Republicans will love this parody of Dion song

By JOHN BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I always welcome material from other creatives, and Crescenzo Capece, my Brooklyn-born New Jersey friend since the early 1970s, came through on Monday when he texted me lyrics for a political satire called “Ilhan, Tlaib & Cortez.”

The title refers to freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

The lyrics are to the tune of the 1968 Dion song “Abraham, Martin & John.” I have no idea if Crescenzo’s song will ever be recorded, but I’m sure Republicans will love it.

It’s time to present Crescenzo’s texted lyrics as a worldwide exclusive.

Anybody hear
What that Omar is saying
Wishing all the Jews be gone
She hates all kinds of people
Even you might be one
Still a Congress seat she has won

As the people cheer
While Rashida is praying:
“Get infidels on the run”
Like a giddy horse
In her hijab she’s neighing
Ruling like a Mafia don

Don’t you folks remember
The values we once held
We’d debate our outlooks
And speak to each other quite civilly
And now these three could destroy me

Anybody hear what
Ocasio’s preaching
Socialism she wants to come
Influencing many
The naive and young
Makes me feel
Our country is done

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8 of the sweetest king cake-inspired treats this year

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I feasted on five king cakes this Mardi Gras season, and when I ran out of slices, I went for king cake-inspired treats.

I know that I should get past Mardi Gras and start observing Lent, but I’ve got iPhone snaps of eight of the sweetest king cake-inspired indulgences in January and February.

Bywater Bakery, New Orleans, Jan. 6

I bypassed one of the bakery’s king cakes on the opening day of season for one of the shop’s scrumptious king cake cinnamon rolls.

Nonna Randazzo’s, Covington, La., Jan. 24

King cake baby cookies for my two Northshore grandchildren. Those weren’t baby candies, but the kids knew dat.

Acquistapace’s Covington Supermarket, Feb. 3

Didn’t buy one of the king cake pops, but I endorsed the concept and hope to have a chance to get one for a Mardi Gras 2020 parade snack.

Acquistapace’s, Feb. 3

The king cake gooey cake made by Big Boy’s was also buttery and sugary.

Buc-ee’s, Baldwin County, Ala., Feb. 13

Bought one of these personal king cakes on my first trip to the Disneyland and Disney World of all convenience stores. Yeah, it’s king cake, but not in the traditional sense, so I put it in the category of king cake-inspired treats because this is my blog and it’s not yours.

Acquistapace’s, Feb. 16

The king cake cinnamon roll with icing and Mardi Gras colors was probably the best of the king cake-inspired treats I tried.

Mandeville Bake Shop, Feb. 27

A king cake doughnut bigger than a tire but far more tasty than a tire.

District Donuts, New Orleans, Feb. 28

Oh, baby! Another king cake baby, this one bought at one of my favorite places just hours before the Muses parade.

Hope you had a great Nash Wednesday

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

This is an attempt to come up with a micro-blogged meme.

I thought about Nash Wednesday after I went to an Ash Wednesday Mass at my church in Gulfport.

I suppose no Nash Wednesday exists other than the Newsday NHL headline I saw on a 2012 story.

My Nash Wednesday idea has nothing to do with Nash Bridges or Steve Nash.

Mine is all about Nash Roberts, the beloved New Orleans meteorologist who died in 2010 at the age of 92.

His broadcasting career spanned 50 years, starting in 1951, and it included three New Orleans TV stations: WDSU, WVUE and WWL.

He became legendary for his low-key and old-school way of tracking hurricanes, so when the next Ash Wednesday comes around, also think of it as Nash Wednesday in honor of Roberts, and if that rhyme has no reason, make the first Wednesday of the storm season Nash Wednesday.


I caved in and bought a Dong Phuong king cake

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I went to Sweet Idea in Mandeville, La., in January knowing that the Asian-fusion restaurant was one of the places carrying the popular Mardi Gras king cakes from the Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans East.

I walked into Sweet Idea around 5 p.m. on a Wednesday planning to buy anything but a DP king cake, but convenience, immediacy and temptation won out.

