Every Key West evening is good. Some are just better. Last night was one of the better ones.

The early evening was at Joy Gallery. The Jack Baron exhibit. Over 50 paintings. Several mine.

The gallery was packed when I arrived. Owner/curator Jim Wallace and his wife Theresa. It was the first time Theresa and I met. She was aware of me initially from the devastating operation I underwent in Key West about nine years ago. I lost 25 per cent of my colon needlessly. She had recently undergone some sort of stomach surgery with the same doctor. A disaster also from her perspective.

Some of my friends were in the crowd. Tom and Kathy from Connecticut. Larry and Christine with England’s John and Ali. I was honored Christine attended. She is a for real artist. Her works are selling well. Whereas, I did not paint. I merely collected.

People were taking pictures of me with their spouses or alone in front of some of the Baron’s. I met Ed Krane for the first time. He took pictures of me with Jim and Theresa Wallace. Ed was at one time with the same TV station I had been. We had interesting war stories to share.

I ended up explaining certain of my Baron acquisitions and how they came to be. Everyone  had an interest in Jack Baron.

Jim Wallace did an excellent job showing Baron’s paintings and bringing out the crowd he did last night.

My next stop was the Chart Room. No one I knew. A bunch of younger guys whooping it up. I had one drink and left.

Last night would have been Emily’s night to work. She is in Lexington for the Kentucky Derby later today. She has attended many. She is originally from the area. She told me before she left that she was making the hat she will wear herself.

Larry let me know as he left Joy Gallery that they were heading over to the Key West Pub. A new place. Across the street from La Te Da. In my 26 years in Key West, I have seen several businesses come and go in the building. They all start with a bang. Hard to survive, however. The rent! The last tenant was paying $14,000 a month. You have to sell a lot of booze to cover that nut!

Perhaps this place may make it. I hope they do The inside is different. Multi colored walls and bright lights.

The Pub was jam packed. Fortunately, there was an empty seat at Larry’s table. The booze was flowing. Food was free. Huge sliders. Everyone spoke well of the sliders.

I was impressed with the greeting crew. There were two men standing on the sidewalk outside the entrance. One said hello Louis. The other…..Key West Lou. I do not recall having met either before.

Met Sean the manager inside. A hug and big kiss on the cheek. He was kissing everyone. As I was leaving, the owner came up and introduced himself. Stephen Pointer. Garbed in a sharp tuxedo. He is from England. I wished him well. Time will tell. The fact that La Te Da is across the street does not hurt. People tend to enjoy both. They will move from one bar to the other several times a night.

Then it was across the street to La Te Da. There was new owner Christopher standing in the entrance. Christopher is the former owner of Antonia’s. You will recall I stopped going to Antonia’s several years ago. It had nothing to do directly with Christopher. It was, if you will excuse the vernacular,  his asshole manager at the time. Christopher gave me a big hug.

It had been several years since I was at La Te Da, also. No reason. Just stopped going.

I ate at the outside bar. I have been a customer at La Te Da off and on for 25 years. Tonto has always been the outdoor bartender during that time. Love Tonto and her partner. Old friends, we generally meet in Publix while grocery shopping.

Twenty five years ago and ten years ago, I always enjoyed La Te Da’s lacquered duck. I enjoyed it again last night. Wow! Outstanding!

After dinner, I grabbed a snifter of Grand Marnier and walk into the inside bar. Sassy no longer bartending. He was a mainstay. A Key West icon. Casey is the new bartender. A lovely. She said Sassy now lives somewhere in Pennsylvania.

I was hoping to catch Debra and Patrick. Regulars at La Te Da for more than 20 years. They were away for the weekend. Instead the Spectrelles were entertaining. If I recall correctly, they used to appear in the Utica area at the Turning Stone casino. Absolutely outstanding. I stayed at the bar listening to them longer than I had intended. The three ladies wore wigs. The bouffant style of the late 1950s and 1960s.

Randy Roberts was at the other end of the bar. We nodded hello to each other. He is a female impersonator at La Te Da. He has been performing there more than 20 years. It must have been his night off. He was dressed casually. He looked amazing! Younger than when I first met him years ago.

