Today is the Optional Memorial of Saint Pius V, Pope (died 1572). Today is the Anniversary of the Territory of Orleans becoming the State of Louisiana in 1812, and tonight is Walpurgisnacht (which has nothing to do with Pius V, or with the State of Louisiana). Today is also the third day of the second weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Born to impoverished Italian nobility in 1504 at Bosco, Lombardy, Italy as Antonio Ghisleri, today’s Saint received an excellent training in piety and holiness, including a scholastic education from a Dominican friar; he joined the Order himself in 1518, taking the name Michele. After studies in Bologna he was ordained in 1528 and became a professor of theology in Pavia for sixteen years. He served as master of novices and as prior of several Dominican houses, working for stricter adherence to the Order’s Rule. Appointed Inquisitor in Como, after several years of inquisitorial missions he was appointed commissary general of the Roman Inquisition in 1551. In 1556 he was consecrated Bishop of Nepi e Sutri against his will. Created cardinal in 1557, he became Grand Inquisitor in 1558, was part of the conclave that elected Pope Pius IV in 1559, and was himself elected Pope in 1566. He immediately faced the task of enacting the reforms of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). New seminaries were opened, and a new breviary, new missal, and new catechism were published; foundations were established to spread the Faith and preserve the doctrine of the Church. Pius spent much time personally working with the needy. He built hospitals and used the papal treasury to care for the poor. He faced many difficulties in the public forum, both in the implementation of the Tridentine reforms and in interaction with other heads of state. At the time of his death he was working on a Christian European alliance to break the power of the Islamic states; he did live long enough to hear the news of the Battle of Lepanto (1571), and to institute the new feastday of Our Lady of Victory to commemorate the victory. Turning to secular matters, on this date i 1812 Louisiana became the Eighteenth State of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 had brought into the United States some 828,000 square miles of territory, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico from the west bank of the Mississippi River to what is now Minnesota, and stretching east to what is now Montana and into what is now Canada. in 1804 the Territory of Orleans became that part of the Purchase south of the 33rd Parallel, and again not including the land east of the Mississippi River, which was part of the Spanish territory of West Florida), with William C. C. Claiborne appointed as the Territorial Governor. The Organic Act of 1804, passed on March 26th for October 1st implementation, also created the United States District Court for the District of Orleans, the only time Congress has ever provided a territory with a United States district court equal in its authority and jurisdiction to those of the states. On April 10, 1805, the territorial legislative council divided the Territory of Orleans into twelve counties. The borders of these counties were poorly defined, but they roughly coincided with the French and Spanish colonial parishes, and hence used the same names. On March 31, 1807, the territorial legislature created 19 civil parishes without abolishing the old counties (which term continued to exist until 1845). In 1811 a constitutional convention was held to prepare for Louisiana’s admission into the Union. This organized the state into seven judicial districts, each consisting of groups of parishes. The Florida Parishes east of the Mississippi River were annexed into the Territory of Orleans on April 14th, 1812, and soon afterwards the Territory of Orleans became the State of Louisiana on April 30th, 1812, with William C. C. Claiborne as the first Governor. In 1816 the first official map of the state used the term “parish”; since then the official term for Louisiana’s primary civil divisions has been parishes. Final adjustments to the borders of the State were not completed until about 1819, when the western boundary with Spanish Texas was fully defined with the Adams–Onís Treaty. Today is also Walpurgisnacht, when in German lore the witches meet on the Broken, the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany, to hold their revels. The current festival is, in most countries that celebrate it, named after the English missionary Saint Walpurga (ca. 710–778). As Walpurga was canonized on the first of May (ca. 870), she became associated with May Day, especially in the Finnish and Swedish calendars, and the eve of May Day, traditionally celebrated with dancing, came to be known as Walpurgisnacht (“Walpurga’s night”). A scene in Goethe’s Faust Part One is called “Walpurgisnacht”, and a scene in Faust Part Two is called “Classical Walpurgisnacht”. The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain is also called “Walpurgisnacht”. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May. (The same kind of festival was held in the British Isles and called Beltane, but the only ones who celebrate Beltane now are neo-pagans.) Today is also the Third Day of the Second Weekend of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. One of the unique aspects of the Festival are the large areas dedicated to cultural and historical practices unique to Louisiana depicting many cultures that exist including Cajun, Los Islenos, and those found in several geographical areas of specific neighborhoods of New Orleans or other parts of Louisiana. Many of the folk demonstrators have been recognized by the National Endowment of the Arts for their work. Today’s headliners include The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Snoop Dogg, Beck, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Wonder.
Last night our #8 ranked LSU Tigers in the second game of their three-game away series with #9 Mississippi won by the score of 6 to 3.
