Sunday, December 31, 2006
2. For five nights a week, I will go to bed before 11 and wake up before 6.
3. I will resume my bagpipes training and be able to play a teary-eyed song for New Year's Eve.
4. I will do whatever it takes to ensure that my job contributes directly to the New Orleans Renaissance. If I can't make my current job do that, I will get a new one.
5. I will submit something for publication in a significant outlet.
6. I will repair and improve Lee de Fleur's outfit.
7. I will complete the sheetrock work that I've been supposed to do ever since we finally got our new roof.
8. I will line up concrete dates and plans for a Clio family trip to Scotland and Ireland in 2007 or 2008.
9. I will get my financial affairs in better order, and I will buy Dr. Mrs. Clio something lovely and gold.
10. I will work hard with all my kids--but especially Clio II--on school, music, and art.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
2. I predict that on Sunday Jamaal Branch will become the third Saints running back this season to have a 100 yard game, and he'll do it in 2 and a half quarters of play.
3. I like that Humid Haney posted 10 New Year's resolutions on his blog. I resolve to do the same today or tomorrow.
4. Mr. and Mrs. Berto and Lil Hap (my godchild) invited me to the Crescent City Steakhouse on Thursday. I didn't want to break anybody's heart, so I didn't snap pix of the exquisite food--I had the New York Strip--but here are a couple of pix. (We were there when it opened; by the time we left, the dining room had filled about halfway. Also, you can see Hap's forehead and tops of his eyes.) I've posted a pic of their current hours of operation (which do include both lunch and dinner, contrary to my prior post) for your convenience. I hope many LSU and Notre Dame fans go there to enjoy the beef.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
We who love New Orleans have been given a wonderful gift over the past year or so: a concrete ability to imagine what our own lives and the lives of our nation and world would be like without our city. Like few others, we know what it is to imagine our city simply gone. We know how bad off we, the nation, and the world would be without this city.
With Christmas thanks and apologies to this website, I offer the following ham-fisted allegory:
Like George Bailey, let's use that sense of loss and restoration to inspire us every day. Merry Christmas!* * *
CLARENCE'S VOICE: You sent for me, sir?
FRANKLIN'S VOICE: Yes, Clarence. A city down on earth needs our help.
CLARENCE'S VOICE: Splendid! Is it sick?
FRANKLIN'S VOICE: No, worse. It's discouraged. At exactly ten-forty-five p.m. tonight, Earth time, people in that city will be thinking seriously of throwing away God'sgreatest gift.
CLARENCE'S VOICE: Oh, dear, dear! Its civic life! They're all going to move away! To Houston and Atlanta! Then I've only got an hour to dress. What are they wearing now?
* * *
FRANKLIN'S VOICE: What's that book you've got there?
CLARENCE'S VOICE: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
FRANKLIN'S VOICE: Oh, of coures, the book by that writer who was inspired by his time on the Mississippi and in New Orleans. Clarence, you do a good job with New Orleans, and you'll get your wings.
CLARENCE'S VOICE: Oh, thank you, sir. Thank you.
* * *
BOYS (ad lib): Come on, Harry! Attaboy, Harry!
MEDIUM SHOT –– Harry takes a last drag on a joint, then gets in his used Camaro. His friends are holding stopwatches as they watch Harry try to break a speed record late at night on an icy boulevard in suburban Chicago. Three blocks into his run, he crashes into a light post.
CLOSE SHOT –– George.
GEORGE: I'm coming, Harry!
MEDIUM SHOT –– George runs to the car and grabs Harry. As he starts to pull him out he yells:
GEORGE: We're taking this boy to New Orleans, gang! We've got to get him out of this empy living! MEDIUM SHOT–– The young men boarding a plane for New Orleans at O'Hare Airport.
VOICE: George saved his brother's life that day. But at the Thoth parade, he caught a bad cold which infected his left ear. Cost him his hearing in that ear. It was weeks before he could return to his job at old man Gower's drugstore.
* * *
CLOSE SHOT –– a tombstone. Upon it is engraved a name, Harry Bailey. Feverishly George scrapes awaythe snow covering the rest of the inscription,and we read:IN MEMORY OF OUR BELOVED SON –– HARRY BAILEY –– 1960-1977.
CLOSE SHOT –– George and Clarence.
CLARENCE: Your brother, Harry Bailey, overdosed on heroin, so distraught he was over his empy life in the Midwest.
GEORGE: That's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war in Iraq! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport.
CLARENCE (sadly): Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them because New Orleans wasn't there to save Harry when you took him for Mardi Gras and reminded him of how sweet life could be.
And that transport? It never existed. The American military was never the same after the D-Day failure in World War II. Andrew Jackson Higgins and the city of New Orleans weren't around to invent the Higgins boats used at Normandy. Thousands of American soldiers died needlessly that day, and the War dragged on for two more years. America was a second-rate power for the rest of the century.
You see, George, you really had a wonderful life. Don't you see what a mistake it would be to throw New Orleans away?
Friday, December 22, 2006
1. Louisiana's population shrunk by 5 percent in a year. Andy Kopplin summed up the bad news in a suitable way:
That second statement is telling. We need FDR-style courage and solutions, and we have Warren Harding as president. We need a leader, and we have George W. Bush, a guy who'd get fired as a night manager at Time Saver.
This is the first time we've seen a statewide look at the displacement in Louisiana versus out-of-state. The magnitude of the damage in Louisiana is not comparable to anything we have ever seen, anywhere.
A Census bureau demographer added: You have to go back to the '40s to find percentage or numerical loss of that magnitude for any state.
Update: I'm not smart enough to know how to take the comment from "Anonymous," but I have no gripe with Andy Kopplin in this post. I'm complaining about our pound-foolish president.
