Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Oh no

You know I was kind of on the fence about this before but this pretty much settles it. Hurricanes suck.
Farmers, fishers and buyers say only about 20 percent of the state's crawfish crop survived the salty water brought inland by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and a drought in the Atchafalaya basin.

Crawfish lovers are unlikely to find the live Louisiana delicacy for less than $3 a pound wholesale in coming months. And processed crawfish meat, which is unlikely to show up at all, is likely to fetch $30 a pound.

Which means that boiled critters will be well above 3$ per pound this spring.

Internets Down

I've lost my pirated home access. Posting will be light until I can resolve this somehow.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Civilization Has Returned

Walgreens on St Charles has resumed 24 hour operation! You may now satisfy your chocolate cravings whenever you wish.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

More stuff I find

Looking for Indian stuff to put up in the library I found Katy Reckdahl's Gambit piece on Tootie Montana shortly after his death last year. Worth a look if you missed it during its original run.

Strange things I find

While searching for bulletin board fodder for a Mardi Gras display, I came upon the website of a consumer advocacy group dealing with the safety of carnival rides. I don't know why this strikes me as significant other than that I really like roller coasters.

Oh also the display.. will probably go with How Stuff Works.. usually pretty dependable stuff there.

Oh no!

Rose is back. Unfunny as ever.

The final word on the chocolate thing

Comes from da po'boy who says.
Yes, the Mayor said some stupid things. But don’t tell me you didn’t have fun with them.

Damn, since Nagin made his chocolate comments I haven’t stopped laughing. The chocolate jokes keep coming. Just re-reading his explanation of how to make chocolate, that delicious drink, made me tear up laughing.

I am glad Nagin made his chocolate comments. I needed that laugh.

Don’t worry about losing any federal funding over this. They are not giving us enough money anyway.

If anything, stupid comments by local politicians should be welcome. It’s a sign that New Orleans is coming back. It makes me almost miss the school board meetings.
Couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Nagin and Bush

I've been knocking this comparison around in my head for a few years now. There are some striking similarities between the two men. Both came to politics from the "business world". Bush ran a series of cushy family connected oil exploration ventures into the ground before becoming a useful political puppet of arms dealers and energy companies. Nagin ran Cox cable in New Orleans (as Schroeder puts it in comments to this YRHT post, "How tough a "business executive" do you have to be to work for a massive monopoly that just collects checks for a ridiculously overpriced service?") before becoming a useful political puppet of the city's white aristocracy. Both men are prone to making bewilderingly stupid statements when allowed to speak extemporaneously. Both men can appear rather surly when challenged on these statements. (Nagin, admittedly, is a little better at damage control insofar as he actually makes the effort.) Nagin's recent statement that "God is angry at America" invokes the nutball religious rhetoric of Bush's constituency.

Luckily recent events have allowed a new mathematical relationship to emerge which I believe I can reveal to you here. In light of Nagin's bizarre "chocolate" word choice and given what we know from this equation discovered recently by Tom Tomorrow, I think we can now say the following with some confidence.

Well obviously

That's what he meant.

Monday, January 16, 2006

And now for something truly worthwhile

It's a great project. Here's how you can help.

King's legacy

Every now and then Lolis Eric Elie tells 'em what they need to hear.

King's message lost on politicians
Monday, January 16, 2006
Lolis Eric Elie

This is that day set aside each year so Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush or Ray Nagin can stand up and say, "If Martin Luther King were alive today, he would agree with me."

But no matter how many times they say this, my mind goes back to Memphis, 1968. My mind goes back to the actions King took in his final days, the ones that make liars out of each and every one of these people.

In April of that year, King had been working on a march that would bring thousands of poor Americans to Washington. But he put that work on hold to embrace some of the poorest, dirtiest, most disrespected workers in America: the sanitation workers in Memphis.

After several of their members were crushed to death in a garbage truck, these men called on King and others to bring their plight to the attention of the nation.