A drive from my Gulfport, Miss., home to Mandeville, one of the cities on the New Orleans Northshore, seems faster than one to New Orleans East and Sweet Idea offered a decent selection of DP king cakes at the counter, even though all were priced beyond the $16-$17 face value.

I looked at the display for a few minutes before deciding to pony up more than $30 for a DP cream cheese king cake one year after my failed trip to the bakery on Chef Menteur, where I saw no baked goodies when I arrived about an hour before quitting time on a Monday.

Was $30-plus a delicious investment in a DP king cake? Is Francis the pope? You’ll have no problem guessing the answer.

This thing came in an attractive purple box full of heavy goodness.

It was one of five king cakes for me this Mardi Gras season. The others were from the Cheeky Monkey Cake Company in Biloxi, Paul’s Pastry Shop in Picayune, the Butter Krisp Diner in Covington, La., and my favorite bakery, Nonna Randazzo’s, just down the road from the Butter Krisp.

I like everything at Randazzo’s and my 7-year-old Northshore grandson says “yum” when he hears talk about the Highway 190 bakery, but the DP was the best of the five king cakes I had because it was packed with the richness and platonic sweetness of supreme icing, filling and baking and it just might be the tastiest king cake of all time.

For days, I feasted on slices for breakfast and dessert, and each time I finished eating one, I said to myself, “Let the good times dough.”

Yellow Flag Mass enlightens Saints fans

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

Patty and I are New Orleans Saints fans who participated in the Super Bowl Boycott on Sunday, but instead of attending one of the big gatherings in the city, we went to church, my daughter’s church, which is in Covington, La., a town on the NOLA Northshore also reeling from the devastating outcome of the NFC title game in the Superdome on Jan. 20.

We left Gulfport at 2 p.m. and got to Covington at 3:30 p.m., giving us plenty of time to look around downtown before the 6:15 Black and Gold and Yellow Flag Mass at Christ Episcopal Church.

The first stop was Acquistapace’s Supermarket for something king cakery, meaning something like a king cake but smaller than a king cake.

The King Cake Pops looked tempting because of the reasonable price, but I passed on buying one of them.
Bingo! I bought a decadent little treat called Big Boy’s Gooey King Cake, which hit the buttery and sugary spot I craved after midnight.

Abita Roasting at Village Walk was our next stop. This is one of two Abita Roasting locations and the first is in Madisonville, where my daughter and her family live.

We sat outside and saw The Friendliest Chicken in The World walking past its coop in front of Abita Roasting.

Christ Episcopal, our primary destination, was next.

All the yellow flags in front of the church were from three previous services Sunday and they were used as prayer flags on which parishioners and visitors wrote messages about injustices, wrongs, issues, challenges and problems to work toward.
This message throws shade at Public Enemy No. 1 in Who Dat Nation.

Black, gold and more yellow outside the church.
This is the entrance to the chapel, which is next to the church. The 6:15 service was in the chapel.

The congregations at all four Masses were encouraged to wear black and gold, and we got in the spirit of things, me in my lucky 7 Taysom Hill Dirty Coast tee and Patty in her Michael Thomas No. 13 jersey, the latter a purchase I made in December 2017 at a makeshift stand across from Melba’s in New Orleans.

Father Bill Miller, a Saints fan and the rector, presided over the Masses, the first at 7:30 a.m., and he titled his 16-minute sermon “Turning Penalties Into Prayers (Throw The Flag!) or Who Dat Say Dey Gonna Beat Dem Saints of God?!”

The sermon was, enlightening, entertaining and inspiring.

“Hear this and know this to be true,” Father Bill said. “God loves Drew Brees. God loves Alvin Kamara. God loves Cam Jordan. God loves Sean Payton. God loves Gayle Benson. God loves Gumbo and God loves the Saintsations.

“But you want to know something that will absolutely blow your mind? God loves Gary Cavaletto. God loves Patrick Turner. God loves Bill Vinovich, and God’s love is so amazing, so inconceivable, so extravagant and unbelievable, God loves Roger Goodell.”

My yellow flag waits for my message.

