Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Corps lawsuit deadline

Because I aim only to point out the truly significant details.. I can't let it slip by that the Corps' offices are located on Leake Avenue.

Let this be the final "ladder" post

The comments to the post below have generated one last thought on parade etiquette after which I think it's time to put Carnival 2007 to bed.

A parade crowd should be a group of people standing with each other rather than in front of or behind someone.

Under normal circumstances, position in the crowd is a fluid variable. As the parade passes, people shift position according to where they feel comfortable. Some folks like to stand in front and chase floats, some stand in the back and wave, some move in and out. And how people position themselves might be different for each parade.. no.. each float. And that's part of the parade experience. So is interacting with the people next to you.

Ladders, ropes and the other obstacles we have discussed at length all impede this dynamic process and ultimately detract from the experience.

Having said that, I think there has been so much negative comment as to leave the casual reader with the impression that the parade experience is somehow not worth it. Keep in mind, this is one small but important issue raised by Carnival devotees who I am certain thoroughly enjoyed Mardi Gras 2007. Don't take my word for that. Click through your NOLA blogroll to read about the many ways Carnival was enjoyed by the participants in this discussion. Hell, I'm probably griping the most and I ATTENDED EVERY PARADE.

In other words, we still love Carnival.. but because we love it so much, we would like to see this addressed. See ya next year.


I probably don't link to Micheal's inspired Photoshop gems often enough. Maybe that's a good thing because this way I get to save up for the ones the make me laugh out loud.

Objective Journalism

This is from an interview with Josh Marshall for the PBS News Wars series. Read the whole thing. It's quite good.

When people talk about objective journalism, you're saying that there really isn't any function to he said/she said journalism. You've got to take a stand is what you're saying.

I would say this: There's a lot to be said for the canons of journalistic objectivity. However, I think that it has become derailed in recent years to the point where you have cases where Person A is saying something that, as near as we can figure out as human beings, today is really true. ... And journalists take what Person A is saying and say, "Well, we've got to get Person B's opinion, too, to have balance." There are many cases where the person running the story knows that Person A is telling the truth and Person B is lying, but to maintain objectivity, they are placed on equal footing, even though one's true and one is not true. I think that is not honest journalism. I don't think that is really informing people. ...

I mean, philosophically, what you're saying is that you believe there's an objective truth out there that should dominate editorial policy, and you don't have to just throw in all the other information that doesn't really challenge substantially that objective truth.

I believe in facts. I think that as imperfect human beings, we don't always know what the facts are. But the way we organize our whole society, our science, our technology, whatever, is based on trying things out, finding out certain things are true and certain things are not true. I think that those basic judgments should inform journalism much more than they do. ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Gibson: Reporters Who Ignore Anna Nicole Smith To Focus On Iraq War Are ‘Snobs’

It's about time

I'm glad someone else wrote to the idiot page about this before I did.

Parade routes, then and now
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When I was a kid, our family happily went to Mardi Gras parades carrying simple bag lunches, some snacks and a cooler or Thermos. Maybe we bought a treat or drink from a vendor. We would never presume to set up housekeeping on St. Charles or Napoleon avenue.

Tents are for camping. Canopies may be used for garden parties or outdoor weddings. Grills and crawfish boils are for the backyard. Ladders are for home repair. Banquet tables, folding chairs and blankets might all be seen at an afternoon of polo.

But, add a lashing of caution tape and the press of humanity to bind them all together along the parade route and they become a dangerous, intrusive and infuriating barricade.

Can I also add "illegal"?

I was trying to show my son a great tradition in which I was fortunate enough to grow.

Instead, we could hardly see above all these chaotic barricades, much less get anywhere near the parade to catch any throws. Boobytraps and the danger of "trespass" were everywhere.

I believe that more can be done in regard to this danger to public safety. Moreover, toning down the excess can only enhance this unique tradition which we all have the right to enjoy.

Shawn Adams


Yes yes this issue has been run into the ground in the local blogosphere but it needs to be addressed by the city before next year's Carnival. The "barricading" of public space for public events has graduated from a mere nuisance to a potentially dangerous situation. It's time to ask for stricter enforcement of rules that will allow everyone to enjoy the spectacle instead of just the squatters.

In case you haven't noticed

Posting is and will be light until Cox figures out what's wrong.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bush Administration Supports Al-Quaeda

And/Or whatever other radical terror group the Saudi royal family chooses to bankroll next.
Are the Bushies with us or are they with the terrorists?

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coƶperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Much more... read on.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Imperial Economy

Taibbi on the President's budget proposals.

Even if you're a traditional, Barry Goldwater conservative, the kinds of budgets that Bush has sent to the hill not only this year but this whole century are the worst-case scenario; they increase spending generally while cutting taxes and social programming. They commit taxpayers to giant subsidies of already Croseus-rich energy corporations, pharmaceutical companies and defense manufacturers while simultaneously cutting taxes on those who most directly benefit from those subsidies. Thus you're not cutting spending -- you're just cutting spending on people who actually need the money. (According to the Washington Times, which in a supremely ironic twist of fate did one of the better analyses of the budget, spending will be 1.6 percent of GDP higher in the 2008 budget than in was in 2000, while revenues will be 2.6 percent of GDP lower). This is something different from traditional conservatism and something different from big-government liberalism; this is a new kind of politics that transforms the state into a huge, ever-expanding instrument for converting private savings into corporate profit.

That's not only bad government, it's bad capitalism. It makes legalized bribery and political connections more important factors than performance and competition in the corporate marketplace. Beyond that, it's just plain fucking offensive to ordinary people. It's one thing to complain about paying taxes when those taxes are buying a bag of groceries once a month for some struggling single mom in eastern Kentucky. But when your taxes are buying a yacht for some asshole who hires African eight year-olds to pick cocoa beans for two cents an hour ... I sure don't remember reading an excuse for that anywhere in the Federalist Papers.

As usual, I have nothing to add.

It doesn't take a genius

Even I can put these two stories together.

Election is over, but cash keeps coming
Nagin nets $410,000, keeps 'options open'

Though he is barred by law from seeking a third term and has expressed no interest in another office, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin collected more than $400,000 in contributions in the months after his re-election last spring, campaign finance reports filed with the state show.

The steady flow of cash into Nagin's war chest between June and November -- some of it from out-of-state fundraising events -- allowed him to pay off lingering debts from the hard-fought mayoral contest and left him with nearly $260,000 in the bank as of Dec. 31, according to the reports.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state aid expected to begin flowing in the months ahead, political observers say it should come as no surprise that companies looking to play a role in the city's recovery would want to curry favor with a City Hall administration that will have some influence on how the money is spent.

Pairs well with

Nagin wants to run Road Home in N.O.

With the New Orleans region still suffering from a lack of permanent housing 18 months after Hurricane Katrina struck, Mayor Ray Nagin said Thursday that the time has come for Louisiana to give the city control over the Road Home program.

