“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”- William Cullen Bryant

Autumn truly has a beautiful smile. That is why this is my favorite time of year. The fall season is also a busy one for me. Conferences and speaking engagements keep me on the road. This is a good thing because I love to travel because I get to meet all kinds of great people. Like Mr. T.

No, not the tough-guy Mr. T bedecked with gold chains, but Mr. T in Dallas Texas who has one of the most beautiful, brilliant, smiles I’ve seen. He works at the Parkway Central Embassy Suites. He shuttled us to and from our restaurant and kept us entertained with his sparkling personality.

Speaking of beautiful smiles, Tammy, the Embassy’s Food and Drink Supervisor, was equally as delightful and attentive. And then there was the bartender, Mark, who worked so fast, I would have paid to watch him.

You know, it is the people you meet and interact with, if only for an evening, that enrich life. Not stuff or things. Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff and things, but all of that can be gone in an instant. For me, I’d rather invest my time with people and create memories because those stay with us.

Thank you Mr. T, Tammy, and Mark for being so gracious and adding to my wealth of good memories!



Yesterday, I walked through the famed French Quarter. The condition of this area struck me. Since I visited last year, there was a marked decline. This is sad for a place so rich with history. It’s slummish feel made me uncomfortable. Ladies, don’t walk there alone like I so foolishly did. I recommend avoiding the famed Bourbon Street. That said there are many great restaurants, unique shops, more than enough tourist traps and elegant French antique stores that make it a worthwhile trip.

Dauphine Street Books

While strolling down Dauphine Street I happened upon a used book store named Dauphine Street Books. Immediately my brain put on the brakes and directed my body to turn and walk through the door. Wow. I could barely squeeze in between the shelves, crates, and stacks of books. It is like hunting for treasure. So if you love old books, plan on staying there a while. The owner is very knowledgeable and even through there are thousands of books in the place, he knows if he has what you are looking for. I purchased books by New Orleans authors and about New Orleans lore. A true find. I left there a happy girl.

Williams Gallery

I also found the Williams Gallery, The Historic New Orleans Collection on Royal Street. They showcased Something Old, Something New Collecting in the 21st Century. It is a small gallery but a nice place to visit.

Cafe Du Monde

If you are visiting New Orleans for the first time, you need to visit the French Quarter, shop in Jackson Square, drink chicory coffee and eat beignets at America’s original coffee stand, the Café Du Monde. If you don’t go there then you have cheated yourself out of a true New Orleans tradition.

Although the first thing that comes to mind when we hear New Orleans is the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, there is so much more to this lovely town like the Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Riverwalk—I’m visiting there today.

While I’m listing the treasures I’m finding in New Awlins, the greatest ones I’ve discovered are the people. True, there are some who will take your food order and never make eye-contact. But most are warm and genuine. They take the time to chat and are truly interested in you and your day. Even though we only exchange a few words, I feel valued.

This is a good lesson to learn: it doesn’t take a lot to make others know they are special. All it takes is eye-contact, willingness to take a little time, and being interested in others.

Discovering Treasurein New Orleans: Mother’s

Greetings from the magical city of New Orleans, or New Awlins as the locals say.

For the next couple of days I will share my fun experiences and the interesting things I unearth in this culturally complex town. Like Mother’s.

Within the first hour of arriving I discovered my first treasure, Mothers Restaurant, on Poydras Street, 401 to be exact. I’ve never been anywhere like it. When you first walk in you grab a menu by the door, which has a bizillion entrées, and you must make your mind up while waiting in line to place your order. However, by the crowd ahead of you–a sure sign the food is good—you will have plenty of time. Then you find a table and the waitress brings your food to you. AND you are not allowed to tip. Interesting.

While I savored my seafood gumbo, I studied the brick walls that at one time had been painted white, but now most of it had chipped off, and the old wooden beams above me. Clearly this place had a history. And that name?

Being the curious sort, I asked one waitress, the delightful Patricia Ellzey who has worked there for twenty-four years, why the restaurant was called “Mothers.”  She explained that Simon and Mary Landry opened the restaurant in 1938. Then when America entered WWII, it was Mary, Mother, who kept the restaurant going.

While Patricia and I visited, Janet Grant, a fun, spunky, waitress who has also worked there for twenty-four years joined us. We shared our own mother and grandmother experiences. I listened to these two remarkable ladies share how they overcame the tough times life threw at them and their children. I thought about Mary Landry who had kept the business going while her family served our country. It confirmed something I’ve always known, Mothers are the marines in their families. When the going gets tough, Momma’s get going. It is in our DNA. We can’t help it. And I’m thankful for that God-given attribute.

Talk about tough, it is also in the spirit of this town. It too has overcome intense adversity. I encourage you to make plans to visit New Orleans. And while here, do yourself a favor and visit Mother’s.  And when you get there ask for Patricia and Janet. I can’t imagine eating there again without their smiling faces and delightful anecdotes.