Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I will admit I never cared about the Saints before Katrina. But that first game at home at the Dome, the energy, electricity and hope in the city was incredible. The Saints were back home. I cried during the Green Day U2 opening performance. I still tear up when I hear "The Saints are Coming" or "Wake me up when September Ends." I've watched every game since that one. I am now a total Saints fan. For the last two years we walk over to our neighborhood bar to watch the games. It's usually packed, especially during away games. We yell, scream, curse and Who Dat?! until we are hoarse. It's a blast. Better than Mardi Gras. And you know what? The Saints team are a class act. Sean Payton is not going throw his head set in a tantrum because of a call he didn't like (though he will murmur "bullsh*t" behind his play card). The players are a team and respect each other. They have a job to do and they do it. I loved one moment during one game the commentators were talking about the team during half time. One guy said "They aren't your father's Saints." Ditka chimed in "They aren't MY Saints." He got that right.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Unfortunately, I have not taught there since, either because they didn't need me or scheduling conflicts. I miss teaching and being an adjunct was great. You show up, you teach class, you grade. You don't have to get involved in committees and other academic nonsense. I don't have much patience for bureaucracy, which is why I decided not to pursue teaching full-time and went back into private practice.
I haven't been back on campus other than to go to the Symphony book fair. I was sad to read this article in the T-P.
Meanwhile, Delgado is continuing its steady post-Katrina growth with 16,715 students this semester, 16 percent more than last fall and only 4 percent below its pre-storm high of 17,398, which it reached days before the hurricane struck in August 2005, Delgado spokeswoman Molly Jahncke said.
For the first time in Delgado Community College's 88-year history, the area's most populous institution of higher education has turned away 1,500 applicants because it ran out of building space.
.. eight of the 21 buildings on the City Park campus are unusable.
They used to have stuff about the flooding after the federal levees flooded, including photos, but that appears to no longer be on the web site. There isn't even a mention of it under "Our History." I typed in Katrina in the search box and the info does still live, Hurricane Katrina Chronicals, just no recognizable links from the current website.
Monday, September 07, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Tomorrow marks 4 years since Hurricane Katrina made land fall. I’ve struggled thinking about what to do to mark the occasion, like I did for last week’s anniversary of my mother’s death (Needless to say, August, especially this last week, is particularly emotional for me.). I have a friend’s baby shower to go to. I remember thinking when I got the invitation, “Are they crazy? Do they know what day that is?” But maybe they did it on purpose to symbolize rebirth and renewal; life must go one. I imagine anyone who lived here 4 years ago must have August 29th burned in to their memory, unless they are in very deep denial. I’m glad it falls on a Saturday this year. It was odd the last 3 years to go to the office and work, just like it was any other day. But it wasn’t. Sure there are bell-ringings, plaque dedications and wreath layings across the city, but I couldn’t connect with that. The other day, a friend who had surgery a few months ago proclaimed that she was finally ready to go out and wanted to go to Rock ‘n’ Bowl. I pulled up the music calendar and saw that Kermit Ruffins was playing Saturday. Perfect.
After bouncing around from house to house to house in Baton Rouge the first few weeks of September 2005, we decided to head to Houston. We weren’t the only ones, many of our neighbors ended up there, as did Kermit Ruffins. He wrangled a weekly gig at a Jazz Club downtown and it when he played, it would be overrun by New Orleanians. We got there early and while waiting for friends and neighbors to arrive, got a drink and noticed a couple sitting across the room. The guy was wearing a huge gold Saints Jersey and Saints baseball cap and we took the table next to them. Turned out the women worked at my friend’s gallery in the quarter and they lived in Gentilly. When Kermit took the stage I started crying, wondering when I would be able to go back home and what would I be going home to. It felt good to have other New Orleanians around who understood what you were going through and could talk about it. I hugged neighbors I wouldn’t normally hug and let Kermit’s music and voice wash over me. The crowd stood around listening to the music, but when he broke out into “We are Family” everyone cut loose, dancing and singing along.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here's the link.
Best Place to Get a Bloody Mary - Louisiana Superdome
Glad to know I'm not the only one who would have thunk it? But they are fantastic. My number 2 would be Molly's at the Market.
Best Neighborhood Bar. I'm glad to see my neighborhood bar, Rendezvous, did not make it on the list. Keep those posers out.
Best College Hangout & Best Place to Karaoke lets me know what places to avoid. I didn't realize Budda Belly had Karaoke.
I predict we'll see Avenue Pub showing up on this list next year. The new and improved AP hasn't been discovered yet. It would qualified for Best Beer Selection, Neighborhood Bar, and they should have a category "Best Bar Food."
Best Beer Brand - 1. Abita, 2. NOLA Brewery 3. Budweiser. Budweiser? Seriously? I guess Bud Light drinking like to take on-line pools.
Best New Restaurant - Glad to see Gott Gourmet made the list. I'm surprised to see Rum House, it's only been open a few months.
Best Cup of Coffee & Best Coffeehouse - Glad to see all winners are local.
Best Public Spat - Wow, Stacy Head is involved in all three!
I like this one: Best New Job for Mayor Ray Nagin - 1. Garbage Man 2. Making License Plates in Prison 3. Cleaning the French Quarter for SDT
Muses got voted Best Carnival Night Parade. I certainly have to agree.
I like their comment about NOLA.com's comment section though it can be next to impossible to find stuff on the site.