"The Road Home program in its current format will not work," Nagin told a congressional subcommittee that met Thursday in New Orleans to address the housing crisis. "It is overwhelmed, undermanned and technically flawed. Let's take all the people registered for it in New Orleans and let us administer the program with local institutions. I think we can get it done for you very quickly."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mardi Gras Blurbs

Note: Some minor editing and formatting and additional photos added this evening. (As always, click the images to enlarge.) Enjoy.

  • This "abbreviated" (where they mean to say "condensed") parade schedule is whack. Muses and Chaos should not be allowed to roll on the same night. The parades tend to be similarly clever and each should have its own evening on which to be the main event. Of course once upon a time this was indeed the case but....

    Anyway so despite the sub-freezing temperatures, we stood outside like idiots and slurped down several Miller Lites from an (unnecessary thanks to the weather) pink cooler to view these major events of Carnival.

    Chaos, which traditionally rides on Momus Thursday and makes use of the antique Momus floats and...well pretty much is Momus put on yet another traditional Momus satire. The style of the parade makes it much more important for onlookers to read the floats rather than scramble for baubles... that is unless you're lucky enough to catch one of these decks of Chaos trading cards on which are printed descriptions and graphic images of all the floats.

    In an ordinary year, Chaos would be the highlight of the Thursday night schedule and as such would not be set to be upstaged by Muses. Muses is simply the best parade there is. It's big but not too big. It manages to be witty and fun and innovative and... and they throw all the best stuff.

    The Adventures of Supermuse Comic Book to go with this year's theme.

    A Coloring book (crayons included) featuring the Nine Muses

    Assorted Muses trinkets including a bead purse thingy

    Next year, in addition to putting Endymion (and maybe even Mid-City) back in Mid-City, let's be sure to get Muses back on it's regular Wednesday. It's a beautiful parade made even more enjoyable by the gentler weeknight crowd.

  • Thursday and Friday night brought some of the coldest parade weather I can remember. I think my brain actually froze sometime during Muses. And no that had nothing to do with the liquor. Things got nicer for Sunday through (and especially) Tuesday. The following are shots of the Krewe of Okeanos during the nice weather Sunday morning.

  • We first saw this guy during the Carrollton parade last weekend. Further investigation reveals that the head-mounted contraption is known as the "Bead Master 2007" Next year it will be reborn as the "Bead Master 2008" The name change keeps the concept fresh for the participants. It was a major hit of the season drawing aggressive throwing from riders in every parade. Plus, at night, it lights up.

  • Of course I don't have any pictures of it at night because my night photography is utterly crappy. Here are the halfway decent night shots. I think they're both from Babylon.

    Something about the Prison Rodeo

    Float coming down St Charles

  • Carnival food: I miss the Jambalaya and crawfish bread from the Katrina-shuttered Fortissimo at the corner of Louisiana and St Charles. It hasn't been replaced adequately. I was hoping to see a few taco trucks along the parade route this year but I guess the operators of these ventures are not yet familiar with the city's weird street vending permit lottery process. Maybe next year. On Saturday, I paid eight dollars for a Gyro. That's just ridiculous. I discovered to my surprise Sunday afternoon that there is next to no wait for an Oyster po-boy at Parasol's during the parades so that's good to know for future reference. Already the nights are becoming a blur but it was probably Saturday night when I had my annual Carnival meal of a Lucky Dog with a Pat O's Hurricane. (This is the only time of year I allow myself to consume these items.) And, of course, Fat Tuesday itself brought along yet another giant pot of Jeffrey's World Famous Carnival Red Beans. (recipe posted back in 2005)

  • Football football football. I've already mentioned the uninterrupted football game generated by parade attendees that encompasses the entire uptown route before.. after.. and sometimes during the parade itself. The football theme was further elaborated by the presence of Sean Payton and several Saints players during various parades this season. Football was a very popular theme during the Truck parades. In 2002 (or maybe 2001) I caught some beads from Kyle Turley when he was grand marshal of Endymion. This year, I added to by football player tossed bead collection a strand launched by Scott Fujita and another by Drew Brees. (Brees used his right arm. I almost said he used his "good" arm but it's difficult to tell which is the good arm.. or if he even has one..these days.) Also adding to the theme, I wore my Sammy Knight jersey on Tuesday... for the thousandth year in a row.

  • For the third or fourth consecutive year, I and several people I know came down with a mild-to-medium cold or a case of the "skank flu", as Adrastos calls it, during Carnival. Luckily, I was well into recovery mode by Saturday but it was rough going for a while. Let's hope for better health next year.

  • Sinn Fein moment: We took our visitors from Baltimore on the obligatory "misery tour" of Lakeview, Gentilly, and the Ninth Ward. Despite my attempts to lay out for them the complicated problems of recovery from the Federal Flood, and despite Dad's impassioned screaming argument about the culpability of the Federal Government and the Corps, it seems that their impression was largely "People shouldn't build below sea level" with a side of "These people shouldn't be asking the government for help" I guess you can't win 'em all... but it goes to show how entrenched this view has become amongst even some otherwise well meaning people. I'm sure many tourists took a similar tour this weekend. What will they tell their friends when they get home?

  • The crowds that amass for the Superkrewes were as obnoxious as ever. Check out the developing discussion at Adrastos for more on this. I think the problem is easily alleviated by only slightly stricter rules about roping off territory and guidelines for the placement of ladders at least ten feet away from the curb and not so close together as to obstruct crowd movement between them. I very nearly got into it with some ornery family members of the Thoth royalty who felt a little too entitled to "front-row seating" so to speak. If there's one thing I'd like to see improved for next year it's this territory problem.

    Ugh! Ladders! On the curb!

    Also what the hell is up with Bacchus? For the second year in a row it just looked raggedy and unorganized.. particularly toward the end. Also, what happened to the gorilla floats? I saved a whole pile of beads to throw at King Kong and he no-showed. What gives? If you have to see a Superkrewe, try and catch Orpheus. It really is the prettiest and the Monday night crowd isn't nearly as bad.

  • Fat Tuesday worked out well. In these later years I've become more of a manager than a reveler on this day. During the mid-morning I became so preoccupied with greeting the guests and making sure everyone could get in the house if I wasn't there and just running between Jackson Ave, Dryades Street and St Charles, that I put the camera away before the Indians came out. I caught some of Zulu though.

    And watching the Wild Magnolias come out onto Draydes Street and sing Indian Red is probably the closest thing I (secular bastard that I am) get to having a spiritual experience. It's almost fitting that I didn't have the camera when it happened.

    The good news is, I managed to see everyone I wanted to see and do everything I wanted to do. From early in the morning when I stood out on St Charles in flip flops and pjs to see Pete Fountain to late in the evening when I stood on St Peter Street in front of Johnny White's drinking (another) hurricane and talking to Daisy on the phone in San Jose, it was yet another full day. May there be many many more.

In which I publicly advocate punching old ladies in the face!