2. The flooding yesterday was troubling. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I really don't think we're getting the whole truth on the state of our drainage "system." I don't trust the people charged with fixing and maintaining it. Anybody wanna argue with me on that point?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
We have been hosed badly by all three of them over the past 16 months.
And we are still a World Class City. And we are still NFC South Division Champions.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
We're supposed to accept that.
Now, this weekend we learn that white suburban Jefferson Parish residents are central to the reelection of a petty thief congressman with $90,000 in his freezer. In response, Americans get all high and mighty and say things like "New Orleans [sic] will never change" and "They don't deserve rebuilding."
And we in New Orleans are supposed to beat our breasts and feel guilty?
Ain't gonna happen.
By the way, it was beautiful tonight to watch us BEAT DOWN America's Team.
I heard some sideline reporter ask Drew Brees if the Saints are now America's Team.
I don't want to be America's Team. Let 'em have the Cowboys. And Applebee's.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
2. To respond to anyone who gets all high and mighty about silly old, corrupt New Orleans doing the same old, same old, I quote those noted Alabamian political philosophers Lynyrd Skynyrd (comparing George Wallace with Richard Nixon):
In Birmingham they love the governor.
Now we all did what we could do.
Now Watergate does not bother me.
Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth.
In Orleans Parish, we all (well, most of us) did what we could do.
How do you, America, feel about the looters in the White House who are running our country right now?
Google Maps is really cool, but they need to update dramatically the satellite views of our region. They've still got the la-la land photos of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
I want the World to see what we look like now--the FEMA trailers in yards, the parts of town that have little activity, the post-apocalyptic scenes in Mississippi. Show 'em the truth, Google.
Somehow I think New Yorkers would be screaming if Google Maps was still showing the Twin Towers. This is a (perhaps unintended) insult to us, just as it would be an insult to New Yorkers.
While they're at it, how about before/after views? How about really closeup shots of what Donald Powell says will be "the finest levee system in the world"? Ha.
My point is, We Are Not Okay.
And Google should help us get that message out.
Friday, December 08, 2006
The interior of the place would make for great filming, and I'm happy there's activity there. But we need steak. Soon.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
A few months ago, I sat on a flight from Miami to New Orleans with the program manager in charge of BellSouth's rebuild. According to him, the BellSouth wireline network is being rebuilt at state of the art fiber nodes instead of trying to fix the ruined copper.
Of course, the muni-wifi network that Nagin/Meffert deployed after the storm was also a savvy move.
On the whole, the FCC regulated telecom industry is doing its part to provide universal access to the rebuilding and this is to be commended.
Further, I heard today that Leap Wireless (which operates under the Cricket brand) is going to build a pcs network in New Orleans this year and launch soon after.
For all the headwinds at this point, New Orleans is decidedly more 3G than Third World and getting better everyday.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Excellent, though I'm not giving up on that empire.
Mr. Schmidt is one of my favorite New Orleans artists. At his gallery, as discussed in Gambit this week, he is showing recent work that centers on the Fairgrounds.
Mr. Schmidt is also a key member of the New Leviathan Foxtrot Orchestra, a fine local ensemble.
Friday, December 01, 2006
By my calculations, Coach Nolan was in college when his dad was coaching Our New Orleans Saints. Still, I post this familiar tune in his honor.
The smothered okra with shrimp plate.
The featured entree (the okra and shrimp) comes with two huge, perfectly fried-to-order filets of catfish.
And potato salad.
And a large square of cornbread.
All of the above was perfect and piping hot.
For seven dollars.
The styrofoam plate barely could hold the weight of the food.
I love my city.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Posting this because it amuses me. For my job, I need to be able to drive one of my employer's large vans tomorrow to take some out-of-towners on a devastation and recovery tour. I filled out the paperwork and faxed it to the appropriate office. Within minutes, an email appeared in my box saying that I had to take an online course in van safety. The questions in the two tests I had to take were amusing, to say the least. Anyway, I got a certificate!!! I can drive!!! I can drive!!! (I replace my name with my blog name.)
Sunday, November 26, 2006
That was a nice catch at the end of the first half.
Also, kudos to Dick Stockton of Fox Sports, who said during the Saints-Falcons game today that New Orleans was well on its way to its rightful place as a "world-class city." Mr. Stockton has been reading his Mr. Clio / Mr. Melpomene.
UPDATE: The Atlanta newspaper reports that the Georgia Dome was half-full at kickoff. A huge metropolitan area, with a team sporting Michael Vick, allegedly one of the great athletes of our era--and they can't get more than 40,000 people to watch their team with a winning record take on the division-leading Saints (with superstars like Drew Brees, Deuce, and Reggie Bush)?
And don't tell me all the Atlanteans were at art galleries, bookstores, and libraries. No, they were at Applebee's; or sitting at home frozen in front of video games and um-teenth reruns of Adam Sandler movies; or at the mall buying power washers so they can maintain the PVC on their houses.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Friday, November 24, 2006
New Orleans is a food mecca, but two areas of dining where we need help are in barbecue and Mexican food. The barbecue scene here is improving somewhat. In Mexican cuisine, we still cannot match south Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, or California. However, Taqueria Corona is one place of which we can be proud.
The original location on Magazine Street is the one the Clios frequent. It has many charms, not least of which is the fact that the phone number remains unlisted. Since the storm, the place is cleaner than ever. The bathrooms (well, I should say "bathroom," since I'm only familiar with the one for hombres) are recently renovated as well.
One thing that the renovation didn't change was the, um, elevated nature of the toilet in the men's bathroom. The urinal is at ground level. However, if you are a man and you need to have a seat, you must climb in order to do so. That puts your knees at about eye-level for anyone who might walk in, so I highly recommend locking the door.
