New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, June 26, 2017
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Da Schwaggamans Ladies


I actually learned to cook from sweet little old ladies who would just stop to help me as I tried to read unfamiliar labels in the Schweggman?s ('Schwaggamans') aisles when I first moved to N O as a young mother of two in the late sixties.

Gawd! How I loved those ladies: Mizz Odette, Mizz Marie, Mizz Sylvia to name a few. They knew by my accent (British) that I was from outtatown, they all called me Dawlin, of course, and their generosity of spirit soon made me feel right at home.

When we left town (now in Sydney Australia) we found ourselves beginning to speak Yat as a family language especially when we want to make particular point of reference. I do believe that it helped/helps us cope with the culture shock of N O deprivation.

...recently my 10 month old grandson started 'talking' and as well as the usual Mama and Dada, he points at whatever he wants and says 'dat dere' so we are convinced that this child was born bi-lingual!

I do thank every one of you for all the wonderful stories that make me laugh and cry ; I swear I can almost smell the perfume of the sweet olive trees drifting all the way to here.'

Photo credit:
http://www.dwabrams.com/today/today.jan.htm

Da Schwaggamans Ladies

Huerstel's


We would go to Huerstel's on St. Claude, about a block away from Nicholls for lunch in the room next to the bar. A young women was there one day, sitting at a back table, with her hair set in pin curls. Each curl was wrapped with small torn pieces of Binder's french bread wrappers and secured with bobby pins. She was painting her nails and explaining to her friend, 'Ya know, I luv dis clearless polish, it goes wit everything. I have always remembered this scene with great fondness, and as the epitomy of the neighbahood culcha.
This vignette occurred circa 1960.
Photo credit:
http://www.yesterdayland.com/popopedia/shows/fashion/fa1744.php

Huerstel's

Ya put earl in ya' caw, crab berl in ya' swimps...

went ta da terlit when nature called, remembered Gov'na Oil K. Long in ya his'tree lessunz, ya Grammaw cro-shayed derlies fa da tablez 'n' sofa awms, ya helped Mama out in da gawdin by spreadin' serl unda dem ligustrums and wrapped up ya leftovahs wit' aloominum ferl!

Phew! Ahmana take a breatha an go call ma' goilfriend, Oileen!

photo credit:http://www.seeneworleans.net/swb3.jpg

Ya put earl in ya' caw, crab berl in ya' swimps...

Why do we eat red beans on Mondays?

Ya cook ya beans onna Monday cause dat's da day you washed da clothes. Innee ole days, dis was a BIG job. So, oily inna mawnin ya putcha beans on da stove and cooked em reall slow. Den ya stawted wittha clothes. Foist ya hadta wrench em in a tub a suds, den ya ran em through tha' ringa washa, den you did bofe again. Next ya yadta wrench em in some clean wattah, ring em out again, an hang em onna line. Dat's watcha did with tha towels, sheets, socks, and unner ware--ya hungum onna line in da back yawd. Den ya gave da beans a stir, added a lil salt awe whatevah dey needed. Fa da clothes dat anyone would see, ya' hadta iron em. But foist ya hadta berl em inna pot on da stove (right nexta da beans) in some stawtch. Den ya wrenced em out, twisted em up in a shape dat looked kinda like a lil po-boy and stuck em in da ice box. Man, ahm gettin tired jus thinkin about this an we're not nearly through yet. O.K. So den ya got a few of da rolled up clothes outta da ice box so ya could stawt ya ironin'. But foist ya filled a Coke bottle up with wattah and put a lil metal spraya dat had a coowk on it into the top a da bottle. Ya unroll a shirt (awa whatevah), sprinkle it wit a fine mista wattah, ironed it, and put it onna hanga. Do a few more shirts, den go check onna beans. Go inna yawd, take downa sheets an stuff, fold em, and put em away. Check da beans. Iron more clothes. If ya hadda big famly (most people did) all lis took all day. An nat's why ya cooked ya beans onna Monday. Ya didn' have time to cook nuthin else.

Why do we eat red beans on Mondays?