To hear Sharon Litwin’s interview with Randy Fertel on WWNO, please click here.
His father ran for mayor of New Orleans on the single campaign promise of buying a gorilla for the zoo if he won (he didn’t, but bought a pair of gorillas anyway), and his mother purchased a steak house with 17 tables and turned it into a chain of more than 100 restaurants.
That is bound to have a certain effect on any child of such union.
Amazingly, Randy Fertel, son of Ruth of Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Rodney, a racetrack-loving, globe-trotting, wanna-be politician, turned out to be quite sane. Not only sane, but really smart, completing his education by earning a doctorate from Harvard University and specializing in the literature of the Vietnam War.
Now he’s written a book about his childhood – The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak – which required spending the last few months on book tours across the country. But he’s been summoned back for Mardi Gras and not just as an observer: Randy Fertel is also King of the Krewe Delusion.
This poke-at-politicos parading group will follow the Krewe de Vieux on Saturday through the French Quarter; and it has a particular appeal for Randy Fertel. He thinks political satire is what Carnival should be all about and is thrilled to be part of a krewe that takes that seriously, so to speak.
Sitting on his “throne” dressed, of course, as a gorilla, he plans to pitch bananas to the adoring crowds, along with special wooden doubloons designed for the occasion. Its overall theme is kept secret until the day of the parade, but one can be assured that the numerous “inner krewes” that make up the whole of the Krewe Delusion will still include the Amigos de los Amigos, Bearded Oysters, Camel Toe Lady Steppers and Krewe du Jieux, to name just a few.
So get on down to the Quarter on Saturday night, first for the Krewe de Vieux (it steps off at 6:30 p.m. at Royal Street and Franklin Avenue) and then for the Krewe Delusion at 7:15 (well, maybe; you know how Carnival is) and then follow them back to the Marigny, where the party will continue.
Sharon Litwin, who writes about New Orleans culture, is president of NolaVie.