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TulaneLSU
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Member since Dec 2007
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TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Dear Friends,

No one on his deathbed ever looks back and says, “I wish I had been less generous in my life.” When Great Aunt died at the good age of 97 -- I say good because she oddly enough enjoyed listening to B-97 FM and was particularly a fan of Walton and Johnson when they were in New Orleans -- she did so with almost no money in her bank account. Her father had been part of the corrupt corps of New Orleans businessmen who betrayed the poor farmers and oystermen of St. Bernard during the 1927 Flood. Speaking of floods, what a shame there was no public commemoration of the Great May 8 Flood. We celebrated the 25th anniversary a week ago today on the road to Auburn in Uncle’s Lincoln Navigator. Everyone shared their flood story. Perhaps I will share my story with you one day. There has not been a single drop of rain thus far on our trip. It surprises me to read how much rain south Louisiana has received in the last 24 hours.

Aunt’s largesse seemed to come naturally, but I wonder if it was really a largesse tied to guilt. No one in the family really knows how much she inherited, but if her Christmas presents were any indication, it was more than most McMansion subdivisions are worthl. She gave freely and anonymously to many causes. I know anonymously only because once in the late 1990s while looking for my Voltron, I came across a cashier’s check made out to a local arts society to the tune of several hundreds of thousands.

Great Aunt never had any children. In fact, she never married or mentioned any interest in romance. Her life seemed devoted entirely to charity and almsgiving. I can remember one incident walking up St. Charles Avenue a beggar approached her asking for money. Rather than simply give the haggard man folded paper, she invited him to lunch. The nearest restaurant was Houston’s, so we broke bread with this man. If I recall correctly his name was Russ, or maybe it was Jim, James, or John.

As we ate our cheeseburgers, the best burger in New Orleans at that time, as the Magazine Whole Foods had not yet opened and started serving smoked burger samples, Great Aunt clearly wanted to get to know this plan.

“What do you do?” She asked.

The man, whose skin was youthfully taut yet bronzed by day after day of sun exposure, told his story. “I am the youngest of three brothers. My father raised us after our mom died when I was five. Dad ran a contracting firm and when he retired, it was supposed to become The Three Sons Contracting Co.” He became teary-eyed. “My brothers conspired against me and tricked me into signing a contract. They didn’t tell me I was selling my portion for peanuts.”

I was youngish, pretentious, and not yet tactful. I blurted out, “That’s just like Jacob and Esau from Genesis! Esau was really hungry and Jacob had a bowl of lentil soup, like a thick gumbo. Jacob offered his brother the soup for Esau’s birthright. And Esau the moron gave it away for a bowl of soup, just like you did with your peanuts.”

Again, I had not yet mastered the art of socializing. The young man brushed me off and spoke directly to Great Aunt, “So I just need a few hundred dollars to get on my feet again. Get some tools. Start getting some jobs. I know I can get it going again.”

Great Aunt was finishing her only dish, the spinach and artichoke dip with thick polychromic tortilla chips. She quietly signaled for the waitress to bring our check. “I have an idea. Cedric (his name I think is correct, but I am not sure), a dear friend, works at Harry’s Ace Hardware store. Let’s see what he says.” The man seemed disappointed he didn’t get the quick payoff.

After paying, we jumped on the streetcar uptown and got off at Foucher for the short walk. I could tell by the man’s expression he was impressed by Harry’s. Even today it is a stately and strong three story red-bricked building with impressive pediment and raking cornice. The fire escape ladder on the building’s west side was peeling paint, just as a northern European’s skin would after a few days of homelessness in a city whose latitude is at 30 degrees.

Inside the store, Cedric, a man of smiles but few words, gave us a tour. His smile was filled with little stained pellets, much like the ovaries of a pineapple. Although unsightly, his grin was as welcoming as the smell of Mother’s hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night after caroling. “What’re you looking for?”

Great Aunt was brief but polite. “We need to get this young man back on his feet. We need some tools that can get him some work.”

Credric pinched his chin with his sausage-like fingers. His finger paused as his eyes drifted outwardly as though he had just found what he had been seeking. “You know what. We need those stairs power washed. What you thinking about a power washer?”

Russ, Jim, James, or John stepped in, “That is just what I was looking for. My dad was an expert power washer at home. That’s what I want and that’s what I need.”

Cedric then brought him to the aisle with power washers. He pointed at the largest one there. “This here Pressure Pro is the best in the biz.”

