Friday, September 29, 2006

New Words to Beautiful Day

To supplement the efforts of A Georgia Lawyer (who posted New Orleans related lyrics added to "The Saints Are Coming" by U2 and Green Day--with some clarification by Big Shot), I'm posting here the revised lyrics to "Beautiful Day" as sung by Bono on Monday night. With no apologies at all to the Library Guy, I liked the whole show a whole lot, and I've watched the video repeatedly, which really bothers "Seamus," my 14-year-old son:
See Gentilly and Lakeview,
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.

H/T to Oyster for the Georgia Lawyer link.

Lee de Fleur and Morris Bart -- On Your Side

Morris Bart is a true Orleanian.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

What I Learned on Monday, September 25, 2006

If anyone's still listening, I apologize for being a little slow to post. As Berto pointed out to me, there was a real dearth of detailed posting by NOLA bloggers on the day after the game. Emotional exhaustion plus real life intervening plus raw hangovers, no doubt.

Anyway, here are some things I learned:

  1. A bloody mary at Fat Harry’s is a good thing.
  2. 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!”
  3. Bloggers like Ashley, Oystah, Saintseester, Big Shot, Humid Haney, and Berto are fun to hang out with.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Green Day and U2 sound a lot better when they’re backed by Rebirth, New Birth, and Trombone Shorty. (Check out the video here.)
  7. 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.
  8. The Saints Are Coming. The Saints Are Here. The Dome is Our House. Tiger Stadium is but a nauseating memory now.
  9. Jumpsuits are much more comfortable in the Dome than in Tiger Stadium
  10. 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

Christmas Eve in September

Like an 8-year-old child, I just couldn't wait until the daylight hours of the 25th. I had to peek at the presents.

Here's a picture of the Sacredome at 12:30 a.m., September 25, 2006.

We're back.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Crammed Schedule, Plus Stepping Back a Bit from Moving Forward

1. The schedule for Monday evening is too jammed. I'm getting confused.

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.

The Saints & Mr. Mel Are Coming, plus An Obscure Sacredome Story

1. By posting, I don't want to obscure the post below with big news: Mr. Melpomene is headed for the NOLA Reunion at the Sacredome. We just gotta find him a ticket.

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."

I'll Be In That Number

Anybody want to sell a ticket to the game, I just got my airfare secured and will be in town for the event.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

MacGyver + Chuck Norris = Sean Payton

If Coach Sean Payton were the head of the Army Corps of Engineers, he'd build levees that would inspire fear in hurricanes. Antarctica would be devastated annually, because all of the tropical weather would flee there in terror.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Saints Are Coming

I haven't really mastered the YouTube/Blog thing yet, but in the mean time here's a link that a noble soul posted: "The Saints Are Coming," the Skids song that U2 and Green Day will perform together at the 9/25 NOLA reunion at the Sacredome (slideshow included). Here's another link if you want to sing and play along.

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

Bad Pictures of Something Great, or Smells Like Team Spirit

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

Google Knows

If you Google "Sacredome," as of today (9/11/06), the ninth link that pops up is the official site of the Louisiana Superdome.

That's cool.

Thanks to Bigshot, Oyster, Saintseester, and others(?) for making it so.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ashley's 'n Da Paper, Dawlin'! And other notes.

1. A lovely picture of Mrs. Ashley, three great kids, and that other guy runs on the front page of the Living section today. The accompanying article gives some well-deserved attention for a great story for our city and for the Morris family, who add so much to the rebuilding effort. We in the Black and Gold Bike Patrol will be proud to count Ashley in our number in section 635 this season.

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.
From Jesse Jackson he has learned: Blame it on somebody else.
And from George Bush he has learned: Pretend it isn't happening.
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.

Friday, September 08, 2006

From the Outside Looking In

Back in our prior life, Mrs. M. and I would occasionally schedule time together 'beyond the levees', which was either travel or sailing. The theory was that normal life in New Orleans afforded few opportunities for panoramic vistas and the contemplation that such a view creates.

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.

Keep the Gretna Police Out of This One

Tomorrow evening is the Smoothie King Crescent City Connection Road Race, a 4-mile run over what many still call the GNO Bridge.

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 Noticed Too

Harry Shearer riffed on the same New York Times article I blogged about the other day concerning cowardly Craig Miller and "Ruth's" Chris Steakhouse.

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

Houston / New Orleans : Deal or No Deal?

They get all of our engineers and lawyers, but they have Ron Dayne at running back.

We get a tourism-based economy, but we have Reggie Bush at running back.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Planning Ahead

First, it is incredible and reassuring that Deutsches Haus EXISTS in New Orleans--and it exists not just anywhere, but on Galvez Street. Second, not only does it exist, but it THRIVES post-levee failure--thanks to hard work and support from other volks around the world. It will stage Oktoberfest this year. (Check that latter link. It has a cool countddown.)

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

Further Proof

While in Chelsea, NYC on Thursday night, we spotted a place called the Sazerac Restaurant. Local told us it was new. Imagining a fellow exiler, we made a stop. Unfortunately, it is just a name today, but it was a creole restaurant at one time. The bartender said, "We had those things on the menu, but it just didn't sell, so we became more American."

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.

I Got Chest Pains Reading This One

Ah, yes. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.

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?

Speedy thief.

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.