Father Bill’s words made me rethink what I had planned to write on my yellow flag.

I was going to go with “V IS FOR VICTORY, NOT FOR VINOVICH.”

Instead, I went with “DON’T BACK DOWN” and believed it was the better choice as I hung it on the fence outside the chapel.

Favorite sights on self-guided New Orleans tour

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I drove 90 miles from my hometown of Gulfport, Miss., to New Orleans on Sunday for the Bywater Bakery king cake party, and after attending the celebration, I took a self-guided tour through the Bywater and the Marigny to check out familiar and unfamiliar sights.

Here’s what captured my interest with a timeline included.

The new Anchor & Arrow, 3528 Dauphine St., Bywater, 3:15 p.m.

Vintage clothing store is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shop’s grand opening was on Dec. 8.

Euclid Records, Piety St., Bywater, 3:30 p.m.

Euclid Records is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and specializes in new and used vinyl. The selection is tempting and overwhelming.

Crescent Park from the Bywater to the Marigny and back to the Bywater, 4:05 p.m.

I used the Runkeeper app to track my walk, which was nearly two miles. The distance included the streets I walked through after  I left the park.


Crescent Park features a running, walking and biking path with unique urban scenes and Mississippi River views. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is between the railroad tracks and the Mississippi and has entrances at  Bartholomew Street, Piety Street and Mandeville Crossing.


Friendly Bar, 2301 Chartres St., Marigny, 4:30 p.m.

Nola.com says “this joint serves as a neighborhood watering hole for a widely varied crowd” including the LGBT community.


Crescent City Conjure, 2402 Royal St., Marigny, 4:35 p.m.

The shop offers spiritual services, oils, soaps, candles, herbs, incense, tarot readings, curios  and gris-gris. It is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily except Tuesday.

Flora Coffee Shop & Gallery, 2600 Royal St., Bywater, 4:50 p.m.

Open 7 a..m. to midnight every day.

Bywater signage, 4: 55 p.m.

Blessed Francis Seelos Catholic Church, 3053 Dauphine St., Bywater, 5:05 p.m.

Founded in 1866. The church is “always open,” its Facebook page says.


Festival vibe kicks off king cake season in NOLA Bywater

By JOHN E. BIALAS
Broadmoor Bureau Chief

I took the 90-mile trip from my home in Gulfport, Miss., on Sunday for the opening of the king cake season in New Orleans.

Bywater Bakery was my top destination, one of the many places in the city celebrating not only king cakes but also Kings’ Day, the start of Carnival season, which runs until Fat Tuesday on March 5.

After I parked my SUV a few blocks away, I thought I would just walk into Bywater Bakery, check out the variety of king cakes, perhaps buying one and then walking to some of my other favorite places in the Bywater such as Euclid Records and Crescent Park.

The sunny spring-like day brought out a lot more people than I ever expected to see. A line was out the front door of the bakery and folks were hanging out in the middle of the street waiting to hear the next band play across the way outside the Bywater Art Lofts.

One guy was selling Mardi Gras jewelry next to what looked like a small Carnival float serving  drinks and a juggler entertained kids on the river side of the street.

It was a festival atmosphere, but the bakery line barely moved. It was no second line, so I walked through the side door of the bakery with no fear of getting blocked or knocked down and I found treats I have never seen before: Carnival cinnamon rolls topped with sugary sprinkles in Mardi Gras colors. I got two of them, spotted an opening in the line, paid for the rolls and was out the door.

I’ll wait for another day to get a king cake.

I took a lot of iPhone photos outside and inside the bakery.  One is at the top of this post and seven more of mine are down here.

In the street at the corner of Dauphine and Independence, people wait for the next band to play outside the Bywater Art Lofts. 

The scene on the lake side of the bakery. In the background is what the shop called a king cake driveup and pickup.

It would have been more entertaining to see that guy juggle three King Cake Baby bobbleheads.

One of the King Cake Baby bobbleheads given to the first 8,000 fans before a Pelicans game in 2017.

The Carnival cinnamon rolls weren’t blurry. This picture just makes them look that way.