Great Aunt was sold and bought it. No sooner did the man open the box and prepare it for cleaning. Cedric has a gas tank in the back and filled it with gas and hooked it up to the store’s water hose. Within minutes the home-challenged man was blasting away years of fading paint, exposing a rather fetching iron works ladder.
This post was edited on 5/15 at 8:03 am


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
11021 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
So impressive was this baptism that Great Aunt invited the man to power wash our Prytania home’s back staircase, a marvelous granite staircase measuring eight perfectly square steps. It was in the mold of some of the Flemish Romanesque staircases popular in the Georgetown section of our nation’s capital. I grabbed a folding chair and watched in the garden as he danced with his water wand. Not since Mickey Mouse in Der Zauberlehrling have I seen such proficiency and elan with a wand. He finished his masterpiece signing his initials by outlining a small area of uncleaned rock. He said you would know his work by this stamp. And he left our lives as quickly as he entered them.

I never found out what happened to the pressure washing man, but I heard he had moved to Alabama. It so happens that right now I am in Alabama, perhaps in search of this long lost dirt cleaning artist. Alabama is a big state, but I am cutting through it quickly. Although Great Aunt is no longer with us, she would have enjoyed this search which thus far has included
TulaneLSU's guide to Goodwater, AL, TulaneLSU's Top 10 signs of Ashland, AL, and TulaneLSU's Top 10 pizzas of Auburn, AL.

Today, I further dive into Auburn, and I do so by searching Auburn’s staircases for this man’s initials. Perhaps I will find those initials and then this man so I can see once again the legacy of Great Aunt’s generosity.

What would this world look like without staircases? The world would be utterly lost. We wouldn’t be able to reach second floors. We wouldn’t be able to easily build easily on hillsides. A world without staircases is a scary thought.

I think Jesus understood just how essential staircases are to the human condition. It is no mistake that Christ, in the opening chapter of the golden Gospel of John, tells Nathanael: “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” Jesus is the great staircase that connects Heaven with this world, the eternal with the finite, the perfect with the imperfect, the saved with the lost, God with humans.

If ever you see a staircase and do not think of the Great Mediator and Conduit who loved us all unto the Cross, you are not seeing clearly. And I love staircases, don’t you? There are so many different types of staircases in this world. Many people may glance at them without noticing, but I know my many dear friends of the OT are lovers of culture and art and appreciate the things that many in this world take for granted.

It was quite a task whittling this list to ten. I found many staircases at Auburn University, and my entire night was spent painstakingly eliminating staircase after staircase from the top ten. I only give thanks that my labors were not complicated by being able to explore the staircases inside the buildings of Auburn, as they were all locked due to the pandemic. This list, my friends, is a work of love; this list is TulaneLSU’s Top 10 staircases of Auburn University:

10. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897744072_c4c04f903f_k.jpg


Built in 2011, this relatively new building isn’t technically an Auburn University building, but it is on Auburn’s campus. Its building is impressive, made all the more by its imposing 30 step staircase. This great height gives any ambulator the sense of moving from the mortal realm to the immortal realm.

9. Harbert College of Business Square

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897433196_c09cd1bff1_k.jpg


No other staircase at Auburn so aptly blends nature with man’s handiwork as this staircase. While the shape is not my favorite and certainly held back its ranking, I admire the beautiful grass used in some of its steps. I have mixed feelings about the credo inscribed in the stone as well. While many of the things “I believe” are consistent with my thought, the school would have done better inscribing the Nicene or Apostles’ Creeds.
This post was edited on 5/15 at 8:03 am


TulaneLSU
TBD Fan
Member since Aug 2003
Member since Dec 2007
11021 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
8. Jordan-Hare Stadium ramps

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49896914378_f969cb14de_k.jpg


While I was unable to venture into the stadium -- I tried -- to determine if there are any stairs on these ramps, I resolved to the conclusion that ramps are a form of stairs. After all, all of our wheelchair bound friends deserve a path. These ramps were built in 1980 when Auburn joined the rest of the SEC in building unsightly upperdecks to the old classic bowl stadiums. And for what? To watch kids play a game. LSU’s old ramps were built in 1978, but were torn down in the late 1990s when new upperdecks replaced the really steep old ones. Auburn’s ramps remain and they have a quiet distinction about them.

7. Aubie Hall

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897432126_17216eabda_k.jpg


As Auburn’s campus grows, new housing is being built on the west side of campus. The Village housing area was complete in 2009 and is quite nice. Its landmark building is Aubie Hall, before which this delightfully large, curved staircase can usher hundreds of walkers each minute. I sat a moment on a bench picturing what the crowds here would look like during normal times.

