Sunday, December 12, 2010. Two Hundred Books. Saints @ Zea. Because I didn't coordinate my bookings with Mary Ann, I am supposed to be two places at one time today, on opposite sides of the lake. All I could do was head into town earlier than I was expected, and hope I wouldn't compete with another autographing writer. I got lucky.
The signing was at the Preservation Resource Center's annual holiday home tour. They set this up at Trinity Church on Jackson Avenue, which is right on the edge of the Garden District, where many of the featured homes are located. It's a great event that draws a good crowd. The gift bazaar has art, crafts, food, and books. Garden District Book Shop had a run on Hungry Town and very few copies left. I brought what I had, and we still ran out.
That gave me the best possible excuse for leaving early, so I would be only a little late for my gig at Barnes & Noble in Mandeville. The books sold very well there, too. About a hundred books between the two venues. A new reason for loving Christmas!
I knocked off at five-thirty. Mary Ann said she'd join me for supper. Mary Leigh, already bored stiff from hanging around at home for two days, got a good invitation and had split for the South Shore.
So there we were, just the two of us, once again in the bar at Zea, watching the Saints game on the too-small televisions in there. I was happy to see that the Saints were wiping out whoever that was they were playing. It meant that I wouldn't have to pay attention, and Mary Ann wouldn't be on the edge of her seat.
A couple I knew from an Eat Club dinner was at the next table. They were drinking martinis. The power of suggestion could not be resisted. I needed a drink anyway, after two hours of being pleasant with book customers.
We began as usual with the great roasted-garlic hummus. She had a salad, but only so she would appear to be eating, not just mooching a place to watch the game. (The management and staff don't give a damn about that. Like most restaurants, Zea is nearly empty when the Saints are playing. And we tip heavily for the extended attention we get.)
The fall menu has an entree I've been looking at for months. Two tournedos of beef with a garlic and red wine sauce, with mushrooms. Just what I was in the mood for. The steaks were a shade overcooked, but I couldn't complain. They have a side dish that's clearly ready for the New Year to arrive: cabbage and blackeye peas, tossed together.
I was not yet finished signing books. I had sixty online orders to fill. It took up the rest of the evening. That's almost two hundred copies signed this weekend. No wonder my elbow and biceps ached the next day. And yes, I am a wuss for complaining about it.
Zea. Covington: 110 Lake Dr. 985-327-0520.
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