Monday, December 28, 2009

We Knocked Ourselves Down, BUT WE'RE STILL THE #1 SEED!

Yes, the Saints need to do much better, but let's enjoy tonight and tomorrow.

Why the Saints Have Lost Two Straight Games, Part I

Okay, so I confess. The loss to the Cowboys was my fault. I was in a hurry, and for the first time this season I did not pull my bike into Fat Harry's for a quick dirty martini. Of course, the loss ensued. My bad.

However, this week, I redressed that issue. I got a dirty at Fat's (hmmm, although it was in a go-cup. Maybe I should have gone with a proper glass). In any case, with this variable eliminated, the main reason for the loss is clear today.

At approximately 11:15 a.m., while Berto and I were giving the "first down, Saints" sign to cars at Tivoli Circle, we spied and waved to Jeffrey and Menckles whizzing around the Circle in their swanky automobile.

Now, as far as I know, Jeffrey and Menckles are usually streetcar riders. I believe this to be an important ingredient in Saints' wins.

So there it is: Reason #1 for the Saints' loss yesterday.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from World Class New Orleans

Even a bad day in New Orleans is still a gift to me. That's what I really believe in my best moments.

I hope you have a similar sense of gratitude wherever you live.

Buon Natale!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letters I Sent to the Editors in New Orleans and Dallas

1. To the Times-Picayune

To the Editor:

As a longtime Saints fan and season ticket holder, I was proud of my team's effort against the Cowboys Saturday night, but I was ashamed of some of my fellow Saints fans' treatment of Cowboys fans.

Ever since I was treated poorly as a Saints fan on a trip to a game at Indianapolis a few years ago, I have made it a point to welcome opposing teams' fans to the Superdome. They are always appreciative, and I've had some nice conversations with people from all over the country.

This past Saturday night, every Cowboys fan with whom I spoke told me that that he or she had been treated badly by some of my fellow Saints fans. In addition, a friend who was on the field at the end of the game witnessed a Saints fan verbally abusing (with profanity) the Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King, who is a Saints season ticket holder.

To my fellow fans: we can do better. That is not who we are. New Orleans is a city of hospitality, warmth, and acceptance of difference--even if that difference means that the other person is wearing another color jersey.

Our warmth comes from knowing that we live in a city like no other, a city that we love. We don't have time for abusing other cities. We're too busy loving our city and our team.

Mr. Clio

2. To the Dallas Morning News:

To the Editor:

As a longtime Saints fan and season ticket holder, I was proud of my team's effort against the Cowboys Saturday night, and I was impressed with the Cowboys. However, I was ashamed of some of my fellow Saints fans' treatment of Cowboys fans, and I ask Dallas fans to forgive New Orleans if you were treated badly at the game.

Ever since I was treated poorly as a Saints fan on a trip to a game at Indianapolis a few years ago, I have made it a point to welcome opposing teams' fans to the Superdome. They are always appreciative, and I've had some nice conversations with people from all over the country.

This past Saturday night, every Cowboys fan with whom I spoke told me that that he or she had been treated badly by some of my fellow Saints fans. Dallas fans: please know that this is not who we are. New Orleans is a city of hospitality, warmth, and acceptance of difference--even if that difference means that the other person is wearing a jersey of another color.

New Orleanians' warmth comes from knowing that we live in a city like no other, a city that we love. We don't have time for abusing other cities. We're too busy loving our city and our team, and we love sharing that joy.

I have been to Dallas several times and have always enjoyed my trips there. Congratulations on a big win Saturday, and please come back. I and many other New Orleanians will do our best to welcome you with class.

Mr. Clio

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

They Found the Unknown Who Dat

He's coming to the Superdome this weekend, for the first time ever.

Read his history at the link above.

One question: the Saints had a ticket office at Lee Circle? I've never heard that before. Does anybody know which building it was in?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hey, Buddy D., It's Happenin'

Geeky Comparison

Just sayin'. From the terrible Saints records of the 1970s to 12-0. As Buddy in the Jumpsuit said, "It all started with a supernova that destroyed Romulus."

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Feds and Coastal Restoration

The T-P tells us that the feds are taking a "fresh look" at restoration efforts.

Good, but now is the time for action.

Now. Now. Now.

Which is a greater threat to my family and me? Al Qaeda? Or diminishing coastlines?

Wetlands: the fundamental homeLAND security issue.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Jared Diamond Makes a Useful Analogy

Professor Diamond's essay in the NY Times compares the stupidity of corporations who refuse to spend short-term money on long-term sustainability to the federal government's negligent treatment of New Orleans over many years:
Economic reasons furnish the strongest motives for sustainability, because in the long run (and often in the short run as well) it is much more expensive and difficult to try to fix problems, environmental or otherwise, than to avoid them at the outset.

Americans learned that lesson from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when, as a result of government agencies balking for a decade at spending several hundred million dollars to fix New Orleans’s defenses, we suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — not to mention thousands of dead Americans.
It's a small point in a longer article, but the casual way he drops this is a testament to how ordinary this point ought to be.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Is Obama a Saints WR or a Pats DB?

