Saturday, September 29, 2007

Little Known Louisiana Facts
  • Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the nation at 450 feet.
  • The Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans is the largest enclosed stadium in the world.
  • The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest over-water bridge in the world at 23.87 miles.
  • Louisiana's 6.5 million acres of wetlands are the greatest wetland area in America.
  • The oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase Territory is Natchitoches, Louisiana founded in 1714.
  • The first bottler of Coca-Cola, Joseph Biedenharn, lived in Monroe, Louisiana.
  • Delta Airlines got its start in Monroe, Louisiana. (But before it was named Delta, it was Chicago & Southern.)
  • Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is the largest predominantly black university in America.
  • Baton Rouge was the site of the only American Revolution battle outside the original 13 colonies.
  • The formal transfer of the Louisiana Purchase was made at the Cabildo building in New Orleans on December 20, 1803.
  • The staircase at Chr├ętien Point, in Sunset, Louisiana was copied for Tara in "Gone with the Wind.”
  • Louisiana is the No. 1 producer of crawfish, alligators and shallots in America.
  • Louisiana produces 24 percent of the nation's salt, the most in America.
  • Much of the world's food, coffee and oil pass through the Port of New Orleans.
  • Tabasco, a Louisiana product, holds the second oldest food trademark in the U.S. Patent Office.
  • Steen's Syrup Mill is the world's largest syrup plant producing sugar cane syrup.
  • America's oldest rice mill is in New Iberia, Louisiana at KONRIKO Co.
  • The International Joke Telling Contest is held annually in Opelousas, L ouisiana.
  • LSU “The Ole War Skule” in Baton Rouge has the distinction of contributing the most officers to WW II after the U.S. military academies.
  • The Louisiana Hayride radio show helped Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash achieve stardom. It was broadcast from KWKH Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana from 1948 to 1960.
  • The term Uncle Sam was coined on the wharfs of New Orleans before Louisiana was a U.S. territory as goods labeled U.S. were from “Uncle Sam.”
  • The game of craps was invented in New Orleans in 1813 as betting was common activity on the wharves.
  • When states had their own currency, the Louisiana Dix (French for ten) was a favored currency for trade. English speakers called them Dixies and coined the term Dixieland.
  • New Orleans is the home of the oldest pharmacy in America at 514 Chartres Street in the French Quarter. These early medical mixtures became known as cocktails (guess they were good for what ails ya?) coining yet another term.
  • New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz the only true American art form. Jazz gave birth to the Blues and Rock and Roll music.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A little Miss Mae's update for those who care... I obviously shot this out my open car window. I could smell the wet smokiness (fire smoke not stale cigs) as I sat waiting for the light to turn green. There was a hand lettered sign posted by the open back door "closed due to fire."

I wonder if they will take this opportunity to fix the place up a bit? I've only stepped foot in there once so it doesn't really matter to me. Guy's Po Boys on Magazine had a fire a couple of months ago. When I drove by a few days ago they had a sign that said "2 weeks" and you could tell they have really spiffed the place up. I used to live catty corner from Guy's and it didn't have much ambiance before - dirty white walls, big open room. Now it looks like there is color on the wall and artsy blue glass drop lights. Most places in New Orleans are resistance to change, but really, a lot of places are just plain dumpy. I loved the old Cafe Atchafalya on Louisiana, the food that is, but it was like sitting in your grandmother's kitchen that hadn't been touched in 30 years. Even upstairs where you dreaded being sat, is cozy now.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Miss Mae's/The Club has had it rough the last year. Sometime this spring, if I recall correctly, a car took out several of the support posts for the balcony, right by the front door. That's been repaired and the police barricades removed, but now this:
Blaze damages Uptown barroom
Fire started next door to Miss Mae's
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
From staff reports (T-P)

A three-alarm fire damaged popular nightspot Miss Mae's at Napoleon Avenue and Magazine Street on Monday night.

