Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz!

There are a few genuine Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz deerstalkers left over for collectors.
Click here and take a look.

It started almost as a joke! Your Classic Specialties' host and hostess (Joel and Carolyn Senter) were sitting at a table with the legendary Don Izban when Don posed the question, "What do you suppose would happen if we had a gathering of Sherlockians, who were also Jazz fans, held it in New Orleans, and called it something like, 'Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz?!'' We said, "Don't be ridiculous, Don, nobody would come all the way to New Orleans for a Sherlockian affair!" "Bet they will, " said Don. The next thing we knew, The illustrious Izban had advertised the affair in his Sherlockians by Invitation Only Society (SBIOS) award winning newsletter. We called Don and said, "Oh, we see that you are going to try the SHAATJ gathering in New Orleans?" Sez he, "No, YOU are." Sure enough, upon examination of his announcement in the SBIOS newsletter, we find that he had given our address as the place to write and register for the affair! Since no one (well, almost no one) ever says "no" to Don Izban, we had to get off our duffs and hustle to try to make this thing come true - and it was a hustle - but well worth it! Through the joint efforts of your hosts and that marvelous Chicago travel agent, John (Black Jack) Moore (for e-mail, please click his name) we began to pull this thing together!

So, after many letters, phone calls, and e-mails, the following intrepid Sherlockians cast their respective lots with us:

Aldo and Marian DiBenedetto
Martha DalSanto
Ross and June Kinnee
Maryjane Kunnath
Gayle and Al Simnick
Nancy Wrobel
Don Izban
Susan Diamond and Allan Devitt
Isabel Egar
Tony Cetera
Ed and Bobbie Letwenko
Katherine and John Klein
Gordon Shriver
and, of course, yours truly
Carolyn and Joel Senter

Many of our good Sherlockian friends from Greenville, SC; New York, Indianapolis, and Nashville, to name a few, couldn't come and were missed as much as they missed a good time - maybe next year!

The Venue

Through the influence of that great travel agent, John Moore, we were able to procure a block of rooms at The French Quarter's famous Le Richelieu hotel (1234 Chartres St, 70116), so we designated this stately old hotel as "the convention hotel" for SHAATJ.

Welcome, all!
A most inviting lobby!
The pool in the courtyard! Even if you don't swim, this is a great place to have a cool one, enjoy the flowers, and just bask in the layed-back New Orleans atmosphere. Le Richelieu serves breakfast, lunch and light dinners in this courtyard and the adjoining verandah.


The first formal gathering of the Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz attendees was a wine and cheese social hosted by Carolyn and Joel. Le Richelieu was kind enough to allow us to hold our "social hour" in the Paul McCartney suite overlooking Chartres St. Yes, Paul McCartney actually lived in this suite for two months! Here we began the first (annual?) meeting of SHAATJ on March 8, 2002

Ed and Bobbie Letwenko arrive through the door of the McCartney suite for wine and cheese!
Left to right: John Klein, Katherine Klein, Gord Shriver - all from Atlanta - awaiting the issuance of their custom SHAATJ deerstalkers.
Left to right back row: Aldo DiBenedetto, Allan Devitt: front row- Don Izban, Tony Cetera
All attendees at SHAATJ were invited to write a toast to Mr. Holmes's violin. Here Isaabel Egar reads her toast to the assembled wine and cheesers. Carolyn supervises; Joel supports the wall.
Clockwise: Gayle Simnick (back toward camera), Maryjane Kunnath, Isabel Egar, Bobbie Letwenko, Nancy Wrobel, Susan Diamond

Left to right: Gayle Simnick, June Kinnee, Maryjane Kunnath,
Isabel Egar


The winner of the "toast to Holmes's violin" toast contest was Gayle Simnick

To the Stradivarius

The violin that Holmes would own
Had passed through many a hand
'Til settling in Tottenham Court
At a pawnshop not far from the Strand.

The old pawnbroker who kept the store
Knew the value of what he had
But something deep inside him said
"Someone special needs this Strad!"

The shopkeeper had not a clue
Who he was saving it for
But believed he'd know instinctively
When he came into his store.

Then one day that special one
Appeared at his front door
For 55 shillings he sold the Strad
To a man he'd never met before.

Holmes thought he got a bargain
Bragged about it many a time
But the old pawn broker felt in his heart
That Holmes was one of a kind.

To soothe his ruffled spirits
And provide his soul digression
Thus the Stradivarius
Came into Holmes's possession.

Gayle Simnick

This toast, along with those of the other entrants were published in issue 1, vol. 1 of "The Basin Street Journal" distributed to the SHAATJers at the wine and cheese gathering. Included in that seminal publication was also a marvelous essay by Carl Heifetz entitled "The Case of the Jewish Pawnbroker or How Sherlock Holmes Got His Violin" reprinted by permission of the author. (Click here to read Carl's essay)


After socializing and enjoying a bit of wine and cheese, the group set out on the short walk (special facilities were provided for those having mobility difficulties) along charming Decatur Street, past the statue of Joan d' Arc, and the Jackson Brewing Company, to the landing on the Mississippi where New Orleans's only steamboat was docked. Passage for SHAATJ had been booked aboard the Natchez for a jazz cruise and elegant buffet!
Carolyn passes jazz cruise tickets to the SHAATJers.
The Atlanta delegation on the banks of the mighty, muddy Mississippi.
Don Izban, Nancy Wrobel, Susan Diamond, and Allan Devitt sport their SHAATJ deerstalkers while waiting on the levee to disembark. (photo courtesy of Gord Shriver)
SHAATJers queue up on the riverbank.
Everyone poses for their official Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz group picture beside the riverboat Natchez. (photo courtesy of Martha DalSanto)
On board at last! After the tasty buffet dinner Don Izban, Tony Cetera, and Nancy Wrobel enjoy the music of . . .
Don Izban can never resist getting up to dance when he hears Dixieland music! Susan Diamond and Bobbie Letwenko look on in amazement!

