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Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans Paperback – February 16, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (February 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903240
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For more than 20 years, Strahan managed the Lucky Dog company, whose vendors sell wienies out of the seven-foot-long hot dog-shaped carts that can be found on almost any street corner in New Orleans's French Quarter. He gave his book its present title because Ignatius J. Reilly, the outsized hero of John Kennedy Toole's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Confederacy of Dunces, is a composite of actual Lucky Dog vendors, though Strahan confesses he thought of calling it A Hundred and One People I Wish I Had Never Met. Apparently, altar boys don't peddle pups in the Quarter, and the author found himself riding herd on a crew mainly of transients too antsy to do any other kind of work; some stayed for years, but most took off after a few weeks, often with the company's share of the proceeds. "Deep down inside they were basically kind, loyal, and caring people," writes Strahan, "but these qualities rarely surfaced." A historian who dropped out of the Tulane doctoral program for a temporary job that became a permanent one, Strahan kept his sanity by flexing a comic sense that also keeps the reader laughing. And drooling, too, because only a diehard frankophobe will be able to read Managing Ignatius without intermittent longings for a Lucky Dog in a steamed bun topped with chili, cheese and onions; the product stays the same, even if the vendors don't. 24 halftones.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The "Ignatius" in the title alludes to Ignatius J. Reilly, the colorful hero of John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces (1980), who worked briefly for Paradise Vendors, Inc., the fictional counterpart of Lucky Dogs. Armed with a master's degree in history, Strahan left academia to peddle weenies in New Orleans and to manage an assortment of misfits rivaled only by Henry Miller's motley crew at the Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company (Tropic of Capricorn). Strahan recounts the antics of the petty criminals, drunks, and madmen he supervised for over 25 years as he traces the rise of Lucky Dogs from a single Orange Julius store on Bourbon Street to an international franchise of successful hot dog stands. Frank about his vendors' moral failings, Strahan nevertheless treats them with sympathy and affection. Those with an appetite for hot dogs and the French Quarter will relish this delicious read.?William Gargan, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., CUNY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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I was joyously surprised with this gift of a book.
Casey C. Taylor
The real life accounts of the author as he was manager of Lucky Dogs, the hotdog vending company in New Orleans' French Quarter, is amazing.
M. N. Henkel
For the story Strahan tells here is like our own as even the soul has a journey in life.
Bachelier

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Odilon on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This fun book probably wouldn't have been written but for the fact that Lucky Dog hot dogs figured strongly in the classic New Orleans novel CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. The author here is the company's long time manager. His subject, affectionately portrayed, are his vendors- drifters, mostly, few of whom, we're told, had driver's licenses while the ones who did couldn't be trusted not to run off with the company van.
For me, the book had a slow start. The author tends to report rather than narrate, summarizing conversations rather than recreating dialogue between people, allowing little of New Orleans' "voice" to come through. Also, although he includes many colorful anecdotes, it takes a while before he develops characters whose stories the reader could follow over the long haul.
There is a good sense of the community involved, though. Here a supervisor climbs through an efficiency apartment window to roust a tardy employee while street bums cheer below. When Strahan finally does let his community develop citizens with recognizable personalities and concerns, the book really takes off. Eventually, even the signature Lucky Dog carts seem like characters in the story.
Local color is understated. (Street life in D.C. sounded just as wild in Strahan's description as that in New Orleans.) Mardi Gras, for example, seemed mostly just another predictable busy period- same as major sporting events. Still, if if you've been to New Orleans it will bring back memories and if you're going, you'll notice things you wouldn't otherwise.
It also captures the French Quarter before it was cleaned up for the 1984 World's Fair and how that eccentric decadence still lingers somewhat. Especially amusing are the way the unflappable vendors resist the efforts of powers great and small to harass them. The best were the incidents involving World's Fair politics.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being a frequent visitor to the French Quarter (having been born and bred in Baton Rouge), and violently adoring A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, I was fascinated to read this book, especially as it was written by a historian most well-known for his book on Andrew Jackson Higgins and his development of the LSTs used at Normandy. Strahan's picture of New Orleans nails the truth on the head, but the best part of this immensely entertaining book is the insight one gains into the life of the guys (and gals) who guard the dog carts (with undoubtedly more success than Ignatius himself).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Griffin on August 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
What a treat it was to read "Managing Ignatius" by Jerry Strahan. I had only recently been introduced to "A Confederacy Of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole and was lucky enough to happen across a review of "Managing Ignatius" on the Internet. Of course, in a matter of days I was having trouble putting down this delightful book. I even took time to give it a meaty thumbs-up in the Waxahachie (Texas) Daily Light newspaper where I was able to even incorporate a photo my friend Liberty took when she was in the French Quarter and spied a Lucky Dogs vendor on a hot July day. For people who are interested in the human condition and the hot dog condition, "Managing Ignatius" (A great title depsite what the Baton Rouge Advocate says) is a must-have for people interested in the outrageous and that glorious city, New Orleans. -Andrew West Griffin in the Lone Star State
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a "Confederacy of Dunces" freak, Strahan's title caught my eye as I was searching for New Orleans travel books. I recommend this funny, engaging book to anyone who enjoys quirky, colorful (and real life!) characters -- but especially to folks planning a vacation to the Big Easy. Playing straight man, Strahan not only humanizes the vendors who hawk Lucky Dogs for a living, he gives readers a real taste of the Quarter.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Tim Carlson on February 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bought this book on a Tuesday night at 9:30PM, was done by midnight the following day (and I had to work that day). Hard to put down.
One of the advantages to jobs at the low-end of the labor pool is one comes in contact with such a broader spectrum of characters than in say, a corporate office. You end up with a lot of stories to tell. In this case, most of the characters are the hot dog vendors that the author must try to manage.
From vendors who warm their shoes and socks in the bun steamer to the author's own negotiating with loan sharks and pimps on behalf of his employees, this book recounts over 20 years spent hawking dogs in New Orleans' french quarter.
A very fun read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chris Frost on October 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you've read Confederacy of Dunces, then this book is the logical follow-up. It delves into the real world of Lucky Dogs...the hotdog vending company in New Orleans that played such a prominent role in John Kennedy Toole's Pulitzer Prize winning "Confederacy of Dunces". Incredibly funny, and sometimes a bit disturbing, this book will leave you seeking out your closest hot dog vendor, and leave you with a completely different view of that industry.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By muskiedine on September 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this--a great companion to John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. What I enjoyed most were the vignettes of collected memories of those who've pushed the weinie carts. I've probably purchased a weinie or two from some of those very people, which reinforces my belief that everyone has a story and that some of our stories are more interesting than others. I'd much rather read anecdotes about the fallen and runaways and drunks and misfits than bios of those more fortunate, like a Donald Trump per se. What you get a sense of in reading "Managing Ignatius" is the importance of life, its simplicity, its pain, its brevity, its humor and joy. There are lots of funny, laugh-out-loud sections in this book. The only detraction is the author's tendency to stray away from the weinie cart pushers and focus on himself and his personal endeavors. These parts I found mostly uninteresting, but not enough to diminish all of what's right with this read. Highly recommended.
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