Friday, June 17, 2005

Treme Resident: Lionel George

Y'all need to meet my neighbor around the corner. Lionel George turned 82 on Monday and he's proud of it. He makes a little money on the side selling 'Frozen Cups'. These are basically plastic cups of kool-aid or lemonade frozen. Lionel's known all over downtown for his recipe. He is one of the neighbors who helps chase away the crackheads who like to sleep under the house. My back porch is right behind Lionel's house.

Lionel has lived in Treme his whole life and has 3 children. He is a retired baker and still sells pies and cakes to people in the know. In addition to baking, he also delivered flowers for 17 years. One of his boys is a member of the Treme Brass band, his daughter has worked in the government and enjoyed early retirement, and one is a Baptist minister even though Lionel sent his children to Catholic schools.

In talking about the musical heritage of this neighborhood, Lionel added that he was unhappy that Kermit Ruffins moved from his place on Ursulines to one of the bordering streets. He said Kermit 'sold out' and when he sees him, Lionel said he'd throw a brick at Kermit for moving out. Did I hear him right . . .? It's a tight community with much to be proud of, what can you say? Well, I said, " he's still real close to Treme". Literally he is just up the street, you would think he moved across the lake. Anyway, I saw Kermit last night and I passed this along, maybe he'll go stop by Lionel's for a frozen cup. I didn't tell him he might get a brick thrown at him....

Lionel shares a lot about the history of the neighborhood and I am happy to see him everyday. Today, he told me how the brick church up the street used to be a carriage house with mules and horses that pulled the produce carts around town. We also talked about the demise of the old Treme market. I have seen the old photos of it, we both wish it was still there.

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