March 2011 / Death in The Time of Carnival
All Photographs are from Margarita Bergen's fabulous mink-and-champagne Round Table lunch, at Hotel Royal Sonesta, in the traditionally drunken French Quarter. Celebrants in no particular order are: Margarita Bergen (impresario). Pat Brady (author), Henri Schindler (historian), Leonard Earl Johnson (arm candy), Mavis Early (keeper of the innkeepers), Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, the man who defined New Orleans Carnival in words and music better than any of us. And Hotel Royal Sonesta manager and Vice President, Al Groos *
* Ms Bergen wrote of her February 9, 2011 luncheon:
"My Round Table Luncheon was a great success and it featured Dr. Patricia Brady, author and social historian who discussed and signed her book, 'Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson; Henri Schindler, the acknowledged authority on the history of Mardi Gras; Leonard Earl Johnson, well know local writer and world traveler who covered both Hurricane Katrina and the recent British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for the huge national on-line magazine, Consumer Affairs.com; and Mavis Early, Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Hotel & Lodging Association. Entertainment was by Marshall Harris, accompanied by Jim Walpole on the piano. And as a special treat, Entertainer Al 'Carnival Time' Johnson."
What a Time it was?
It was a Wonderful Time!
Lloyd Sensat, 66, died early during Carnival season, on Friday, February 18. An ironic time to die, you might think. But not in New Orleans. We live death here. We embrace it. Celebrate it. Make a market in it. And go on with Life. The next night the Krewe de Vieux rolled through Faubourg Marigny, home of Sun Oak, the restored residence of Sensat and his long time companion, Gene Cizak.
We are Catholic-ish in our New Orleans overview. We know we are mortal. After all, we are post-Katrina people. We all locked our doors that day and never again came back to the Life we lived in those rooms. We know about Life. And passing.
We will miss you Lloyd. You were our hero, a round jolly man ageing more-better than a stalk of yard bananas. Your beard was luxurious and white as Job's robe. Partial to braces and pith helmets, you were a grand flashback to some unspecific time and floating place. You were a precursor of the Internet!
This year, when the Uptown krewes cross Canal Street; and the Downtown krewes cross every other line, the ashes of handsomely bearded old Lloyd Sensat will lie in the family tomb of the New Orleans founding father and Faubourg Marigny namesake, Bernard de Marigny. This by grant of William Hyland, great, great, great, great Grandson of Bernard de Marigny. Hyland lives in Saint Bernard Parish.
Members of this founding family may also be found under the marble at Saint Louis Cathedral.
Monsieur Sensat was born in Crowley, in 1944. He was educated in Lafayette and Baton Rouge. He taught art in Acadia and Saint Charles parishes. The Disney Channel named him Visual Artist of 1986. He was an artist in the best meaning of the word. In that way said of the Bali Islanders: We have no art, we do everything as well as we can.
He was a member of the Faubourg Marigny Improvment Association. A preservationist and historian. Often he portrayed Bernard de Marigny (and Papa Noel). He lived a joyous Life. We celebrate his passing parade. Join us. . .