King cakes were also sold by the slice. The one at bottom left was filled with crawfish.

That’s king cake bread pudding. Is there a king cake bread pudding baby?

Because of that line inside the bakery, I bypassed king cakes for the rolls and made an easy exit through the side door.

My cousin is the Kristin Cavallari autograph recognizer

Last week, I published a post headlined “Please tell me who signed their book this way” and I said the person with the correct answer would receive a gift card.

I gave just two clues, both of them vague, and expected no one to identify the signer.

I never knew Dave Wilder of Miami, my cousin, was the Kristin Cavallari autograph recognizer until he emailed me on Christmas Day. He saw a snipped image of the signature atop the post and said it was Cavallari’s.

Dang, he got it right, and as far as I know, he was the only person to send an answer to the voluminous Pictures of Tilly email account.

” I thought it was her but couldn’t remember her name except that it started with K,” Dave said. “Did a google search and it said she had a book coming out in 2019 so that threw me off. Overall, it was a lucky guess.”

Barnes & Noble carries signed copies of Cavallari’s cookbook, “True Roots: A Mindful Kitchen with More Than 100 Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar,” published in 2018, and I saw them during one of my nightly visits to the Crossroads B&N in Gulfport.

I looked at the signature and it inspired me to come up with a contest for the faithful readers of this blog.

This is what I wrote in the contest post:

“I’ll give you just a couple clues for now.

“The signature appears in a cookbook that was published in April.

“The author is a woman.

“I’ve got one clue I’m holding back and may add later. If I tell you now, you will be able to identify the signer.”

Turns out I didn’t need to say that Cavallari is the reality TV personality married to retired NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.

Young Mr. Wilder knew all along, and for that, I was going to send him a $25 Amazon gift card, but he said I didn’t have to do that and instead  just get something for my two grandchildren.

Thank you, Dave. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.




Please tell me who signed their book this way

I enjoy browsing through signed books just to see if the autograph is good or bad, creative or lazy, one that is a keeper or not.

Let’s have a little fun with this post. Please tell who wrote the signature that appears in the picture at the top of this page. Maybe you will win something if you get it right or make up something hilarious. That something could be a $25 Amazon gift card, which I would present since I’m the one and only sole judge of this contest.

The signature has flair, but it’s not worth the price of the book. The person only provided initials. A full name would have made it attractive, though the book is not the kind I would buy.

I’ll give you just a couple clues for now.

The signature appears in a cookbook that was published in April.

The author is a woman.

I’ve got one clue I’m holding back and may add later. If I tell you now, you will be able to identify the signer.

From New Jersey, a friend sends his holiday jeer

Crescenzo Capece, music seller, songwriter and perhaps my one and only best New Jersey friend, sent me a lyrical text message Sunday that was entertaining because of its anti-merry and anti-mirth crankiness.

Now it’s a blog post, thanks to his approval and my laziness this week to come up with original contest of my own.

By CRESCENZO CAPECE
Special to The Broadmoor Bureau

I know u love holidays, so:
ChrisMess Song
(Curmudgeon’s Lament)

Maybe somewhere,
Some families taking
A wonderland sleigh ride or two
I’m sitting here  in
My lounger & undies
While I chug on my
15th brew

A season of cheer
That’s what some call it
But my toe’s a hammer, not mistle
I ain’t got a mantle
With festive cards
On it
And Misery is my epistle

No Darlene’s love to
Sing me no carols
Those tunes they get
On my nerves
No special cookies
Baking in my oven
And the mall Santas
All look like fakes

So don’t you be telling
Me to be merry
Or building no snowman outside
All I needs my TV
And a frozen dinner
And i’m always hitting
My stride

Trees are for forests
They don’t need no
Lights
Reindeers are just good for
Lyme disease and bites

So leave me alone
And I’ll be just fine
While you all claim
You’ll have a jolly
Old time

Don’t get me started
About all that shopping
I’d sooner be down
in Bama sharecropping

But you have your holiday
And stress about bills
While “Bonanza” reruns
Will give me my thrills

And when the new year comes
I’ll still be the same
Another year over
And straight down
The drain!