Best Local Web Site - 1. Nola.com - The online arm of The Times-Picayune features the paper's excellent reporters and some interesting blogs and multimedia. Now if we can only get them to clean up the toxic soup that infects their comments section. Mr. O'Byrne? Please? 2. Bestofneworleans.com 3. WWLTV.com
Best Local Blog - 2. Blackenedout.blogspot.com How is it I've never heard of this blog? Now it's going to get slammed.
I find it interesting that Best Men's Clothing Store & Best Women's Clothing Store are all national chains save Perlis. Are you paying attention over-priced Magazine street boutiques who only carry size 0-2??
Best Wireless Phone Service - 1. AT&T - SERIOUSLY??? I have AT&T and they suck for cell phone service.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
"Monday, September 7, 2009 will be their final day of operation at that location."
Well crap. While it wasn't the best cinema to see a movie, it is (was) the only place to show "art house" and "foreign" films. Since I'm not the type of person who must see a movie the day it comes out on the big screen, I'm quite content to wait for a movie to appear on DVD and get it through NetFlix. File under "ain't there no more."
UPDATE: Apparently Gambit only had half the story. Today's T-P says the cinema is closing but another group will take it over, renovate it and reopen it.
Friday, August 21, 2009
The conference starts Saturday at 9 a.m. Ouch. I'm not really one who follows celebrities but I am very excited that Harry Shearer is going to be the keynote speaker. He's so talented, I hope I get a chance to meet him. It can be hard to get a word in with other bloggers (they can talk as much as they type) and I'm sure Harry will be the belle of the ball. The conference has been getting some press so it should be interesting to see what this year's turn is like.
That evening there will sure to be the post-party somewhere, but I'll be scooting off to go join my fellow FSU alumni at the Greater New Orleans Seminole Club inaugural meeting. Years ago there was a club but it became defunct. Thanks to the tireless Shrimp Po-Boy we again have a group. That's 7-10pm at Cafe Prytania, 3445 Prytania Ave, in case some fellow Seminole stumbles across this page.
Sunday marks 10 years since my mother passed away. In her memory I'm going to have a movie marathon of some of her favs. I already watched "Clue" (can't ever get enough of Tim Curry and a favorite board game of ours) and saw "Young Frankinstein" when I was in Albuquerque (Gene Wilder was on of her favs). First up will the "Blues Brothers," hands down her #1 fav movie followed by "Murder by Death" (she loved murder mysteries and had a great sense of humor). I have all of these on DVD. Another fav is "Ladyhawke" that I only have on VHS - it's kinds of a silly movie with a bizarre soundtrack by Alan Parson's Project, but has Rutger Hauer and Matthew Broderick so there you have it. And I should get a Dirty Harry but there's only so much sitting around I can do at one time so we'll see. Plus I'm going to make Hungarian stuffed cabbage and that can be time consuming. Hmm... maybe I can roll the cabbage rolls while watching one of the movies?
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Their website rocks and they have fully embraced all the new media available. No Facebook page though? I downloaded the Spinal Tap app for my iPhone. You have to be careful where you use it. Every time you launch it, it starts cranking out a song.
The new CD is over the top as well, with a pop-up diorama of the band.
So of course I'm thrilled that Harry Shearer will be the key note speaker for this year's Rising Tide Conference. I missed it last year, but am already registered.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Before that T-P did this article November 2007 about how the City's 2008 budget was not going to include recycling.
[Veronica] White said that, in light of other pressing needs, the city cannot afford recycling, too.
"I need to have money to recycle," she said.
Midura said she realizes that the city's recycling program, like most across the country, never drew enough participation to generate sufficient savings in landfill disposal costs to cover its own expenses. But she said the city still should provide the service because of its environmental benefits, even if City Hall has to subsidize it.
At what point are the landfills so full and costly that recycling is a cost saving measure?
I cough up my $14 monthly fee so the Phoenix recycling will come pickup my paper and plastic. They stopped collecting glass last year, which is really annoying. STD offers curb-side recycle for a fee, and I now learn from Gambit that there is yet another company offering it, The Pooh Bah Group.
Pooh Bah is cheaper than Phoenix, only $10 a month. I sort of want to continue to support the first company who started a recycling program post-K but I could save $48 a year. What I want to know is how can 3 competing companies offer curbside recycling if there’s no money in it???? I don’t understand.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
My friend K and I are trying to not take New Orleans’ fantastic music scene quite so for granted. I don’t have the stamina I once did to go out late to see music, especially not on a work night. We took advantage of Tipitina’s Free Fridays a couple of weeks ago and saw a great show with Soul Rebels and DJ Soul Sister. Even though the place was packed, we scored a great spot upstairs. Last night, we ventured to d.b.a. It’s been a while since I’ve hung out on Frenchmen Street. It was hopping last night. I was pretty surprised for such a crowd on a night in July, but what do I know?
Lost Bayou Ramblers were playing. A great young Cajun band out of the Lafayette area (a.k.a. “Cajun Country”). K and I had the pleasure of discovering these guys at the Creole Tomato/Cajun Zydeco/Seafood Festival back in June. It was a blistering hot Saturday afternoon. We walked around for a while, had lunch but it was just too hot, so we parked ourselves in Café Angeli and had some cocktails. Once we had cooled down and had a nice buzz we wandered back to the music stage to catch the end of Sunpie and the Louisiana Sunspots set. After Sunpie, the Ramblers came on.
About half way through their set, the power went out. This did not deter them in the least. The bassist unplugged himself and jumped off the stage into the crowd. The rest of the guys followed suit with the drummer grabbing his snare from his drum kit.
