Vickie is a waitress at Ralph’s-on-the-Park. I know I’m supposed to say she’s a server but she’ll always be a waitress to me. Our mailman is a woman but I still call her the mailman. She doesn’t seem to mind. Vickie doesn’t seem to mind if I refer to her profession as waiting tables or that I use the feminine form of her job title. No one would ever mistake Vickie for a man. She is more than a waitress, of course, but when she puts on that apron, she is a waitress par excellence. That apron may as well be a cape.
This can be said of all the waitstaff at Ralph’s-on-the-Park, on the floor or behind the bar, even Brandon. They are all heroes in the hospitality trade.
If you ever find yourself in New Orleans and you find yourself at Ralph’s-on-the-Park, you’ll know when you’ve got Vickie as your server. When Vickie talks, people listen.
I’ve never seen Vickie angry. I don’t want to. I’ve seen her harried and overworked during busy brunch shifts but I’ve never seen her lose her poise. Vickie can take a tray overloaded with bottomless mimosas and navigate a crowded dining room like a smart bomb, delivering her cargo right on target every time.
Vickie doesn’t speak unless she has something to say. She has a way of speaking that captures attention. She speaks with a confident voice, a solid voice, a voice of conviction. Vickie isn’t one to mince words. If Vickie is shy, she keeps that inside. When Vickie talks, people listen. Vickie has the voice of an angel.
New Orleans is a city of colorful characters. Your humble narrator is Exhibit A, of course:
New Orleans is a city of hospitality and personality, of which Ralph’s-on-the-Park is a part. So is La Belle Esplanade. People come from all over the world to be a part of New Orleans. They come from far, far, far away. They find their niche and they become a integral parts of New Orleans.
Vickie is from New Jersey. She has the accent to prove it, buster. She has the voice of an angel.
Can someone from New Jersey be pure New Orleans? Yes, they can. I’m a Connecticut Yankee in New Orleans. If a person can walk the walk and talk the talk, that’s the proof that they are real New Orleans. Pride. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Hello, Vickie.
If you happen to meet Vickie, tell her she has the voice of an angel. I always tell her so. If you tell her, she’ll know you read this essay.
A tip of my fedora to Vickie! It is always my pleasure to talk with her for a few minutes on a slow afternoon.
The following photo doesn’t have anything to do with the subject of this essay. It’s a snapshot of the floor in part of Ralph’s-on-the-Park. I doubt Vickie has ever seen this pattern, unless they have the same tile work on the ladies’ room floor as they do in the men’s. I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t expect Vickie to know, either.
-Have a great New Orleans day today, wherever you may happen to be!
–La Belle Esplanade.
Saturday, September 1, 2018: Guess where I went for lunch today. If you guessed Ralph’s-on-the-Park, you’re right. I had the opportunity to talk with Vickie, who has the voice of an angel. She gave me permission to tell you about her here. Again, a tip of my fedora to Vickie. She is a ray of sunshine in this beautiful city we call home.