Sunday, August 31, 2008

We are exhausted but safe and sound, relaxing at my in-laws house, enjoying a glass of wine. When we left, New Orleans was a ghost town, crawling with police and National Guard. I have been on the go since 4:30am - oofa! We are north of Baton Rouge in a house that survived the Civil War and many hurricanes. We rode Katrina out here. This time around we have a generator and a window unit - woohoo. Luck has been on my side. The airport was being locked down when I arrived. It was packed and the look on the people's faces when me and the other 25 people walked off the plane was "you guys are nuts." I think I got the last taxi cab too. I gave the driver a very generious tip. He said he was staying. A couple of our neighbors are staying. For our evacuation drive, we stayed off the interstate and made very good time. Most people had already left and traffic was light. Wish us luck and I will post more when there is something to report. Now it is wait and see.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My road trip has been quite a blast, and those of you on Facebook have had some idea of my travels. I was supposed to fly back to New Orleans Wednesday, but with Hurricane Gustav bearing down, Dorie and I left Amarillo, TX at 5am in hopes I could catch the 11:55am flight out of Albuquerque. We made it to the airport in time, around 10am, but there were no more flights. I'm not exactly sure why, something about no more connections from Dallas to NOLA. I am now booked on the 6am flight out which gets me into New Orleans around 11:30 am Sunday. If I don't get home before the storm, I'm afraid it will be another week before I can. So now I'm at Dorie's trying to sit tight.

G and I will probably evacuate to his parents' house north of Baton Rouge if the storm doesn't turn. So that's the news from here, I'll keep you posted.

I will say, the iPhone rocks! The maps saved our butts a couple of times and the internet access has kept me connected and in the loop (maybe too well).

The one weatherman I trust, Bob Breck, has a blog now, which I will be keeping a close eye on.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tonight I plan on going over to Tipatina’s to check out the “battle” of the high school marching band that’s part of the Instruments A Comin' initiative. I was in band in Jr. High (flute) and loved marching band. The bands are one of my favorite parts of Mardi Gras parades and college football games. I was very happy to read that one of my fav musicians, and fellow Floridian, Tom Petty, donated a sizable chunk of change to the effort.

I think this quote from John Summers sums it up well:
"When you put a horn in a student's hands, you've taken him off the street for four hours," Tiller said. "And when he's done (with rehearsal), he's so tired that he's going home and going to sleep. If every band has 100 kids, and you've got 15 high schools, that's 1,500 kids off the street.

"We're not just making music. We're saving kids."
One week until I leave for my road trip!

I’m bummed I’m going to miss Rising Tide III but I will go to the meet n greet at Buffa’s Friday night.

We have our route roughed out, but it isn’t hard and fast and no real time line, except we must be in Albuquerque by Sept 2. I’ve got my AAA Camp Books so we can find camp grounds and my AAA maps for GA, NC, TN, AK, OK and TX.

August 23 Dorie and I will meet in the Atlanta airport and fly into Augusta and spend the night with her sister and bro-in-law. Sunday we will drive up to visit her parents who are at their cabin in the Smokey Mountains. Because of this detour we won’t be going through Chattanooga, but heading to Nashville. From Nashville, we’ll hop onto the Natchez Trace and take that down to Tupelo and then over to Memphis. After Memphis it’s I-40 all the way, with detours of course. Hot Springs, AK is one, for a hike and a soak. We’re thinking we’ll just drive straight through Oklahoma unless someone can come up with something else besides the Cowboy Museum. The Amarillo area will be our destination, home of the Cadillac Ranch and the “Grand Canyon of Texas.” After that’s it’s the home stretch to Albuquerque. If time permits and we still want more hiking we’ll go to 3 Rivers Petroglyph Site south of Albqu. September 3 I fly back to NOLA, refreshed and relaxed (I hope). Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prospect What?

Maybe I’m out of touch with the New Orleans art scene but I haven’t heard anything about Prospect.1, except from a couple of clients who are gearing up for it.

Prospect.1 New Orleans will be the largest international exhibition of contemporary art ever presented in the United States, showcasing the work of 80 artists from around the globe while establishing New Orleans as a major center for contemporary visual art exhibitions.

It seems to me this will be a very big deal for New Orleans. It puts it in the same league as New York, Paris, Venice and other “art” cities. Is it because it’s still 3 months away? Or because Saints/LSU/Tulane football season is around the corner?