They moved over to stand on some steps near by and the crowd followed them, clapping keeping time. Sunpie had been dancing in the crowd when this all happened. He rushed off to grab his accordion and joined in. I don't know if the techs got the power back on, but nobody cared. It was one of those magical musical moments.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
The T-P had a story about it today. link
In my almost daily drive-bys on the way to the office I've notice some minor activity at the site. I was wondering if the seafood place would happened. Maybe it will.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
A for sale sign appeared outside our community garden this week. As neighborhood assoc pres. I got many phone calls and emails about it. The way it works is, the garden is on private land and can stay there as long as the the owner allows; the gardeners maintain the land and pay the water bill. Unbeknownst to the gardeners and even Parkway Partners, the land had been adjudicated by the city and sold for $20k in November 2007. The currently asking price is $89K. If anyone pays that much for the property I'm sure they are not going to leave a community garden on it but rather build a house or apartments. Many people in the neighborhood love the garden. Non-gardeners come to enjoy the green and tranquility. I suggested a few options such as, create an LLC or some other legal intity and buy the land ourselves; convince someone to buy the land and let the garden remain (hello Brad Pitt?); start looking into some of the other empty lots in the neighborhood and see if we can move the garden. I remains to be seen how it plays out. But it will be a sad day when the garden is gone.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
About Happy Days
The severe economic downturn has forced many people to reassess their values and the ways they act on them in their daily lives. For some, the pursuit of happiness, sanity, or even survival, has been transformed.Happy Days is a discussion about the search for contentment in its many forms — economic, emotional, physical, spiritual — and the stories of those striving to come to terms with the lives they lead.
What a refreshing perspective now days when it seems all the media focuses on if the negative. I don't understand why the local news has to cover stories about murders and and what not in towns on the other side of the country. Leave that to the national news.
Today's "Happy Days" is about New Orleans. link The author, Dan Baum, seems to have really picked up on what makes people here tick - "Their preference for having more time than money was at the heart of what made that city so much fun to visit and so hard to leave."
And his closing sentence: "New Orleans can teach us that the life we build with our neighbors deserves at least as much attention as our endless thrust towards newer and bigger."
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I posted my photos from the hike to my Flickr account. There's supposed to be a way in embed a slide show on your blog and even in a post, but I haven't found any clear instruction on how-to and don't have the patience right now to figure it out. So if you want to see then here's the link:
If you want to see even more photos, there's a Lafitte Corridor group on Flickr:
This year's hike number exceed everyone's expectations. There were guest speakers and more stops. Massey's provided lunch and amazingly I think there was just enough for everyone. Massey's also paid for a bus to shuttle everyone back to the start but we exceeded the number of seats. A small group headed over to the Bulldog at the end of the hike to cool off and enjoy some libations.
My company designed a new logo for the Friend of Lafitte Corridor, and has been very well received. Their newly redesigned website looks great. Check it out here and learn more about the Corridor and the project: http://folc-nola.org/
Thursday, June 11, 2009
When I worked downtown I used to ride the streetcar every day. Some people think it's just a tourist thing but it's not. I must say I'm impressed by their punctuality. I checked the times on the RTA web site and they were right on. The first day I just missed it. I was drenched in sweat by the time I got to the office. After the first day I got smart and took a change of clothes with me. Yesterday I had one of those drivers with the fun personalities. The machine didn't want to take my dollar and he was cracking jokes the whole time. "Did you print that dollar last night?" Most of them are pretty nice. I remember the one man (pre-K) who would talk to the cars. "Whooo, hold that buggy!" he'd say when a car looked like it was going to cross in front.
Last weekend we did the Lafitte Corrodor Hike (I need to post photos!) and we rode the Canal Street line back to our car downtown. A great way to ride.
Friday, June 05, 2009
When you have 13-year-old car, you can expect it to break down from time to time. About a week ago I had trouble starting it. Turn the key – nothing. I checked the battery, nothing loose, wiggled some things around. After turning the key a few more time it started up. Had to turn the key a number of times to get it started at the end of day. The next morning, no problems. Didn’t have any problems until Wednesday. Took a number of times to get started. I should have taken the car into the mechanic then. Live and learn. Yesterday I had no problems. I had decided to go ahead and take it in today, and idea confirmed when it took many time to get it started. Driving along I noticed my radio kept powering off and on. All of a sudden it just turned off completely. I managed to coast over to the side. Turn the key, nothing. Mess with the battery and wires, still nothing. After a while I call AAA for a tow. I was told 45 minutes, so I sat and waited. As I’m sitting there, a trickle of very nicely dressed people start parking around me and going to the church across the street (I was broken down next to the post office on Louisiana Ave.) More and more people arrive. I’m guessing it’s a funeral. I notice men in gold blazers with “Zulu” on them. The crowd grows; a cop starts to direct traffic. I’m worried about my tow truck getting to me. I hear a brass band in the distance but I can’t see them. Now I’m kind of hoping my tow truck doesn’t show up for a while. A procession comes down LA Ave. and goes into the church. There were about 100 men in gold blazers standing on LA Ave, swaying to the dirge the band was playing, like they were marching in place. It’s been 50 minutes I call AAA. The truck is 5 miles away will be there in 20 minutes. An elderly woman walked by me asked if I needed help. I told her thank you but no, I was waiting for a tow truck. She said she read about the man who had died in the paper yesterday. “Must have been someone important, that’s a lot of people.” I agreed with her. The music stopped and slowly the men swaying in the street file into the church as other people file out. At long last the tow truck arrives and he gives the battery a jump and the car starts. He says I need a new battery and I tell him the other things that happened and that I was worried it would died again, so he says he’ll follow me to the mechanics. We go 4 blocks and my car conks out. He jumps it again. While standing there, my friend Michael, who lived near by, walks up “I saw on your Facebook status you had broken down and was wondering if you were close by.” I had posted the photo you see here to Facebook. I get in my car and we drive another 2 blocks. The tow truck driver states, “I’ll need to tow it.” No shit Sherlock.