Today, the Kentucky Derby. I have not paid attention this year. Have no idea who is running. I will watch the race at Don’s Place. The ladies will all be wearing bonnets of sorts.

Sorry this blog is a bit long. It was a long evening, however. Filled with all kind of good happenings.

Enjoy your day!



Party time last night. At the home of Larry and Christine Smith. A good time was had by all. Larry and Christine know how to throw a party.

The event seemed to have had a three fold purpose. To welcome our friends John and Ali back from England. They are in Key West for a one month vacation. To celebrate Mary Deasy’s 39th birthday. To welcome Larry’s high school classmates from up north. They are here enjoying Key West, also.

A pizza and salad party! All kinds of pizza! I pigged out. I normally do not partake of pizza. In addition, Mary’s birthday cake. Oh, so good! Chocolate throughout!

As I parked my car to go into Larry’s, I heard…..hello Louis. It was Jackie Lefferts, my doctor. Walking her dog. I went across the street to kiss her and let the dog sniff me. He was a big guy. I wanted to be sure we would be friends. The Doctor mentioned how her husband Michael enjoyed my book The World Upside Down. She gave an autographed copy to Michael for his birthday. Her comment made me feel good.

Would you believe…..bocce tomorrow afternoon  at 4. A make up game. It will be boiling hot! I am not looking forward to the game.

Shirrel Rhoades is my publisher.  Shirrel had a terrific video and tale in yesterday’s Facebook. The video was the first film ever shot in Key West. It was 1898. It was of the burial of sailors killed when the Battleship Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor.

The film was a bit rough. Probably because filming was relatively new at the time. It showed the burial procession, the sailors accompanying the caskets which were on horse drawn wagons, family and friends following in procession.

Why was/is the film such a big deal? Besides the occasion, it was the person who did the filming. Thomas Edison. The man himself. Filming the occasion on the streets of Key West.

Yesterday marked the anniversary of Chernobyl. The Russian nuclear reactor which ruptured and spread radioactive material over much of Europe. The disaster occurred on April 26, 1986.

Illnesses and deformities occurred for many years thereafter. Cancers and deformities especially in new born infants.

Roughly ten years ago, a young mother brought her child to see me in my Utica offices. Her baby daughter was ten months old. She had been born with one arm missing from just above the elbow.

The story was that her prospective husband lived about 15 miles north of Chernobyl at the time of the radioactive spill. They did not marry till about 15 years after. The daughter was their first child.

She visited me with the child. The husband would not come. The husband was of the opinion his wife was at fault. She wondered if Chernobyl had anything to do with it. She told me her doctor said responsibility lie with her husband.

I knew nothing about radiation deformities. I did my homework, communicated with the doctor, and decided I needed more help. The case was out of my class. I contacted lawyers and barristers who had handled Chernobyl cases. They were in London and Rome. I also communicated with a medical college physician in Rome who was considered an expert in these cases.

Turned out the husband was probably the cause. The radiation affected males so that the semen they would make was contaminated in some fashion. The semen could result in a deformed child.

The case was sad. I could not put it together. Even with the help of the London and Rome professionals. It was too late and questionable because of the time factor.

The ten month old baby was lovely. Cute and bubbly.

I do not know how the child has fared since. I have the feeling well. We all make do with what we have. We accept that which life has foisted upon us.

I feel bad to this day that I could not help.

Enjoy your day!





The dinner party I attended last night was one of the best. I have gone to many. This one turned out to be special. From the people to the food to the conversations.

Larry and Christine Smith were the hosts. The party at their lovely home. About 20 people. Christine dressed in season attire. A red dress and Santa cap. A  great hostess. The martini glasses were chilled. I was impressed.

There was one more hostess. Kathleen Peace. Kathleen is visiting and staying for a few days with Larry and Christine. Kathleen did the cooking. Everything tasty. Especially the best chicken I ever tasted which turned out not to be chicken. It was pork! At that point, I only had had one drink.

Kathleen prepared a special sauce. It would have made steak taste like chicken! She cooked the roast seven hours.

I was back at the buffet table for my second helping of the “chicken.” Kathleen was nearby. I told her the best chicken ever! What chicken, she asked. I pointed. She laughed. It’s pork!

