Randy Adams, Contemplating Mardi Gras

Scott Simon checks back in with New Orleans native Randy Adams, whose life has changed dramatically since Hurricane Katrina swamped the city. They talk about Adams' plans to mark Mardi Gras.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Over the last six months we've had the pleasure of meeting and keeping in touch with Randy Adams. We first met Andy at a Red Roof in Memphis, Tennessee, where he sought refuge following Hurricane Katrina. When last we spoke, just before Christmas, Randy had returned to New Orleans, but his marriage had floundered. Randy's wife had left him. Randy Adams joins us now from New Orleans. Randy, thanks for being with us.

Mr. RANDY ADAMS (New Orleans): You're welcome. It's always a pleasure

SIMON: And I understand you're a family again. Your wife has returned?

Mr. ADAMS: Yes, sir. She called at the end of January, shortly after her birthday, and said she had made a terrible mistake and desperately wanted to come home; and I also desperately wanted her home. My whole life for the last few years is based on forgiveness. I opened my heart to forgive her, take her back and restart our life again.

SIMON: It became any of our business just because, of course, we've been talking to you to get some idea of what life has been like through Katrina and the recovery. And the fact is, what you and your family went through put a strain on your relationship and that marriage, which I dare say a lot of good marriages would have had the problems that you did.

Mr. ADAMS: Oh, no doubt. Other folks have gone through probably far worse. When you lose everything, your house, your job, your friends, I didn't lose my job, it was still here. My friends were still around. She lost all of her friends, her job. You lose your self-worth. You don't know where to turn. And instead of turning inward to each other, we both turned and ran the other way, and it was a terrible mistake.

SIMON: Randy, it's Mardi Gras time.

Mr. ADAMS: Yes, it is. We're going to go do it this weekend. We're going to get out and let it hang out a little bit and forget about life for a couple of days.

SIMON: What are you going to do?

Mr. ADAMS: We're going to go to downtown New Orleans over the weekend. And Mardi Gras day we have festivities on the West Bank, the area of town where we live, and just do what we normally do at Mardi Gras. I cook probably 40, 50 pounds of meat, set up the barbecue and the grill and seafood boiler.

SIMON: Are you going to Baccus(ph) and Ademian(ph)? Baccus and Ademian are the big parades on Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. ADAMS: That is correct. I know Mardi Gras is supposed to be the greatest free show on earth. But we've never sat in the grandstand downtown. Work has been real good to me, so I have a couple of extra dollars, and I told her we're going to see if we can get tickets to go sit in the grandstand and do it like the big-timers do it. And we also have a big one now on Monday, Orpheus(ph). The founder, Harry Connick, Jr., has escalated to now it is also a major league big time event.

SIMON: Do you have a King cake?

Mr. ADAMS: Not yet. But she's going to get a King cake today. We talked about that this morning.

SIMON: Oh, that's great. This is a cake they got little things hidden in them, right?

Mr. ADAMS: One little thing; it's a baby. Originally, the baby was a bean, and it symbolized the person who got it good luck and fortune. Somehow it evolved into now you got to buy the next King cake.

SIMON: Randy, I think a lot of people are hoping when you cut into that King cake you get the baby.

Mr. ADAMS: It would be nice. But to be honest with you, Scott, I have everything I need now. I was only missing one thing in my life; it's back. My life is back to whole. Now it's slowly but surely putting all the material pieces back together.

SIMON: Do you know how much you mean to our listeners?

Mr. ADAMS: Apparently, I'm becoming to realize, because I have somewhat of a fan club now. I have a P.O. Box now so folks can send correspondence. And some folks from across the country have sent donations, and I want to thank all of them. And just everybody, even the folks that just call up and say, Yey, you know, you're a strong guy, man; hang in there. You know, we're supporting you, we're with you.

SIMON: Randy, wonderful talking to you. Take care. Happy Mardi Gras. Stay in touch.

Mr. ADAMS: Yes, sir. You know I will, Scott.

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