“You going for the burger, the freeze or the show?” our cab driver asked us we jumped in his ride at Lee Circle and requested passage to Camellia Grill in Uptown New Orleans.
The answer, of course: all three.
Part of that show was the aggressively happy and charming Marvin Day. The 3o-plus-year veteran of the historic diner never met a stranger. He died Wednesday morning at the age of 50, NOLA.com reported.
Day was one of the greatest service industry workers I’ve ever met. Part hype-man, part waiter, he cajoled you into ordering a freeze (a frozen specialty, orange or chocolate) at Camellia, chided his co-workers and always gave you some dap, whether it was in approval of the way you put away your burger or for no good reason at all. Day called the dap, almost always accompanied my his trademark exclamation of “word,” a “positive energy exchange.”
What does this have to do with Austin? Nothing. But my most recent trip to New Orleans was the first time I got to share in Day’s positive energy, and I am very sorry it will be my last. Day emanated the kind of spirit that made New Orleans, and the rest of the world, a better place. I know he’ll be missed by his co-workers, which included his junior high classmate Leon Martin, and every customer who ever entered the restaurant on Carrolton Avenue.