John and Ali are visiting Key West once again. They come every year at this time for one month. They reside in Leeds, England. Great people.

Larry is getting along well. He can stand. He can walk with a cane. He is driving. Still in pain on occasion.

There came a time when there was only Larry, Don, and I sitting outside by the pool. Don and I had overstayed our welcome. Everyone else had left. The three of us were having a fun conversation. A lot of Roger Bell talk. I knew I should have left earlier when Kathleen came out of the kitchen and announced she was going to bed.

The party conflicted with the Christmas Boat Parade. I made the wise choice. As good  as the boat parade generally is, the party was much better.

I babysit today at noon. Lisa is going Christmas shopping for Robert and Ally. Gifts from Santa Claus. They still believe.

I never made it to the turtle event yesterday. A once very sick turtle now healthy was being returned to its natural habitat. The Atlantic. I did find out the turtle’s name. Hunter. The Turtle Hospital people want Hunter to go forth and make baby turtles. For real. It is the season.

Enjoy your Sunday!



Every Sunday at 9, Larry Smith presents his Sunday Showcase. I attended last night. To enjoy my friend Ray Sigismondi’s electric guitar playing.

I arrived an hour early. The Wine galley was already filling up. Fortunately, I was able to grab a table near the wall.

Ray was the featured entertainer. Backing him were the lovely Kathleen Peace and Christine Cordone. Two of the best female voices in Key West. Larry at the piano, of course.

The program was Rock and Roll. The entire show.

To say the performance was outstanding, does not do it credit. It was several levels above. Best may be the proper adjective. Best of the best more correct.

Attendance was overwhelming. Extra tables had to be set out on the deck for those who could not get inside. Ray and the ladies periodically went outside and worked through the crowd.

Picture the scene. Rock and roll. Loud and blaring. From another generation. Guests from that generation whooping it up. Men and women alike. Waving their arms over their heads, jumping up. Some dancing in the crowded aisles inside and out. Faces smiling. Eyes bright with excitement.

This was their night.

Larry, you did yourself proud!

Before the show began, a lovely woman came up to me and asked if I was Key West Lou. Her name was Faye. She lives in Melbourne. She is a loyal reader of this blog.

I was thrilled to meet her.

I kept my eye on Faye. She had a very good time!

She was sitting with friends at a table nearby. Her body moving to the music when the show began. Then her eyes wide. Bright and shining. Her lips mouthing the words. Soon she was standing in an open space. The Wine galley was very crowded. She was dancing in place to the music. The radiant smile continuously on her face.

Whether seated or standing, Faye’s body never stopped moving. This was her music from her time. She was enjoying every note.

As were the other guests. Everyone moving in one fashion or another. Even me. Though not as much as most. My conservative self being difficult to override.

I caught Ali from England dancing. She was out on the deck dancing with another lady as the Rolling Stone ensemble was performed. Her husband John inside. Waving his arms over his head. Periodically jumping up from his seat.

Many friends in attendance. Larry’s friends, also. Amongst others, Pati, Aaron and Karen, Tom and Nancy, Mary Deasy, and Key West’s Southernmost Shrink Doc Covan. The good doctor having been so introduced by Larry.

A lady sitting near me leaned over during the show and whispered…..I think larry is very sexy! I  never saw him in that light. Whatever. Sexy Larry was born last night. He will be so referred to from this point forward.

Larry, my friend, I could not resist.

Permit a digression. Tomorrow night is my blog talk radio show. Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. Please join me at 9. I promise a fun filled informative half hour. www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!



There are two constants in life. Change and death.

I am concerned today with change. Change to Key West’s beloved Pier House.

The Pier House has  been sold. $90 million. Big money for a special place. Official takeover by the new owner is scheduled for monday. Based on some strange faces at the Chart Room and Wine Galley last night, I suspect some of the new people have already arrived and are evaluating the operation from both a staffing and continuation aspect.

There is a concern among many that the Chart Room may be closed. Gossip is it will become a tee shirt/sun tan lotion shop. If there is any validity to the rumor, it is sad. I doubt that is the case, however. Hotel operators have to know a good thing when they see it. That is their business. The Chart Room works.

Then there is the Wine Galley. Bobby Nesbitt put it on the map many years ago. Larry Smith took it to a new level.

