Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans

by Jerry Strahan

Book cover for Managing Ignatius: The Lunacy of Lucky Dogs and Life in New Orleans

In the 1960s John Kennedy Toole wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces, which details the uproarious misadventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, an overweight genius misfit. Though he has visions of grandeur, Ignatius winds up selling wienies for Paradise Vendors, Inc. (the fictional equivalent of Lucky Dogs), in New Orleans' famed French Quarter. Lest you think that the outlandish world of Ignatius was only a figment of Toole's vivid imagination, in Managing Ignatius Jerry E. Strahan relates his amusing - and bemusing - experiences working for more than two decades with the audacious characters who compose the actual stable of Lucky Dog vendors. Strahan weaves delectable vignettes of the Vieux Carre demimonde in whose midst he makes a living - a group blending panhandlers, prostitutes, pimps, con artists, schizophrenics, drifters, jazz musicians, strippers, bikers, and transvestites. Over the years they've all worked for Lucky Dogs, truly an equal opportunity employer. They often drink too much, party too long, and work too little. In managing these eccentrics, Strahan serves variously as peacemaker, negotiator, marriage counselor, detective, father figure, and banker. Sometimes all in the same day. He tells all their stories with a gently ironic realism, revealing his peculiar managerial challenges with keen appreciation for the human condition. Like Ignatius, he understands how fickle Fortuna can be.

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