Fire officials believe the fire started next door at Cafe Bayard and jumped the 18-inch gap between the buildings, according to Chief Glenn Trainor of the New Orleans Fire Department. The owner, Marc LoCasio, was in the 1905-circa cafe building at the time and called 911 to report the fire at 9:07 p.m. The extent of the damage to that building was unclear.

Fire officials say they had some resistance from bar patrons who were reluctant to evacuate because they were watching the Saints game.

Most of the damage was confined to dead space between the walls and between the first-floor ceiling and second floor, Trainor said.

The fire was declared under control at 10:15 p.m., Trainor said.

He said there were no injuries to bar patrons or to firefighters.

My favorite part is the Saints fans who didn't want to leave because the game was on!

I drive by most mornings on my way to work. I've seen curious people looking in the back (side?) door. Today, Miss Mae herself was sitting next to the open door, in her preposterous wig, talking to well wishers. Or at least that's the story I made up in my mind.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

After I posted yesterday's pictures G cleaned up. Here you can see new floor without all the stuff on it. The dark wood is bamboo and G's sneaky... the bamboo flooring isn't under the carpet but it has the illusion of an area rug. The rug is from Flor, modular carpet tile. He laid both the bamboo floor and rug on top of the old wood floor.

Hana checks the new rug out.

And this is what G did today - installed the wood panels. This is taken from the same angle as the photo above. The bed will go directly in front of this. Which means soon we can go shopping for a new bed - woohoo!

G also made an area rug for the dining room with Flor tiles.

This line is called "House pet" and Hana LOVES it. She likes to pick a square, like she is here, and hangs out in to. Gonzo does it too - if we get a few more cats, we could play cat chess!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's a peaceful Saturday. It looks like the feared former tropical depression #10 won't slam New Orleans. Baton Rouge - where the Tigers are handily beating SC (Boo Spurrior! Go LSU!) - is getting some rain. It's just overcast here. We could use some rain. It's been beautiful this week - cool, clear and dry.

G has been busy installing flooring in what will one day be our bedroom. Every couple of hours I pop my head in and take some photos of the progress. It's looking great.

before, around 11:00 am

after, around 5:30 pm

I wanted to get started on my fall garden this weekend. I cleared out all the weeds last weekend and figured out what I will plant. With heavy rains forecasted for the weekend, I had decided to postpone planting seeds for fear they'd get washed away. But now I may go ahead. On the topic of gardening, about a year ago I heard "Don't buy cypress mulch because they are cutting down Louisiana's cypress forests." I thought that cypress wood would be too valuable to cut trees just for mulch. But then the Sierra Club came out with:
Cypress mulch was always a by-product of lumber mills that were producing flooring and such. But now entire forests are being cut down, and a study by the Governor's Science Working Group and Advisory Committee concludes that up to 80 percent of the areas being logged will be unable to regenerate. The Louisiana Forestry Association says no unsustainable harvests are taking place.
From Save our Cypress:
The Save Our Cypress Coalition, a group of Louisiana conservation and environmental organizations, is calling upon Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe's to stop purchasing and selling all cypress garden mulch until a verifiable, third-party certification program is operating to ensure no cypress is being sourced from non-renewable coastal wetland forests.
I've always used pine straw for my garden - you need live trees to have pine straw. Once it starts to break down, you can just turn it under and mix it in the soil. I encourage everyone do not buy cypress mulch.

I got a link to the below YouTube video from a friend today that does a good job explaining the situation in common terms.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Here's another plug... for those of you who want to "keep it local" and buy from local merchants, surf on over to StayLocal!'s web site. You can search their on-line data base of businesses, and add one too. My company, Creative Zumo, is designing their neighborhood guides. So far there's Mid-City, Freret, Viet Village and Old Algiers with more to come in the future as they get funding. Because Magazine Street has their own merchant association and guide we won't be doing one for them. But you can always search their website for businesses on or near Magazine Street.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Cursedtea has some lovely photos of our mutual neighborhood up on her blog.

Some of you may have remembered the t-shirts I put up on Cafe Press after Katrina. I updated the design on "New Orleans c'est moi" because I thought the original one was boring. The super simple "NOLA" design had been very popular and the "Laissez les bon temps..." also continues to sell. So there's my plug.