In this video, is the President catching a pass from Drew Brees, or is the President being a total weenie and stepping in front of a pass intended for a kid?

In any case, it's good to see Mike McKenzie in a Saints uni in a commercial whilest knowing he's actually a Saint again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dave Dixon: World Class New Orleans Visionary

In the 1960s and 70s, New Orleans and Louisiana took a risk by investing in the Louisiana Superdome. There was strong and principled opposition to the project. I have no doubt that there was corruption somewhere in the process of construction.

In the end, though, the result was a world class building with staying power. Poydras Street and a whole section of downtown were transformed. Dave Dixon and others got all of this started.

I bring this up today, because now we learn that the Pontiac Silverdome, built AFTER the Louisiana Superdome, has been auctioned off for $583,000--less than the cost of many homes in greater New Orleans.

I am thankful for the visionaries of New Orleans who built a great facility--soon to be renovated further for yet another new life--in downtown New Orleans, and not in the suburbs (as Detroit's not-so-visionaries did). One of the real assets here is that the Dome is walking (or biking!) distance to and from so much of what we consider the core of our city and region.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Good Corps / Bad Corps

One the one hand, the Corps wants to be able to inspect levees while the river water is high. This need threatens the river parish bonfires. Maybe I'm a Scrooge, but levees seem pretty important to me, so on the face of it I'm glad the Corps is looking out for us.

On the other hand, the state says the Corps has been wasting precious river silt as they dredge. If true, this is the kind of almost criminal negligence that must be highlighted by all of us as often and as loudly as possible.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Join my campaign this week: They Aren't the Patriots

No, the New England football squad are either "the Pats" or "the Past."

When I think of the Pats, I think of old times.

Pats starring a quarterback named Grogan.

Pats getting beat down in the Louisiana Superdome.

Past indeed.

When I think of Our New Orleans Saints, I think of the present and future.

Friday, November 20, 2009

50 Percent More Fun in Section 635

The third Dillyberto brother will join Berto and me for the Saints-Patriots game on Monday Night Football.

And he will be properly attired. See below for my order today.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Time for Payback

Look, revenge is a very unattractive thing, but I just gotta get this out.

I spent three terrible, horrible, no good years in the state of Missouri. Those were the three worst years of my life.

Then I returned to New Orleans, and a few years later had to endure the Rams winning the Super Bowl, followed by some very disappointing losses by the Saints to them (although that playoff win by the Saints was a beauty).

Then two years ago we were subjected to the humiliation of losing to a winless Rams team whose defense was coached by Jim Haslett and Rick Venturi.

Look, I'm human. I want payback this week. I need to see a little Ahab/Picard out of the Black and Gold:

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pregame Grilled Oysters at Lee Circle

This is what it looked like at Lee Circle (Tivoli Circle) yesterday at around 2:15 p.m.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Saints vs. Falcons = Parasol's vs. Appleby's

Do it, Drew. Crank it up.

Charles Grant, show your homeboys what you've become in New Orleans.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Are raw oysters a bigger threat to health than McDonald's fries?

According to this excellently placed (front-page) story from the T-P, 15 people--many of them already sick from something else--die from eating raw oysters each year.

This occurs in a country with over 300 million people, many of whom are overweight. Tens of thousands of us die each year because we are fat and get fat-related diseases.

The FDA's way of dealing with the oyster "menace," we learn now, will be to require processing of raw oysters 7 months out of the year.

Step back: so what we now know is that the federal government refuses to protect the homeland in Louisiana by doing little to restore wetlands and by trying to implement a flood protection system on the cheap. Now the federal government wants to ruin a key industry in Louisiana and one of life's pleasures here that many of us enjoy.

Fat-related diseases that kill millions of Americans are often caused by foods (made poisonous by bad agriculture and then heavy processing) in areas of the country that are more "American" and more palatable than we "exotics" are in south Louisiana. Midwestern corn, for example, is fine, even though it is used to make products that kill many of us.

All-natural oysters, however, kill 15 people a year, but they must be heavily regulated.

Inadequate levees, disappearing wetlands, and screwed-up oysters. This is what the American federal government is doing for us through a combination of inaction and willful stupidity.

UPDATE: Here's a nice link from Jeffrey. While the feds fret about oysters, the Army Corps' head is waving the white flag.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Best Op-Ed Page in America Today; Thanks, Times-Picayune

Although the overarching purpose of this blog is to point to a positive vision of what New Orleans can and should be, sometimes I use that vision to criticize our city's newspaper titan, the Times-Picayune. (It's a "titan" because it's the only one.)

After the storm, the Times-Picayune and its reporters and photographers were heroic, at least for me. Their work kept New Orleans on the informational map; they helped to remind us that we remained a community despite the chaos and destruction. They kept the idea of New Orleans alive even when the reality was that we were dispersed and sometimes despairing.

More recently, however, I have expressed disappointment that the T-P has reverted back to being a "normal" newspaper with silly headline stories. I just want the publisher, Mr. Ashton Phelps, and the editors to know that they don't need to lead with the Saints and kitty cats and naked burglars to get me to buy the paper.