Anyway, this is an odd post, but the picture seems appropriate to post on the day after we all spent a lot of time eating and drinking.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
A friend from work is losing his childcare provider, who is retiring. He prefers to stay away from the traditional daycare center for now. If you know of anybody who can help him with this, please comment below and let me know.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Then Mrs. Dr. and I ran off to see Borat, which is so funny I believe it can cause injury and death. Anyway, before the film, we got in line directly behind a member of the New Orleans Saints football club. We didn't bother him, but I note that he was extremely kind to everyone who approached him to speak. I believe our sighting of him is a good omen for today's game against the Bengals; he's going to have a big game. I'll not reveal his name for now, but here's a pic of the back of his head:
2. I really enjoyed Jeffrey's deconstruction of the who dey / who dat distinction. His work on that, plus the Saints' quick run to 6 wins, has led me to forgive him for his surly attitude about the Saints.
3. I harbor worries about the Saints' defense now, in the same way I harbor worries about aspects of our resurrection in New Orleans. All it takes, though, is a big day to revive my spirits; perhaps the defense will step up today. Also, perhaps the LRA will manage to get out more than 28 checks to people by Thanksgiving.
4. This story about new Congressperson Carol Shea-Porter is truly extraordinary. She is from New Hampshire, but she volunteered here after Katrina and the levee failures. Now she considers herself to be a "voluntary eighth member" of the Louisiana delegation. This person GETS IT. She understands that the failures here are national failures, and that what happened here is an indication that the federal government and the MBA administration of President Bush are woefully unprepared to perform the bare minimum functions that we expect of government. I am grateful for Representative Carol Shea-Porter.
5. I found this YouTube video. A guy apparently spent Katrina in the parking garage of Beau Rivage. Whoa. Also, I want our Mississippi brothers and sisters to know that they are earning and truly deserve a World Class recovery. The national media haven't given them enough attention, and I can assure them that it's not because we don't want them to have attention. They deserve all the spotlight that they can get.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Carson Palmer, Bengals' QB, on the Saints in today's T-P:
"They don't have a ton of superstars, other than Reggie Bush, really."
I'm a Bush fan, but based on performance so far, he's not even in the top 3 players on the Saints (Brees, Deuce, and Colston are clearly ahead of him). The point here isn't to down Bush. The point is that we've got a lot of good players (add Fujita, J. Brown, Horn), coached well. And Mr. Palmer will find that out the hard way on Sunday.
Transferred to the realm of eating, Palmer's ignorant statement is like saying (Richman-style) about New Orleans: "They don't have a ton of good cuisine, other than blackened redfish, really."
Reggie Bush and blackened redfish are both good, but there's a lot more going on here in their respective realms.
I will enjoy the view from the Terrace of Will Smith and Charles Grant taking care of Mr. Palmer this Sunday. (Too bad Mr. Smith and Mr. Grant won't be able to treat Mr. Richman the same way.)
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Well, they stepped up today, and the news makes me angry. Really angry.
Like, Al-Qaeda angry.
(UPDATE: I'm close to going Chinese on this issue.)
The Army Exquisite Corpse is doing it on the cheap again. They aren't armoring the levees.
Here's what Robert Bea says:
"But if it was my world and I didn't have much money, I'd get out there with Visqueen and start nailing the damn stuff down [in order to armor the levees]. That pile of dirt won't do what you want unless you protect it. We need to secure what we've got, and it's irresponsible not to."
The article indicates a situation that reeks not of a lack of leadership, but of stinking, self-serving leadership. Bush and his minions are leading, alright. They're leading people to pay attention to gay marriage and xenophobic immigration-related fears and other irrelevancies.
Once again, we are reminded of Morris's Law:
We ignore at our own peril the fact that the terrorists blew up the levees.
The terrorists bombed the levees, and we need to mobilize all of our courage and know-how in order to secure our levees. Placing levee protection, wetlands restoration, and anti global warming measures anywhere but the at the top of the agenda only gives aid and support to the terrorists. If you don't support levee protection, then the terrorists have won.
Here's what one of the ACOE guys has to say:
"We want to make the best use of our money." Everybody wants to do that. I think implied in that statement are the words "limited and inadequate" inserted in front of "money."
The people at levees.org continue to be on top of this. We need to stay educated and support them. Please join their group here.
UPDATE TWO: In honor of Oystah's excellent post, I offer this:
The gay illegal immigrants and gay terrorists blew up the levees!!! The gay illegal immigrants and gay terrorists blew up the levees!!! The gay illegal immigrants and gay terrorists blew up the levees!!!
Remember, here's what the Dutch have:
We have this:
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Save us the time we'll spend watching your avoid-the-real-issue advertisements. Save us the time we'l spend going to the polls to run you out of your ego-stroking, pocket-filling job in Washington, D.C.
Representative William Jefferson, remember Edwin Edwards in 1987! Retire. Withdraw. Cease. Desist.
Join my campaign. Go here to ask Mr. Jefferson to withdraw. (They've set it up in a pretty tricky way. You may actually have to put in an address in his district in order to contact him.)
Here's what I wrote:
Mr. Jefferson, this is a critical time for our city, state, and region.
I am asking you to do the honorable thing and withdraw from the runoff election.
I am not asking you to do this because of the current investigation regarding your dealings with a high-tech company. I am asking you to do this because you have had enough time in your position.
Is our city better off as the result of your service? I do not believe that it is.
You are an intelligent, talented person, and I believe your talents would serve you and the community well in private industry. I encourage you to pursue that route.
Please save yourself and your backers a lot of money. Please save me and others the time we will spend watching your commercials and going to the polls to ensure that you do not return to Washington, D.C.
