Ash Wednesday Blues

Years ago and long before the Catechism was published, while I was a struggling artist living in Mid-City New Orleans, my buddy and housemate Paul Heimann and I got frustrated over the dearth of Mardi Gras songs which celebrated the fact that Mardi Gras actually ends. The party stops.

So we wrote this one and copyrighted it.

Here is a picture of me taken by the Times Picayune while I was at OLL, long after my ultimate conversion and ordination

Me, a few years ago at Ash Weds. in OLL

This song was written a lifetime ago.

But we still love it.


vs. 1

Can’t you tell, I’m crying inside,
Can’t you see the tears in my eyes?
My pockets are all empty, my clothes are all torn,
I’m tattered from yesterday’s Mardi Gras storm. (chorus)

vs. 2

C’mon Mr. Trashman, sweep me away.
All reason for life, died yesterday.
Got no place to go, got nothing to do,
Since I said good b’ye to that last
Mardi Gras Krewe.

Ashes to Ashes, dust to dust,
Got to do what I know I must
Got to lie down and take a snooze
Before I wake up to those
Ash Wednesday Blues.


Everyone’s packed up
and left downtown
No one left
to boogie on down *
What am I
to do? …

vs. 3

Oh well, I’ll just pick myself up.
Dust myself off and grab a cup.
Cause I know next year’s comin’ around.
I’m going back to that
Mardi Gras town.


*so written in the 80’s, but a great song!

More Simple Sober Living

This is a strange viral video going around: an auto-tuned Charlie Sheen remix. It’s odd, it’s strange, a little painful to think of his situation. At the same time, the song’s actually pretty catchy.

Poor Charlie. He should take the Pope’s advice to lead a more sober life

Although it “does not exempt from the hard struggle for a dignified life”, it should lead to an existence based on “a simpler and more sober lifestyle, the hard work of every day and respect for creation, which God put into our care”.

Where to Go to Mass in New Orleans?

Because people continually ask this, and because I typed up a long response to an e-mail the other day, here, for some future Googler’s delight, is a brief synopsis of the three Catholic Churches close to the main hotels and action down in the CBD and the French Quarter.

There are three places down in that area, all of which are great for Mass.

Immaculate Conception Church

“Jesuit on Baronne”, as we say here (it’s actually Immaculate Conception Church), can be found on Baronne Street, and also has a home on the web.

They are (obviously) Jesuit, and across from the Roosevelt, which is a great place to grab coffee or brunch after Mass. The Mass is ordinary form. The preaching is more often than not, wonderful. I only add ‘more often than not’ as it might be an off day when you go and .. you know how it goes… You’ll be blaming me for the rest of your life! The current Pastor is a friend I grew up with, Fr. Stephen Sauer and is a great Priest. They have a vibrant outreach to the community in regard to the Church’s teachings on helping the poor.

Through a fluke in timing I’ve been able to help out here recently with their music needs, playing piano and organ. The Steinway is a work of art, and the organ is a lovely late model Pheonix. It’s been a sheer pleasure.

St. Patrick’s Church

Closer to the river is St. Patrick’s, which I love and go to from time to time when I am able (which is obviously not often.)

St. Patrick's at Christmas
The Church is located on Camp Street.

The Mass is more traditional as it is celebrated ad orientem. The extraordinary form is celebrated twice on weekends, with Eucharistic Adoration also on Sunday afternoons. The Pastor is one of my favorite seminary professors, and a wonderful Priest, Fr. Stan Klores. You’ll usually see him walking around in a cassock prior to Mass if he is not the Priest saying the Mass.

Some of my friends cherish the 9:30am Extraordinary Form High Mass ~~~ others cherish the 5:30pm vigil which has no music and which is pretty quick. Something for everyone.

Also impressive is the St. Patrick’s You Tube Channel, which offers a glimpse into liturgical life there…

And last but never least, they have a spectacular new organ, Opus 53 of Patrick Murphy. organ

Can you tell I was an organist prior to ordination?

The Cathedral

St. Louis CathedralThen of course, there’s The Cathedral Basillica of St. Louis, King of France. (We say that all the time.) I love going when I can because it’s down on Jackson Square, and is the iconic symbol of New Orleans. The Archbishop says Mass on Sundays at 11, the vigil is usually (lately) said by Fr. William Maestri, who gives a good Homily.

There is an internist position for the organist, whereby a spectacular organ student from Paris comes to play Masses and give recitals on the recently restored organ, which was newly installed a year before Katrina and then had a few years of recovery and tlc after wind driven rains poured over it and the plaster above it for hours.

It’s always a bit alway exciting if you like organ music, and if the organist is playing.Cathedral OrganThey are right down on Jackson Square, you can’t miss it.

There are some other notable Churches in the area, but are farther away walks. One is Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is home to the National Shrine of St. Jude. I’m not as familiar with it as I should be, though I have visited several times, it is just outside the French Quarter.

I hope this helps you enjoy your trip to New Orleans a bit more. If you have any question, or if you want to take me to Galatoire’s while you’re here, feel free to e-mail me!

Pax Christi,
Fr. KA

The Rev. Kenneth Allen