Today, though, I am really proud of the Times-Picayune. What a great op-ed section!

A from-the-neighborhood essay from Dennis Persica about what it's like to use gritty determination and faith to return to a neighborhood in Ray Nagin and George W. Bush's free-market world of rebuilding (and the news is inspiring at the individual level but pathetic at the communal level). Persica talks about jack-o-lanterns, and not because it's Halloween time.

It feels especially good to be a New Orleanian today.

Of course, it helps that I'll be eating home-shucked oysters while watching the Saints play the Dolphins.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

World Class Cartoon Time

What a beautiful thing by the Preservation Hall gang and Mr. James Tancill.

Sustainable Recovery: Carpetbaggers Need Not Apply

Ed Blakely is gone (that's old news), but his departure and other things I'm seeing help me to conclude that we are arriving at a significant and stirring phase of the resurrection of our region.

We are more than four years beyond the levee failures that temporarily crushed our spirits and our confidence in American know-how.

I have been inspired by the ongoing stream of volunteers who come to our city to help rebuild at the micro-level. Church groups, schools, national organizations of every strip--they came early, and they continue to come.

At the macro-level, however, I sense something significant and stirring.

The carpetbaggers are getting bored, and they're starting to leave. You may have experienced carpetbaggers over the past four years. I certainly have.

These are the people who smelled the chance for immediate financial gain from the plight of a city on its knees.

In many cases, we made it easy for the carpetbaggers--witness Ed Blakely. We offered them ridiculous compensation packages because "we" thought that's what it would take to attract allegedly national and international "experts" here to help us.

We didn't have enough confidence in ourselves--in our knowledge, our hearts, our passion, our work ethic.

And so the city and some major institutions in the city squandered precious dollars to bring in people who brought us . . . nothing. (Well, they did bring us heartache and frustration.)

The real action has been at the grassroots. The grassrooots generates its own expertise, and I don't just mean some romanticized notion of the "wisdom of common folk." The new New Orleans features people who take advantage of the explosion of the accessibility of knowledge, and we combine that with hardcore know-how. New Orleanians are great students of human nature. We know what makes people tick.

We are applying all this to building a better New Orleans.

We know how the world works. We can spot a carpetbagger or a "Simpsons" monorail-builder. (Many of our mayors seem to lose that ability.)

We have great meals and and great parties--we know how to live--because we know what motivates people.

We have all that, but because we are naturally a little skeptical--even of ourselves, especially of ourselves--in 2005 and beyond we spent top dollar to bring in "experts" to "lead" us out of our mess.

The good news is that having extracted plenty enough cash to last them for awhile, people like Blakely are leaving now. Four or five years is about all they could take.

The people who remain, natives and truly committed people who came after the levee failures, as well as the people who are still streaming in, are up to something great.

Now is when the resurrection takes a really interesting turn. Our monorail days are over.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Most Important Stories Run on the Last Page of the Sports Section in the Times-Picayune

A few days ago, the Times-Picayune ran one of those stories that should change the outlooks (or confirm them) of any thinking people on the planet.

The story ran on the back of the Sports section.

We are sinking. The Gulf is rising. And our congressional delegation (ALL OF THEM) are in the back pocket of the idiots who are helping to create and sustain the problem.

To Ashton Phelps and anybody else who helps decide what goes on the front page: YOU ARE CLUELESS.

Give me a freakin' break.

You, Mr. Phelps, are what is killing our community.

I love the Saints.

But they don't belong on the front page of a serious newspaper.

Friday, October 02, 2009

ESPN Radio Teases Us Who Dats

The Mardi Gras beads are a bit much, but this made me smile anyway.

I couldn't get the You Tube video to embed correctly, so here's the link.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thanks for Zeitoun, Mr. Eggers

I finished Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, during my trip to New York this week.

I was on a plane from JFK to Memphis as I read the last 50 pages. I couldn't swallow, such was the lump in my throat.

I think it would be a striking read for anyone. For New Orleanians--at least for this one--it is downright overwhelming.

Eggers gets the city right; he captures feelings and scenes that we all experienced.

On top of that, though, Abdulrahman Zeitoun's story is one that most of us couldn't imagine would happen, I think. Having read the story, I now feel stupid for thinking that this wouldn't happen. It seems obvious now that it would happen, given the country we've created for ourselves.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great. The T-P is now covering fake games.

What up with this?

More Lyrical Whimsy from Saints DE Bobby McCray

As part of the Occasional Gridiron Poetry Series at World Class New Orleans, we present a new poem by Saints defensive end Bobby McCray, as taken from today's Times-Picayune:

So until Monday afternoon,
we can still be high off our victory.

You know,
talk about it,
talk to your parents about


'We saw you on TV, you did good.'

You know, 'blah,
blah, blah.'

But then

once 4 o'clock hits,

This has been today's edition of the Occasional Gridiron Poetry Series.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

David Byrne's Essay on the Ideal City, Biking, and New Orleans

Berto and I are preparing today to ride our bicycles to the Superdome tomorrow for Our New Orleans Saints' first regular season game. Fittingly, at breakfast this morning I read a great essay by David Byrne in today's Wall Street Journal, "A Talking Head Dreams of a Perfect City."

