Friday, February 24, 2006

Abbreviated Carnival Update

I'm kind of hazy this afternoon and very much in need of a nap before tonight's parades so this will have to be quick. If there is anyone left who doubts that it is not only appropriate but necessary for us to be at Carnival this year.. well they obviously weren't out last night. What we saw last night looked, sounded and smelled like an acutal Mardi Gras. The crowd was huge and purposefully festive. It also included Daisy (back in NO for the first time since November)and Menckles (for the first time ever). Having brought a newbie with me, I was concerned that I would spend the entire night saying things that begin with, "Now usually you would see here...." But every time I started to do that, the thing I thought we would miss suddenly showed up. I think it was when I saw that Chaos had actual flambeaux that I started to feel comfortable. I think the only two things I haven't seen this year are dance teams and shriners. I tried to get some pictures but my nighttime photography tends to be so blurred that it too accurately captures my drunken perspective to be of any communicative use.

Most of us who know Carnival know that Chaos is more or less the 21st C version of the old Momus parade. I believe that Chaos's membership is comprised largely of Momus members and, in fact, uses the Momus floats. Last night's theme "Hades, a Dream of Chaos" was an explicit reference to Momus's famous 1877(?) "Hades, a Dream of Momus" which skewered the carpetbagger government and established a long tradition of Momus satire. Chaos's floats were beautifully done and the ones I am not too hazy to remember were fairly witty. (I think there was a "Brownie Fiddles as Dome Burns" in there somewhere) Luckily, I caught a packet of cards describing the entire parade so I can have my memory jogged later. Daisy loves Muses (everybody loves Muses). In the pre-K world, I thought they were better than Endymion which had gotten to be too big for its own good. Last night we were hoping for big things from them and they delivered. Daisy actually caught one of the coveted art shoes as well as bunch of other crap. She attributes this to her purple wig thanks to some twisted form of logic which I do not care to go into.

And now, I think, it is time for that nap. I may not get back to the internets before Ash Wednesday.. but will try to squeeze in an update if I can.

Happy Mardi Gras, New Orleans!
Don't worry
Be happy
It's later than you think

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Indians Comin

All the way from Dallas, Atlanta and points beyond. It feels like we are going to have something close to a real Mardi Gras this year. I wonder, though, a year from now, if people aren't back living in these neighborhoods will all this fierce loyalty evident in the act of traveling accross the country just to stomp around for a day be for nothing?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fashion news

In the same week that they seem to be doubling the number of surveillance cameras on Uptown street corners, NOPD just goes the whole nine with its new Gestapo look.


Welcome, boingboing readers. Please note the disclaimer.

Once again we learn (some) dogs love Mardi Gras.

After a long morning of stewing and fretting about the weather, about the size and disposition of the crowds, about the number of marching bands, about the possibility of nightmares come to life I spent a chilly, damp Saturday afternoon watching something very much like Mardi Gras. The parades were indeed noticeably downsized. The consecutive processions of Ponthchartrain, Shangri-La, Pygmalion, Pegasus, and Sparta sped by in the time it usually takes one parade to pass. But, taken as one parade, the five we saw Saturday looked and felt like a decent first-weekend event. Sunday brought much of the same… with a bit larger crowd. Carrollton and King Arthur actually managed to put on nice parades. If this year’s remaining krewes can put together as many bands as Carrollton did, then I think things will be just fine. That combined with the fact that crowd was comfortable, spirited, and nearly all local leaves us looking toward Carnival with a slightly healthier cautious optimism. This plus the news that the just concluded special session has left us with a better levee board, and the seeds of a workable buyout/rebuild plan for homeowners has me wondering if we haven’t perhaps turned the first corner on the way to getting back on our feet in New Orleans. Maybe I’m being too hopeful. At any rate here are the pictures.

This was the first appearance of the much anticipated MAX school marching band. They got a big hand from the crowd. They also inspired two days of incessant banter between the cops assigned to our corner based around X Prep vs St. Mary’s boosterism.

Carrollton’s theme: “Blue Roof Blues” Expect every krewe to get their licks in somehow this year. In what I took to be a wink, one of the King Arthur floats carried a sign that said “insert satire here”.

Carrollton officers leading the parade.

Throw me something!