No one knows what is going to happen to the Wine Galley.

I was at the Chart Room and Wine Galley last night. Everyone appeared happy. I question the outward appearance, however. There was a sadness intermingled with the laughs. The unanswered question in everyone’s mind at both places. Is this the end of the Chart Room? Of the Wine Galley? Regarding staff, who will be retained and who will be let go.

An awkward feeling.

I love the Chart Room! I am there at least five evenings a week at cocktail time. My seat at the bar has become a note taking place for me. I write about the people I meet on the back of coasters.

I meet new people from everywhere. World wide. I mention some in my blog. The Chart Room is mentioned almost daily.

As a result, a number of people stop in to meet Key West Lou. They know it is my hangout. JJ, Emily and Mary will sometimes telephone me to make me aware that someone from Idaho or where ever is in and looking for Key West Lou. Tourists come up and ask if I am Key West Lou.  All read this blog religiously and know that the Chart Room is the place to find me.

I have thought on occasion I might be responsible for 5-10 per cent of the business that goes through the Chart Room. Could be.

Ghosts from the past can be felt. The Chart Room has been open and basically never remodeled for 45 years. Jimmy Buffett new to town playing his guitar in the corner for coins. The group who first made the Chart Room their special place each day. Most are now gone. However, a bit of their ashes rest in the bar rail.

Last night, Chart Room regulars such as Peter, Jean and Joe Thornton, Sean and Virginia, Dave, and Stephanie were there getting a last fix of their favorite spot.

I consider the Chart Room the cross roads of America. At one time or another, most people stop in.

The Wine Galley. Great music every evening. Larry Smith responsible. He entertains. He brings in guests to join him in entertaining. Customers walk up to the mike and sing along with Larry. Everyone has a good time.

The boss of the Chart Room is Kathleen Peace. The Food and Beverage Director of the Pier House. A lady. Lovely. Personable. Tough in doing her job. Does it well.

Kathleen also sings. A magnificent voice! Booming! I sometimes think the walls of the Wine Galley are going to blow out when she hits the high notes.

Kathleen was at the Wine Galley last night. I was the happy recipient of a hug and kiss.

The Wine Galley had a good number of people last night. I had the feeling some were there to taste one last time the flavor of Larry and the room. Fearful that it might not be there next week.

John and Ali were in from England. They used to visit for a month once a year. Now it is two times a year. Good for them! John and Ali can be found most evenings when in Key West at the Wine Galley.

Larry’s mother Helen was in attendance. Eighty six. Her husband/Larry’s father passed on several weeks ago. Helen has come to Key West to live with Larry and Christine.

Speaking of Christine, she too is entitled to credit for the success of the Wine Galley. She and Larry have been married for years. Christine is a school teacher by day. An entertainer by night. Paints professionally on weekends. A full plate! Many evenings she joins Larry in singing.  A special voice belonging to a special person!

Steve and Midge are regulars. Love them both! Last night Midge brought Vic over to me. Vic Kim. I finally found some one older than me that enjoys being out on the town.

The reason Midge brought us together is that we both graduated from Manhattan College. Vic was one year ahead of me. I enjoyed meeting him.

We reminisced a bit. We both knew my class mates John Martin and Otto Obermier. Both served as U.S. Attorneys for Manhattan. Martin went on to become a federal judge. Otto one of New York City’s outstanding attorneys.

It was a nice trip back in time with Vic.

Mary Deasy was in attendance also. Mary sings. Sang a few years back also. She was not that good back when. Larry took her under his wing, as he  has so many others, and developed Mary into the great voice she is today.

Ray was sitting with John, Ali, Christine, and others. I have not seen Ray in a while. He has become an excellent entertainer also. Plays the electric guitar. Has all the moves.

Steve was bartending and waiting tables, as usual. A nice guy. A good guy. A terrific worker. Most evenings, he handles the bar and tables all alone. He does the job of two people. Always on his game, he is the best!

This is sort of a good bye to what will now be referred to as the old Pier House. A new owner means now staff. Changers will be made. Again, I hope the the Chart Room and  Wine Galley are left alone. Together with the fine people staffing both rooms.

That which is perfect cannot be made better.

Enjoy your Sunday!