I had not heard from my mechanic and it was getting to be the end of the day so I gave them a call. "It started right up" I was told. I was pissed and went off on a rant of the problems it gave me. They can keep it until they figure out the problem. I walked home which was good for the nerves. Monday the saga will continue.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
After donating last year’s canned goods in a recent food drive, I stocked back up for this season. Still need to get water… turns out there was a gallon from 2 years ago in the back of the pantry. It sprung a leak. That’s why the “use by date” is 2 years from when it’s bottled: isn’t not that the water goes “bad” but the plastic just can’t hang anymore.
Today’s paper had a special hurricane preparedness section with checklists, contraflow maps, lists of this year’s storm names, etc. I think even more helpful was Saturday’s column where readers sent in their thoughts. Another article that really interested me was “Airport a vital escape route from storms.” What fascinated me was this:
During Hurricane Gustav, federal officials originally wanted to stop flights about 10 a.m. on the day before the storm made landfall, but airport officials were able to get a few more hours of flying time, Wilcut said. "That allowed us to get a lot more people out of the city," she said.
The last flight out was Aug. 31 at 6 p.m., according to news reports. The storm made landfall the next morning about 10:30 at Cocodrie.
For Gustav, the airport opened again to commercial flights on the afternoon of Sept. 3. It took about two weeks to reopen to commercial flights after Katrina, Wilcut said.
As Gustav made its way towards Louisiana, I was road tripping from Georgia to New Mexico. Aug 30 Aug 31
I’m glad the airport didn’t close at 10 am August 31, because I would have been stuck in Dallas. I was in a serious race against time to make it back to New Orleans to help Greg evacuate. My friend in Albuquerque said I was welcome to stay as long as I needed to, but I would have lost my mind. I couldn’t even sleep the night of the 30th, I was so amped up with a singular thought “I must get home.” Not only would there have been a period of time during the height of the storm when I would have no idea if Greg was OK, but who knew how many days it would have been before the airports reopened. As you can see, after Gustav it was a few days. After Katrina, two weeks. One of the most important lessons I've learned about hurricanes and storms is no two or exactly alike.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Last Saturday we squeezed two festivals into one day. We needed our Sunday to do the mundane weekend chores.
First was the Greek Fest. Held every year at the first Greek Orthodox Church to be established in America back in 1866. It’s on Bayou St. John near the lake. The day started out gray with rain in the forecast, so we didn’t bother with hats and sunscreen and packed ponchos instead. An hour later it was full on sun. Oops.
We spent a few hours consuming a smorgasbord of Greek delicacies, a bottle of retsina wine (tastes like drinking water from a Christmas tree stand, but in a good way), browsing the market place, chatting with friends and taking in the music and Hellenic dancers. It had been a number of years since we had been (it’s usually beastly hot, which isn’t fun) and it has grown considerably in size; they apparently bought more land, probably after Katrina. Opa!
* * * *
We then went to the other end of Bayou St. John for Bayou Boogaloo, a festival of local music, crafts and food vendors.
Floating in the bayou seemed to be the place to be. Shade was limited and what shade there was, people crammed in under.
The music was great – we were too full to eat anything else – checked out the crafts and bumped into more friends. We only stayed a few hours because it was really getting hot.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
April 21, 2009, Day 0
2 Suspects were arrested for theft of copper at Lyons Center
April 30, 2009 – Day 9
2nd District Email blast from Major Little about arrests sent to Public via Google Groups
May 11, 2009 – Day 20
Irish Channel N.A. hears rumors about extent of vandalism and the possibility that the pool will not open this summer.
May 12, 2009 – Day 21
1st Email Sent to Councilman Fielkow and Councilwoman Head asking them to inquire about Lyons pool. These inquiries are forwarded to NORD and others for follow up.
May 14, 2009 – Day 23
NORD Dep. Director makes presentation to ICNA regarding NORD programs. He makes a statement regarding the Lyons Center Pool. “Mr. Barabino asked that I give a status of the Lyons Center Pool.” He further states that the pool is expected to open by “June 1”
May 22, 2009 – Day 31
NORD Director and Capital Projects Administrator address status of Lyons Center pool at a City Council subcommittee meeting. They state that they expect the pool to open by 2nd week of June. NORD was awaiting Entergy to install a pole to provide power to the pool pumps, at which time they could test the pumps. It was also reported the center had been broken into earlier that week and one person arrested. At the same public meeting a petition was presented to NORD Director and Councilman Fielkow with 196 signatures from neighbors asking that Lyons Center be opened. All signatures collected in less than 2 weeks.
May 26, 2009 – Day 35
Press Release from NORD Director and Capital Projects Administrator state “targeted a late summer date to open Lyons Center pool”.
We just want to know the real story. Several emails were sent in response to the May 26th press release asking why Friday the 22nd it was said the pool would be open in June, and now on the 26th it won’t be open until the end of summer. What good is opening the pool at the end of summer? And what transpired between Friday May 22 and Tuesday, May 26th? There was a Saturday, and Sunday and Memorial day in between these two days.