Said it before. Dogs love Mardi Gras.

Carnival food update: Alas Fortissimo is gone. No more $5 Jambalaya. No more crawfish bread. Also, I haven’t managed to track down the funnel cake guy just yet. Sunday I blew three bucks on a no frills hot sausage on bun from The Grocery on St Charles. I thought about trying their gumbo but it looked a little too red.

Indians comin' Don't miss this week's Gambit

Monday, February 20, 2006

Indians a' coming

Yesterday I asked one of my neighbors who happens to be in the know about these things what the chances were of seeing any Uptown Indians this year. She says, "Everybody I talked to says they're coming out."

Quote of the (yester)day

Sunday Times-Pic carried a pretty good feature story on Mardi Gras and national perceptions of New Orleans. This was noteworthy.
Henri Schindler, a Mardi Gras historian and float designer, offered another quote, one he knows by heart, to sum up the city's march into a historic Carnival.

Nineteenth century writer Lafcadio Hearn wrote a letter to a friend in Cincinnati about two years after he arrived in New Orleans in 1877, during a grim period in which thousands died from yellow fever. He summed up his situation this way:

"Times are not good here. The city is crumbling into ashes. It has been buried under a lava flood of taxes and frauds and maladministrations so that it has become only a study for archaeologists. Its condition is so bad that when I write about it, as I intend to do soon, nobody will believe I am telling the truth. But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio."

Coming Soon

News and pictures from this past weekend's Carnival events... but not today.. pics aren't ready.

Also: Weather report is looking real bad for the rest of the season. Figures.

Also also: Due to the aforementioned soon-to-be-detailed events I'm a bit loopy this morning. Figures.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nicknames of the Dead

Holy crap someone else did notice... and did a much better job of handling it than I ever did I must say. Also excellent photography from the same source here.

America Hates Us

I hope we never have to live there.

Yes we know they're evil but

Let it never be said that they are not indeed ballsy.
Fitzgerald did not specify which superiors Libby may have been referring to when he testified that higher-ups had authorized him to spread sensitive information.

But in the interview, Cheney said an executive order gives him, and President Bush, power to declassify information.

"I have certainly advocated declassification. I have participated in declassification decisions," Cheney said. Asked for details, he said, "I don't want to get into that. There's an executive order that specifies who has classification authority, and obviously it focuses first and foremost on the president, but also includes the vice president."

Libby is not charged with leaking classified information, and his lawyers said last week that there was no truth to a published report that they had advised the court or prosecutors that Libby will raise a defense based on authorization by superiors.

A legal expert said Cheney's comments could nonetheless foreshadow a Libby defense.
Less brash administrations would let Libby be the fall guy in order to hide the fact that Cheney broke the law. But here you get Cheney preparing to step in and say, in effect, "Yeah so what? I am the law, motherfuckers!" Again... evil but in a way beautiful.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Here we go again

Okay this has got to stop. It appears that circumstances have once again conspired to bring about a situation wherein Daisy feels as though she needs to delete her blog. I know much of her devoted readership wanders into this space from time to time. Please feel free to use the comments below to let her know she is needed. If I am unsatisfied with the results of this petition I may be forced to link directly to her email address. So for godsake, people, make your voices heard now or Daisy gets spammed to kingdom come.

Monday, February 13, 2006

"Happy Fucking Mardi Gras!"

So announced a female participant in Saturday night's Krewe Du Vieux procession as I stood and watched alongside Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph. In that simple exclamation, the young lady captured all of the anger, defiance, and ultimately the necessary catharsis and (yes even hopefully joy) that New Orleanians will be experiencing during Carnival 2006. The usually satirical (and always scatalogical) KDV struck just the right chord with themes such as "Home is where the Tarp is" "Give me that Mold Time Religion" and "Buy us back Chirac"... also typical KDV "Mandatory Ejaculation" and something about fingering the dike. These first two images are my own crappy photography. For something slightly more professional, you might try this T-P gallery.