See this Adrastos thread for more parade ladder-related rancor.

Ash Wednessday is a day for rest

And.. of course cleaning cleaning cleaning. Living near the parade route subjects one's apartment to the worst sorts of party-related abuse. Because of this, the motivation to clean on Ash Wednesday is so strong that I can say with confidence that my place is never cleaner throughout the year but during this week. Soon the regular day to day grime and dust will settle back in. But right now everything is shiny and new. The streets, on the other hand, may take a bit longer.

We're hearing a lot in the local media about how much more efficient the post-Carnival clean-up has been this year. As a long-time amateur observer of this, I can't say it looks much different to me than it ever has. Most of the mess has been cleared, as it is each year by this point, but we're quite a ways from being able to look outside and be unaware of the fact that it was quite recently Fat Tuesday. The debris is particularly noticeable outside the library this morning. Some of it has been pushed into little piles out on the lawn, but it's still there. I'm not saying that the clean-up isn't progressing well just that it isn't any different than it is any year.

I'm a little behind on the Carnival posting so it's not quite time for Lent in this space yet. There will be more when I have access to the photos.

Monday, February 19, 2007

T'was the night before...

I keep pushing back the regular wall-to-wall Carnival coverage that you usually see here. Looks like it will end up as an Ash Wednesday round-up or something. |Right now it's time to go to bed so we can be up bright and early for one last round of idiocy tomorrow. The following pictures were taken moments ago as the Krewe of Municipal Vehicles made its penultimate pass along St. Charles Avenue in the year's final futile clean-up before everything gets trashed yet again.

Lead units courtesy of New Orleans sheriff's department.

Afterwards, the real action!

Happy Mardi Gras! Be safe.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Mardi Gras!

Full update with all the parade reviews and other crap you've come to expect from this site will be forthcoming. But for now... enjoy the glory that is...

The Pink Thing

Don't laugh. It holds the beer!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mardi Gras is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Right now I'm running on fumes trying to re energize from Iris, Tucks, too much sunshine and waaaay too much walking. Will have full update and a few pics from the last few days later. But first I guess we have to go look at Endymion.. since the whole freakin world seems to have moved into the neighborhood for it. More later.

Update: Endymion real quick. 1st of all Endymion is stupid. The parade is unnecessarily large.. comprised of unnecessarily large floats.. and attended by an unnecessarily large crowd which doesn't know how to attend a public event in a public space. But we've already covered that. Tonight's crowd was.. overwhelming as expected. But look, we know this parade doesn't belong on the uptown route so instead of belaboring the point, here's what happened.

Endymion is all about football.

To walk down St Charles before a parade is to become a passive participant in an uninterrupted football game as the oblong spheroids tossed between folks in the street whizz by one's head all the way from Napoleon to Canal. Not one inch of the road lies beyond the shadow of an airborne missile.

I caught a "pair" of black and gold football beads thrown by Scott Fujita.

We caught a pair (an actual pair) of bean-bag Endymion footballs.

Dad proved once again.. to the delight of everyone but me.. that he does not know when to shut the fuck up.. or stop dancing.

Because Endymion is too cumbersome a parade to pass the Uptown route without incident, there arose a prolonged gap in the procession which allowed the spectators in our area to arrange an impromptu game wherein two people operated a jumprope fashioned out of beads which volunteers from the crowd attempted unsuccessfully to.. um.. jump.. in groups of unsuccessful threes to the repeated groans of onlookers.

The entire neighborhood is a mess and we're still three days away from the end of this.

More to come..

Next Day Update: Endymion pics

The pre-parade crowd fills the air with footballs (click to enlarge)

Skooks, in the spirit, sports his green wig (same instructions)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Goodnight. That includes the ants.

A truly inspired series of Livejournal posts in which a professional librarian and prolific book reviewer takes on the task of sifting through her newly rediscovered third and fourth grade diary. Not to be missed.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Okay a little less salt this time

Because this is Maginnis and not Crouere

Former Sen. John Breaux has told sources he is "very interested" in running for governor if Kathleen Blanco doesn't. The Fax Weekly spoke to three individuals who say Breaux directly told them of his renewed interest during Washington Mardi Gras. "This is the most interested I've seen him than all the other BS we've been through," said a friend of the 61-year-old ex-senator turned high-powered Washington lobbyist. He toyed with campaigning for governor in 2003 and for re-election in 2004, holding the political community and other campaigns in suspense until he announced he would not run. News of Breaux's interest both heartens Democrats and puts pressure on Blanco to make her decision soon. The governor is said to have a poll in the field.

Another impromptu strategy meeting with Dad during last night's parades confirms that there are indeed rumblings out there. Quote of the night: Dad believes it is imperative that Breaux enter the race in order to stop "the stupid stupid" (read: Jindal)

Happy Mardi Gras! P.S. We Are Not Ok

In Setback for New Orleans, Fed-Up Residents Give Up

New Orleans has always been a city of enormous, impenetrable contradictions. For evidence of this, one need not look any further than Oyster's two latest posts. The first is an eloquent salute to the spirit of defiance felt by all of us as for the second consecutive year our Carnival becomes a cathartic funeral dance; a celebration of life and hope but also a remembrance of so much death and hopelessness.

The second is built around the NYT story I've linked at the top here which documents the increasing despair as more and more New Orleanians reach their breaking point. My ever-sunny comments are visible below this post as well.

We're still doing this the only way we know how... by laughing and dancing in the face of the intolerable. Can we do this indefinitely without relief?

Update: That's the spirit! Oyster follows up this profound pair of posts by asking himself.. What Would Ian.. or maybe Rose do?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Long Night Ahead

Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing but one of the things the police station next door is doing right now to prepare for tonight's parades is unload a large truck full of Red Bull presumably for use by the officers working the route.

Faker Fake News

Tom Tomorrow:

Apart from that, the flaw in the entire premise is the idea that the liberal bias of the Daily Show must be countered. I mean, I have no doubt that Jon Stewart is a liberal, in a pleasant, middle of the road, sensible kind of way, but a hardcore partisan he is not. If and when we ever see a Democratic administration again, the Daily Show will skewer them just as relentlessly as they do the Bushies. And I’m going to go way out on a limb here and predict that it’ll be much funnier than anything the Fox Fake News and Pretend Comedy Channel can come up with.

Can I go home yet?

This morning, the library hosted Adella Adella the Storyteller. I haven't seen her since pre-K days when she participated in our branch's production of the Primetime family reading program. Adella is quite the showperson. Her routine this morning was black history themed but she finished up by leading the group of 1st and 2nd graders in a few Mardi Gras songs.

Much like those children, I'm ready to get out of here. Tonight things ramp up quite a bit. Visitors will be arriving this afternoon.. and more this evening. Tonight I'm looking forward to braving the cold to see the Knights of Momus um.. sorry.. Chaos (wink) stage its annual satirical review followed by the always popular Krewe of Muses featuring.. among many other things.. the 9th Ward Marching Band. Again.. can I go home yet?