Before I get to the really good stuff, I want to cite the lines that really grabbed me:
As someone who has used a bicycle to get around New York for about 30 years I've watched the city—mainly Manhattan, where I live—change for better and for worse. During this time I started to take a full-size folding bike with me when I traveled so I got to experience other cities as a cyclist as well. Seeing cities from on top of a bike is both pleasurable and instructive. On a bike one sees a lot more than from a freeway, and often it's just as fast as car traffic in many towns.
That's the paragraph that made me take the article seriously. Bikes are the way to come to know a city. Period.

Anyway, he cites New Orleans a couple of times, and I think he pretty much gets it right. Byrne's perfect city involves the correct proportions of the following: size, density, sensibility and attitude, security, chaos and danger, human scale, parking (he correctly doesn't much care about this), boulevards, mixed use, and public spaces.

He rates New Orleans high on sensibility and attitude. I was struck by the fact that he mentions New Orleans as often as or more often than he mentions places like San Francisco, Venezia, and Berlin.

Here's what he says about the sensibility and attitude of World Class New Orleans:
New Orleans is a city where people make eye contact. There's a more open sensuality there as well. I'd take that in my perfect city, minus some of the other aspects of that town, such as its tragic poverty, corruption, and crime.

Here's what he says about chaos and danger:
To some, security means rigid order and strict rules. I do believe we do need some laws and rules to guide and reign us in a bit, and I don't just mean traffic lights and pooper scooper mandates. But there's a certain attractiveness to New Orleans, Mexico City or Naples—where you get the sense that though some order exists, it's an order of a fluid and flexible nature. Sometimes too flexible, but a little bit of that sense of excitement and possibility is something I'd wish for in a city. A little touch of chaos and danger makes a city sexy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will get more and better work done today because of Steve Gleason

Why? Because he said all of this, but particularly this (in remembering the Greatest Play in Saints History):
So I remember that moment. And I remember thinking -- as I broke through the line -- that I wasn't going to get there. I was like: I don't think I'm going to make it. I don't think I'm going to make it. And then: I am going to make it! And I remember running through the end zone and dropping to my knees. I remember looking at the crowd and fully comprehending the magnitude of the moment. It was pure joy. And I thought: This is it. We're back.
I will also have a better day because Jeffrey wrote this, but I don't have time to riff on it right now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

I Sent a Message to Senator David Vitter Using His Advertisement on the NY Times

. . . though I'm not sure it's the message he wanted.

I was peacefully reading an article at when I saw his ad in the sidebar. The ad was an attempted slander of Charlie Melancon. I didn't like the looks of it.

So I clicked on the ad--I have clicked on an actual Internet ad maybe 4 times in my life.

Anyway, I clicked through and found a way to send Senator Vitter a message. And here's what I said (you can use the same form here):
Sir, You bring dishonor to yourself by slandering Mr. Melancon. I am not a registered Democrat, but it's just wrong what you're doing. Please run on a positive agenda. I know almost nothing about what you are for. I only know what you are against. Your agenda seems purely negative. The only other thing I know about you is the horrible scandal that you have brought to our state. Feel free to contact me if you think it would be useful. Thanks, Mr. Clio

Monday, August 31, 2009

Congrats to Dambala

I was privileged to meet him last week at Rising Tide IV.

Now it looks as though he's in for an adventure dealing with City Hall people.

Dambala is a world class part of the new New Orleans.

The City Hall people described in the T-P article sound like old New Orleans.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Big Week for World Class New Orleans


1. I'm a practicing Catholic, which means I'm not very good at it. But our city took a step forward out of its leadership crisis when Archbishop Alfred Hughes stepped down. (Can you imagine? The city has gone through the failure of federal levees, Katrina, utter chaos, and the leaders we get include Archbishop Hughes and Mayor Curly. Awful.)

I'm glad a local guy, Archbishop Greg Aymond, is taking over. However, he apparently started his tenure by calling himself a shepherd, which is unfortunate because it implies I'm a sheep. Jesus could get away with that. It doesn't sound good in 21st century New Orleans, though.

2. Rising Tide IV is happening tonight and tomorrow, and for the first time, I'm going. And I'm even on the Sports panel. Scary. NOTE: You can still register for the conference, attend, but then skip out before my panel starts so that you don't have to listen to Jeffrey and me arguing about the merits of Reggie Bush.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Speaking Through (the flashing of) the Barrel of a Gun

On WWL 870 radio today, I caught the tail end of a talk that Tommy Tucker was doing with the director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The director was talking (via phone) about how it goes against common sense to have people showing up to townhall meetings about healthcare flashing guns.

Tommy Tucker was acting like it is an open question, that this is something that we should actually spend time discussing, and he was soliciting calls for either side of the question.


So this is what things have come to.

What other things will WWL radio hosts and listeners want to debate? If we actually think this issue is an open question, I suggest we debate the following:

A. Whether or not it's right to herd all illegal immigrants into concentration camps and then gas them.

B. Whether or not it's right for Fox News host Sean Hannity to hold a knife to President Obama's throat while interviewing him.

