Dr. Ed Blakely watchers know that former Mayor Ray Nagin's "recovery czar" declared mission accomplished on the rebuilding of New Orleans in 2009 and took his metaphorical "cranes in the sky" to Australia, where he now works with the University of Sydney's United States Study Centre (bless their hearts).There once was a time (I think this was just after the "Chocolate City" speech) when we were fond of pointing out the similarities between Mayor Ray Nagin and President Bush. But we were pretty certain at the time that Nagin and not Bush hired Ed Blakely. But if ABC says differently, then I suppose there's a lot we didn't know about Ed Blakely.
But now Blakely has a new challenge. He's teaming up with "urban designer" Ethan Kent to revitalize a shopping mall in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta.
That revitalization seems to center on restoring a fountain built in 1986 in the midst of the mall, a rather different task than rebuilding New Orleans. But certainly Blakely is the man for the job; as a report on ABC News Australia stated this morning, he was appointed to fix New Orleans by none other than President George W. Bush:
Professor Blakely was called in by then president George W Bush as "recovery tsar" after Katrina and has now been commissioned by Parramatta City Council to rebuild its central square, Church Street Mall.
He says the task in New Orleans was massive.
"The city fell down. 80 per cent of it was ruined," Professor Blakely said.
"We had to build it from the ground up and that's what we did.
"But I worked on a lot of other cities around the world: San Francisco, some in New York, Moscow, Paris."
And that's why I did some checking. You might be surprised at the Ed Blakely facts I found. I would like to share these facts with you now. Not many people know these facts so you are likely learning them for the first time. If you find them shocking please consider the feelings of others you may share them with before you do.
- Ed Blakely was hatched in a secret laboratory operated by Monsanto in Anaheim, California at Disneyland's original Tomorrowland exhibit. In the basement.
- Ed Blakely trained in the meditative arts by walking a topiary labyrinth for 20 years uninterrupted while he communed with the infinite.. or possibly the ghost of Robert Moses.
- Ed Blakely was appointed by President Rutherford Hayes to re-crack the Liberty Bell after it was repaired by well-meaning locals who didn't want to wait around for the damn gub'mint to solve their bell problem for them.
- Ed Blakely once escaped from Liliput shouting defiantly at its inhabitants, "I don't have time to talk to little people."
- Ed Blakely personally administered the neighborhood charrette that produced Adrien de Pauger's original plan of New Orleans.
- Ed Blakely restored power to Superbowl XLVII by smiling brightly at a newborn child.
- Ed Blakely once bike toured all the way from Cuba to Florida.