As I was typing up these stories on a Southwest Airlines flight from New Orleans to Las Vegas, something else happened. Call it a bonus. Or, call it payback for being rude to the deaf kid.
So of course, I have to write about it.
For unknown reasons, this flight is absolutely packed with children and infants. A couple of dozen. You’d think a flight between New Orleans and Las Vegas – the two most hedonistic cities in America – wouldn’t have many kids. But this one does.
But what’s driving me up a wall right now aren’t the cries of wailing infants. No.
Most of the time, in the areas most visited by tourists, visitors are safe. But crime is essentially a numbers game. If you play the take-a-risk roulette wheel long enough — that is, if you repeatedly put yourself into dangerous situations — the number “13” will eventually come up back to back and you’ll end up as the latest crime statistic.
I chance fate not because want to. But rather because I have to. I have no choice given the line of work that I do.
I’m up a weird hours, mostly in big cities, around casinos and bars and parking lots — or walking back to my hotel. I’m what you might call “the perfect target.” Except that I’m broke most of the time.
If you can be in love with a city, then New Orleans is my mistress.
Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I’ve spent right at 220 days and nights in “The Big Easy,” which equates basically to living there for seven full months. That’s a lot of exquisite dinners, great jazz, and tasty beignets.
Each time I visit New Orleans I come out of it with different impressions and perspectives – about life, leisure and culture. New Orleans is one of the few places which changes you, and if you’re not moved by your experience here in some way, then I’d say you really haven’t been here.
Sometimes, someone else’s needs are greater than my own.
— Mark “Old Bear” Hughes
You probably don’t know Mark Hughes and that’s a shame. Trust me. This is a man you want to know.
Mark Hughes, a.k.a. “Old Bear” is one of the rarest of people. I don’t agree with a thing he says or believes in for the most part, politically or spiritually speaking. But I enjoy his company immensely and look forward to seeing him each time beyond compare.
A few nights ago, we dined together at world famous Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Before I tell you more about that experience, allow me to let you in on how I came to know “Old Bear.”
Like me, Mark is a member of the BARGE poker community. BARGE is an eclectic group of a few hundred individuals from all over the country who gather annually in Las Vegas (and elsewhere) in order to play some poker together. But the real mission is really to drink, dine, socialize, and reconnect with old friends — and make some new ones. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT BARGE