Upfront: A way of life on Barataria Boulevard (Part 5)

Editor’s Note: This story is one of a series reprinted from the book A Guide to South Louisiana: Stories of Uncommon Culture. Each author was a student in Rachel Breunlin’s “Storytelling and Culture” course for the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans in the Spring of 2017. The Neighborhood Story Project sponsored the project as part of its mission to publish collaborative ethnography in high quality books in which the authors receive royalties for their creative labor.


I was curious as to how my parents met. I asked my mom first. She told the story in a casual tone, “One night, I went out with Julie to Moonlighting. It was a bar in the old Belle Promenade Mall. It’s ain’t there no more. It’s where the Walmart is now on Barataria. It was two-for-two Long Island Night. I was with a bunch of my guy friends and your daddy was trying to talk to me. But I didn’t like him. He went and ordered a seafood appetizer, but I didn’t eat it. And Daddy wanted to know why I was with that thing.” I was confused, “Uhm thing? What thing?”

She said, “My friend Rhet. He kinds of reminds me of Hill. He had long, curly brown hair. Then I just kept seeing your daddy all over the place. Every time I went out, he was there. I didn’t like him, but he took me out on a couple of dates and then he grew on me. That’s how we met.”

My dad told me a similar story, “Moonlighting was a local place. I saw her with all her guy work friends. I went and bought the cheapest appetizer they had on the menu. While the guys were all smakin’ down eatin’ the appetizer I went and talk to her.” I was wondering if my dad knew that my mom didn’t initially like him that night so I asked, “Did she like you?”

“Well yeah, I mean, I assumed she like me. She was talking to me that night and I took her out.”

So my parents basically met at a non-existing bar Moonlighting in the equivalent of an Applebee’s in the Old Belle Promenade Mall on a Tuesday night. My mom was still living with her mom and dad on Belle Terre, and my dad was living on August Lane. Love is a peculiar thing, and it pairs up peculiar people.

Shelbey’s grandparents, Dolores and Librorio Palermo, on their wedding day.


Part 6: Feast of St. Joseph


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