Related: Oyster with more on the general mood at the moment.

Also: A Momus (dammit!) Chaos rider prepares for tonight.


Can't put it any better than this.

It's ironic that women who speak out against patriarchal and misogynist threads in organized religion get pummeled with graphic rape threats...

See also Pandagon here and here.

Sick 'em

Charlie Melancon is pissed

WASHINGTON -- An irate Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-Napoleonville, blasted the congressional leader of his party Wednesday for what he called unfulfilled promises to deliver help to hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.

Melancon's criticism of House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California goes against the public image Democrats have tried to project of caring more about the hurricane recovery than Republicans do. As recently as last week, Democratic House leaders met with Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and renewed their commitment to the recovery.

But Melancon said the words haven't been backed up with action and, "I want it exposed."
Douchey Dems are no better than hostile Republicans. Melancon is right to call them out on their posing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Carnival in the cold

Or.. maybe Carnival with a cold. I've still got this case of the sniffles (Menckles's fault) which would probably keep a sensible person indoors in these temperatures. So naturally I walked outside to catch the Krewe of Ancient Druids parade this evening. Seems like this parade is always affected by the weather in some way. A few years ago, I braved a solid downpour to watch it. I figured if they were making the effort then so should I. In much the same spirit I hauled my sick ass out there again tonight. I'm not sure they managed to match my effort though. This year's theme, "Druid Floats" made very little sense as the procession included a "Bunny Float" a.. um Leprechaun Float a Football Float and so forth. The floats themselves were recycled from this weekend's Krewe of Carrollton and (unimaginatively) re-themed. Druid riders seem to have a... um... staid professional manner about them as they robotically locate and deliver their throws to parade goers. It was a strange thing to watch. I came away with one doubloon one cup and a few strands of heart beads (I guess since it's Valentine's Day) so I can at least say that I was at a parade.

It wasn't all bad. The Marine Corps band made an appearance for the first time this year (as far as I've noticed) and the number of marching bands overall was respectable. I'm beginning to wonder what's up with the flambeaux carriers this year. It seems like half the torches are unlit.

This was also the first parade I've seen in a while at which I remained completely sober throughout. I'm still not feeling so hot and am trying not to overdo it before the big stuff starts happening. Lots of company arriving tomorrow. Maybe we can get them sick too.

Gsus loves us

We were just visited by representatives of a nearby Baptist center who delivered a Valentine's Day care package which included home made cookies, a booklet on how to avoid eternal damnation... and this.

Familiar Weather Pattern

Tornado Katrina, meet Tornado Rita.

Broken Window Theory

I'm even sicker of Stacy Head. Not to bring up the recent election yet again.. but didn't I say something about preferring the crook to the yuppie-Nazi? Okay.. so I added Nazi just now but still.

Side note:
I drive a car with a broken window. I am not a criminal nor does my car promote criminal activity.

A Nation Shrugs

More debris to throw on the pile, apparently.
In New Orleans' Pontchartrain Park neighborhood, an 85-year-old woman was pulled from the rubble and taken to University Hospital, where she died, city emergency operation officials said. Witnesses said the woman's FEMA trailer, where she lived because her home in the 5800 block of Pauline Drive was flooded during Hurricane Katrina, was picked up and thrown by the tornado.

Neighbors and family members identified the woman as Stella Chambers, a longtime resident of the close-knit neighborhood. Her daughter, who was in the trailer with her, was seriously injured. The Chambers' flood-damaged home was destroyed.

The National Weather Service said 25 people in Orleans Parish and nine on the West Bank were injured. West Jefferson Medical Center spokeswoman Jennifer Steel said 13 people were brought there. Twelve were treated and released before noon, she said.

Col. Terry Ebert, director of New Orleans' Office of Homeland Security, said 116 structures, almost all of them residences, were severely damaged or destroyed in Orleans Parish. Jefferson Parish officials said 101 homes in Westwego sustained damage. Fourteen were destroyed, Mayor Robert Billiot said.

"We've gone through a lot. I guess we've got to go through a little more. New Orleanians are tough," Mayor Ray Nagin said, after viewing the area from the air and calling the damage "surreal."

And that last line is indeed coming from an established authority on surrealism. Let's see that's over 200 properties badly damaged or destroyed, over 30 injured and one woman.. who it is reported was one utility hook-up away from getting back into her flood damaged home.. killed. Like David, I'm a bit wary of sounding thin-skinned, but were it not for the catastrophe of 2005, this would be the major story of the past five years in New Orleans and would certainly warrant greater attention from the national media instead of the shrugged-off buried headlines it received. So I think some grousing is appropriate.

But, to keep it in perspective, the tragedy itself is enough to make us shake our heads as our fellow citizens brace for yet another round of clearing debris, fighting with insurers, and putting lives back together.. many for a second time in 18 months.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Oh this is fun

Varg describes his bead-catching technique.

Update: Link fixed.. sorry.

Dude I sooo did not say that

Family Gras was a winner, Jeff says

I'm thinking of suing the T-P for libel. What I did say about this I said here and also in comments here.

R.I.P. Babbling Brook

The short-lived wetlands reclamation freshwater diversion project known as the Babbling Brook was laid to rest today in a modest unmarked grave in Uptown New Orleans leaving us only with the fondest of memories.

Okay.. grain of salt required

Seeing as how this is Crouere and all but there remains the possibility of a John Breaux for Governor campaign.

The rumor from the Washington Mardi Gras is that Blanco will make a decision by the end of the week and if she does not run, John Breaux will run.

That "end of the week" bit sounds hokey to me. While watching the Krewe of Pegasus, this past Saturday, Dad and I had one of those impromptu strategy meetings about the Governor's race. While I'm still holding out the possibility that Mitch Landrieu is not as damaged by his failed mayoral campaign as some may think, we are both agreed that if Breaux were to run he would stomp all over everyone. I still think that Breaux is quite content to remain in Washington living out his days as an energy industry sellout, but there might.. might still be some of the magical allure left in that old Governor's mansion for the one-time EWE protege. Stay tuned.

Oh Boy

Ed Blakely's recovery plan: Hog all the money through force of ego.

New Orleans recovery czar Ed Blakely strode into the State Capitol with a bold message for the Louisiana Recovery Authority: He's got a plan to bring the city back and he wants the power to make it happen.

In an interview after the hearing, Blakely said he cannot imagine why he wouldn't get control of any recovery money coming into New Orleans; he "had it in every other city" where he's spearheaded recovery efforts.

Then he threw down the gauntlet.

"If I don't have it, I go home -- I quit," said Blakely, who hours before in New Orleans joined Mayor Ray Nagin to unveil the staff chosen to operate the city's newly created Office of Recovery Management.
Really? Is this what we're in for now? Recovery management via temper tantrum? This article seems to repeat the "everyone is impressed with Blakely" theme over and over. Something tells me that's about to change if he continues to exhibit this behavior. I mean.. just... ugh!

