Tuesday, February 04, 2014

It's all down hill to Mardi Gras now

My last post was 1/7 so it's been less than a month since I posted last. Woot! Let's see, what has happened in the last month...

I survived the polar vortex that shut New Orleans, and pretty much the whole state of Louisiana, down. We didn't get any pretty snow just sleet. It was freaking arctic here. I grew up in Florida and have lived here the past 20 years so I'm not accustomed to below freezing temperatures 3 days in a row. A freeze over night is not a big deal because I sleep through it. We were hunkered down like in a hurricane. During all of this I had the crud. I've been sick for 2 weeks now and finally think I'm getting over it.

And even though I was sick as a dog there was no way I'd miss the Pussyfooter's Blush Ball. It's our annual fundraiser which didn't happen last year due to an early Mardi Gras and the Superbowl. I laced up in my new corset, got glammed up and managed to go until about 12:30am. Strangely there are very few pictures of me that I've seen but here are the ones George Long Photography took. We sold out and exceed our fundraising goal, ending up giving METRO $34,000!
That me on the left pointing.
I've also been gearing up for Mardi Gras which is one month away. Looking at this month's calendar, it's full of Pussyfooter dance practices, Krewe of SPANK den days -- where we work on our float, throws and costumes -- and Krewe of Muses events like throw pick-up and float viewing and of course, parades. I'm not riding or Pussyfooting in the Muses this year. It falls on my birthday, so instead I'm going to enjoy the spectacle at my friends' parade party. Of course, I have to stay mum about the themes and throws for Muses and Krewe du Vieux/SPANK but will post after the parades are over. I will Pussyfoot in three parade: Carrollton, Nyx and Orpheus. I can't wait!

Other than that, pet sitting has been slow. I remember that happening this time last year. I'm trying to build up the dog walking side of the biz since that's steadier income. Doing a little design and also doing PR for the Freret Street Festival that will be April 5th. Been shopping for a new set of wheels. Visiting dealerships and test drives is fodder for a whole separate post. Skeeball started back up and we won our first match last week. Yay!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

New Years Non-Resolutions

Seriously???? BRRRRRRRR
Most people start off a new year with a list of resolutions. Usually things like "exercise more" "eat better" "drink less" "sleep more" "less TV, read more" etc. As I was heating up left over fried chicken to eat for lunch I realized so far this first week of 2014 I'm done the opposite of all these things. I have eaten fried chicken (now twice), pizza (also twice-I love leftovers), an Egg McMuffin (haven't had one in years) and roasted pig (mmmm). I wanted to eat a piece of king cake last night but it was all gone before I could. I haven't picked up a book all week. I care too much about football. The Saints made the play-offs and WON their first game. The nerve-wracking nature of Saints' game drives me to drink (I'm a victim!). And now they are playing again this Saturday. Lord help me and my liver. And then there was that little game last night, you know, the BCS Championship Game that the FSU SEMINOLES WON!!!! Holy cow what a roller coaster of a game. I'm still blown away. I've spent most of this frigid day indoors, wearing sweatpants (hey I changed out of PJs, that's something) sitting in front of my computer, messing around on-line. I did return one business call. And emailed some proofs. But my to do list still has a whole heck of a lot more on it to be crossed off. I really should go to the grocery store and make something for dinner. I haven't cooked since January 1. The only exercise I have had are two, 1-hour dog walks and a one-hour dance practice. But look, I wrote a blog post! That's something! Right? I think I'll wallow in the Seminole victory a little longer. I'm sure there's some videos I haven't seen yet.

Noles #1!!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

My annual Gonzo Halloween Greeting.
 Halloween's a big deal in New Orleans. People here love any reason to get costumed up. Many people, myself included, have a costume collection. I have a small closet where all my wigs, costumes, and accessories live. Being in the Pussyfooters I get to dress up year round. Saturday we were in the Krewe of Boo parade that was an absolute blast! I found the cutest witch hat at the grocery store of all places, and built my costume around that. We all had to wear our pink corsets. Our colors are pink, orange, white and silver so Krewe of Boo is the rare chance to wear some black. Most of the pieces I already had. In addition to the hat, I bought the striped gloves and tights. I also found orange, battery operated Christmas lights that I sewed onto my tutu.

The whole ensemble with Staar behind me.

Me with one of my Camel Toe Lady Stepper friends.
Me with fellow Pussyfooter witch.
That's me photobombing my scarey doll friend. (The Times-Picayune)  
I also carved pumpkins this weekend. I knew they rot pretty quickly here thanks to our warm and humid weather. But this year was an exception. I put them out Sunday night, by Tuesday they were in my compost bin.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Somebody went to New Orleans and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

My next post was going to be about all the road construction going on in New Orleans, but before I could do that, I was over on the Yellow Blog where I discovered that things are heating up over at the French Market. Comments made by the new director, Jon Smith, have angered some French Market vendors. The vendors were already ticked off by changes made in Market rules in 2012 and they filed a lawsuit which is still pending. This article just gives more proof to how screwed up things really are at the French Market.