Part of the press release that addressed Lyon’s Pool:
Mayor's Press Office
City of New Orleans
1300 Perdido Street, Suite 2E04
New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 26, 2009
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM NORD AND CAPITOL PROJECTS
Unfortunately last month, the Lyons Center was damaged as a result of copper theft. The facility has been secured and further security measures, are being evaluated at this time. Understandably, the theft and resulting damages, have delayed NORD's plans to reopen the Lyons pool in June, but, NORD and Capitol Projects will continue to move forward with repairs and have targeted a late summer date to open Lyons Center pool.
----- Original Message -----
From: Arnie Fielkow
To: William M. Chrisman; Larry Barabino, Jr.
Cc: Jackie B. Clarkson; Shelley S. Midura; Stacy Head; James Carter; Cynthia H. Morrell; Cynthia Williard-Lewis; Deborah J. Langhoff; Eric Granderson; Katherine R. Schneiderman
Sent: Tue May 26 17:48:53 2009
Subject: Fw: Official Statement NORD and Capitol Projects
The lyons opening is inconsistent with the public testimony bill provided friday to the youth and rec comm. At that hearing, it was represented lyons would be open in mid june. How could your position have changed in 4 days? This is a major setback for the community!
----- Original Message -----
From: Brenda G. Hatfield
To: Arnie Fielkow
Cc: Jackie B. Clarkson; Cynthia H. Morrell; Shelley S. Midura; Stacy Head; 'James.Ross@mayorofno.com'
; firstname.lastname@example.org ; Ray Nagin; 'email@example.com' ; Larry Barabino, Jr.; William M. Chrisman; Deborah J. Langhoff; Eric Granderson; Katherine R. Schneiderman; Pamela S. Smith
Sent: Tue May 26 19:36:22 2009
Subject: NORD press release
Regarding your reprimand to Larry Barabino and Bill Chrisman today, wouldn’t it seem rational for them to promise a more reasonable date of late summer to open Lyons’ pool after gathering more capital repair information -- so as not to disappoint the community while aiming for mid June? Even doing our best, it sometimes takes longer than anticipated.
Can you give some credit for nine pools being ready to open along with 84 parks and playgrounds for recreation, cultural and educational programs for our youth, seniors and families to enjoy this summer?
----- Original Message -----
From: Arnie Fielkow [mailto:AFielkow@cityofno.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 8:58 PM
To: Brenda G. Hatfield
Cc: Jackie B. Clarkson; Cynthia H. Morrell; Shelley S. Midura; Stacy Head; James.Ross@mayorofno.com; Cynthia Williard-Lewis; Ray Nagin; Ceeon.Quiett@mayorofno.com; Larry Barabino, Jr.; William M. Chrisman; Deborah J. Langhoff; Eric Granderson; Katherine R. Schneiderman; Pamela S. Smith;
Subject: Re: NORD press release
Brenda, I am truly sorry you see it that way. There was no reprimand but rather a statement that there is little credibility when a senior official (and I think bill does an excellent job!) makes a public committment and then 4 days later the administration says something very different. The neighborhood leaders who were present on friday are pretty frustrated with this situation given the importance of the lyons center and the fact that this matter could have been averted with appropriate security. Even this past friday, I had to call the nord director because a door to the center was wide open when I passed by.....many kudos and thanks were extended to bill and larry friday for improving the facility issues and working closely with fema to close the reimbursement disparity.....I believe the community deserved a straight answer on this one but they can weigh in directly with you.
At this time, we wait for any further clarification on the matter.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
NORD's Lyon Center is in my neighborhood. No renovations have been done since Katrina. Last July at the Mayor's Round Table I attended last August a representative from NORD said that the Lyon's Center was under Architectural review and construction would start the end of the year. No work has been done since then.
Last summer the pool was open and kids from all around went. These are kid who parents can't afford to send them to a summer camp. And it's hot down here in the summer. The pool is a safe, supervised opportunity for the kids to have some fun.
April, two men were arrested after doing over $300,000 worth of damage to the Lyon's Center. Here's what someone from NORD emailed us about the damage:
There was substantial recent vandalism to the facility:Why wasn't the building better secured and monitored? That much damage can't be done in a day. Plus when the arrest was made there was evidence that people were living in the center!
Room housing electrical breakers for pool area- Stripped wiring, electrical breakers and pool valves and mechanics-Total loss
Under Gym Bleachers as well as Restroom- Copper tubing for water lines stolen and cut-Total loss
Large Conference in front- Most copper electrical wiring in ceiling striped ceiling destroyed to get to the copper
Additional rooms throughout building- copper electrical wiring in ceiling striped ceiling destroyed to get to the copper
Restroom Facilities used in summer season 2008- Inoperable -copper waterline tubing cut and stripped.
We have assigned an architect to the project- have to get the contract through the process- but never anticipated this most recent and significant damage of this extent and nature that will now have to be addressed. Of course with our high insurance deductibles the repair cost will be borne by the most part by the City. There are bond funds available ($1.7M)which were supposed to go toward overall improvements which will now have to be used for this remedial purpose. There is little to no likelihood that FEMA will even entertain the idea of any funding to address that vandalism. It is my understanding that the thieves were apprehended but any help that Council could give making copper theft less attractive will greatly help our and thousands of others efforts in the recovery. We will do what we can but this is a major blow to that facility which will be exceptionally costly and time consuming to repair.
I have instructed MWH that the City will no longer use copper piping in the construction of any of our facilities; however, electrical system, the most costly in the construction, remain wholly vulnerable.
So I started a petition, to be presented this Friday at meeting with the City Council, NORD and FEMA, stating it is NORD's responsibility to do what need to be done so that the pool can be opened this summer. If you agree, PLEASE sign the petition and tell your friends. THANK YOU!