"You see, though it was not part of the Poor People's Campaign, it was consistent, because here were people, garbage workers, who were the worst-paid and had the lowest status of any group, demanding better wages and better working conditions," Coretta Scott King wrote in her 1969 book, "My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr."

"My husband felt he should be identified with them. He said, 'This is not a race war; it is now a class war.' "

Measuring up

How are we to measure the mayor of New Orleans in light of King's brave words?

Nagin deserves praise for the pay raises he budgeted for city workers in his first two years in office. But those raises are a distant memory. Not long after the hurricane, when it was clear the city had little money and few prospects for an infusion of capital, Nagin fired most city workers.

What about his top staff members, the ones he awarded substantial pay raises in better times? They kept their jobs and weren't even asked to accept symbolic pay cuts.

What about the mayor's Bring New Orleans Back Commission? How many members of that august group can be said to represent the interests and aspirations of those low-income people who make up a majority of our citizens?

Put another way, can anybody imagine Ray Nagin making it a city priority to improve the lives of sanitation workers?

Hypocrisy on parade

Today, as our city leaders engage in their annual Martin Luther King Day march, there are a few things I can say about it with little fear that the facts will later prove me wrong.

King's dream will be tirelessly evoked and cited as inspiration for the direction the city is taking.

There will be few white people in attendance because, despite what King said in his most famous speech, the event has been allowed to become a virtually all-black affair.

There will be little talk of poverty or class. Hypocrisy will be on parade.

Must Read

This Observer piece on New Orleans and Katrina (linked by Greg Peters) explains more clearly than I have tried to on occasion the kind of damage done to this city by the tourist-plantation industry.
The French Quarter isn't feeling much pain. At the height of the storm, it shipped less than a foot of water. A couple of bars on Bourbon Street never closed. All that's missing are the tourists. There's bitter irony in this, because tourism is the primary reason that New Orleans sold its soul. Before the 1980s, visitors were expected to adjust to native customs. Then the local economy ran aground. The oil boom of the Seventies collapsed, and big business, driven off by Louisiana's punitive taxes, left town. Even the port, the city's primary source of income, was diminished. That left the tourist dollar. The French Quarter, previously ramshackle, was transformed into a creole Disneyland. Shopping malls, convention centres, casinos and theme parks sprang up, enriching a power elite. Old white money and new black money thrived. The populace at large was left to rot.

In recent decades, the mayors and the majority of the city council have been African-Americans, which merely proves that black rip-off artists can be as voracious as white. Pre-Katrina, tourism generated $1 million a day but not a dime ever seemed to reach the streets. And this was deliberate. Tourists need service - menial labour to clean their tables and make their beds, hose away their vomit on Bourbon Street. To provide it, the city adopted a policy of malign neglect. The old black neighbourhoods, rich in history and culture, were allowed to sink into ruin and the school system to founder. Without education, there was no way out. Many who refused to submit to grunt work in the Quarter became criminals, most often drug dealers. The public-housing projects that ringed the city's centre became armed camps, where killing was seen as proof of manhood. By 2000, New Orleans was America's murder capital, eight times as deadly as New York.

For tourists, this was an invisible world. If they ventured beyond the Quarter at all, they took the streetcar past the mansions on St Charles Avenue or joined a walking tour of the Garden District, and few troubled to inquire what paid for such luxury. The only white faces seen in the projects belonged to social workers and drug-trawlers. The city was more deeply segregated than at any time in its history. Almost every project family lost someone to violence or jail. A culture of hopelessness took hold.