"There are only about six people in the world who have done this, and I'm one of them," he said during his presentation. At another point: "All the dollars should come to my office and be parceled out to the right buckets."

And later: "I want to be your accountability structure."

Does it get any closer to L'etat est moi? Whose buckets has he gotten the money he's managed so far into anyway? Impressed yet?

I'm still keeping an open mind until I see what he actually wants to do. He made some impressive.. although possibly empty flattering.. statements about building economic infrastructure before "green space". But the egotism the man has exhibited since day one is certainly.. something to be wary of.

Uh oh

Looks like one or more tornadoes cut a long path of destruction lengthways across town from Westwego, through Carrollton, Mid-City, Gentilly, and the Lakefront Airport area. It sounds bad. Hope folks are safe.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Carnival 2007 "Family" Weekend

First weekend Carnival parades are the lightest of light fare. The floats are simple. The processions are short to moderate length. The bands are just getting cranked up. The themes are simple.. usually something along the lines of "We love ____ about New Orleans" or "Here are some songs we know" or "Food is Good". Nothing too literary or satirical or Vegasy. That comes later. These parades are strictly fundamental. Appetizers to prepare one for what comes later (this year much later) in the week. And yet there is something indispensable about these parades for the hard core Carnival goer. Something pure about them that reminds us that this is.. and always has been.. in many ways a children's spectacle; a silly and boisterous expression of joy that need not be overly ornamented in order to be enjoyed. Of course, if cotton candy, Snap Pops and marching bands aren't quite your idea of family fun, I guess you could take the kids out to Metaire instead to see Tony Orlando. Gosh I hope they liked that.

After witnessing Oshun and Pygmalion simply but joyously herald the start of another parade season Friday night, I hopped back across the Babbling Brook on Saturday to see the Krewes of Pontchartrain and Shangri-La and again on Sunday to see Carrollton. All good clean "family" fun. The day parades are when I bring the camera. Click images to enlarge.

Early Saturday, preparations were being made along St. Charles for optimum viewing comfort. I wonder who the little chair is for.. since we all know the "family" celebration only occurs in Metaire.

The city takes extra care to place colorful purple, green and gold garbage cans along the parade route in order to encourage parade goers to keep the celebration as litter free as can be expected... wish someone would come and pick up that busted traffic light, though.

Here we see members of the St. Mary's Academy marching band and drill team making their way down St. Charles in the Krewe of Carrollton. Carrollton always has a good number of bands.

And here we see the Xavier Prep band approaching. In 2006, St. Mary's and Xavier Prep along with St Augustine High were temporarily combined into one school as all three schools coped with the aftermath of the Federal Flood. The combined schools (known as the MAX school) formed a single band that appeared in last year's Carnival parades. (see here) This year, things are closer to normal. It would have been nice if I could have included a picture of the St Aug band.. who I did see this weekend.. to complete the set but I... um.. must have lost that picture.

The loot wasn't too bad for a first weekend. I came away with Krewe-emblemed beads from each parade I saw, several cups to throw on the pile, and a stuffed frog with an attitude problem. This year's goal is to catch as many green beads as possible. It turns out that Dad will need them when he participates in the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day parade for the first time this year. No one on our block did quite as well as these guys who fashioned a goal post target mounted on top of a Saints helmet. Many a float rider sent massive quantities of beads and baubles through the uprights.

After Carrollton, we hightailed it downtown to catch the Krewe of Barkus. For unnecessary to mention personal reasons, my Barkus experience was less than optimal this year. I did manage to get this picture of the back of Chris Rose's head... along with the sad expression on the face of Biscuit who has to live every day with the hard truth that she is.. indeed.. Chris Rose's bitch.

Oh one more thing about this weekend. I also stepped in some horse poo.

Return to Babbling Brook

The saga of the Babbling Brook continues. A full week and a half.. or so after the first indication of seepage from beneath our building, the gusher continues to roar untamed as more and more gallons of fresh water burst onto the sidewalk and into the drain.

On Sunday, as Carnival revelers made their way past my door to see the Krewe of Carrollton on the St Charles parade route, they were treated to the increasing spectacle that is our neighborhood geyser.

And here it is again today.

Our little fountain has become quite the tourist attraction as parade goers of all ages stop and marvel at its many wonders. This morning we had another conversation with Slumlord as well as one with the S&WB. Turns out both parties are disputing who is responsible for affecting these repairs. According to Slumlord, because the leak occurs on "their side of the meter" the city is responsible for sending a crew out to tear through the sidewalk and fix the pipe. S&WB tells us that they are responsible for anything "between the street and the building" but since this leak occurs at exactly the junction of the sidewalk and the building, they.. might agree to send out an inspector but seem to claiming they aren't responsible. I don't know but it looks to me like the city should be out here working on this. Slumlord, for his part, has been agitating as well as have most of the tenants here. He has also contacted Stacy Head's office so perhaps we'll see some movement soon. Meanwhile we're low low low on water pressure. ..and we've got company coming for Mardi Gras... including Consuela who I am certain will want to shower.


Another successful boost to Chief Riley's arrest stats?

More recomended reads.

I've been following Arthur Silber's "Dominion Over the World" series with great interest. It has led me to pick up a copy of Chalmers Johnson's The Sorrows of Empire about the emergence of American militarism.

Jonathan Schwarz has been posting about the Silber series periodically at This Modern World. Today he points to a pertinent quote to consider as the usual crop of corporate funded militarist douchebags begin seeking the Democratic nomination for President.
To put it another way, and this is the issue that mere Democratic partisans adamantly refuse to acknowledge: Bush would not have been possible but for the Democrats who had preceded him…As the inconceivable dangers of wider war, including possible nuclear exchanges, loom over us all, petty partisanship and party loyalty as the primary concern are morally distasteful at a minimum, and occasionally abhorrent in their worst manifestations, intellectually irresponsible, and immensely dangerous. Such an approach does nothing to decrease the continuing calamities that confront us, but only worsens them.
Without a true populist candidate, our imperial nightmare is certain to worsen.

More must reads today

Moldy City:

Yep. And also.. Yep again.

Update: Adrastos tackles the same topic and pulls the money quote from C-Ray continuing to emulate his role model, George W Bush.
"You know, I won re-election 52-48. I think what you hear is some of the 48 percent that may have not voted for me. It's going to be very hard to satisfy them no matter what's being done. ...I understand we make mistakes. Everybody does. But this is hard-ass work."

Lolis's Washington Post Column

Everyone in America should read it. I'd like to reproduce excerpts but the whole thing is essential. Still, I can't help but feel at this point that even putting it this clearly and eloquently amounts to little more than beating one's head against the wall.

H/T Everybody


There are photos to go with these posts so they'll have to wait until tonight. Issues to be covered.

  • Despite an oncoming nasty cold, I didn't miss any Carnival this weekend. Photos and narratives will follow.

