23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Slow start but fun,
This review is from: Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans (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.