Friday, September 14, 2007

OK, this is really weird... Monday, my sister, who lives in LA, had her car stolen. It's not weird her car was stolen -- it is LA -- but it was the same day our downspouts were stolen. It's freakin' me out man!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What's goin' on?

Check this out. Very nice. Click on"Enter" and make sure you can hear the music.
"Remember: Rebuilding is a marathon, not a sprint."

I saw that on a law office sign on Carrollton Ave. while driving in Mid-City yesterday. A good reminder. We had a neighborhood association meeting Monday night and we have some very frustrated people in our neighborhood. We had 2 candidates come speak to us. Most people asked intelligent questions but there were a few that made you go "huh?" and feel sorry for the candidate. Maybe I shouldn't say "stupid" - isn't the saying "there are no dumb questions"- I should called them uninformed or just not thoroughly thought through. After the candidates left, it became more of a free-for-all, which is weird for our little laid back group. G was pretty good talking people down with facts and logic, though with a few it wouldn't sink in - that's what happens when you close you mind and refuse to consider a different perspective. Or maybe our group of neighbors have always been this way, now that I think about it; it was me and my patience (or lack of) that was different. When I got home from work that day, the front gate and the side gate to the back yard were both wide open. The side gate has a padlock. I called G to see if he was expecting anyone. No... and that's when I realized our copper downspouts had been stolen. I carefully looked around to make sure no one was still in our yard and if any windows looked broken. The coast looked clear. G came home and we checked everything else to see if anything was missing. Didn't look like it. I don't know if this is a problem in other parts of the country, but with the high cost of copper, people have been stealing stuff to sell at scrap yards.

So this is why my temper was short Monday night. I was pissed. And I have to say, our neighborhood was relatively unscathed by Katrina with no flooding, so I have little patience to listen to these people bitch and moan about the recovery and crime. And when our president asked if anyone wanted to head up a neighborhood crime watch, the room fell silent. Typical. Whine about stuff but don't step up the the plate. Yeah, I'm frustrated too people. Suck it up and if you can't, shut up, you're bringing me down. Argh...I'm getting myself all worked up all over again-can't be good for my blood pressure.

Whenever we travel, people asked "Why do you stay there? Why not move to another city?" All the cultural riches here and other good stuff aside, that would mean starting over somewhere else: new city, new friends, new jobs, plus, it's next to impossible to sell a house right now. So leaving, to us, is harder than staying. I'd be lying if I said I haven't thought about leaving because I have. We've invested ourselves in this city and we've just got to hunker down and ride this out.

Hmmm... maybe I'll make a new t-shirt "Suck it up and if you can't, shut up, you're bringing me down." What do y'all think?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I'm a person to watch!

The women's networking group I help start, Women & Wine on Wednesdays, got noticed by New Orleans Magazine and I, along with the other three founders, were named People to Watch 2007. I never thought any sort of good recognition would ever come from my drinking! If I may be vain for a moment, it's a terrible picture of us. Though I like the Srgt. Pepper's-esque photo they photoshopped us all into.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Have you ever been choked up over a restaurant? Not choking but choked up, full of emotion. The T-P has been running a series of articles about Mandina’s Restaurant. It’s one of the classic New Orleans neighborhood restaurants, whose cuisine is referred to as “Italian Creole.” It’s one of the places I always take out-of-town visitors. It’s been in the family for 4 generations, opened for 75 years and flooded after the levee broke post-Katrina with up to 6 feet of water.

It’s a typical Post-K story. The owners went back and forth about whether to rebuild or throw in the towel, tear down or renovate, how to finance since the insurance company wasn’t coughing up. They got some insurance money, but have filed a lawsuit against Lloyd's of London in an attempt to receive the full amount of their wind and business interruption policies. Luckily some local banks have faith in the business and has loaned Mandina’s money, even after the renovation costs more than doubled what was originally estimated. They reopened in February to a full house, a line around the block.