  • The babbling brook outside the building has evolved into a mighty spring shooting a good foot high into the air before flooding half of the block. Photos and comments from Slumlord and S&WB to follow.

Oh almost forgot. Tonight PBS's American Experience will air its New Orleans episode. Everything I've heard about this sounds good. The show has a neat website as well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Action Photos.. of plubming

This morning we found that the babbling brook had doubled in size as whatever underground pipe has burst began spouting more water from a wider area.

Below we see the land building properties of flood water in action as a fresh layer of alluvial silt has been deposited by the stream creating new coastal marshland just beyond the curb.

Oh and we're starting to lose water pressure.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Freshwater Diversion

What began about a week and a half ago as a small seepage of water from the ground where the sidewalk meets my apartment building has grown into a multi-spout babbling brook. Steady mini-geysers are producing a strengthening flow from underground to form a stream that cascades into the street and down the nearest storm drain. I've spoken with Lackey 2.0 and Slumlord about it and they seem to be hinting that it's the city's problem. Longtime readers will know that this is far from the first time I've had trouble with the plumbing in or near my apartment. I'm starting to worry about sinkholes in the street (which have happened before) or worse under the building itself. Is there anything else I can or should do?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

D! It's D, dammit!

At least I think so.. but you might want to venture a guess as well. To do so you need to pick up (or just download) the February Antigravity. Therein you will find a short article about the impact of the deaths of Helen Hill and Dinerral Shavers on the local arts and music scene, an interview with Quintron regarding the Ninth Ward Marching Band, and a full page ad featuring Supasaint. What more could you want? Oh yeah there's the multiple choice question posed by the editor.. which I've already attempted to answer for you.

Offense Intended Redux

The linkage between Maitri's critique of Chris Rose, and Atrios's warning to a campaign unready to defend itself was made yesterday at First Draft.
In retrospect it wasn't a great idea for these two to take the jobs in the first place. Why associate yourself with a douchebag equivocating politician at all?

I completely disagree with the emerging analysis of this incident. Edwards's statement, in my view, WAS a capitulation to the right wing attack on his employees. He said absolutely nothing in defense of their right to express their opinion in any way they see fit in their own personal forums.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Curtis star heading for USC

LSU football is definitely headed downhill. How long before Saban starts regularly kicking our butt?

Today's Read

A Study in Contradictions: The Origins and Legacy of the Housing Act of 1949 (PDF)
Alexander Von Hoffman

I see a lot in here about an initial consensus across the political spectrum about the need for "slum clearance" as well as numerous mechanizations by the real estate industry to submarine the efficacy of the program. I do not see, however, anything about an intent for "temporary" housing nor do I see anything to indicate an intent to "warehouse the poor." (In fact the intent appears to have been quite the opposite)

Some highlights:

Conservative congressmen, concerned that public housing would compete with privately developed housing and foster dependency among the poor, limited the program to low-income people by placing a ceiling on the income of eligible tenants and the rents of public housing units. They also incorporated the goal of slum clearance into the law by requiring that one slum unit be demolished for every public housing unit built
Insofar as public housing became a "warehouse for the poor" the origins of this can be traced to conservative lawmakers seeking to protect real estate interests by limiting the scope of the program. Furthermore the rule of one demolition for one new public housing unit constructed has largely been abandoned by today's HUD as the current plans in New Orleans will result in a massive net loss of affordable housing units.

Much of what has come to be portrayed in current talking points as the "failed liberal experiment" of urban redevelopment was originally hatched as a government-funded land-grabbing scheme for the benefit of developers.
Nelson and NAREB leaders abhorred public housing on ideological grounds. They believed that housing projects competed with private businesses but did not pay taxes, were the opening wedge in an eventual takeover of the private housing industry by the government, and undermined the initiative and independence of American citizens. More immediately, real estate interests feared that public housing authorities would appropriate the best urban redevelopment sites for low-income housing. During the late 1930s, NAREB campaigned intensively against public housing and helped convince a conservative Congress to stop funding the program.

Problems of land assembly and costs, however, stood in the way of any slum clearance program based on private redevelopment. Inner-city industrial and lower-income residential areas, however unsightly, were generally profitable. Located near city centers and major transportation routes, these sites were in demand for factories, stores, and low-rent residences. Hence, slum landowners were reluctant to sell their properties at low prices or sometimes at all. After assembling tracts of land, private developers faced the expense of demolishing existing structures and building new ones. As a result, few private developers undertook the redevelopment of slum tracts.

To solve these problems, NAREB proposed in 1941 setting up metropolitan land commissions that would acquire blighted areas through the power of eminent domain and use federal and local government subsidies known as “write-downs” to sell them to private developers at below-market prices. Supporters of public housing were quick to label NAREB as hypocritical for proposing government subsidies for urban redevelopment while condemning subsidies for public housing.

Public housing and urban redevelopment interests were eventually married as a result of uncomfortable compromise between real estate and housing advocates.

When it was finally passed, the Housing Act of 1949 put into law, in only slightly revised form, most of the provisions of the 1945 W-E-T bill that had not already been enacted. It preserved the original goal of “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family,” but the law took only a small step in the direction of that goal (Congressional Quarterly 1966; “Housing Act of 1949” 1949).

The act’s major new contribution to national urban policy was the program for urban redevelopment. Title I authorized $1 billion in loans to help cities acquire slums and blighted land for public or private redevelopment. It also allotted $100 million every year for five years for writedown grants to cover two-thirds of the difference between the cost of slum land and its reuse value. The act stated that local governments had to pay the remaining third, but lightened the burden by allowing them to do so either in cash or in kind, by building needed public facilities.

The other provisions of the Housing Act of 1949 revived, expanded, or extended existing housing programs. Title III restarted the public housing program established by the Wagner Housing Act of 1937. It authorized federal loans and grants to build 810,000 new low-rent public housing units over the next six years—10 percent of what experts estimated would be the nation’s total housing needs. It reinforced the bias of the original law toward slum clearance and subsidized housing restricted to the poor. It placed ceilings on construction costs and tenant incomes and stipulated that local public housing rents be at least 20 percent below the lowest rents for comparable private units available in the same community. Title III required that public housing authorities demolish or renovate one slum dwelling unit for every public housing apartment they built.
Notice again, the restrictions placed on the scope of these projects emanate largely from conservative real estate interests and not from liberal social engineering. Notice also the phrase “a decent home and suitable living environment for every American family,” does not include the word, "temporary".

Unsurprisingly, conservatives and developers immediately set about inhibiting and subverting the already watered down program.

An abbreviated version of the previous legislative struggle over public housing followed. President Truman, public housers, labor groups, social workers, and veterans organizations argued for the new bill, and the real estate lobby and the U.S. Savings and Loan League assailed the cooperatives as un-American. Public support for cooperative housing, however, failed to materialize as it did for the 1949 act. The working-class middle-income group did not inhabit the worst slums, and the postwar housing shortage had begun to subside. Both houses of Congress rejected the program, while liberalizing private industry–oriented FHA programs.