Quitting is not often an attractive option, but in this case you would be doing the right thing for yourself and the community. Please allow others to put their money to better use in a struggling region.
Sincerely, Mr. Clio (I put my real name in the message)
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Exhibit A: This is from LaGuardia Airport in New York. It's surreal that Delta is showing off "new nonstop service to New Orleans" from LaGuardia.
These are two cities that have been around awhile, no? We all know that the sluggish response of the airlines is choking off the recovery of our convention and tourist business. I hope to see many more signs like this from other airlines soon. I do know that my flights in and out of NOLA to New York were absolutely packed to the gills. P.S. Sure wish Mr. Melpomene would ruminate more about the establishment of a new, big-time airport here. That was one of his best posts. I'm going to re-read it today. I think Mr. Mel needs to be the marketing director or tech guy or something for that new airport when it opens.
Exhibit B: The perils of rubber-stamp national marketing campaigns. I took this next one at Home Depot at Elmwood.
This sign (placed above the entrance) gave me a snide grin followed immediately by near-tears in my eyes. "Home Improvement Week" in metro New Orleans in 2006? Don't these idiots understand that every week is Home Improvement Week here? Actually, not Home Improvement Week. More like Home Construction Week.
Oh, well not for everybody, as today's Times-Picayune points out. So far, 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) homeowners have received Road Home money to fix their homes. President Bush likes to tout all the rebuilding money that's been sent here (allegedly $7.5 billion). However, he and his minions have dithered and postured about ethics (ha!) to the extent that it takes FOREVER for anyone actually to access the money. This is nothing short of a national scandal. I'm going to send emails to my friends about this today. Disgusting. I hope everyone remembers this cynical incompetence when they go to the polls on Tuesday.
I don't want to hear people blame this on locals, either. This is FEDERAL incompetence, covered up by presidential posturing about "We need a plan" and "The money had better not be spend in a corrupt way." How much did this boob send to Iraqi reconstruction with neither a plan nor any concern for corruption? Here's what Paul Krugman (paid access) had to say a couple of days ago:
The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there’s no more money in the pipeline. . .
major contractors believed, correctly, that their political connections insulated them from accountability. Halliburton and other companies with huge Iraq contracts were basically in the same position as Donald Rumsfeld: they were so closely identified with President Bush and, especially, Vice President Cheney that firing or even disciplining them would have been seen as an admission of personal failure on the part of top elected officials.
We've got to beg and prove moral perfection for $7.5 billion from our own government. Meanwhile, $21 billion for reconstruction has already gone to Iraq. What do they have to show? What do we?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
In support of Ashley's post on things overheard this weekend at the Dome, I post the above picture.
Please note the beverage that this well-known fast food mascot is consuming. I can confirm that he did indeed flip off a denizen of the Dome Terrace who told him, "I'm going to Wendy's!!"
Please note the excessive number of empty seats in the Club Level of the Dome. This was at a point in the game when the Saints could've easily come back. As Berto writes, people who use tickets that their company or brother-in-law gave them tend not to stay long.
Possibly my favorite moment of the game that didn't involve Michael Lewis came at halftime. The Saints were down 28-7 and had just given up a cheap touchdown. The negative boobirds made a weak attempt at their old trick of booing them off the field. The cheers quickly came and drowned them out.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thanks to U2, Green Day, the Skids, and the computer guys who help us imagine a better world.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Even President Bush, in his speech at Jackson Square (don't EVER forget the promises he made there) said that one can't imagine America without New Orleans.
So here's a little experiment.
Green Day's song, "When September Ends."
Listen to the original version, with Rhapsody or iTunes or whatever.
Then listen to this version (also, see the YouTube clip below), from the Dome, which includes a little New Orleans brass (if you can call Rebirth and Trombone Shorty "little") backing up Green Day. Then tell me which one is better.
The first one's a nice song. The second one (which admittedly includes the Edge's great guitar) is THE FREAKIN' DEAL. Whatever it is that those brass players, and the crowd, add to the performance--that's what we bring to America.
"Everybody loves (them), and deservedly so," Billick said. "You go in and beat them, you might as well go and beat up Mother Teresa. You know, 'You scums, what are you doing here?'"
Can Mother Teresa do this?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
. . . and the waste places shall be rebuilt. The land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, "This land that was so desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined towns are now inhabited and fortified." Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places . . ..
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Well the topic of my visit was my recurring symptoms of PKSD, which most recently manifested itself in a series of nightmares triggered from watching Tom Hanks in Castaway and the news of the grisly murder/dismemberment in New Orleans.
I don't know if there is a common thread between the two, other than being over the horizon of civilization, but both hit me at a low moment.
The article today about the Hall murder is on target, it could have been just a horrible drug/alcohol/post Iraq story without the hurricane and debacle afterwards, but it is not, and it never will be.
When the fabric is ripped asunder, the frayed edges are exposed.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
When New Orleanians move elsewhere and commit crimes, critics elsewhere ascribe it to the crime problem in New Orleans.
When people from elsewhere (in the case above, Los Angeles) move to New Orleans and commit crimes, critics elsewhere ascribe it to the crime problem in New Orleans.
If I were Sheriff Jack Strain, I'd start getting all self-righteous about how we're not going to let Californians come here and hack up women, because that's just not the way we do things in New Orleans. And I'd say that if you're driving a car with California plates, you can rest assured you will be pulled over and questioned.
Or if I were a certain city council woman from Houston, I'd start getting all uppity and talking about how New Orleans is a "workin' town," and we don't have time to hack up women.
But I'm not Sheriff Jack, and I'm not a certain city council woman from Houston, and New Orleans isn't St. Tammany or Houston. Those are fine places, but we don't want to be them.
