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 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.