Friday, May 08, 2009
We have a long metal shed across the back of our property that backs up to a field. One day in the last week or so it got tagged. Big time. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
I am amazed they were able to work in such close confines. There's only about 14 inches between the fence and the shed. G discovered graffiti artists wear latex gloves because he found some along with empty spray paint cans.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I love April in New Orleans. The weather, while very unpredictable, can be spectacular. Today, after several stormy days this week, is gorgeous. I remembered to put on sunscreen (unlike Mardi Gras) and put on a floppy hat. After voting and walking to Harry's Ace for a few things, we stopped by Cafe Atchafalaya for a crawfish boil. Lordy be, this was some of the best crawfish I've had in a while. Very flavorful, hot and spicy. They had a trio playing tunes while we stood outside, sucking heads, pinching tails, drinking beer and chatting with neighbors from the 'hood.
After our fill, we headed over to the Freret Street Festival. It's a shame I was so full of crawfish because there was some good smelling food there. It was very crowded. I was looking for a jewelry maker who is usually at the Freret Market. It took us our third time down the street for me to see her. I bought her shotgun house necklace. Love it!
(P.S. I can't remember if I said this before but a friend of ours bought Cafe Atchafalaya back in January and has changed up some things for the better. Open on Mondays. Check it out!)
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Just two days ago, the New York Times had an article about brewing in NOLA. Today, we get another shout out in an article "Reinventing American's Cities: The Time is Now" along with LA, The Bronx and Buffalo. The article mentions how I-10 sliced though a once vibrant community...
In New Orleans, for example, the 10 Freeway bulldozed through one of the city’s most vibrant African-American communities, becoming a psychological barrier between the black middle-class Treme neighborhood and the tourist-infested French Quarter.... but there was no mention of the UNOP or Master Plan; and the Master Plan calls to remove I-10 in this same spot. (UNOP may have addressed this as well, I don't know.)
I Googled the author's name (Nicolai Ouroussoff) and stumbled upon this lively blog, "Lost City" about disappearing New York landmarks.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Any old sign aficionado who's driven down Freret Street has noticed the Wah Laundry sign. The good news is the owners of this long neglected building is finally doing some work on it. It only took an expose on TV. Public humiliation does work! The bad news is they took the sign down. I snapped these pics just before they started work. Will the sign go back up? I'll let you know.
Friday, March 27, 2009
With the opening of a new brewery in New Orleans - NOLA Brewing - the brewing scene has been in the media lately, including a NY Times article "New Orleans Gets its Brew Back."
G has been a home brewer for years. After Katrina, his favorite local brewing supply store, Brew Ha Ha, sadly closed. He bought up some ingredients for a brew before they closed. Since then, he's made only one or two other batches of beer, after visiting a brew store in Houston. But in the last few months, a new brew supply store has open, Brewstock, on Oak Street and G has been a brewing fiend. Some folks got to sample one of his latest brews at our St. Pat's Parade party. Brewing beer makes G happy, which makes me happy. And it's also "green" - no one is recycling glass right now, so no beer bottles to throw away. (Wine on the other hand...) G's next plan is to try growing hops. I'll post photos on the garden blog once this get going.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
It started Saturday morning, 9am. It was a gorgeous day. G and went to a meeting for a briefing on the Draft Master Plan. Waste of time. I fully support the Master Plan and will read as much of the draft as I can, and attend another meeting for my district in April. But nothing new was unveiled at the meeting. After the podium got taken over by a civil rights activist who called everyone in the room racists, and microphones were being set up for the Q&A we decided we had had enough and it was time to go.
Tuesday evening I went to the District 2 NONPACC meeting, which was pretty good. Freezing cold room. A representative from the DA’s office was there. Under Canizzaro, the DAs and NOPDs are going to work together, no more pointing fingers, communicate with each other. What a concept! That would make a good TV series. Oh wait, it is. Sarcasm aside, I am hopeful that real change is happening, call me naive. The Gray Ghost made an appearance to talk about his Operation Clean Sweep. I bit my tongue and didn’t heckle him nor did anyone else. (I was happy to read this article “Graffiti eraser told to keep his hands off”)
Wednesday was the annual meeting with the NPN. Another freezing room, what’s with that? The meeting went way past the allotted time, and ironically, I blame the facilitator they hired. She talked to us like we were elementary school children. “So I want us all to practice active listening. Can someone tell me three things of interest Bob just said?” Clap, clap, clap. At one point, everyone was asked to pull a folded piece of paper out of a box. When we were allowed to open it, I looked at mine “Advice from a Cat” with a cute picture of a kitty. Debby sitting next to me had “Advice from a Butterfly.” Madam Facilitator went around the room asking who had the various animals “Where are my bears? RRROWWRR!” Yes, she made animal noises too. “What advice did you get from the bear?” She closed the evening with a poem about how “crazy” people change the world. Some one asked her who wrote it. She struggled with the name… “Jack Mumble… He wrote a book called On the Road…” Everyone yelled in unison “Jack Kerouac!” Lordy. (Side note: This “poem” was actually from an Apple commercial, not On the Road.)
Tonight’s there’s a townhall meeting with state representatives. I was going to go, but I’ve had enough public forums to last me a while. I haven’t had a quiet dinner at home evening with my husband in over a week. Plus there’s good TV tonight.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I feel baffled when people “play” the race card. One recent example: Veronica White calling Stacy Head a racist. In my dealings with Ms. Head she’s never said or done anything that made me think she is a racist. Thanks to an excellent post on American Zombie I now understand why I feel baffled – it’s not about race. Duh!