Earlier in the day I biked around town to get some shots of Carnival decorations. Some of what I found were these krewe flags flying from houses in and around the Garden District. As the local readership of this site knows, these flags are given by the old-line krewes each year to their kings. Every year during Carnival the former kings (or their descendants) fly these flags at their homes. The bottom right of each flag denotes the year in which this particular king reigned. This flag belongs to Rex from 1983. (It hasn't been very well maintained)

These belong to a former Comus (1959) and Proteus (2003). Comus is the oldest of the krewes. It staged the first "modern" Mardi Gras parade in 1857. The city had celebrated Mardi Gras long before that but the Comus parade was the first of the kind that most of us would recognize today. The Comus organization along with the other "old-line" krewes (Rex, Momus, Proteus) is home to the bluest of the city's blood. These krewes are more than parades. They are elite social and business clubs through which the gentry traditionally make decisions of consequence for the rest of us peons.. and introduce each other's daughters and sons to one another. The fact that they take on the guise of actual royalty is no coincidence.

In 1991 the city council, passed an ordinance requiring such clubs to prove that they do not discriminate on the basis of race or gender. This was, at the time, an issue in most major cities whose business climate is ruled by similar organizations. The city told the krewes that if their clubs are found not to be in compliance with the anti-discrimination ordinance, they would not be granted parading permits. That year Comus Proteus and Momus, each obviously an all white male outfit, declared the ordinance an insult and decided they would no longer grace the ungrateful citizenry with their public processions. Rex, being a somewhat different case due to its elevated status as the organization of the "King of Carnival" decided to tweak its rules enough to remain in compliance. A few years ago, Proteus finally did the same. Comus and Momus still have not returned to parading.

The Old Line Krewes are tied to a history of racial hatred and upper class arrogance that goes far beyond the 1991 anti-discrimination controversy. (A good book to start with here is James Gill's Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans ) But Carnival doesn't only belong to the rich. This year, with so many poor and middle class and black New Orleanians displaced, Mardi Gras 2006 will be missing much of the traditions and folk art that make it a city-wide celebration instead of a plaything for the (literally in our case) silk stalking crowd. The old krewes are comprised of people like Ashton O'Dwyer who are actively seeking to change the city's demographics by shutting out most of its population. They are looking to this Mardi Gras as an opportunity to plant their flag (so to speak) in a whiter New Orleans. While I am glad we are still a city that has Carnival and Krewe Du Vieux to help us rally and recover from our tragedy, I continue to be wary of the symbolism involved in allowing the krewes to strut and flaunt their presumed privilidge in the wake of so much loss.
Mardi Gras 2006 is here... for better or for worse.

Oh well naturally

It was a canned hunt. Only the best for Trigger Dick.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New Toy

Want to see the White House deal with flood waters for a change? Thinking maybe about pooping all over Powerline? Net Disaster will destroy any website that's irking you. Go ahead, try it. Just be warned, this is a time sucker.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


And now for yet another "just go read Oyster" moment.
...I won't name names, but I'm talking about the Libertarian/Moderate good government fantasists who don't understand (despite overwhelming evidence) how this radical Bush administration operates.

These are the pundits who are saying, in effect, "let's try to impress the administration who outspent LBJ with our frugality". Yeah, that should work. Under Bush, total Federal spending increased nearly 50%!!-- from $1.9 trillion in '01 to $2.7 trillion this year; while producing deficits of over $1.5 trillion!!
I will only add that I was outraged last night at WWL's hour long coverage of the opening of the LA legislative session. Over 66 percent of the city is still waiting to come home. The city of New Orleans is preparing for Mardi Gras with terrifyingly insufficient hospital services available. No one seems to know when and if they will be allowed to rebuild, or if there will be adequate flood protection for the 2006 hurricane season. But according to WWL, the most pressing issue is.... consolidating the assessor's offices? What. The. Fuck.

Trying to find the truthiness in all of this

Because I don't know who bothers me more, Chris Rose or Emeril. If one is to believe Chuck's rundown of events (scroll down to "Stay in the Kitchen") it looks like Rose is the bigger tool. But I still hate Emeril so you see my dilemma.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Super City

Feel the magic.

via Michael who has a couple more fun nuggets from Friday's post.

To Carnival or not to Carnival

It's a big issue about which I still have reservations too complicated to go into while I am still unable to post from home. In any case, Mardi Gras or something somewhat similar to it is indeed on for 2006. With the parading season fast approaching, the Dallas Morning News is running a pretty good in-depth feature on the Krewe of Tucks's decision to roll. It looks like Tucks has not updated its website since Katrina. This hardly surprises me since most Krewe websites have always been amateurishly produced and sporadically updated... kind of like the one you're reading right now.