New Orleans is a World Class City. We're horrified by barbaric behavior, but we're not going to start casting aspersions on entire populations of people because of the unspeakably evil behavior of one deeply disturbed man.
New Orleans is not a country club. We'll take anybody who wants to join our groove in peace and dignity.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
When your team wins, the sky is bluer, the trees are greener, the birds are always singing, you eat better, sleep better, your beer tastes better and your spouse looks like Angelina Jolie. Or Brad Pitt.
UPDATE for Ashley:
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday night, Drew Brees, speaking from Emeril's, is talking about what is happening in New Orleans. The crowd at the bar rose to give Brees and some mates an ovation, then the crowd in the entire place stood.
"I can't tell you how happy I am, we all are, to be helping this city in some small way,'' Brees said. "To be here right now, it's ... it's unimaginable. We even had some Eagles fans come up to us and congratulate us. One of them said to me: 'We hate losing, but we couldn't have been beaten by a better team, in a better city.' That made me proud.''
What a half hour. What a day.
He talks about a regional approach. I don't believe him. Or at least I don't think we'd agree on what a regional approach would look like.
Sheriff Strain doesn't understand that he's the sheriff of a civil parish. He thinks he's the membership director of a country club.
I'm doing a little writing project for my job, and in the course of it I stumbled into info about the Hurricane of 1901 that hit New Orleans and southeast Louisiana. It breached levees in the city and inundated St. Bernard and Plaquemines.
Here's a map of the track, which looks awfully familiar.
Those people, our ancestors, fought their way through that one. They didn't have bulldozers, air conditioning, Microsoft Excel. We can do this.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I read in National Geographic yesterday that there were 9 billion chickens harvested (?) in the United States last year, along with 250 million turkeys.
That's a lot of birds.
Imagine if they organized. There would be roughly 30 chickens and one turkey for each man, woman, and child in the United States. I guess the turkey would be the leader of each little bad-ass flock.
I'm not sure if I could take on 30 chickens alone, and I'm sure my youngest children couldn't.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
On the other hand, when people from places like Slidell or Houston come to the New Orleans area and commit horrible crimes (please, check those links--are those horrible enough for ya?), it's still considered part of New Orleans's "crime problem." The stories get limited coverage (so little, in fact, that it's difficult to find good links to them via Google). As New Orleanians, it seems that we're just supposed to tolerate this stuff as one of the costs of living in the Big Easy, and then we're supposed to beat ourselves up about what a rotten, corrupt, ineffective place we live in.
I'm not buying any of the garbage, but neither am I going to become one of THEM.
THEM [sic] are the kind of people who see their cities as country clubs. Only THEIR kind of people need apply. In response to problems with post-levee failure New Orleans exiles, a Houston city council member said: "'That's what the Houston mentality is, this is a working town.'" The implication is that we New Orleanians are not. THEM ascribe problems to oustiders, non-THEMs.
I refuse to respond to the hypocrisy demonstrated in the first two paragraphs above by responding in kind, by whining about those horrible outsiders who on occasion do terrible things in my city. What makes a city a city is that it welcomes outsiders.
Can you imagine a truly world class municipality playing us-and-them games? That's why some people in St. Tammany have some work to do.
NOTE: Don't even think about accusing me of playing us-and-them games with this post. It's not hypocritical or inconsistent to call out us-and-them people precisely for their intolerance.
SECOND NOTE: Nor is this post a defense of New Orleanians who go elsewhere and do terrible things. If they do something wrong, arrest their asses and throw da book at 'em. Trust me: I wish only the worst for peope who commit crimes here, too.
Friday, October 06, 2006
1. I was in Kinko's on Tchoupitoulas yesterday. I saw the following:
A. A college-age African-American woman wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd T-shirt (complete with the Confederate flag in the background).
B. A well-dressed, older Caucasian woman who rolled her Winn-Dixie basket full of groceries right into the middle of Kinko's to take care of her business there.
2. We are having trouble getting Clio II to go to school (he's in ninth grade). So today, (up early and unable to sleep), in hopes of providing an incentive for Clio II to get up, I took the 10-minute drive to the Quarter to pick up some beignets. On the way back, I flipped the radio to FM 100.3, the Cajun station. There were Cajun ladies reciting the Rosary in French at 5:45 a.m.
3. For a long time after our return to the city last October, New Orleans felt very small and very unpopulated. It doesn't feel that way anymore. There is no longer a near guarantee that I'll see someone I know at a public event or store. I don't know everything that's going on in town. I don't live under the illusion that I understand everybody here. That feels really good. Even if all our people aren't back yet, the city has the feel of a large, complex, unpredictable landscape. The city feels so much bigger than my mental landscape.
4. Morgus is back. On his myspace site, he offers the following apology, which is a classic:
At any rate I must apologize for any inconvenience that may have been caused you by last summer's unusual weather. Just between you and me, I'm afraid that Chopsley and I may have been partially responsible. You see, in mid-August last year, I was working very hard on a new invention, ingeniously designed to repel Hurricanes from the Gulf Coast. Thus repelled, the offending Hurricanes would instead rush off to Latin America or the Carribbean, leaving me free to work on my experiments uninterrupted.
The only flaw in my otherwise brilliant design for the "Hurricane - Repello- Matic 3000" was in creating two settings for the machine: One for Repel, the other for Attract. During the first test of my device on August 28th 2005, Chopsley set the dial on Attract and the rest as they say (ahem) is history.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Perhaps it's a reaction to my lunch with a guy in Chicago on Monday, at which he suggested that much of New Orleans be plowed under and turned into a park. As a professional, I did not react violently. Now I wish I had.