With Prospect.1 New Orleans' policy of free admission, extended hours and daily guided tours, and through significant outreach efforts, it is projected that more than half the people visiting the exhibition will come from within the state of Louisiana. Within New Orleans, a full-time education coordinator will organize free bus transportation and age-appropriate docent guides to the exhibition for all public school children K-12. It is also anticipated that thousands of art lovers will visit New Orleans for the opening of Prospect.1 New Orleans, and thousands more to see the exhibition during its eleven-week run (Saturday, November 1st, 2008 until January 18, 2009).
So mark your calendars art lovers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sometime earlier this week, Wall Arch at Arches National Park in Utah fell. An arch is a natural formation made by wind and Arches NP was full of them, hence the name. Some parks may have one or two arches, but Arches had them all over. It was like being in a Road Runner cartoon. The dessert really looked like the cartoons, which was a bit of a surprise for me, having grown up in Florida. I visited Arches in the summer of 2000. It was to be the first of future annual hiking trips with my friend D. We were a little over ambitious, this being our first trip and all, though we still had a blast.

I flew into Las Vegas and D and I packed up Big Red, her pick-up, and drove the 452 miles to Moab, UT. I don’t think we realized how long the drive was. I remember it being very late, like 11 pm when we rolled into town. It was too late to find a campground, but we did find a hotel, that looked like log cabin, to crash for the night. The next morning we drove the short trip to Arches. It’s a huge, sprawling park and you can see quite a bit from the comfort of your car. But not us, we wanted to hike! We picked the “Devils Garden” trail where we saw Wall Arch along with Navajo, Partition, Landscape, Double O and Private Arches. Devils Garden was a 7.2 mi hike and it was blistering hot so the name was appropriate. There were cool narrow ledges and fins to walk on and of course, lots of arches. The next day we took a rafting trip on the Colorado. It was perfect after a long hot day of hiking. We spent more time out side the raft, drifting along the gentle current (much calmer than down by the Grand Canyon). It was hot and because we had to wear life jackets, all you had to do was bob along. There were a few rapids, which made for some excitement. Next day we were back at Arches, visiting Delicate Arch. Not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights. Our next destination was Horseshoe Canyon where the promise of spectacular petroglyphs awaited us. It’s in the next park over, Canyonlands NP, but in a remote part not accessible from the main park. It was a bit of drive, off the highway and across unmarked, unpaved washboard “roads.” We met with our first primitive campsite. There was a vault toilet and nothing else. Our previous two nights of camping was at a cozy private campground with a store, pool, showers, etc. so this was quite a change. We were the only people there in the middle of nowhere. Things were fantastic until after sunset. Then we got a little freaked. We didn’t sleep much so we were up bright and early for the hike. A ranger was supposed to be leading a hike that day but we got started before they arrived and only saw two other people the whole day. The next day we spent driving to Bryce National Park where we spent a day or two. (See what I mean about being over ambitious? We now spend each trip at one park.)

Friday, August 01, 2008

Weekly Photo Challenge: "Ephemera"

I got this packet o' crap for the City of New Orleans last month when I went to the "Mayor's Round Table for Neighborhood Association Leaders." The Mayor was a no-show, he had an "emergency" and couldn't attend. It's probably better he wasn't there, he'd be a distraction. There were representatives from every imaginable city department. Brenda Hatfield took the reins and made the opening remarks for Hizzoner. "The recovery's going great, blah blah blah" then opened up the floor for questions. Everyone was very patient, answering questions, except Veronica White. She needs to work on her people skills. She made it clear that this was a waste of her time. One person asked about garbage collection at a neighborhood park. Parkways picks it up and they are very underfunded and understaffed. The person asked "why can't Richard's pick up the trash when they come through the neighborhood?" All Ms. White would say "It's not in their contract." She refused to explain or even converse with the man. Someone else stepped in to explain it to us peons who do not understand the clusterf*ck that is city hall. Hmmm... that sounds bitter doesn't it? Overall I didn't think the meeting was a complete waste of time. I thought is was good the city was reaching out to us, so we could spread the word to the people we represent. And I want to thank you Mr/Ms tax payer for the finger sandwiches and cut veggies we snacked on. Lilette's would have been nicer but I guess after the credit card hoo-haw they thought better of it.

I have lost all confidence C. Ray and as I said before I'm glad he wasn't at the round table he called, like everything else he'd be a hindrance not a help. I think the Gambit put it perfectly in their Commentary "The Feckless Mayor":

No, Mr. Mayor, you need to stop. If anyone is hurting New Orleans' recovery, it is you.
Maybe throw in Blakeley too.