C. Whether or not it's right to incarcerate anyone who criticizes insurance companies.

Because, you know, rational citizens with a right to free speech need to discuss things like this.

On radio.

During drive time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Modest Proposal for the Nicholls State Colonels

(Thanks to the T-P for highlighting this amusing story.)

Look, we shouldn't be mad at the graphic design people who came up with this:
Because when your mascot is a Colonel, there really aren't too many good places to go. After all, you started with this:

A mascot that takes you from the Confederacy to Nazi Germany just isn't hanging out in good neighborhoods. Forget the debates about recalling our racist past vs. preserving history. A Colonel just doesn't do much for the average sports fan.

Thus, I propose that Nicholls State (if you're going to stick with a mascot with so few inspiring images) use the only Colonel I can think of who actually makes almost everybody smile:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Football GOLD, Jerry! GOLD!

The Wangmaster is producing spectacular stuff at moosedenied, but few are commenting on it.

This bothers me.

Mayor's Race

I'm not blindly jumping on to the James Perry bandwagon(as some might want to accuse me of doing). However, I've done some research on him, and I like what I see so far. At least he's using the language of progressive politics. And he seems intelligent, interested in real coalition-building and collaboration, and uninterested in personal material gain.

And I'm not really inspired by the other two declared candidates.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Wisdom of Saints DE Bobby McCray

From Mister McCray's training camp memoirs, which one day will be reviewed in the New York Times Book Review and the Times Literary Supplement, but for now is being excerpted in the Times-Picayune:
This is training camp. No leaving the hotel. I call it jail. If you need something, have somebody drop it off to the hotel for you. But you don't need anything. This is training camp. As long as you don't forget your helmet, your mouthpiece and your shoulder pads, that's all you need.
This could all be a quiet and clever effort by Mister McCray to update the Tao Te Ching for a modern Western audience. To wit, please consider this excerpt from the great Chinese work:
When the ancient Masters said,
"If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,"
they weren't using empty phrases.
In fact, let's rearrange some of Mister McCray's words into a more poetic style:
This is training camp.
No leaving
the hotel.
I call it jail.

If you need something,
have somebody drop it off
to the hotel
for you.

But you don't need


training camp.

As long as you don't forget
your helmet,
and your shoulder pads,
that's all

you need.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cash for Clunker Levees

This brief post grows out of a comment my brother (let's call him Mr. Thalia) made to me on Facebook.

Where's the urgency to provide cash for clunker levees and cash for oil-industry-clunkered wetlands?

Now that the T-P has taken the Saints off of the front page and put Army Corps of Engineers news there (thank goodness), we see that it can take 40 years for the ACOE to design and then build something.

So let's think about this. The ACOE is very excited to give us levees that have a 1 percent chance of failing in a given year (e.g. the "100 year protection" we hear about--a misnomer that Tim has warned us about).

Are you willing to go 40 years knowing that in each of those years, there is a 1 percent chance of failure?

I grew up in a country filled with smart, can-do people, people who say "Why not?" We can do this. Let's do 10,000 year (.01 percent failure rate) flood protection.

And let's not take 40 years to do it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Times-Picayune and Have Lost a Sense of Proportion

Look, I'm as big of a Saints fan as there is, and perhaps my brother Saints fan Berto will disagree with me, but here goes:

I'm uncomfortable with the over-prominence of Saints coverage in the paper and on

The Sports section (as far as I'm concerned) can be All Saints, All the Time.

But there is way too much prime news real estate being occupied by Saints news in NOLA's primary for-profit news source.

Instead, given how dependent our mere survival is on this, there should be a levees and wetlands story EVERY day. There should be some kind of countdown meter measuring how long until the Army Corps of Engineers gets us 100-year protection (which the Dutch roll their eyes at and is sufficient, I believe, for farmland and cattle). There should be a running blog on how little the Obama administration has done to lead a real recovery in New Orleans. And so on.

The Saints stuff is just a bit much.

On the front page and home page, that is.

On the Sports page, I'm all about the Black and Gold, BAYBEE!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Mayor's Race

Just sitting around on a Sunday morning at the beach, trying to get this here blog restarted.

For me, the big issues that our next mayor will need to deal with (since the current guy hasn't), need to be:

1. Crime
2. Housing
3. The drainage situation directly in front of my house
4. Infrastructure (fix the streets, cut the grass)
5. Economic Development
6. Education (I only rank this at this low level because I don't think the mayor can do much about this in Orleans Parish. It has to come from other sources.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

World Class Innovation and Collaboration in NOLA

Entrepreneur magazine already featured our city on its cover this month, and now the New York Times has picked up the story too.

I am most inspired by these lines:

“The thing about this city, like no other — everybody wants everyone to succeed,” said Seema Sudan, the owner and director of design at the knitwear company LiaMolly, who moved to New Orleans in October 2007. “I have never been in a place that is so community-oriented,” she
said. “Competitive gets you nowhere. It’s about being collaborative. And this city is so like that, from the people helping each other rebuild their homes to building businesses.”