Friday, February 03, 2006

One more thing before signing off for the weekend

Go Steelers

Find of the day

Last evening while mallwalking through Walgreens I noticed Bluebell King Cake flavored ice cream. The only official evidence of such a product I can find is this page which links to Bluebell press releases. If you click on the press release itself you get a 404. I would have bought some but I didn't really feel like ice cream last night and I only know how to shop via impulse purchase. Has anyone tried this?

Must Read

Yet another hopeless and gloomy Wa-Po piece.

Doesn't mean it's not spot on, however.

All I can say is, Ha!

Selling out Mardi Gras makes the (king cake) baby Jesus cry.

Book Review: Including very litte discussion of the actual book

Among the many transplants to New Orleans I have encountered in my time there is a common emotional attatchment to the city most of them describe as "love/hate". Generally those who have adopted and come to love our culture have done so in stages. It begins as a primitivist fascination. The longer one stays here the more one learns to appreciate the intricacies. Things that seem simple or foolish or unnecessary begin to take on deeper meaning. People and events are not always what they seem on the surface. New Orleans teaches one not to be surprised by contraditions. Eventually, if the non-native is paying attention, something gets internalized. But transplants, unlike natives, retain some sense that life here is an exception to a colder more rational reality that exists in Ohio or Wisconsin or Massachussetts (they're almost always from the North) or wherever these people came from. And that's where the "hate" side comes in. They don't really hate it here, they just cling to the notion that things aren't done in a way they would consider proper. So they like to complain... but generally they don't really want to leave.

Unlike natives, however, transplants can leave. They can go back to Kansas (so to speak) should they choose where life is less interesting but (to them at least) more real. If evacuation taught me anything it is that natives cannot leave. Once removed from the moist air and dark aromas of this sultry womb, the native finds it difficult to breathe. Simple activities such as grocery shopping become bewildering obstacles to sanity. Ignatius Reilly said it best when he said, "Leaving New Orleans also frightened me considerably. Outside of the city limits the heart of darkness, the true wasteland begins." He wasn't joking. Neither are we.

Tom Piazza is a transplant. Which means that even though his polemic, Why New Orleans Matters demonstrates that he indeed gets it more than most. It may also explain why he still doesn't exactly get the politics. For some reason he is anti-EWE. I think this is a particularly bad failing for someone whose sympathies appear to be in the right place. But perhaps I am picking nits. Honestly I cried while reading parts of this book. I should add that I was drunk while reading those parts but this should in no way discourage you from checking it out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wardrobe Malfunction

It's a sad commentary on the state of things that this has recieved so little attention.

Lacking in Theology and Geometry

Late last year we learned that Holy Cross High School will not return to the neighborhood named for it. Today I hear that Rue de La Course will not repoen the location on Race street from which its name is derived. Tuesday night, r and I went down to the Maple Leaf only to find that Rebirth wasn't playing that night. The only thing that did make sense was my hangover yesterday.. at least the alcohol still works.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Today's Phone Call


Salesperson: Hello may I speak to (HURRICANE-DISPLACED FORMER BRANCH HEAD)

Me: I'm sorry (HURRICANE-DISPLACED FORMER BRANCH HEAD) is not currently with the library.

Salesperson: Oh well who can I speak with about (BLAH BLAH BLAH SALES CRAP)?

Me: Well that might be complicated at the moment given that we are running what is left of our library system with limited resources and staff after the storm.

Salesperson: Storm? (PAUSE TO PRESUMABLY LOOK DOWN AT SOMETHING) Oh this is New Orleans isn't it!

Me: Uh

Salesperson: Wow! So.... wow. You know.. that's great. You know, I uh watch the news and stuff and.... Wow.... so did you have like, um, snakes in your library and stuff?

Me (resisting the urge to hang up): Well, if you're interested, the library's website has photos of the damage done to all of our flooded branches as well as information about our recovery and how people can help.

Salesperson: Wow... Okay... so ... good luck

Me: Yeah bye

Should have told her the truth is that we been havin'snakes. But that would have been too easy.