Having won this battle, the real estate industry surprised the public housers with an anti–public housing campaign at the local level. Across the country, members of local real estate agencies and S&Ls mobilized to close local housing authorities, veto housing projects, and reject housing appropriations or bonds. The anti–public housing drives were more successful in the South and West than in large eastern and midwestern cities where public housing and urban redevelopment enjoyed political support

Also worth noting:
Title III of the Housing Act of 1949, however, had a fatal flaw: a naive reliance on physical dwellings to carry out social goals. The planners and developers of postwar public housing, whatever its architecture, inherited from earlier generations a faith in the influence of physical environment on individual values. Some believed, without examining the belief, that decent dwellings would impart middle-class standards of behavior to lower-class people. Others assumed that poor people would be grateful to live in new homes that were a great improvement over their old ones and would improve themselves correspondingly. The political exhaustion of the public housers after the long battles with their opponents and a shift in sociological theory to the view that the individual, not the community, was the basis of modern society, also may have affected the program. Regardless of the causes, new public housing projects lacked the community facilities and activities and social services that characterized early public housing (Bauer 1957;
Bauman 1987; Fairbanks 1988; Radford 1996; von Hoffman 1996a).
This sounds astoundingly similar to the arguments made today by developers in favor of demolishing projects. Somehow we've given credence to the demonstrably flawed argument that the problems of urban poverty are either the fault of or can be alleviated by buildings alone. I've expounded upon this in a YRHT comment thread but what we're seeing today is largely a repeat of the mistakes of the past. Conservatives and real estate developers propose that instead of focusing on the causes of urban poverty (such as a failed post-industrial economy exacerbated by a stupid "war on drugs") we allow them to take advantage of the situation to disperse the already dispossessed and turn the harvested land over to private profiteers. It's the same scheme only this time ignoring the one for one demolish and rebuild guideline that at least lent a patina of fairness to the program.

The problems of the urban poor in New Orleans will not be bulldozed along with their residences. The HUD demolition scheme will not serve the housing needs of the working classes. It will only push them out of the way until the developers are ready to clear the next slum.

King of the Douchebags

As we all know by now, Chris Rose rode as king of Krewe Du Vieux on Saturday.

Unsurprisingly, a tangential result of this ride has rankled some of the parade participants.

I particularly liked Maitri's letter.

Update: From today's idiot page. Evidence that when you try to please everybody you end up pissing everyone off.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Who controls the past...

Bite Me, History Channel.

Why is it

That the only vocal leadership in favor of restoring affordable housing to New Orleans has to come from so far outside of the state?

Among those on the hot seat at Tuesday's hearing will be Roy Bernardi, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees public housing in New Orleans and plans to demolish four major developments -- C.J. Peete, B.W. Cooper, St. Bernard and Lafitte -- to make way for mixed-income communities.

But Frank said Congress can withhold demolition funds unless HUD provides guaranteed replacement housing for the low-income public housing residents displaced by the storm.

"Don't tear down public housing that low-income people can live in until you have a plan to replace them," Frank said. "We are prepared to provide funding, but not to shut down public housing so you can remove some people."

Ain't Dere No More

Lake Forest Plaza

Lake Forest Plaza, the beleaguered eastern New Orleans shopping mall that has struggled for years and been completely empty since Hurricane Katrina, will be demolished to make way for a new Lowe's Home Improvement store plus another million square feet of adjoining retail space, owners of the mall say.

When I was growing up, the Plaza was still a major shopping mall with a movie theater, your major department stores, and an ice rink. When I came to New Orleans East as an adult to work across the street, the mall had fallen on some serious hard times. All but one of the anchor stores had closed. Most of the small stores in the mall were either vacant or largely unfurnished T-shirt kiosks. Entergy had a Customer Service Center in the building where I could often be found paying my electric bill a week or so late. The ice rink had been replaced with a food court which featured one pretty decent Jamaican place and three Chinese food stands. Daisy and I often made a lunch out of "flied lice" and "purples" (don't ask.. really) which we purchased from a lady who always wanted to talk at length about the library. Unfortunately we could barely understand a word she said to us so we spent a lot of time smiling and nodding until our food was ready. Nice lady though. I wonder what happened to her.

Monday, February 05, 2007

King Cake Baby Blues

Even before the flood, it was becoming more and more likely that one would have to travel outside of Orleans Parish to find a decent King Cake. After the demise of McKenzie's the number of neighborhood bakeries in the city producing the traditional Carnival treat sharply declined. At one time it was possible to sample cakes from a variety of pastry makers without wandering too far out of one's own section. In Gentilly we had a few McKenzie's locations nearby and man that chocolate and cheese filled thing they did was dangerous. Sill I was always partial to the cakes from Lawrence's on Elysian Fields. A few years ago, Lawrence's sold out to Gambino's. The Gambino's king cakes weren't bad but I missed the giant "Mr. Wedding Cake" billboard on top of the building. Of course the flood made this a moot complaint.

Nowadays, most of the neighborhood style bakeries like France's or Randazzo's or Haydel's are strictly suburban operations. There are a couple of trendy bakeries in New Orleans that produce "traditional French style" king cakes. But this is little more than another sign of the gentrification and pretense taking hold in the city and bears no resemblance to the kind of tradition we grew up with. With a few exceptions, most King Cakes in the city are found at the grocery store. But buying your King Cake at Sav-a-Center requires a massive sacrifice in quality.. not only in the pastry itself but in one other element which I will get to in a moment.

So far this year, the best King Cake I've found in New Orleans was purchased at the New York Bagel shop on Magazine Street. Friday morning, I picked one up at Still Perkin'. Their supplier is La Louisianne Bakery in Harahan. The cake is of high quality...not too much icing.. light and fluffy bread. But much to my disappointment it seems that the grocery store heresy of including the baby separately in the box instead of inside the cake has caught on with La Louisianne.

Supermarket bakers have begun shying away from including the baby in the cake for fear of litigation on behalf of some unsavvy choking consumer. This is a silly and illegitimate fear as it is highly unlikely that anyone who buys a King Cake in New Orleans would do so unaware of the baby. Unfortunately, the big grocers' management companies no longer tend to be local. Big bakers like Haydel's who ship king cakes nationwide may have a more plausible reason to fear lawsuit but even then, it's a shame to see some of them bow to fear of litigation.

Not to sound too much like an old man here but in my day we had plastic baby dolls inside our cakes and we liked it that way, dammit! Last week Dad, in a desperate search for a chocolate filled King Cake ordered one custom-prepared at Langenstein's. They were happy to comply with his request but it turns out that even Langenstein's now includes the baby separately in the packaging. Something is very wrong here.

And you were there.. and you .. and you!

Krewe Du Vieux is very much becoming the March of the NOLA Bloggers. Find a good spot to watch and you'll see untold numbers of local luminaries stagger drunkenly past you as they futilely attempt to avoid stepping in horse poo.