6. Petrie Hall

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897741947_18362ce2f2_k.jpg


Built in 1939 as the old athletics field house and named after the founder of the football program, this outdoor staircase brings an industrial, World War II touch to campus. It has a similar feel to the old Huey P Long Fieldhouse at LSU. Auburn’s campus has a similar feel and history to LSU’s, and there is much gained by simply walking through these campuses. I plan to do a tour of all the schools of the SEC and perhaps a Top 10 staircases of each.

5. Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897431231_2656ed42bd_k.jpg


This 2019 construction sadly is associated with one of the most poorly named buildings on campus. I assume an engineer christened this cumbersome name. The stairs themselves are modern and fabulously proportioned in a tripartite arrangement, to which this photo does not do justice.I skipped, jumped and walked up and down these stairs probably twenty times, just to get an adequate feel of them. I was left whistling and repeating, “Splendid stairs,” to the one passerby.

4. Auburn Arena

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897740907_f2566d9847_k.jpg


Auburn Arena replaced the old Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in 2010. Rather than go cheap with flooring and stairs, the main entrance is beautifully floored with terrazzo and granite. Terrazzo is one of my favorite types of flooring, used throughout Tulane University. It did not become a popular flooring in our country until the mid-1920s when the Del Turco and Bros. company designed a way to divide the patches of stone with strips. This made the material far more durable, thus more economical. It’s simply a great material on which to walk.

3. Haley Center

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49896911858_1dcdbd3976_k.jpg


The Haley Center was built in 1969 and its outdoor staircases are almost identical to the ones at UNO’s education department’s building. Oddly enough, Haley Center is home to Auburn’s education department. I love these outdoor steps, as they remind me of a platform diving board. I would share the story of my mishap on the tall of tall diving board at the YMCA in Metairie during a youth group function, but to do so would identify me, such was the depth of absurdity, embarrassment, and infamy that incident caused.

2. McCartney Terrace at the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897429576_4f22c0d73b_k.jpg


This 2007 construction calls to mind a Greek amphitheater, which fits quite in line with the American Colonial architecture of the surrounding buildings. I find it interesting that, even in conservative states filled with residents that say they are against big government and politicians, buildings and monuments are named after so-called conservative politicians.

1. Samford Hall

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897739122_fbe4e79d9c_k.jpg


Could there be any other legitimate choice? Tradition matters, and this 1888 building is named for the 31st governor of the state and sits atop the old Methodist university, East Alabama Male College, which burned in 1887. Most consider this the original Auburn University. Although nearly identical to the Mechanical side’s stairs on the northside, I prefer these steps leading into the Agriculture side. Sadly, I never did find the initials of that pressure washer here or on any of Auburn’s staircases.

Friends, keep those eyes open to God’s goodness, which is everywhere. When you find that goodness, you will find a staircase leading to gratitude and generosity.

Faith, Hope, and Love,
TulaneLSU

P.S. Although not on campus, I leave you with some lagniappe, a staircase behind Toomer’s Corner:

Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49896899528_2f360d08c9_k.jpg


This post was edited on 5/15 at 8:28 am


Hermit Crab
Gonzaga Fan
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Nice


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GEAUXT
USA Fan
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Lol


ELVIS U
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Perhaps your weirdest yet


Hangover Haven
LSU Fan
Metry
Member since Oct 2013
14766 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Got to admit, I usually enjoy your top 10’s, but this one is a head scratcher.....
This post was edited on 5/15 at 8:14 am


boomtown143
LSU Fan
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
quote:

Perhaps your weirdest yet


THIS

Pretty boring post....

Try some excitement


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504Voodoo
Arizona Fan
New Orleans
Member since Aug 2012
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
quote:

Got to admit, I usually enjoy your top 10’s, but this one is a head shaker....


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TIGRLEE
LSU Fan
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30165 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
You need a life.


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upgrayedd
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University


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YouAre8Up
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University


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DavidTheGnome
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Well done


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lowspark12
Auburn Fan
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19972 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Nice list... Haley Center should be higher imo


Ingeniero
LSU Fan
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Swap #1 and #2 imo


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rsbd
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Do TulaneLSU’s top ten Facebook friends lol


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70
East Coast Band
Alabama Fan
Member since Nov 2010
43841 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Whatever staircase I need at the moment is a top 10 staircase in my book


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JoeHackett
Iowa State Fan
Member since Aug 2016
1798 posts

re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
quote:

10. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine



Image: https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49897744072_c4c04f903f_k.jpg


Pressure wash those things and they vault up the list imo.


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130
BeachDude022
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
After giving TulaneLSU a ton of hate on here, i was thinking...maybe he’s a good dude. Just maybe lonely, bored, and likes to reminisce about random things. No more hate from me. Weird arse threads, but no more hate.


Cocotheape
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re: TulaneLSU's Top 10 staircases of Auburn University
Good arse post


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