Have you noticed how people who boldly proclaim themselves to be something are usually the opposite? Vitter and family values for one example? If someone has to blow his or her own trumpet so much, it makes you wonder. Maybe we can assume the reverse – some one who keeps calling other people racist is actually the racist. It’s a game politicians play when running for office. Pay attention to whom is slinging the mud, directing the discussion away from issues and from themselves.
The old guard – black and white – is coming down and they are not going to go quietly.
* * * * *
It’s Springtime again. Which means everything covered in green pollen and I continue my gardening attempts seen here on my garden blog.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
A never-ending cycle – Part 2
Unlike Saturday, I went to all 3 afternoon Uptown parades: Okeanos (so-so, too much blaring bad music), Mid-City (nice) and Thoth (very nice). I walked from our house, up Magazine to a party at Jefferson stopping long the way to chat with people I knew. We were on a balcony, which is why I was able to get good photos of floats. I got a lot of exercise this day. Walked back home once the parades were over. Then G and I walked to a party over by Charlie’s Steak House and watched Bacchus on Napoleon Ave. Or I should say we tried to. People started setting up camp on Napoleon Wednesday; I know because I drive down it to work every day. We were stuck half way back, behind ladders. The worst part was using the City of NO port-o-potties. UGH.
Not going to watch parades on Napoleon any more. We got a call from a friend who was in the Garden District, so we crossed Napoleon and hoofed if over to 6th street. We caught most of the parade again. This time we could see since the crowds were smaller. We hit two parties during the course of the evening and there was zero food. After the parade we walked back to Magazine Street for some dinner and drinks.
I had learned my lesson from the previous years and took Monday off. I did go into the office for a bit and then spent the afternoon running errands. That evening we met friends on St. Charles Ave. to watch Proteus and Orpheus. I vowed to not drink too much so I wouldn’t be hung over Mardi Gras day. It didn’t work out that way since I was fed an endless stream of red wine. (I’ve decided wine and parades don’t mix. No beer either, makes me pee too much. Gin + tonic = good. Scotch = good) After the parade, you guessed it: Magazine Street for dinner and more drinks.
Mardi Gras day was another warm and beautiful day. After a fortifying breakfast we set out on foot to Liprap’s for their annual party. I love seeing all the people and costumes while walking along St. Charles Avenue. After visiting for a while we followed Adrastos and Dr. A to Krewe of Pants. We were at 3rd Street watching Rex.
shooting that took place? It happened 2 blocks away from us. We were oblivious until I noticed a cop running down the street, gun in hand, “Uh hey guys? That cop over there has his gun drawn.” Another cop appeared, then another. People started rushing by and we asked what was going on. Seconds later, many police cars with light going pulled up and an ambulance. We got herded inside and watched the proceedings from the windows. They recovered a gun near by and we saw both suspects get put in cars in cuffs. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the NOPD's response. It’s hard enough to catch bad guys, but when there are hundreds of people, probably drunk, milling around clueless, makes it even more challenging. The one plus of all the people was there were plenty of witnesses. Adrastos also has an account here. I had considered going down to the Marigny but it was too late once the cops let us out and my buzz was long gone. G and I just walked home and relaxed. Just when I had thought Mardi Gras was over for me, we got a call from the Mad Irishman that a friend who cooks for Commander’s Palace was making gumbo and potato salad and get ourselves over there. Man was that good eating. Drinks at the Rendezvous followed that. I drew the line at shots. Jagermeister at that. Yuck. Works slows down around Mardi Gras since clients are also busy with parties, parades and balls so I took Wednesday off to recuperate.
Mardi Gras '09 - excellent weather, skimpy throws, gorgeous floats that went by too fast, good company, marred only by the shooting.
Monday, March 09, 2009
I first went to the Car Talk web site and there were two instances of something like this happening to others.
Another possibility here. Have you removed the air cleaner top and verified that the air cleaner is not full of stuff stashed in there by rats?And I also found this on a Prius chat site.
Slim odds I know but a VW was towed into the shop one time that would barely even run and the housing was completely full of dog food. Rats had gnawed their way in and had turned the air cleaner into their own personal bank vault. The owner stated that he had noticed the car running worse and worse over time.
I hope my mechanic can cover up some of the inlets with screening as suggested in the articles. I’ve heard of rodents chewing on wire but never stashing food in a car. Ugh.
Monday, March 02, 2009
In case you didn’t know, the whole purpose of Mardi Gras is to have one big blow out before Lent. Many non- Catholic people in New Orleans observe a form of Lent. It’s sort of a do-over for the New Year’s resolutions you didn’t keep. I decided to do a mini-Lent between now and the Irish Channel Parade March 14th. No booze (whimper), South Beach Diet Phase 1 and lots more exercise. I think I can keep that up 2 weeks. And putting up here will give me motivation, I hope.
Similar to my idea is something my friend emailed me “Flexi-Lent”
Flexi-Lent is a modern twist on the traditional Catholic practice of giving up vices (like booze) and living healthy between Mardi Gras and Good Friday (which is the Friday before Easter Sunday). Some Catholics believe it is acceptable to drink on Sundays during lent. Irish Catholics naturally add St. Patrick’s Day to that list. Thus, it appears fine to drink seven times during Lent. You get seven exemptions, in other words.
Here’s the modern twist: Instead of being confined to those specific seven days, we have decided to make the exemptions flexible. In other words, you have seven exemptions (or 12-hour drinking periods) during Lent, which you can use any time you want. One can engage in multiple vices during one exemption period. (Note: There is no solid theological support for that rule.) Exemptions can be used whenever you want. They can perhaps even be bought and sold on the free market (but I’ll leave that to the theologians).
