Sunday, December 31, 2006

10 Resolutions for 2007 for Mr. Clio/Dilly

1. I will train for and run a marathon.

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

Waning Days of 2006

1. Dr. Morris will be happy to learn that the Saints re-signed Fast Freddie Mac yesterday.

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.

5. For your consideration: the chairman and CEO of Ruth's Chris and Lord Voldemort. Can you tell which picture is which?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Give Him Credit: He's Here

I doubt New Orleans as an issue plays well in polls or in focus groups, and yet Mr. Edwards is here to work and to announce his candidacy for the presidency.

He's got my attention.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

World Class Steaks and Ambience Return to the Crescent City

Tom Fitmorris reports the happy news that the Crescent City Steakhouse has now reopened and is serving lunch Wednesdays through Saturdays. Staff limitations prevent dinner for now.

I am so happy about this that I cannot find words. This blog was launched in part to show that our beloved city of New Orleans can come back because of our distinctive mix of love for community, creative tension, lack of pretense and posing, and pure grit--all of that mixed in with a little showmanship and love of a good time. The Crescent City Steakhouse combines all of that, at a location that had several feet of water.
I am happy for the Vojkovich Family. Please make this unique and local establishment one of your steakhouses of choice. Avoid the velociraptors among us.
The Crescent City Steakhouse now has a new kitchen. I am happy for the staff there and plan to sample their fare very, very soon. Like tomorrow.

Coca-Cola Might Have to Find a New Christmas Mascot

Polimom is on the story. I thought the Bushies said "An Inconvenient Truth" was fiction.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's a Wonderful (Civic) Life

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


I want to get out a few negative things now so that the Christmas weekend will be pleasant:

1. Louisiana's population shrunk by 5 percent in a year. Andy Kopplin summed up the bad news in a suitable way:

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.

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.

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

Great Recipe for Christmas and the Holidays

This is a great recipe idea that was originally designed for the 4th of July but could be adapted quite well for a World Class Christmas Loaf. The video is five minutes long and is a quick way to learn a great recipe:

More Bread and Circuses

This was the scene yesterday afternoon at Saints HQ, where I went to purchase my PLAYOFF TICKETS. Let me type that again: PLAYOFF TICKETS.

It was a little strange, because as I drove up I saw barricades and a few people in line outside the door. There was a sheriff's deputy just inside the door, letting one person in as one person would leave. The funny part was that inside the lobby, where the ticket windows are, there weren't mobs of people. There were only three (two transacting business at the windows, one in line).

Much ado about nothing? Or the calm before the storm, the one Deuce, Drew, and Co. will create on a January run to Miami?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Taking Our Lumps on Our Way to Greatness

Sometimes you give a beat-down; sometimes you have to take one in order to get where you want to go.

In the run-up to the release of "Rocky Balboa," our city and our team should remember this line from Rocky III:

Apollo Creed: [during the rematch with Clubber Lang] He's gettin' killed out there!

Paulie: No, no, no! He ain't gettin' killed; he's gettin' mad!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Argh. But still . . .

FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Redskins are all headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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

Posted without Comment

The Saintsations visited Clio V's childcare center. Here he is with new friends:

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Oystah Season

Check out this post at Comrade Oyster's blog--full of great links, thrilling Reggie Bush runs, and sound complaints about Office Depot's treating us like a garbage dump.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Reminder to Myself and Anyone Who's Listening

Re: The Saints

If we just sit back and grin and enjoy this, then the Saints' success amounts only to bread and circuses--a distraction from critical aspects of our lives as a community, a distraction that only helps those who want us to go away.

But there is a better way:

We still grin and enjoy this season every day, and we use the energy, goodwill, and Dome-caused ringing ears and hoarse voices to lift us up all week long. We use Coach Payton's gritty preparation, Drew Brees's resilient excellence, Deuce's calm demeanor, Colston's smooth ways, Fujita's toughness, Reggie's sheer brilliance--we use all of that to energize and inspire us in our work toward the tasks at hand: personal excellence in our professions, learned discussion and action on rebuilding our wetlands, vigorous work toward using our own bad experience of Katrina and the levee failures to change our region and the rest of the world into a more sustainable culture and economy.

Is that too much to ask?

That doesn't mean we ever stop the knowing grin that comes from embarrassing America's Team in front of everybody.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

We'll Feel Real Bad About Jefferson When Americans Feel Bad About Dubya

So the people in America (that other country) elect a president who has overseen a failed war launched on what turned out to be false pretenses. Meanwhile, he runs up the national debt to unheard of levels. He wins reelection on the perception that he can keep his citizens safe; then it turns out the government is not ready for a disaster in a medium-sized city.

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

What I Have to Say about Bill Jefferson defeating Karen Carter

1. I spent 13 of the first 22 years of my life living on the Westbank; I consider myself a Westbank native with fond memories. I would like America to know that Congressman William Jefferson, while under investigation for corruption, took 70 percent of the vote in Jefferson Parish (the Westbank portion of his district). That suburban vote (which looks demographically a lot like Houston or Atlanta)--not the city of New Orleans--is what put Congressman Jefferson back in D.C. for another term. THANKS WESTBANK! THANKS HARRY LEE! (By the way, Karen Carter was right to say what she said about the bridge evacuees being denied their rights as Americans. I understand that the cops were in a bad spot, but so were those people trying to cross the bridge on foot in 90 degree weather.)

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?

Hey, Google Maps!

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

Yeah, but when I can order a New York strip?

When I drove past Crescent City Steakhouse the other day, there were lights on inside, and there were two large movie trucks parked outside, with a few guys busy at work.

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

And Another interesting post

In my prior life, I was part of the team that launched the first 3G wireless network in New Orleans, back when N.O. was one of about 25 cities in the world with CDMA1xrtEVDO. That was the Verizon Wireless network that launched in April/May of 2005. Sprint has finally joined the fray with its EVDO and Cingular is launching its version, UMTS (HSPDA) as well.

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.

Hit the Ground Running

Very interesting article about business opportunities.

Nagin spotted

In the current edition of USAYesterday...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Doin' It Right

This is the kind of quality experience we all participate in at Saints' games. I'm not in this scene, but I share the spirit of the Black and Gold Patrol.

Sure, but . . .

I wish Al Copeland would put some of this ENERGY into his restaurant locations on St. Charles Avenue.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Can Anyone Explain This?

This development is bad, bad news. The GOP wants to hang Mary out to dry for '08, in hopes that they can pick up a seat; but why would the DEMOCRATS do this.

Welcome to gridlock; welcome to limbo.

Kurdistan on the bayou.

From One Who Hears Another Muse

"New Orleans is the capital of an empire that never was."
George Schmidt

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

Welcome Back, Coach Nolan

So far this season, the Saints are 2-0 against sons of former Saints coaches. We hope they will elevate that to 3-0 this weekend in facing Coach Mike Nolan on the Niners' sideline.

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.


I'm eating as I type this. My lunch today from Dunbar's:

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 rice.

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.