So why get choked up? It’s just a restaurant, right? It’s more than that; it’s symbolic of all the people and places that make New Orleans, New Orleans. A hope that if they can do it, so can someone else. It’s kind of like a loved one walking after being told they’d never walk again. If Mandina’s decided to call it quits, of course life would have gone on. It’s the same if the Superdome was never reopened, the Saints moved to another city. However, it’s these seemingly trivial things that make life here worth living. They are unique gems that are special to the people of New Orleans. They are part of the city’s long history.

I bet no one had ever said that about a StarbucksTM®.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I'm glad THAT's over... August that is. Now to get through September. Last night we were out with friends at our new hangout, the Rendezvous on Magazine, G played "Wake me when September Ends" by Greenday on the jukebox. That was sort of a mantra September 2005 and holds true still.

The eve of K+2, we got together with neighbors after dinner. We stayed in contact with our neighbors through out our Katrina imposed exile. I'm the secretary of our neighborhood association so I had the email list of everyone. A couple of our neighbors also ended up in Houston and we got to see them there. It was nice Wednesday evening, sitting around and talking about normal stuff and not talking about K+2. G and I agreed that ignoring the anniversary was a bad idea. We needed to do something; getting together with the neighbors was good. We also drank a bottle of good wine we brought home from California last fall.

School has started, the college students are back, football season has started and we have elections coming up. People are starting to shake off their summer hibernation and the energy in the city is starting to pick up again. Thursday was a football first - the Saints and LSU Tigers were playing at the same time. I know there were many people attempting to watch both (we didn't watch either). Of course the LSU game actually means something. I don't pay attention to pro pre-season. Speaking of college football (Go Seminoles!) Gaby and I did the media guide for Tulane football this year. Our client has promised us tickets to the first Tulane game. Not that tickets are particularly expensive (I take taht back, looking on -line they . And they play in the Superdome so it's unlikely they'd sell out. I still say football played indoors is wrong. I've been to one Saints game and a couple of Sugar Bowls, and it's unnatural watching football in air conditioning.

Hmmmm... searching on-line for Tulane tickets and I guess I was wrong! The first home game is against Mississippi State and there are no individual tickets available for the game. I remember when I was at FSU my roommate sold her ticket for the U of Miami game one year for $50. Cha-ching. I went to the game. It was good and FSU won . If they had lost I would have been kicking myself for not selling my ticket too.

This is a little shrine, if you will, on our mantle. The guy on the left is William the Conquerer, G bought him and the Bayeaux Tapestrey playing cards on our Normandy trip. On the far right is a Russian Icon, "Mary the Eternal Bloom", I bought at NOMA at a great exhibit recently. In the center is St Gertrude, Patron Saint of Cats, "protector of cats, fever suffers, gardeners and pilgrims." I may have to buy one for my garden.

I love the internet. I Googled St. Gertrude and I found the Patron Saint Index which says she is Gertrude of Nivelles (not to be confused with Gertrude the Great) and is the the patron of:
accomodations; against mice; against rats; against suriphobia; cats; fear of mice; fear of rats; fever; gardeners; insanity; mental disorders; mental illness; mentally ill people; pilgrims; recently dead people; suriphobics; to obtain lodging while travelling; travellers
My! Maybe if I was Catholic I would have already known this. She's a good saint to have around. G bought this after our trip to Milwaukee, so she works. My travels during my vacation went well and we also always found lodging. What I also need is the saint of lost articles - I thought I lost my driver's licence prior to going through security on my flight to Albuquerque. Fortunatly, I hadn't, it was just misplaced, but that was a theme this trip. It seems like I was always looking for something. When I was home and unpacking, I couldn't find the new dress I had bought on my trip. Dorie's husband found it a few days later in their garage, still in the bag. The worst was probably my first trip to Utah; I lost my wallet not once but twice during the trip. It was found and I got it back both times. Now that's lucky.

Back to the Saints index... all of these saints are for "lost articles"

But St. Zita is specifically "lost keys" and "Against losing keys" I'm going to make St. Zita key chains! I'll make a fortune! I just have to find a better image of her.