P. S. I'm not worthy to appear in a Suspect Device cartoon, but I did. Here. (click on "the usual spot.") With the cartoon's appearance in Gambit on Sunday, I started getting calls. What a kick!
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
See Gentilly and Lakeview,H/T to Oyster for the Georgia Lawyer link.
Crescent City right in front of you,
Birds singing in broken trees,
Coming home to New Orleans.
Lower Ninth will rise again
Above the waters of Lake Pontchartrain
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth,
After the flood, our colors came out.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Anyway, here are some things I learned:
- A bloody mary at Fat Harry’s is a good thing.
- If you wear a large foam rubber fleur-de-lis costume while biking down St. Charles Avenue toward downtown New Orleans, more than half of the people driving nearby will honk, wave, smile, and say “Go Saints!”
- Bloggers like Ashley, Oystah, Saintseester, Big Shot, Humid Haney, and Berto are fun to hang out with.
- Bloggers like Ashley, Oystah, and Big Shot will make you enter a Saints Fan Costume Contest if you have on a large foam rubber fleur-de-lis costume.
- It doesn’t feel bad to come in third place in said contest, if you lose to two guys dressed as Saints gladiators and a Saints Nacho Libre guy holding his young daughter. Also, the third place prize (a cool Reggie Bush autograph photo and plaque) will make you a hero to your 11-year-old son, Clio III.
- Green Day and U2 sound a lot better when they’re backed by Rebirth, New Birth, and Trombone Shorty. (Check out the video here.)
- Steve Gleason shocked the world and almost tore the Dome down with that punt block. Steve Gleason has become one of us. Steve Gleason was on the field when Hakim dropped the ball and Brian Milne recovered, and now he made the biggest play in Saints’ history. Steve Gleason wore a Defend New Orleans t-shirt during his post-game press conference comments. Steve Gleason said when he was gone from New Orleans, he missed Juan’s Flying Burrito.
- The Saints Are Coming. The Saints Are Here. The Dome is Our House. Tiger Stadium is but a nauseating memory now.
- Jumpsuits are much more comfortable in the Dome than in Tiger Stadium
- Luther’s is gone from the Dome, replaced by some joint that served me a nasty McRib sandwich.
Anthony, our reliable and kind beer vendor near section 635, was not there Monday night. I hope he’s got a better job now; he was really good at his last job.
It was more than just a football game. I have worked even harder over the past few days and have a new sense of endurance. We really are world class. We really are different. We really can make this work.
Taking care of the little things is critical. Sean Peyton’s Saints do that. We have to do that. St. Bernard Parish is getting twice-a-week trash service next week. St. Bernard Parish is to be commended, as it was part of the Gulf of Mexico 13 months ago. Are you listening, Mayor Nagin?
World class talent will come here if we make our case the right way. Right, Coach? Right, Mr. Brees? Right Mr. Bush? (Yes, money talks, but so does passion.)
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
First, I want to get a bloody double at Fat Harry's.
Then, I want to eat some chicken with Humid Haney.
HOWEVER, WDSU is sponsoring a concert at Poydras and Loyola starting at 4 p.m. Cowboy Mouth is on the slate.
Also, from 5 to 6 at the same site, WDSU is sponsoring a best-dressed Saints fan contest. Winner gets a Reggie Bush game-worn jersey. Lee de Fleur feels that he would be a prime contestant.
Now, Superdome officials are recommending that we all arrive at the game at 5:30 p.m.
This doesn't add up. Gotta figger this out.
2. I want to back down just a little from my moving forward rants. I've grown to hate that phrase because I associate it with several people I hear or know who say it without knowing what they're doing. However, I've noticed that some people whom I like and respect use it too. And when they use it, they do know what they're talking about. The phrase has entered the language for now. Using the phrase "moving forward" does not make one an idiot. Actually, here's a public call to Ashley: could you work out one of your excellent Venn diagrams on this? I'm sure you could represent this really well, combining it with "People who have a clue," "People with THANKS HOUSTON bumper stickers" etc. Bottom line: to any of my friends who read this and who say "moving forward," please know that you can use it at will around me. I'll still respect you in the morning.
2. Oyster has written a post about NOLA in the immediate aftermath of the levee breaks--better than I could have--that has been rattling around in my melonhead for months. I am posting in support of and homage to his post. A Jesuit priest friend of mine, Jim Deshotels, who is a nurse pratitioner, was in the Dome when it served as a saving shelter for our people. Here's what he has to say about the experience:
"I went to the Superdome last Sunday, [August] the 28th, late afternoon-just as the weather was starting to get nasty," e-mailed Fr. Jim Deshotels, SJ, to worried family and friends. A nurse practitioner who works with the Daughters of Charity in New Orleans, he knew he could be of ervice during Katrina.
"I had a general idea what I was in for, so I slept late, ate, did wash, etc. Then I got the one Jesuit remaining in my community to give me a ride."
The needs were incredible at the Superdome. "From Sunday to Thursday morning it was nonstop nursing, except for when I got a nap or a short night's sleep ... one night in the middle of our triage area in the loading dock." Deshotels frantically worked alongside nursing home LPNs, volunteers, FEMA doctors, and city health department staff. When the levee broke, they moved patients to a higher spot in the arena.
"One little lady from the nursing home died," wrote Deshotels, " and the docs and I agreed that doing CPR would be cruel as well as probably fruitless, so I gave her absolution and laid on some prayers, and we snuck her out in her wheelchair. We had to park her under the stairs till they started on the temporary morgue."
"Lots of dehydration," his e-mail continued, "eventually dysentery, especially for the babies ... If you can get 4 ounces of Pedialyte down them, they come alive-instant child, just add water. Three births. Three deaths that I know of ... No one was ready for this-it's the Big One we've been afraid of for 40 years, and here we are."