I'm not sure if it was actually warmer this year or we just picked a more crowded spot in front of the Royal Street Grocery at the corner of St. Ann. Anyway, it was a comfortable vantage point from which I along with Goldschmidt, some random friend of Goldshmidt's, Shehateme, Menckles, Rudolph, and Mr. Rudolph watched one of the lead mules drop an impressive mule-deuce right in the middle of the street. The remainder of the parade was punctuated by the groan of the crowd each time another marcher fell victim to the shit-trap. Ever wonder why so many KDV marchers wear boots? Now you know. In the interest of furthering public understanding of this event, I may upload a photo of the obstacle later this evening so stay tuned.

And there it is

Among the crap marchers we encountered Saturday were Dangerblond, Maitri, and Ashley who gave me a bunch of "Edwards Now More than Ever" paraphernalia. I am given to understand that Adrastos and Dr. A as well as Blake and several other imaginary people from the internets were involved as well. Perhaps someday all the bloggers will get together and take to the streets as their very own "Krewe of Geek". I can't imagine we'd have any trouble generating the requisite amount of horse shit.

Also: Pretty good KDV video up at Dawnsinger.

Superbowl was hard to watch

Worse than the fact that the Saints coulda-shoulda-woulda been there, was watching the clinic on how to beat the Bears if you just stick with your running game. I'm looking in your direction, Soupy. Eh.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

For what it's worth

I don't like Peyton Manning and I think the Bears are the superior team.

But keep in mind, I'm never any good at picking these games.


Get out of my city, you creeps.

For the second consecutive year, groups of Catholics staged a prayerful protest of the Krewe du Vieux Carnival club because the activists believe the krewe mocked Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Eucharist with images used in its 2005 parade.

The protest came hours before the 2007 edition of the parade.

While last year’s vigil was a smaller, local event, about 100 people joining a prayer walk through the French Quarter, this year’s protest, staged by local Catholics and a Pennsylvania-based group, brought more than 250 people together for about two hours on the steps of City Hall. The crowd Saturday prayed the Rosary and sang hymns “in reparation” for “blasphemies” perpetrated by the krewe in the 2005 parade.

God. The fuck. Dammit.

All I can say is.. thank God it's Oyster sifting through and dealing with this crap instead of me.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Flying the Flags

It's Carnival season once again. This is a picture of the Downman House at the corner of St. Charles Ave and Third Street this morning. The flags indicate the household's "royal" lineage. Because this is the only home of a former Rex currently on the Uptown parade route, Rex crosses the street and stops here for a toast on Fat Tuesday.

I wrote some more about the "Old Line Krewes" and their flags in this post last year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fun to think about

The Bush/Lieberman Administration

Today's big joke

They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today.

Whoo that's a knee-slapper! We know all about "prompt action" in these parts.

Today in Sinn Fein

Even David Vitter is pissed at the President for shifting billions of dollars away from emergency flood protection projects in New Orleans.

How serious is that emergency? And anyway isn't it our fault for building too quickly in a "high risk" area? Startling answers here.

Meanwhile the Administration continues to cut and run from New Orleans as quickly as it can find more creative ways to waste federal funds.
In a stunning display, Mike Leavitt, Bush’s US Health Secretary, has proposed cutting approximately 70% of the funds to Louisiana’s public hospital system—and giving that money to the private health insurers, who will waste at least one-third of it.

Anyone else ready for Carnival?

HANO's continued dereliction of duty

T-P reporter Gwen Filosa doesn't mince words in relaying the latest in HANO's push to destroy low-income housing in New Orleans.

New Orleans will permanently lose part of its rich cultural history if the federal government succeeds in erasing the 1940s-era public housing complexes, preservationists said Thursday.

Seventeen months after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures ravaged 80 percent of New Orleans, the city's public housing stock remains mostly shuttered and tagged for demolition as developers plot mixed-income communities to take the place of the Lafitte, St. Bernard, C.J. Peete and B.W. Cooper housing developments.

But in addition to losing thousands of apartments in a city hungry for shelter, the government's recovery plan for public housing will bury the durable, historic complexes that cannot be replaced with rows of pastel, faux shotguns, the critics said.
Regular readers of this space will understand that I am 100% on Filosa's side of this. But even I have to smirk a bit at this editorial disguised as a report qualified only by the barely noticeable phrases "preservationists said" and "critics said". Still it's in a good cause.

HANO's plans for these developments are ridiculous for three reasons. First, the buildings slated for demolition are significant centers of the city's architectural and cultural landscape.
But James Dugan, of the Louisiana Landmarks Society, said the brand-new houses at Fischer housing development on the West Bank, which replaced a notorious high rise, are an affront to the rich architecture of New Orleans public housing.

"These are low-density, garden style apartments," Dugan said of Lafitte, which he lives near. "They are not the miles and miles of public housing you have in New York. This is the experiment that succeeded. Not to be overly critical, but what is across the street is not New Orleans. It's the Disneyland version."

Demolition and replacement of these structures with "Disneyland" constitutes a massive Squandering of the city's Heritage.

Second, the demolition signals a complete failure of HANO to carry out its mission. Massive portions of our community have been dispersed, bullied and forgotten by the agency charged with meeting the housing needs of low income families. HANO's proposal would drastically reduce the stock of low-income housing available in an already shamefully tight market. Meanwhile by building "market rate" units on land previously dedicated to low-income housing HANO baldly declares its intention to serve the housing needs of the well-to-do over the needs of the poor. This is a direct transfer of wealth away from the least wealthy segment of the community. I am ashamed to live in a city that so enthusiastically endorses such a policyof perverse social engineering.

Third, HANO and HUD are proceeding with this program while ignoring the protests of a vast majority of the people they are supposed to serve. This isn't to say there hasn't been input from the public.
Dugan and other preservationists spoke Thursday night at HANO's legally required meeting at the Fischer Community Center, which drew at least 60 people.

"We're working with HANO's vision, to transform obsolete public housing and bring in mixed-income communities," said Tracey Dodd, of United States Risk Management, the local firm HANO hired to draft redevelopment plans. But speakers almost uniformly denounced the idea of demolishing the historic neighborhoods in favor of mixed-income developments like River Garden, which replaced the St. Thomas complex in the Lower Garden District.
The attendees at nearly all of these "legally required meetings" have stated their opposition in no uncertain terms and each time their objections have been dismissed.

Why are the concerns of these flood-dispersed residents allowed to fall on deaf ears? The paltry amount of support for restoring low-income housing that has been granted an audience in polite conversation tends to center around the need to "bring back the workforce" as though government commitment to low-income housing existed only for the benefit of the owners of New Orleans's tourist-plantation economy. Perhaps if we were endowed with the minimum amount of humanity required to view the working poor as something other than labor units we might begin to work earnestly toward restoring these communities ripped apart by the Federal Flood.

Update: Heh.. sorry... HANO's right after all. Those kitchens just won't do.