One sentence made me take pause: "T-shirts also are prohibited, but a number of vendors who sold them before the ban went into effect were grandfathered in." Before Katrina, many, myself included, was lamenting over the proliferation of tacky, tourist t-shirt shops in the Quarter. These stores would cram dozens of t-shirts, usually with crude sayings on them (like these), in the doorway, all the while blasting music, sometimes Cajun, sometimes not. It was really getting out of control. Since Katrina, there's been a new explosion of t-shirt shops by local companies whose New Orleans themed t-shirts are geared to locals and tourist in the know. Stores like Fleurty Girl, Dirty Coast and Storyville to name a few. T-shirts are a hot commodity so it's surprising the Market would ban them.

Tacky t-shirts are no longer the only thing that scream tourist. What are the (tourist) symbols of New Orleans? Crawfish, something playing the saxophone and beads. Beads are no longer contained to Mardi Gras. The tacky t-shirt shops also sell beads, beads, beads. Feather boas are big too. The hot trend in conferences is in addition to your big old name badge and printed bag is a fake second line. There have been several times I've been down river when a brass band comes by with a handful of people decked out in beads and feather boas stumbling down the street behind them throwing beads. Like this company says on their web site: "We go beyond shutting down Canal Street for your own “second line” parade, bringing in voodoo priestesses to conjure your future and teaching you the Cajun two-step." Under Services one of the "Program Enhancements" they offer is a Jazz Funeral. Good grief.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

French Market Corp. finally jumps on the Local bandwagon

"French Market Corp. hires Jon Smith as executive director after first pick declines job over salary dispute"

I read this article in the SomeTimes-Picayune print edition Wednesday (not to be confused with NOLA.com or T-P street) and just sighed. Quasi-private/public whatever orgs always seem disorganized. Reading how many hands it’s been through since the last official director stepped down reconfirms this in my mind.

I hope what Mr. Smith is saying isn’t just lip service:
"This is such a jewel for the city and it's just been so horribly mismanaged for so long," Smith said. "It needs someone to come in there and do the right thing and just be honest and transparent and forthright."
A mix of local artisans plus cheap trinkets is OK in my book. However, there doesn’t need to be 20 stalls selling the same silver jewelry or tacky tourist t-shirts. I like that you can go there and get inexpensive souvenirs, but there’s too much of the same stuff. Varg over at the Chicory is an artist who sells at Jackson Square and he’s OK with that too.

I have a friend who had a shop for many years in the Pontalba that sold locally made art tiles. The French Market Corp. runs the building and squeezed him out. There’s been a ton of national chains coming into the French Quarter and that seemed to be the direction they wanted to take their shops. They wanted to raise the rent and probably could get more money from a national chain than a mom-and-pop shop. I haven’t gone to see what took my friend’s shop’s place out of solidarity. (I’m also miffed because he’s let me use his bathroom. VERY important in the toilet-poor Quarter.) (I also do have to admit I am VERY excited about H&M opening a store in the Quarter. They aren’t even a national chain. They are international. But I digress.)

It remains to be seen if Mr. Smith does do the right thing. I know I’ll be watching.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Pleasant Morning

This morning I went for a walk. According to my fitness app I haven’t taken a morning walk since May. Oops. But that makes sense. Once summer kicks in even early morning walks are just too hot. The Autumnal Equinox was yesterday, marking the first day of Fall. We don’t have Fall here in the deep South. We do usually have some nice, cool, dry weather in October but it’s not Fall like other parts of the country. It does usually signify the end of the unbearable summer heat. This morning, the sky was clear, the humidity not too bad, and there was a slight breeze. People I encountered on my walk had smiles on their faces and said “Good Morning.” Could be the weather, could be the Saints victory yesterday. It was a relief, after the nail biter against Tampa last Sunday, to have a game where the Saints led early, held their lead and played well. Mark Ingram was noticeably absent, much to many fans’ relief I’m sure. Fellow ‘Nole, Patrick Robinson, is out for the season much to my dismay. I watched the game at Publiq House on Freret for the first time. I liked it. They don’t serve food, but we picked up burgers from Company burger and brought them with us. Plenty of HD TVs, good beer selection, no smoking and dog friendly. My kind of place!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Rising Tide 8

I attended another Rising Tide this year and it has inspired me to blog more. The New Orleans blog sphere that rose up after Katrina has settled down with many of the people, myself included, blogging less or not at all. It's always nice to see the people I used to read almost daily. Plus the conference always has good content, a great lunch and refreshments.* A bargain at only $20 a ticket.

This year I spent most of my time in "Tech School" to brush up on my blogging and on-line presence. I learned some new stuff that I'm looking forward to trying. My friend Addie from Culicurious was on the second panel and did a great job. The biggest take away was just dooooo iiiiiit.

Gen. Honore, the keynote speaker, gave a rousing speech about Louisiana's disappearing wet lands, unfair and illegal practices by the oil companies, and the politicians who take money from oil companies and don't hold them accountable. He told us to work to change things, if not for ourselves, for our children, even if it meant engaging in civil disobedience. He was also quite funny but whenever his gaze came my way I felt the need to sit up straight and say "yes sir!"

There will be video of the conference soon, once it's been edited. Uptown Messenger live blogged some of the conference. I high recommend checking out the video once it's out. Video of past conference is available on the web site. I missed the tourism panel but I heard it got rather heated.

*Only in New Orleans is there a keg at a conference I bet.