After five days at the Superdome, Deshotels and others were bused to Dallas. "So I'm tired, and awed, and grateful, and only a little amazed," he concluded. "God is good all the time and at work, and I already knew that. It was as hellacious as the TV said, but the TV ... failed to focus on the heroic virtue I saw all around me."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Oh, and there will be a football game that night too.
I don't know if the song's World Class, but I like it, and it's head-bangin' enough to get me ready to see Will Smith and Scott Fujita do a number on #7 of the Falcons. (That guy really bugs me. And I've got two reasons: I'm a Saints fan and a U.Va. grad. He's a Falcon and a Hokie. Bad combination.)
ALSO: Nice words from Green Day themselves:
New Orleans has always been a special city to us, being a hotbed of music and creativity, and it's hard to believe parts of the gulf region still remain devastated. We feel that it's important to continue to raise awareness.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
My work took me driving past the Sacredome today, on Girod Street. My jaw dropped when I noticed that the massive garage door was open, and I COULD SEE THE FIELD. AND THE SEATS.
I pulled over.
I got out of my illegally parked car, and I snapped these pictures with my limited-ability cell phone camera.
But the best part was the smell.
It smelled like . . .
The Louisiana Superdome. I smelled air conditioning and artificial turf and plastic seats and spilled Coke and whatever else it is that Superdome smells like.
It smelled better than any pine forest you could show me.
It didn't smell like death or excrement or suffering.
It smelled like resurrection.
It's resurrection because there really was death and suffering there, and I will never forget that. Most of all, I will remember that on September 25.
But resurrection is about real life after a real death. And that's what we're building here.
We're going to do a lot of building on September 25.
P. S. Yes, that's a Budweiser truck that was being unloaded. There was also a Coke truck. Dillyberto prefers Miller Lite at Saints games, but it's good to see that priorities are in order for preparing the facility.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
2. Now that Chris Rose is whining less, I'm finding him much more readable. Today he goes after Mayor Curly, whom Rose dubs "Car 54." The whole essay is good, but I especially liked these lines:
I worry about the influence Car 54's famous new friends are having on him, all those folks from up north.3. Five-sixths of the Clio family participated in the Bridge run yesterday. I ran it while pushing Clio IV in a jog stroller. Yeah, I'm 40, but I finished in 37:12, good enough for 145th place out of a couple thousand. With a jog stroller. Up a big hill. Did I mention that I'm 40? (A kid I taught in high school finished 3rd. That'll put me in my place.) I have to admit I got a little emotional on the uphill, because I was thinking about those people who tried to flee the flood and anarchy after the storm, only to be turned around by police firing guns in the air. Shallow being that I am, by the time I got to the downhill, I had moved on to more pressing matters, like breathing hard and not letting the jog stroller go. I think that uphill twinge was a small precursor of what I will feel in the SacreDome on September 25. Note to LatinTeacher: Out of fear of wind conditions on the bridge, Lee de Fleur did not participate in the race. Lee is planning an apperance in the next couple of weeks. If you know what I mean.
From Jesse Jackson he has learned: Blame it on somebody else.
And from George Bush he has learned: Pretend it isn't happening.
Friday, September 08, 2006
After visiting New Orleans for the anniversary, we continued our travels and stopped in New York and Boston, two other World Class cities.
Overall impact was positive. All of our friends we visited were friends from New Orleans. It was a gentle reminder that New Orleans (and Loyola) leaves an indelible mark on us all.
There is life beyond the levees, and it is better when it is spent with former New Orleanians.
Some people tried to do a run over the bridge about this time last year, but that didn't turn out so well.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Shearer highlights Miller's comment about the rebuilding of New Orleans: "That's not my job."
On the upside, Shearer finds a silver lining in what's supposed to be the dark corporate cloud hanging over New Orleans:
[The Times writer Joe]Nocera bemoans the fact that "Before the storm New Orleans was home to 23 public companies, a pretty paltry number to begin with. Now it's down to 17." Given the fact, printed ubiquitously, that small business is responsible for the lion's share of job creation in the US, and given the new definition of corporate responsibility, maybe a paltry number of public companies isn't such a bad thing. Of the businesses in the city that have come back, come up and come into being, the first and the best have been small, locally-owned firms.
I'm with the people who advocate buying local when at all possible. There's a hidden high cost to "always the low price" mass production and long supply lines: zero loyalty to place, total rootlessness. Bleck.
The big companies will move in when it makes sense for them to do so. In the mean time, let's build the highest quality of life possible by relying on people with faces and hearts and souls.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Prepare. Make sure your vehicle is ready to jump the neutral ground so that you can get a good parking place.
Finally, I note that my favorite NOLA piano and organ player, Joe Krown, is headed for Germany during early Oktober. Can you blame him? Wish I could be there.
NOTE to Mr. and Mrs. Melpomene: From what I hear, you will be here in October. And I am fairly certain that there is German heritage in the Melpomene blood. (What???? A German Muse???) This means that there is a moral imperative that we hoist large beers together on Galvez Street late at night in October.)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Having had a Platonic set of meals while in New Orleans, it may be better that others don't try, let them be 'American'-- whatever that is. We'll define ourselves by not being that, at least not culinarily.
My old friend. Old. Friend. (Warning. Gross picture. Think of that face the next time you think of walking in to a Ruth's Chris.)
The New York Times finally has done an article (paid access) about Ruth's Chris's cowardly abandonment of New Orleans. The article raises the right question (Would Ruth Fertel Have Left New Orleans?) but lets Craig Miller, Ruth's Chris spineless CEO (and now chairman), off the hook.