She said she also appreciated the quality of life, and the fact that she paid $800 for a 900-square-foot studio in the Garden District, and $1,800 for a three-bedroom apartment with a yard and tree house.

Two years into his project, Mr. Cummings remains enthusiastic.

“I am blown away by the caliber of talent,” he said. “It’s a thriving creative culture of invention. And it is growing every day.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a Bad Day for NOLA When Shelley Midura Steps Back

I'm an unapologetic fan of Shelley Midura.

This is a bad day for World Class New Orleans.

She's World Class.

I liked her anyway, but I had the privilege of attending a lunch at the World Trade Center when the Ambassador from Saudi Arabia to the United States visited New Orleans.

Shelley welcomed him in a two or three minute speech IN ARABIC.

World Class.

I wish she'd run for mayor.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Toxic Culture for the Heart

Governor Mark Sanford's public meltdown and Americans' reaction to it are good evidence of a basic illness in our popular culture (and our political culture as well). Actually, let's just call it an illness in our culture as a whole.

I suppose that most of us (me included) have been somewhat amused by but also horrified at the totally inappropriate public performance of a guy who until now was a go-getting man of alleged principle. It's been both riveting and cringe-inducing.

But really, why do we have this reaction to him? Our outraged or amused or uncomfortable reaction to him is in total contrast to the kinds of movies and songs and stories we all make popular.

In "High Fidelity," Nick Hornby is on to this oddity:

People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss.
Think about this comment from the other side of "love." We don't worry about our kids (or us) watching movies or listening to songs that cajole us into "following our heart" and searching for true love, or looking for and finding our "soulmate." Disney and other studios churn this stuff out by the bushel, and we eat it up.

And yet when we are confronted by a guy who actually did this, the reaction is "What a loser!" or "How horrible!" or "What a hypocrite!" or "This is hilarious!" And we want to know all the details so we can stomp on the guy.

I'm not defending Sanford, and I know that this mess is having a terrible effect on his wife and children. Families and spouses and children are never the same after this kind of thing happens.

Sanford is a self-indulgent guy at this point in his life. His affair and then his shrink-session-style press conference are evidence of that. His abuse of the language of religion and faith is at least as unforgiveable as his infidelity is.

It's just that I think we all participate in some kind of bait-and-switch for the heart.

In Disney movies, we often cheer people who shun convention and "dull" long-term commitments to family and chase the whims of their hearts.

In political life or other important arenas, we give them the "tsk tsk" and a sneer, and we feel superior.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Governor Mark Sanford is a Hybrid of Ray Nagin and Bill Clinton

Gov. Sanford at a press conference: "I spent the last five days of my life crying in Argentina."

First, that's a GREAT title for a country song.

Second, can't this guy save the blabber for the shrink's couch? Sort your life out, please, but don't do it on national TV. On a human level, I feel for the guy. But this is undignified, even for a Republican.

Third, disappearing for days then melting down in public. Pure Nagin. Chasing skirt in Buenos Aires. Pure Clinton. An unholy amalgam indeed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Comparative Beers

I find Lazy Magnolia's Indian Summer Ale to be FAR superior to Abita's Satsuma Harvest Wit.

I am a BIG fan of Abita, but the Satsuma stuff just doesn't do it for me. I'm not a fruit and beer guy, and this particular brew from Abita tastes more like a Holiday brew than a summer brew to me. But that's just me with this one brew. I love every other Abita brew.

The Lazy Magnolia Indian Summer just nails it. Summer and beer and fun and nice with food. Beautiful. World class. Thank you, Kiln, Mississippi.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Naked Bikers in French Quarter

This opens up all sorts of possibilities for us in the Black and Gold Bike Patrol.

I hope that these people were able to display some Saints pride somewhere on their persons.

I wonder if anybody had a fleur de lis hardhat on.

If we adopted this uniform standard for the bike patrol, I would miss the jumpsuit.

I think most viewers would wish Berto and I were wearing the jumpsuits too.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Do-ers, Trek, New New Orleans

1. From the NY Times Magazine today:
“How do I say this delicately?” [Senator Max Baucus] asked. “President Bush, he liked being president. You know, there are be-ers, and there are doers. And I think he liked being president, as opposed to doing.” Obama, on the other hand, strikes Baucus as a doer. “You’ve really got to work at it, rather than just enjoying the job,” he said.
Most of us aren't in a position at this point to assess whether President Obama actually is going to be a real do-er--and I think he does in fact like BEING president (Who wouldn't?)--but I take this comment from Senator Baucus as a positive sign.

This comment also leads me to reflect on people I encounter in my professional life. I am often confronted with people whose job is to have and keep his/her job. These people are not interested in doing much, in taking the risks necessary to accomplish great things. Popular mythology would lead you to believe that those sorts work exclusively in government. To the contrary--I see these people all the time in private business and in the supposedly more entrepreneurial world of private or religious education.

Be-ers--that's old New Orleans, old Detroit, millenial New York City. These are the people who show up to work with the number one goal of impressing others with how in tune and smart they are, showing how much they are into "moving forward," and protecting their salary and company car and weekly meetings with those in the know.