The final "official" gathering of Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz was held at Arnaud's exceptional restaurant on d'Iberville near Bourbon Street. Here we had arranged for the "Jazzers" to order from the special Table d'Hote menu which included:

Choice of
Shrimp Arnaud
Mushrooms Veronique
New Orleans Gumbo
Turtle Soup

Followed by
Asssorted fresh greens with choice of dressing

Then choice of:
Shrimp Creole
Speckled Trout Amandine
Breast ot Chicken Rochambeau
Petit Filet Lafitte

For dessert, pick one:
Carmel Custard
Strawberries Arnaud
Chocolate Devastation

(All preceeded and/or followed by one's choice of a la carte adult beverages!!)


Carolyn chats with Katherine and John Klein of Atlanta's Confederates of Wisteria Lodge while awaiting dinner at Arnaud's
Our tables are ready and the SHAATJers assemble to order. Great anticipation is exhibited by Don Izban (with deerstalker), Joel and Carolyn Senter.
Chicago's Ed and Bobbie Letwenko seem to be enjoying the ambiance, company, and great food at Arnaud's (Photo by Gord Shriver)
Music by Arnaud's Jazz Trio!!
(L to R) Al Simnick, Martha DalSanto, Arnaud's Jazz Trio, Don Izban
Your host and hostess partake of a little refreshment after an evening of jazz, dining, and good Sherlockian fellowship.




Although the last "official" gathering of the 2002 Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz Society was the jazz dinner at Arnaud's, some of the attendees who didn't have to run for their planes, continued to enjoy the delights of The Crescent City. Sunday morning found a few "die hards" gathered for a really delightful jazz brunch at The Commander's Palace. Pictured above (start at 9 O'clock going clockwise) Carolyn Senter, Joel Senter, Don Izban, Nancy Wrobel, Tony Cetera, Marian DiBenedetto, and Aldo DiBenedetto.


And, Finally


Had we known about this place before the fact, it would certainly have been on the itinerary of SHAATJ! On Sunday evening three of those reluctant to leave The Big Easy (Carolyn, Joel, and Tony Cetera) wandered, quite by accident, into a delightful little jazz restaurant and bistro on Decatur Street called "The Palm Court." Left above, The Palm Court Jazz Band (some of the personnel of this band are also performers at Preservation Hall); a truly fine musical aggregation for the Dixieland buff! Right above, Joel Senter pretending to be in "the second line" as the Palm Court Jazz Band holds forth (umbrellas furnished by the establishment!).


Everyone who attended "Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz" reported having a great time and volunteered that they would happily attend another such event (one SHAATJer said, "Just give me the date so I can put it on my calendar!")

Tentative plans for a 2003 Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz are underway. If you feel that you would be interested in joining other Sherlockian Jazz Fans in such an endeavor, we do invite you to e-mail us.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!



Added attraction
Spot a Sherlockium

Since the introduction of the game, Spot a Sherlockium
(more info? click here) it is difficult for us to go anywhere without noticing various stimuli in the environment that have Sherlockian associations. Above left: the proprietor of this establishment could have deliberately welcomed our Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz group to New Orleans. Above right: the name "Violet" has a number of Canonical associations. How many Canonical "Violets" can you name? Both of these signs were spotted on Decatur Street.


And on the way home, more Sherlockia


What Sherlockian could possibly pass up a town called "Wiggins" even in Mississippi?
Antique shops are usually great places to Spot-A-Sherlockium. Here is one such spot, called "Serendipity" in downtown section of the thriving metropolis of Wiggins, MS.
Among the Sherlockia to be found at "Serendipity" was this antique RCA Victor ("His Master's Voice") "gramophone." Do you recall which Canonical yarn contains a reference to a "gramophone?"
In addition to a "gramophone" and other assorted Sherlockia, much to our surprise this antique shop also in the little town of Wiggins MS featured a real-life delicatessen! The sign outside announced the special of the day - a New Orleans style muffuletta (a sort of hoagy with really tasty olive relish).

The personnel of "The Deli at Serendipity" (the real name of the place) Left to right: Karen Wallsmith (owner and operator), Miranda Colvin, and Denyelle Jones. They
will be happy to whip you up a real corn beef sandwich
,a chili dog, or a New York Reuben, if you wish (all these
are on the menu).. None will not be served with grits!!
(unless you ask for them).

And who can take leave without paying respects to a water tower with the very Canonical "Wiggins" inscribed thereupon?

Thank you for your kind attention!
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!

Now, how about Sherlock Holmes and all that Jazz - II! Go with us as we begin our search! Click the arrow!