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View From Your Table

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana

This is at the Napoleon House. The drink on the right is a Pimm’s Cup, the traditional drink at the venerable bar. The drink on the left is a root beer, and the drinker of the root beer is my son Lucas. When he turned nine in January, his father promised to take him on a father-son trip to New Orleans for the night. But there were bowl games in New Orleans, and then Mardi Gras, and one thing led to another, and Dad didn’t get around to it until … today. I promised him it would be only us, and that Dad wouldn’t schedule any meetings or do any business on this overnight trip. Just the two of us.

We went to the Aquarium Of The Americas, and then walked around the French Quarter. We talked about World War II, and other man stuff. On the way back to our Canal Street hotel, we passed by Napoleon House, and I told Lucas the story about how the place came to get its name. We talked about Napoleon, and all the things we saw about him last year in Les Invalides in Paris. I also told him that Mom and Dad had their wedding reception on the third floor of the Napoleon House, in the room that had been reserved for the Emperor. We were melting — do NOT visit New Orleans in August, unless you have to! — so we went in for something cool to drink. I thought about my younger self, in 1997, three floors up in this great old bar, unable to imagine that one day I’d be back with one of my own sons, having a tall cold drink.

By the time you read this, we’ll be on our way back from Lucas’s Birthday Man Dinner at John Besh’s restaurant, Lüke (I have a feeling there will be a second VFYT from this trip). That was one of those great things that made him happy (“A restaurant with my name! Cool!”) and me happy (“A John Besh restaurant! Cool!”). I made the reservation in the name of Lucas Dreher, which he tells me makes him feel like a grown-up. We’re going to watch “Iron Man 3” on the hotel pay-per-view tonight.

I should do things like this more often.

UPDATE: I had the charcuterie plate to start, the choucroute garni — Mangalitsa pork belly, braised ham shank, homemade weisswurst — and amber beer. It was all crazy good. That’s Lucas on the far side of the photo, with his hamburger.


about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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