Friday, May 02, 2008

Smartie the Crawfish and Ruth's Chris CEO Meet Demises

Last night, Clio IV found Smartie the Crawfish. Smartie was dead and drying out (you can see the faded parts of his drying shell in the photo at right). The smell was only evident when you were right next to the crawfish. Smartie met his demise in the front corner of the living room, obscured by the bottom of a curtain. He seems to have just frozen in place, sort of like the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." No amount of oil could revive Smartie, though. (Not that we tried that.) Smartie is now fertilizing the azaleas in the front garden--circle of life and all that.

On a related note about foul-smelling endings, Seymour D. Fair has alerted me to the following. From the Orlando Sentinel, we learn of another demise. After tearing Ruth's Chris Steakhouse from the community that nurtured and grew it, after abandoning a city still recovering bodies from its streets and homes, after setting up shop in a new city far removed from the community that gave Ruth's Chris its distinctive feel, after watching the company's stock absolutely tank under his reptilian "leadership," after changing the name of the company,

Mr. Craig Miller was summarily dismissed from his position as chairman and CEO of Ruth's Chris.

He is "shocked." He says he believes he was dismissed "without cause."

When Mr. Miller cut and run from a city in need, a friend of mine (who lives in Atlanta now) tried to defend the move, saying that something like that becomes necessary in business sometimes. Sentiment should not dictate business, he said.

I argued that the kind of person who would do that clearly does not have what it takes to succeed in business over the long (or even medium) term. Success in business requires real vision, reasonable risk tolerance, and a knowledge of your own institution. Success as a person requires knowing who you are, knowing what's right and wrong, connecting who you are with what's right, and understanding the interconnectedness of people and communities.

Mr. Miller didn't show an understanding of the things I delineate in the last paragraph. He has done terrible damage both to New Orleans and to his own company.

I honestly hope that he learned something from this process and that he can bring those lessons to his next job.

The good news for us Orleanians is that we are resilient as can be imagined, and we have moved on and grown stronger. A sample of the dining experience at Crescent City Steakhouse--just a few blocks from the abandoned birthplace of Ruth's Chris--is all the evidence one needs.

The company Mr. Miller leaves behind is but a shell of what he was charged with. Perhaps new leadership will see the error of his ways and return Ruth's Chris's name and HQ to New Orleans. We welcomed PJ's back. I'm sure we would do the same with Ruth's Chris.

World class cities are resilient and forgiving.

P.S. Thanks to Seymour D. Fair for his encouragement. From what I hear, we can all look forward to a return of Mr. Fair and his gang to the blogging world soon.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Clio!

6 million dollar man said...

Happy Birthday!

Logan said...

Happy Birthday!

BJ said...

Happy Birthday!

Fall Guy said...

happy birthday

it's a death defying life we lead

Walker Percy said...

Happy Birthday, sir.

Patrick Stewart said...

Happieth Birthithday

Sheryl Crow said...


I just saw you last week.

You didn't tell me.

Happy Birthday.

That guy who was ALWAYS welding said...

Happy Birthday.

berto said...


I am gonna get to 42 comments if it kills me to remember the quirkiest peeps.

saintseester said...

42? 42? You are a youngster, then. Geez. Why can't somebody I know be older than me?

Happy birthday, anyway. Drink something cold and hard to celebrate.

Tim said...

Crescent City Steaks always was a cut better than Ruth's IMHO, but I still loved the place. Now I would not eat there if you paid for my meal and my bar tab for a week.

You are right about people who always "play it safe" in business. They're called losers.



celcus said...

Happy Birthday!

And how about a round of FYYFF for Mr. Miller and a toast to Karma.