Greetings from New Orleans, and welcome to our on-line, multi-media, environmentally friendly Christmas newsletter. We’ve been doing this for 10 years now; at right, under “Christmas Past,” we have links to prior editions going back to 2004 and, before then, some old photos and reconstructed memories.
Suzanne continues to enjoy an active retirement. She conducts yoga classes at Premier Fitness, West Jefferson Fitness Center, Manhattan Athletic Club, and Ville St. Marie. She also continues to enjoy success in race-walking. Lately she has focused on trail runs and longer distances, including seven half-marathons and two ultra-marathons. In the process, she has collected several awards, the most unusual of which was a machete for a trail run through a sugarcane field. (This award reminds Ray not to piss her off.)
This past June was Ray’s 12th anniversary at Adams and Reese LLP in New Orleans. That means that he has now spent half his legal career there—last October was the 24th anniversary of his bar admission. Ray practices appellate advocacy, meaning that he is called upon when things go sour in the trial court. This year a bit of professional recognition came his way. He was rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell and, for the second year in a row, was listed in Louisiana Super Lawyers for appellate advocacy. Two of his briefs were featured in the third edition of Bryan Garner’s The Winning Brief. At left is a photo from the book’s index, listing him just ahead of Earl Warren and Elizabeth Warren (alphabetically).
In his spare time, he has continued his guitar lessons with the masteful Vincent Marini. He is trying to learn the blues slide style with the guitar tuned to open G. For the umpteenth year in a row, he attended all seven days of the New Orleans Jazz Fest and, two weeks later, participated in the Tchoupitoulas Barathon (6 miles, 6 bars, 6 beers). Said Ray after both: “I’m getting too old for this shit!” But he’ll probably do it again in 2015. Asked about the number-one lesson learned in 2014, he replied, “After a root canal, take the rest of the day off. Do not attempt to return to work.”
This year we had a bit of work done on our 114-year-old house (portrait at left by our friend Charles Harrison). On the inside, we (meaning Suzanne) converted the back room into a guest room with its own bathroom. So now our overnight guests no longer have to camp out in the living room. We (again meaning Suzanne) also converted our former, little-used dining room into a music room for Ray. The latter has the advantage of collecting all the guitar-related stuff into one space, thus uncluttering several other rooms. On the outside, we had the house painted for the first time since Katrina, and in the process got some much-needed exterior repair work done. As a result, the old house looks better than ever. It has its quirks, as you’d expect in a house so old. But the neighborhood is outstanding: a walkable mix of commercial and residential, with Audubon Park just a block and a half away.
Both of us remain active parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Church, regulars at the Sunday 6 p.m. mass. Suzanne is a eucharistic minister and lector, and she coordinates the offertory collection. Ray is also a lector, and he plays guitar with the 6 p.m. music group.
We leave you with some seasonal music. This is Aaron Neville performing “Ave Maria” at the 2012 New Orleans Jazz Fest. Best wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas or whatever other winter holiday you may be celebrating, and for a happy 2015.