Do-ers--that's new New Orleans. These are people who show up to work trying to stir the pot and get things done, willing to say "no" or "I disagree" or "Waitjustaminute," willing to be fired in the cause of trying to push the envelope.

Old New Orleans is still around, protecting turf and overpaying for "smart" people from out of town who help them protect the status quo in subtle ways. Are you listening, Ed Blakely and others of your ilk in key positions around the city? Carpetbaggers, your days are numbered.

2. New New Orleans also includes the likes of Oak Street. Have you been there since the initial round of street repairs? Wow! The T-P quoted a guy in his 80s who said Oak Street has NEVER been this nice. These ARE the good old days.

Check out the new Rock N Bowl, too. Old New Orleans will tell you what a shame it is that it had to move and everything. Baloney. John Blancher has done it right--moved it a few blocks away in Orleans Parish, next to his other business to promote efficiencies of scale. And the new place is great.

3. To answer Tim's question: I love the new "Star Trek." I confess I've seen it three times in the theater. And I enjoyed the third time MORE than the first two times.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Even Snarky Stacy Head Should Be Forgiven a Little Indiscretion

Look, I'm not a big fan of Stacy Head. Not a fan at all. I didn't vote for her in the original race for the seat.

But cheesh. This email business ain't right.

Like any redblooded American, I read the few emails posted here at

The stuff I'm reading in these emails--it sounds like a normal person with normal questions and the First Amendment right to be snarky.

What's wrong with that?

Tracie Washington disgusts me.

In the age of email and Twitter, either we all have to be indulgent of one another's foibles and moments of snark, or no one will ever be eligible for a job or politics or membership in a church.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Steps Have Been Taken

I have been informed that certain fans of the Black and Gold have initiated efforts with benign supernatural forces to ensure a Black and Gold Super Bowl in Miami 2010.

Last year, when similar efforts were made, the Saints went from 3-5 in the Dome to 5-2 (6-2 if you count the London game).

This year, the efforts have been intensified so as to achieve a 10-0 home record (8 regular season, then a bye week, plus two playoff wins).

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Two Saints Players Make Like Norman Robinson

So two benchwarming Saints players made like Norman Robinson last night by urinating publicly in an Elmwood apartment complex parking lot.


Not world class.

A few brief thoughts:
  • Let he among us who has not sinned thusly, cast the first stone.
  • I can almost guarantee that this kind of behavior was MORE common on Saints teams in the 60s and 70s, with players like Doug Atkins, Steve Stonebreaker, and Danny Abramowicz around.
  • I hope that the next time something like this happens in Orleans Parish, I don't read or hear comments about how trashy the city is. These two goofs marked their territory in Jefferson Parish this time. And you know it's going on in suburban Dallas and Houston and St. Louis and Miami.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ashley Morris Day

I had thought that tomorrow was Ashley Morris Day. But Hana reminds us it's today.

I have more to say about our champion, the man who lived the Warrior's Code. (Thanks for that song, Greg. You cost me 99 well-spent cents on iTunes that will lift my spirit forevermore.) But this will have to suffice for now.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Deuce News

I still say we should re-sign him after the dust of the draft clears.

Thanks to the Jackson newspaper and Fletcher Mackel for staying on the Deuce story.

Anybody like me and want a #26 Network on cable? You know, All Deuce, All the Time.

Monday, March 02, 2009

STILL Not Stuck on Stupid

General Russell Honore was the speaker Sunday for NPR's "This I Believe" segment.
He tells a good story and still serves as a witness to truth and decency.
I should note that General Honore will be in New Orleans in May to receive an honorary degree from Loyola University New Orleans. Fittingly, that will take place in the Louisiana Superdome.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chin Up, We Will Poke Fate in the Chest and Sneer

In the past 10 months, Ashley Morris moved on from our midsts, and Deuce McAllister was released by the Saints.

And we trudge on, because that is what we do in World Class New Orleans. That is what Dr. Morris and Mr. McAllister would have us do.

They task us.

They task us.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Praise of the Krewe of King Arthur

The first weekend of parades, I really don't pay a whole lot of attention.  Oh, I attend a few.

The one parade that I truly relish is the Krewe of King Arthur.

As Ashley and Berto and I used to discuss regularly, the Krewe of King Arthur is a parade that looks and acts like New Orleans--not just one sector of New Orleans.

Westbank.  Eastbank.  Black.  White.  Brown.  Tan.  Hispanic.  Palewhitelikeme.  Asian.  Jazz.  Hip hop.  Brass bands.  Dance teams with speakers blaring electronic garbage.

It's all there, all out there, with no pretense, other than the quite-accurate pretense of being a damned good time.

King Arthur is the Gentilly, the Superdome Terrace, of Mardi Gras Parades.

A parade in FrenchAfricanItalianIrish New Orleans named after an English king.

I love this city.  I love this parade.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Disappointment in Washington, DC, Leads to More Thought of Secession in World Class New Orleans

The economic stimulus package that just passed Congress has engendered mostly disappointment in me.

