Sunday, March 29, 2009

NOLA in the NYT

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

R.I.P. Wah Laundry Sign

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

Mmmmm beer....

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

This has been a week consumed with neighborhood/community type meetings. Because I am the president of my neighborhood association, I get bombarded with emails and invitations to participate in this, attend that, disseminate this.

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

Smoke and mirrors

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

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

The NEW Mid-City Lanes?!?! link
Happy St. Patty's Day!

This makes me laugh so hard I cry. Oh boy oh boy...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Today is a dreary, rainy day. Yesterday was the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Parade and our 3rd Annual parade party. I'm too tired to do a full recount here today and I didn't take a single photo. I will however post the second half of my Mardi Gras saga.

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.

Bacchus on Napoleon.

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.

Bacchus on St. Charles Ave - better. Hard to get good night photos.


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.

The king of Rex

Boeuf Gras "the fatted ox"

Didn’t catch much. After Rex was over we all converged at the House of Pants, hanging out outside. You know that 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

It’s never good when your mechanic calls you and says “Here’s something I’ve never seen before…” He found cat or dog food in (or near) my car’s intake manifold. He figures some critter’s been stashing it in there. WTF?!???

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?
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.
And I also found this on a Prius chat site.

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!
Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!