I did my Book Devotional Reading and posted to Facebook that today was Louisiana Statehood Day. On our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and said the Second Day of my Ascension Novena. When we got to the casino Richard sent me to wait in the queue, rather than getting something to eat; he then went to get the Early Out list. I was more than a little annoyed, because this late in the pay period (which ends on Sunday) there is no first-come-first-served – it all goes by hours, with associates with more hours worked thus far in the pay period get out before those who have worked less hours. I barely had time to eat a very quick muffin before the Pre-Shift Meeting. Richard was on Mini Baccarat, and I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and the two Pai Gow tables (one of which closed after my first rotation. I had heard that we were *8 and #9, so I had assumed that we would not be getting out early; to my great surprise, we got out at 6:45 am. We headed home, and once home I went back to bed.
At 11:30 am I woke up again, and set up my medications for next week (I have two medications to call into the Pharmacy on Monday, to pick up on Tuesday after work). I then read the morning paper. Richard went to get some chips, and I headed to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I read the April 25th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. I then played bingo for an hour at the St. Edmund Spring Fair, spending $10.00. I got home a little after 3:00 pm and continued working on my music project. Our #8 ranked LSU Tigers in the third game of their three-game away series with #9 Mississippi lost by the score of 2 to 8; our Tigers will next host Arkansas on Friday at Alex Box. Richard and I left the house at 4:45 pm and ate a very good dinner at Fezzo’s Seafood and Steakhouse in Crowley (next to the Rice Palace). We got home at 6:30 pm, and I worked on my music project until I became too tired. Meanwhile, Richard has been studying the weather reports out of New Orleans; they had to cancel JazzFest today because the venue was under about three or four feet of water. When I finish this Daily Update I will do some reading, then head to bed.
Tomorrow is the Sixth Sunday of Easter (Rogation Sunday) (Alleluia!) the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker, May Day, International Workers Day, and the final day of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for 2016. Whatever happens, I am not heading to New Orleans for JazzFest; Richard still does not know if he will go or not. Since we do not have to go to work tomorrow (or Monday), I will sleep in, and work on my music project tomorrow. From 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or so is Bingo at the Church Fair, and at some point I will go play some more bingo. And I will make some lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday.
As the fires of Walpurgisnacht flare into the night later this Saturday evening, our Parting Quote comes to us from Tom Poston, American actor. Born in 1921 in Columbus, Ohio, he attended Bethany College in West Virginia, but did not graduate. Instead, he joined the United States Army Air Forces in 1941. Accepted to officer candidate school and then graduating from flight training, he served as a pilot in the European Theater in World War II; his aircraft dropped paratroopers for the Normandy invasion. Poston served in North Africa, Italy, France, and England. After his discharge, he began studying acting in New York City. In the 1950s Poston gained recognition as a comedic “Man in the Street” (along with his colleagues Louie Nye, Dayton Allen and Don Knotts) on the Steve Allen Show. For these performances, Poston won the 1959 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Continuing Character) in a Comedy Series. Following that, he appeared frequently on Broadway and as a television game show panelist, including regular appearances on To Tell the Truth and What’s My Line?. While Poston’s film career was limited to quirky comedies (such as William Castle’s Zotz!and The Old Dark House in the 1960s), his television career was expansive, covering the better part of five decades, and saw him contributing his comedic talents in virtually every corner of the medium, from made-for-TV movies to variety shows to situation comedies to talk shows and even to voice-overs for cartoons. Poston was a recurring guest star on The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s. He later played the role of Franklin Delano Bickley on Mork & Mindy. A longtime friend of Bob Newhart, Poston played George Utley, bumbling country handyman of the Stratford Inn, on Newhart and appeared with Newhart in Cold Turkey (1971) as the town drunk, Edgar Stopworth. He was nominated for an Emmy Award three times for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance on Newhart in 1984, 1986, and 1987. He had a third role with Newhart in the short-lived series Bob. Poston also had regular roles on many other television series: Family Matters, Murphy Brown, Home Improvement, Cosby, Malcolm & Eddie, ER, Grace Under Fire, That ’70s Show,Will & Grace, and guest starred in an episode of The Simpsons as the Capital City Goofball. He also played dentist / jeweler Art Hibke on ABC’s Coach, for which he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in 1991. In 2001 Poston married for the third time, to actress Suzanne Pleshette, who had played the wife of Newhart’s character Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. He continued to appear in supporting roles in films, including 2003′s Beethoven’s 5th and two movies released in 2004, Christmas with the Kranks and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, and on several television programs. In 2005 he played the character Clown on the brief-lived NBC series Committed. The band They Might Be Giants mentioned Poston as a writer for the The New York Times in their song “Critic Intro”. In 2005 he guest starred on 8 Simple Rules as Rory’s unlawful friend Jake in the episode “Good Moms Gone Wild”. In 2006 Poston guest-starred on an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody in the episode “Ah! Wilderness” as Merle, which was his final role (died 2007): “In ways I don’t like to admit, I’m a goof-up myself. It’s an essential part of my character.”