Mid-Life Ramblings; Sanity Optional

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New Orleans Revisited

E and I went back to New Orleans twice over the New Year weekend. On Friday night we went to the last night of City Park's Celebration In The Oaks, the annual Christmas light display we love to visit. This year was scaled down as so much of the park and the equipment was damaged in the storm. This year's theme was Mr. Bingle. Mr. Bingle was a snowman character invented by the folks at the old Maison Blanche department store to welcome in the Christmas season beginning in 1948. I remember Mr. Bingle as a child as my parents would take me to New Orleans to see the displays in the windows on Canal Street. There was a huge paper mache Mr. Bingle that hung on top of the store as well as puppets, a children's television show, and lots of stuffed Bingles. You can read his story here.

Here's the Mr. Bingle story:

When Santa left his shop one day,
he found a snowman near his sleigh.
"You'll be my helper now" he said,
and tapped the little fellow's head.

The snowman found that he could talk;
"look Santa, I can even walk!
And then he gave a little sigh...
"Oh, how I wish I could fly!"

So Santa gave him holly wings;
then looking through his Christmas things,
found ornaments the very size
to make a pair of shining eyes.

Then Santa said, "You need a hat;
an ice cream cone's just right for that.
And keep this candy cane with you;
you'll see what magic it can do!"

The snowman laughed and sang a jingle,
so Santa named him "Mr. Bingle"
That's how it happened.
Now he's here for us to enjoy throughout the year!

Unfortunately, Maison Blanche was bought out by Dillards a number of years ago and Mr. Bingle disappeared from the commercial New Orleans Christmas scene. But he lives on in the many hearts of the now grown kids who remember him from their childhood. A few years ago I found a small but old Bingle doll at a flea market and wouldn't leave until he was mine.

The original paper mache Mr. Bingle from the Maison Blanche store was given to City Park this year and was on display at Celebration in the Oaks. I wasn't going to let the season pass without my seeing him up close so I drug E over there Friday night. We only have one decent digital pic but I took nearly a whole roll with my 35mm camera.

This photo doesn't show you the scale but he's huge - he's sitting on a flatbed trailer.

It was our last Christmas hoorah and was a fun filled evening. Tomorrow I'll post about our visit to the 9th ward on Monday.


  • At 8:21 AM, Blogger thatfarmgirl said…

    Take a look at my godmother's photo website (www.pbase.com/septembermorn). She is working hard to restore City Park as a volunteer.


  • At 8:26 AM, Blogger BarefootCajun said…

    I did! Her site is how I found out that the display was all about Mr. Bingle this year. She takes some wonderful photos. I love all the work she's done in the park. It's one of my favorite places in the city and her photos made me cry to see the devastation. But folks like her give that city so much hope.

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger thatfarmgirl said…

    She's amazing, alright. And yes, Henry is a Bichon!


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