Lucky 33

Last Monday afternoon before class, I got a call from Ruth Laney, who interviewed me for Country Roads Magazine. She said that a gentleman just called and said he read the article about me and had an original copy of the Mascot to give me! Not wanting to give him my information (thank you, Ruth) she gave me his phone number to contact him.

Standing outside of my classroom, I called Mr. Marchiafava. He said he read my story just that morning and felt compelled to contact me and give me his copy of the Mascot.

Mr. Marchiafava is from New Orleans. His father used to own a restaurant on Decatur Street. In 1972, he was renovating an house in Old Algiers Point on Olivier Street. As they were tearing out the walls, they realized that the house had been insulated with old newspapers! The majority of them were all crumpled and torn, except for one. A newspaper he did not recognize – the Mascot. For some reason he saved it. He slipped it in wax paper and put it between his mattress and box spring where it had been for the last forty years until that afternoon. As soon as he read my story he picked up his rotary phone (computers are also not his style) and phoned Ruth.

We talked for quite a bit about our love of New Orleans and history. I thanked him profusely for his copy of the Mascot and he said he wanted only one thing in return – a mention in my book. Done!

He told me he was also going to send me a copy of a book and to check page 33. He likes to gamble and 33 is his lucky number. Mr. Marchiafava also said that he felt that I was a good gamble. Thank you; I certainly hope I am.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the next day a package arrived at my office and true to his word, there was a copy of the Mascot – December 1, 1894. Torn in some places but still beautiful to behold! My very first Mascot!!! Included was a book from 1922 called “Etiquette Problems in Picture” with a lovely note on page 33.

I also fully intend to stay true to my word. I promise, Mr. Marchiafava you will get a mention in my book. But I figured why not start with a blog entry? Thank you so much. Your gift is inspiring and humbling.


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