The Grinders Report: Harrah's New Orleans

New Orleans With Less Money and Less Meat

Posted by Richie Raviolis

Miss Melody and I were staying at this great B&B called The Chimes, and every morning all the guests, between 4 and 6 of us, would come together and have breakfast conversations with Jill, the inn-keeper. I'm not usually big on the whole B&B lets-all-eat-breakfast-together thing. Lets face it, if there is one meal that you want to be with a group of strangers making small talk, breakfast is NOT the meal. Just give me my coffee and be quiet... PLEASE!

View from outside of Dr.Bob's art studio - Dr. Bob does the art at the House of Blues

But I must admit that I really enjoyed these morning chats. For example, we met a couple who were part of the Muse Krewe, and they told us all this really interesting inside scoop about the Mardi Gras parades and the Krewes. Another morning we met a surgeon from New England who had some progressive ideas about health care. We also met a retired school teacher from North Carolina who had given up on the decaying public school system.

Then there was Jill, our inn-keeper, who had a great story no matter what the topic. Her story about the survival of her family and the B&B during and after Katrina is one for the books. She's also very involved in local politics, attending several town meetings while we were there.

But my favorite person was Wade Welch, a neighbor who lived a few houses down the street from the inn. He just showed up one morning, joining us for our breakfast chats. He was mostly quiet, but laughed at everyone's stories.

Wade is a smart, nice looking fellow in his 50's or early 60's who always introduces himself with his full name in a sly southern drawl, "I'm Wade Welch". It was easy to see that something wasn't right with Wade. He told us how he has survived several strokes, and a couple of brain operations, which left his right side mostly paralyzed. He has trouble recalling simple words, which I could tell frustrated him, but none of it seemed to get him down.

We later learned that Wade Welch is a popular New Orleans artist, cartoonist, and illustrator. Some of his painting hang in the inn, and one on the wall just above the breakfast table. And it was Wade, who on our last morning at the inn, upon learning we had no place to stay that night, said, "You all are welcome to stay at my place."

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