One quote from Miller tells you everything you need to know about what's inside of his skin:
“When you go through something like this, there is a pecking order of priorities,” Mr. Miller said. “Yourself, your family, your employees and your company.”Where do I start?
According to this line of thought, you don't want to be a child or a disabled person on a ship with Mr. Miller. If the ship starts to go down, he's taking a lifeboat and waving goodbye to those too slow to grab one for themselves.
Self first. Then children. Of course.
This guy has the moral sensibility of a velociraptor.
He falls back on the "responsibility to the stockholders" line. Garbage. In the long run--heck, in the medium run--the market is going to trash this guy. He responds to the whim of the moment. He has no vision, no self, beyond what gets him to the next financial report and--see the list he cites above--his next paycheck and stock options. The whim of the moment is going to destroy him and his company.
I think Craig Miller of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse spends a lot of time thinking and talking about moving forward.
World Class people, companies, and communities know who they are. They use their talents and passion to make goodness and beauty and truth a little more concrete and real for all of us.
Do you know what the root meaning of "velociraptor" is?
NOTE: Third Battle of New Orleans's Mr. Seymour D. Fair has been passionate and articulate in staying on this story. Mr. Fair's articles have been much better than the NY Times's Joe Nocera's piece, which shows a clear lack of curiosity, imagination, and courage.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
I read Tim's Nameless Blog just now, and followed his link to Jivin' Gene. And then I realized I had only ever HEARD Billy Delle and had never seen his name in print or found his stuff on OZ's website.
Now I have, and I feel more complete as a human being.
New Orleans is World Class because of WWOZ. And WWOZ is World Class because of Billy Delle.
Here's the best part of the little bio that is all "best parts":
Billy Delle admits to owning close to 50,000 L.P.'s and 45's. His passion for the hobby was fueled by amazing garage sale finds "...you couldn't get records from Little Richard ot Fats Domino in good condition," says Billy "... cause everybody would play 'em."
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
More important, protecting New Orleans is the classic example of something we can't afford not to do. Those who believe New Orleans can survive as a smaller city and still serve the rest of the country as a port are mistaken. Louisiana continues to erode: the equivalent of roughly a football field melts into the sea every hour.
If nothing is done, the city will become a fragile walled island under constant assault. Nor can the port move to Baton Rouge. The port runs along almost 70 miles of river, much of which will be threatened.
Every time I have doubts, I stumble on to something like that, and then I feel confident again that we really are a World Class city--or at least we must be, if America is to remain a World Class nation.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
On the other hand a long visit to Lakeview has shown that 'sweat equity' beats the LRA. The impression is one of work being done and progress breaking through the unbearable blight. It is many years from being Mayberry again, but the results of hard work are visible.
Brickbats to KTVT-TV 11 from Dallas from setting up their sattelite truck to broadcast from the corner of Mouton and Canal using the homes destroyed by December's F2 tornado as a backdrop. Yes, it is vivid, and glad to note that there is massive destruction in areas that don't sound hip when you say them like "Lower nine", but the only reason that dozens of people weren't killed in that disaster was because they were wiped out before. I wish they had picked a ray of hope, like the newly renovated and landscaped home across the street.
Finally, as noted on my mobile blog, there is nothing like a cold Abita, dozen raw oysters and a seafood platter with Softshell's at Desire except maybe a Ruben and Pimm's cup at Napoleon House. World Class cuisine never left.
WHEREAS you say clownish things on a regular basis, and
WHEREAS you move forward with a lot of energy without actually getting things done or getting anywhere (remember the woob-woob-woob, run-in-place dance of Mr. Jerome Lester Horwitz), and
WHEREAS your head reminds us of the most follicularly-challenged member of the Three Stooges, and
WHEREAS you thanked President Bush the night you were re-elected, thereby confirming our worst nightmares about your being a stand-in for people who really don't care about the best things about New Orleans,
I hereby dub thee
That is all.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
In sum, we aren't writing about a storm. We are writing about a rising tide of idiocy. The unpreventable found the preventable, and the predictable dystopia has ensued.
Unlike those coming down here to learn what's going on, we've been enmeshed. Most of us discovered blogging when our cell phones went down and our civilization collapsed around us.
We intellectually put our minds towards grasping the previously unfathomable. We spent sleepless nights uncovering the gargantuan amount of idiocy that had silently eroded the foundations of our lives in New Orleans, the Keystone Kops fiasco that makes me question using the phrase 'government bailout' with any sort of meaning, and finally, the phase we find ourselves in today, which many describe as 'Moving Forward' when in actuality it is the same stale idiocrats with a lifetime hall pass for poor performance. You can tell Chartruesse we aren't blogging about the weather; we are blogging about the old time mistakes, the modern mistakes, the ongoing mistakes and those just about to be made.
While I am in the first person voice, let me thank all of you who read and comment, it has helped my recovery. Our fellow bloggers are some excellent writers, and I know Chris and I both try to write up to the levels of some of you expect of yourselves.
God bless you all. God bless our home. God bless...America.
Unfortunately, well before it was scheduled, Dr. Mrs. Clio and I decided that a weekend out of town would be a good thing for us and the Clio Kids around this time, as we are not taking any longer vacations this summer. Somehow, I prevailed on Dr. Mrs. Clio that a weekend in Jackson, MS, site of this weekend's Saints vs. Colts preseason game, would be a good idea. Peyton vs. Drew, in Deuce's hometown area, with Reggie Bush slated to play a lot. Plus maybe some shopping and kid activities that aren't yet available in NOLA.
I bought tickets, booked the hotel. Then came the announcement about the Rising Tide Conference. Argh.
Anyway, with the usual suspects, I encourage attendance and participation. I really regret that I can't be there. But at least it's for the Saints (and fun for the Dr. Mrs. and the Clio Kids).