hemingway or Salinger: this piece really hooked the reader in and the amazing part is that it is all TRUE .

  4. Pauli Moss says:

    What an amazing place to have a wedding and I felt the warmth right through your tale. Have to agree completely with Cristi about Commander’s Palace – I hope it was only closed for the day and not permanently closed! It is wonderful to hear your voice and spirit in your writing and I look forward to the next chapter!

  5. Julie phalen says:

    Great story as usual, I enjoy reading your blogs, Freddy.

  6. Jennifer Dudley arbaugh says:

    “Can’t her/his parents drive you home.”. ” I bet u can find ride home from school”. ” u missed the bus. WALK”. “but your friend is geographically undesirable”. Oh Fred, yet another similarity.. Perhaps we should have been lesbians ..our children would have had more amusement!
    Southern wedding … Magnificent belles et al.

    Keep em coming. Jenn x

  7. gabri ferrer says:

    i worked with dell for a number of years (and we share the same birthday!). love her, love cody, LOVE THE STORY!!! wish i could have been there… amazing!!! or, fanfuckingtastic!!!! 🙂 xx

  8. TMiller says:

    Yummmmmmm….”nawlins”… simply the best food on the planet! I haven’t been there for years but way back when I flew there from NYC with one husband or another because we wanted better food!!! (What????) and that’s what we got… Cafe Du Monde to Felix’s Oyster Bar to Preservation Hall… what a trip! Eating and fucking for three days… doesn’t get much better than that. I’m pretty sure the Cafe is still there and I’ve been meaning to get back just for the beignets and chicory but alas life has a way of directing me towards different pursuits these days…. still…. I will get back there before I’m too old to appreciate all that decadent city has to offer… GREAT STORY as usual Fredde… Congrats to the bride and groom and Augie is just exquisite …. xot

  9. You make me want to be a Jewish lesbian!!! Oh wait…

    I’m always left speechless after I read your writing. I want to tell you if you were any more lovable, you’d be me, but that sounds so narcissistic. What I really mean is that you make people love you more than they already do, and even as much as themselves (if that’s possible, or even healthy, again narcissism.) Anyway, I love your blog!

  10. Ellen Bloom says:

    I met my husband, Larry in New Orleans 21 years ago! It’s a magic city and you’ve captured the spirit in this post. Bravo, Fredde!

  11. Dell Pearce says:

    OMG! LMFAO. Friddie, what a trip we’ve been on these years with our now fabulous daughter! Thanks for the great stories, great laughs, great loves. And thanks for being in New Orleans to share in our girl’s big day! It wouldn’t have been the same without you! Much love!

  12. Jonah Wilson says:

    I’m with Augie…, wow, wow, wow! I absolutely love your writing Fredde keep up the great work!

  13. Diana Pearce says:

    What a wonderful depiction of the entire fabulous event! Loved the story…… thanks for sharing ya’ll.

  14. Donna Pearce says:

    You mentioned all of my favorite places in N’Awlins and your description of the BIG EVENT was fabulous! Thanks!!

  15. Stacy Eisenberg says:

    Freddie!! I love reading your blogs.. thanks for sharing..I felt like I was there!
    So happy for Cody!

  16. Grant says:

    You are one interesting and well fed hot mama.
    Keep on blogging Freddish…so entertaining
    glad to see you’re leading such an interesting
    motherhood. Wish I could see you some time again.
    G in the D

  17. Christel Chesney says:


    Reading your blog is so darn entertaining that there be tv for me tonight.

    Augie and you look so beautiful! I love Augie’s bridesmaid dress.

    Christel Chesney

  18. Pam Levi says:

    The wedding sounded sensational!!! So glad you
    had a fabulous time! Everyone looked gorgeous!

    Cajun food….my absolute weakness! My mouth was
    watering as you described each dish!

    Great story, the visual of you all standing
    by the door, meeting for the first time, yet
    sharing the MOST intimate secrets is just simply
    awesome!!! – Pam

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