Bertha and her pies.

A few weeks ago, I wrote on facebook about walking out my door one morning to find a robe-and-slippers-clad gentleman on the porch a few doors down, typing away on a manual typewriter, coffee at his side.  The day after writing the update, I saw him again.  This time, however, I was not in a hurry.  This time I went back inside, made him some Cool Brew, and walked over.

Michael and I fell into quick conversation for over an hour.  He’s from Chicago, where he works in a bakery that doubles as a skills building and work training program.  He is also a performance artist whose alter, Bertha Mason, makes pies.

We talked about many things, but pies were a central theme.  At one point, he HAD to get the pies he’d made the day before.  Because what is better than pie for breakfast?

I insisted his hosts get first dibs, but later that afternoon, our neighbors brought over a plate stacked high with pie slices.  The kids loved the brownie pie (Will especially).  I loved Michael, his enthusiasm for New Orleans and love of people.  It’s very clear within moments of meeting him that his love of baking came out of his love of connecting to people — he was endearing and friendly and fun.

Meeting him, with his typewriter and pajamas, made for a perfect New Orleans morning.

Bertha is online and if you are in the Chicago area, you could go out and say hello — and eat some pie.  While the Jesus, Music, and Cookies Sunday event is tempting, I would totally go for the Black and Blue Berry Buckle Party at the International Leather Community.