“We'll go see lites in St. Bernard
And what they got that's gone…
Atlantic Thrift...Ain't dere no more
Drug store was Trist...Ain't dere no more
Jerry LaVie's...Ain't dere no more
--Benny Crunch and the Bunch
Carol didn't believe the name of my grammar school - Our Lady of Prompt Succor. “What does ‘prompt sucker’ even mean?” she said, convinced I was having her on. Even when we'd walked to the school and I showed her the sign, she still didn't believe it. “What is a prompt succor?” she asked again, staring at the sign in great perplexity.
I explained that prayers to the Blessed Mother was credited with saving New Orleans from a fire, stopping just as it approached the Ursuline Convent, and another time She was credited with us winning the Battle of New Orleans at the last minute. “Prompt Succor,” I explained, “means ‘quick help.’”
Carol shook her head. “Still doesn't make any sense to name a school after ‘quick help.’”
Carol would discover there was a whole lot of things that didn't make sense during our walking tour of my hometown of Chalmette, a perniciously corrupt and mosquito-infested atoll of reclaimed swamp just southeast of New Orleans. Later that afternoon, I would be surprised at how much I enjoyed revisiting the place, given it was home to so many childhood memories I've spent a lifetime trying to forget.