1. The biggest disappointment for me has been the groupthink of the Republican Party and the behavior of my congressman, Joseph Cao. I will discuss below why I am not a fan of the bill that just passed, but it is simply stunning to me that NOT A SINGLE MEMBER of the congressional GOP was able to vote for it. Not a single member. So much for the Republican Party being a "big tent." It's a Big Tent of Zombies, as far as I'm concerned, until they prove otherwise. I'm not a registered Democrat, but the GOP is going to make me become one.

2. The Times-Picayune told me really all I need to know about our new congressman. Earlier this week, Congressman Cao told us he would vote his conscience and probably vote for the bill. Then he voted against it, completing the GOP "Big Tent of Zombies" sweep of no's. From today's paper, we hear the following from Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia:

"Mr. Cao is a terrific representative and voice for the people that elected him. I think he understands that even in a district as challenged in terms of the economy as his, that was devastated by the hurricanes, by Katrina, even in his district that polls indicate that 55 percent of people are against this bill."
So it turns out that Mr. Cao's "conscience" is determined by 55 percent of the voters in his district. Thanks, Mr. Cao, for voting against the bill after voting for it (with your public words). I hope you go the way of John Kerry.

I don't necessarily believe that 55 percent number anyway. More importantly, Mr. Cao has lost my vote in two years with this kind of indecision, weakness, and lack of independence. He can win it back, but it will take work. And a sustained display of manly virtue.

3. The stimulus package shows why this republic is in trouble. The congressional Democrats acted like bad stereotypes, as did the Republicans. President Obama seems to have just gone along in order to get a win.

We need more than a win. We need real change. This ain't it. That's why the bill doesn't excite me. $787 billion of meh.

4. Furthermore, the Louisiana congressional delegation (the whole lot of them) ought to be ashamed of themselves. First, a few facts:

Louisiana makes up 1.38 percent of the U.S. Population
As one state among 50, Louisiana is 2 percent of the U.S.

Now, consider that of the $787 billion total in expected spending, Louisiana is expected to reap approximately .48 percent of the spending in the bill.

Louisiana isn't being represented in the United States Congress. We are being ROLLED OVER, and have been for years. It's wrong. It's just wrong, and the clowns we have there now are just enablers. Clowns indeed. I consider Steve Scalise to be the biggest clown of all, although at least he's not a diapered clown.

5. We provide the nation with oil and seafood and coffee and soul, and we get rolled. I will repeat the need to explore secession. The New Republic of West Florida--this time to include New Orleans, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, and the Bayou parishes stretching all the way to Beaumont, Texas.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

You Gave Me Much Comfort and Joy, Blossom Dearie

I was listening to Blossom Dearie music when I read on the NY Times website that she died yesterday at age 82.

I thought I "discovered" Ms. Dearie about 10 years ago. I walked into a colleague's office, and he was playing her music. "Who is THAT?" I asked. He told me. I immediately got a Blossom Dearie greatest hits CD, and immediately my life became better. I'm not exaggerating.

Little did I know then that I had loved Blossom Dearie since I was a kid, as she was the voice in "Schoolhouse Rock" on "Figure Eight," "Mother Necessity," and "Unpack Your Adjectives."

I regret that I never got to see her perform in New York.

Wow. Wow. What a vibe. What a voice.

Cosell Reminds Us of Days We Don't Want to Remember; Coach G. Williams is a Bright Future

Check out this chestnut:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

BACK and still swingin'.

I'm back from three days at the Washington Mardi Gras.

More importantly, Supa Saint is BACK and ready for next season. This video changed my life, and the special guest star looks ready to put on the pads (though I doubt he will).

World Premiere: The New SupaSaint Video - Supaloose from Steve Wolfram on Vimeo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Saints D.C. Provokes Questions

I'll try to get back into the blogging groove with this question for the one or two people who still read:

Notice any similarities between Gregg Williams (new Saints defensive coach) and Alexandra Cabot of Josie and the Pussycats? Is this intentional? Or is it naturally occuring? (And I'm not talking about the sneer.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cutting-Edge New Orleans Greets President Obama

President Obama's speech made me feel like an adult citizen. He sounds like a guy who is prepared to tell people "No" if they come into his office with crazy ideas about looking the other way while torture, malfeasance, fraud, and civic neglect go on. He sounds like a guy who actually wants to hear that those things are going on so that he can do something about it.

Our friends at Dirty Coast have long said that New Orleans is "so far behind, we're ahead."

The President's speech yesterday reminded me that post-Katrina, this is only half true.

New Orleans is just ahead now. To wit:

President Obama: "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

America needs to catch up on this one. We started doing that three and half years ago, and we have a lot of knowledge and experience on which the nation can draw.

Berto forwarded to me the picture below. Nuff said:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Token Blog Post

More on the way soon. Been traveling and parenting and stuff.

In the mean time, I am already finding inspirational life lessons from our new defensive coordinator. I believe this applies to how we need to live life in World Class New Orleans. NOTE: In "sneer," I do not read inappropriate aggression or harm toward others. I read confidence from knowing that you got what ya got.

"I learned to coach with a sneer, because players are going to look at your attitude, and if you don't have an attitude, they won't have an attitude."
Coach Gregg Williams
Defensive Coordinator
New Orleans Saints