“He couldn’t quite explain it, they’d always just gone there…”

Ignatius J. Reilly may not be back at his post, but my spies in New Orleans have alerted me to two Ignatius sightings in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

The first, a letter to the editor, remembers the meeting between Thelma Toole and the recently deceased Tom Snyder:

When that amazing novel was drawing attention from readers all over the world, Mrs. Toole flew with a friend, Joel Fletcher, to New York one morning and flew back that night—like Ignatius Reilly, unwilling to spend more time out of her native city. As Ignatius proclaimed, “Out there is the heart of darkness.”

She bantered and flirted with Snyder, who repeatedly called her “Mrs. O’Toole.” They joked about their Irishness and discussed the novel that had made her son posthumously famous. I’m not sure Snyder, who probably expected to interview some sedate elderly lady, was prepared for the phenomenon that was Thelma Toole on her mission to keep the memory of her son and his work before the public.

The other sighting occurs in this article about the Church of St. Henry, where the church, the pastor, the deacon, and the custodian are all named Henry. Unsurprisingly, this “confederacy of Henrys” is the church that convinced Ignatius to stop attending mass. The parish, the reporter tells us, is “as New Orleans as it gets.”

Can the return of Ignatius to Canal Street be far behind? Stay tuned…

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