Also, there is typically a fitness component. I try to run 100 miles during lent, but my foot is hurt so I’m not doing that. (I’m working on some new goal
Finally, be smart with your exemptions. Save them. Don’t burn them quickly. And remember St. Patrick’s Day is one of the seven exemptions.
Flexi-Lent ends on Good Friday, at which point all Flexi-Lentarians will have a party, which will be known as Flexivus.
And remember: Flexi-Lent is Exci-Lent!
Saturday, February 28, 2009
So I survived another Mardi Gras. When I first moved here, I went to as many parades, concerts and parties as I could. After a few years, the novelty wears off and the stamina wanes. The couple of times I lived on the parade route and embraced it fully. There were years where I went out of town or stayed in town and tried to avoid festivities. You can’t avoid Mardi Gras here; that’s like trying to avoid Christmas. There are Mardi Gras decorations, songs, special foods, parties, and it’s every where. There are also good Mardi Gras experiences and bad ones. Since Katrina, we’ve stayed and played. I’m still recuperating, but I think a lingering cold may have something to do with that.
First parade was Krewe de Vieux, Feb 7. They parade in the Marigny and French Quarter and walk the route with small, satirical, plus some vulgar floats. G hates the French Quarter and never wants to go. I had a plan and a back up plan. Plan A: meeting people in the Marigny, fell apart because we left late (my fault). Plan B: go to friend’s gallery on Royal Street went into action. We parked, hoofed it across the Quarter and had dinner at Gato Negro. Some neighbors sat next to us and we all discussed how KdV never starts on time and they would be slow so we were fine with time. We finished dinner and walked over to our friend’s gallery. Much to our surprise the parade had already passed! So we did a quick 180 and scooted over to Decatur, as did everyone else in the Quarter. The last few floats went flying by at warp speed. G refuses to go ever again.
You get spoiled living in the part of Uptown we do where you can walk a few blocks from your home to the parades. Having to get in a car, drive and park? We scoff at that notion. And we’ve learned to be selective about which parades we attend. Thursday before Mardi Gras (this year Feb. 19) is Muses along with Babylon and Chaos. Muses is hands down one of our favorite parades: it’s beautiful, funny, lots of marching bands, with creative throws. Bonus this year is the new extended Uptown route now starting at Jefferson and Magazine. It was a joy to see Muses and the other parades on Magazine. No huge crowds or obnoxious walls o’ ladders. Some friends of ours have a party for Muses so that makes it even more enjoyable. At any time a parade can stall and this night there was about an hour delay as a Chaos float broke down. Muses stood still on Magazine in front of us. People walked around, some went back to the party for more food. A friend visiting from out of town found me, so we sat in some chairs and caught up. This seemed to be the year of speeding parades. Once Muses started rolling they flew by. I was trying to find friends in the dance groups but only found one. Speedy parades are no fun because you can’t take in the whole float decoration and you catch less throws.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tonight kicks off the first of 5 consecutive days of Uptown Mardi Gras parades. I get paraded out so I don’t go to each and every parade like I did when I first moved here. Twice I’ve lived on the parade route and that kind of spoils you too. But the Mardi Gras buzz is in the air.
Port-o-lets dot the neutral grounds and this particular one caught my eye. The signs on it says “Donations $1.00” “Pee for Paris” “5th Grade French Audubon Charter” A 5th grade French class is raising funds by letting people use their port-o-let. How funny is that? I may go by and donate a dollar.
People ask “have you been to Mardi Gras?” that’s like asking “have you been to Christmas?” It’s a holiday season and people decorate their house like they do for Christmas. The green and red get switched out for purple green or gold.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Here's a pic of a big *ss house on St. Charles Ave. flying big *ss Mardi Gras Krewe flags.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I voted for Cao as well as I voted against Jefferson and had Cao been up against someone other than Jefferson he might not have won. It's refreshing to hear a politician say:
Though hailed a party hero by Republican leaders in Congress after his upset defeat of Democratic incumbent William Jefferson, Cao would be a party renegade on the biggest vote since he arrived in Washington.
"I'm voting along what my conscience dictates and the needs of the 2nd Congressional District dictate, even if I were to be the only member of the GOP to vote for the stimulus package, " he said.It's good to see he also has a sense of humor:
But can someone explain to me what the heck "the hard-core, rock-ribbed Republican districts" means?
Scalise, the assistant Republican whip, laughed when asked whether it was his responsibility to keep Cao in line, adding that a few Republican defections are to be expected.
Joked Cao, "Steve Scalise doesn't know kung fu. I know kung fu. He can't whip me."
Cao voted no. It passed anyway but time will tell how it plays out. I like Adrastos' comment "Still, it would have been nice if Mr. Cao had tried but we got used to having an empty suit in the House during Dollar Bill's decline..." which is all too true. And I also like he "Kung Fu Fighting" video clip. "Those cats were fast as lightning." Sweet.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
There's been some action on this corner. The crappy Exxon that never reopened after Katrina has been on the market and the building is being torn down.
A year ago I did a post when the video store/deli was being torn down. The lot has been cleared and leveled but that's about it.
The Borders Bookstore opened recently after an extensive gut and build out in the former Bultman Funeral home. It looks nice from the outside, I haven't been inside yet. I'm torn between having a bookstore within walking distance that is a chain, (and serve Seattle's Best Coffee) or driving to Octavia books, a local bookseller.
In just a few weeks parades will be rolling past here. The empty lot(s) could be prime party areas if they don't get fenced off.