The piece also makes a few points about Nagin that I think are largely missed.. or purposely obscured by the elitist New Orleans media.
Nagin is a contentious figure. After the flood, when it became obvious that the city's disaster plan had been hopelessly inadequate and he might be held accountable, he posed as a firebrand, accusing the powers in Washington. He had a point: the performance of those in power was a crime. Government at every level failed utterly to help its own citizens in need, and it continues to do so. But Nagin's efforts have been nothing to brag about and his posturing fools few. 'Ray Nagin was never black until Katrina' is a popular line among his constituents. Formerly owner of the local cable-TV franchise, his loyalty has always been to business. He has made a show of organising televised forums on New Orleans' future, at which community leaders can berate each other to their hearts' content. The serious brainstorming, though, goes on at private luncheons beforehand, reserved for Nagin and the developers and demolishers who are the true powers behind his throne.
Just a reminder of who is drawing up the plans, folks. Keep watching.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Under the Bridge

I spent a little time on the bicycle this afternoon chasing the All Star Second Line Parade through parts of Treme and Downtown. After cruising the neighborhood and people watching for a while, I planted myself under the Claiborne overpass at Esplanade Avenue where I got a few pictures. For the first half of the 20th century, the Claiborne Avenue neutral ground between roughly Canal Street and Elysian Fields was a wide parkway shaded by a quadruple row of oak trees. The green space was a central staging area for Downtown Carnival events. It was the stomping ground of Indians, Bone Gangs, and Baby Dolls. It was the heart of the downtown black community. In the mid sixties, the heart was ripped out of this neighborhood when the downtown stretch of Claiborne Avenue was overlain with the elevated portion of Interstate 10. Today the trees are gone but there are still mementos of the culture that flourished on this strip. In fact, while the neighborhood has suffered, it has clung tightly to its traditions. Many of the cement columns which support the overpass have been decorated with murals depicting aspects of local culture and even the long lost oaks themselves.

These murals depict a defiance of sorts; a triumph of the soul over the most vicious ravages of "progress". This kind of defiance is called for once again as New Orleans struggles to right itself after the storm. The sight of the murals next to the many abandoned and flooded vehicles the city is currently depositing under the overpass brings this challenge into sharper focus.

Despite the altered setting, something very like the classic Black Carnival still does occur "under the bridge".. or at least did until Katrina. God knows what will happen in 2006. Today's event was partly about reclaiming that heritage come hell, high water, or Republicans.


This is a personal website. What appears here are the inane, hastily tossed off, frequently misspelled ramblings of an exceedingly silly person. The opinions expressed here are those of that person alone and have no affiliation with any public or private institution such as the New Orleans Public Library or Major League Baseball.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Meet the new boss

Fox Sports just reported that the Saints are planning to announce their decision on a new coach by Tuesday and that the front runner is Dallas assistant Sean Payton. If true I think this is probably the right move. Of course.. we haven't heard from the City Council yet.


It's hard to keep a good geek down.

Tears welling up

For the billionth time since all of this began as Schroeder links to this Wapo editorial by Eugene Robinson which once again points out the obvious. The city is at the mercy of aristocrats and developers bent on forcing people off of their land.
I have trouble believing this fight is really over, however. The key is for people to get off of this nicey-nice "New Orleans needs to speak with one voice" bullshit and start realizing that there are real enemies here.
Today the mayor said in a radio soundbite that the Martin Luther King holiday is a good time for everyone to come together and get behind the BNOB bulldoze scheme; yet another manifestation of the establishment's sanitization and appropriation of King's legacy. The architect of the Poor People's Campaign would want us to fight. Wake up, New Orleans before it's too late.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Caption Contest

Just in case anyone feels like playing I'll leave it open. Hint: The word fool comes to mind.

"What's dressed?"

We Never Close is now... no longer closed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Now here's a good place to start bulldozing

Gill's column today subtly points out something most of us know but the T-P does not customarily highlight. Tulane does what benefits Tulane. Tulane rarely, if ever, goes out of its way to do what benefits New Orleans.

How are we doing?

Not good apparently.

The latest Katrina Index is available now.

Not no but hell no

But thank you very much for playing.

The Mayor's Bulldoze Committee is set to release its latest monstrosity of a plan today. Only one comment: It's obvious that the people making the plans prefer a sleepy resort town to the vibrant but troubled city that once stood here.

Someday the people we entrust with our governance will act in the interest of the people they were elected to serve. But for now it is as always about money... money enabled by racism.

Update: "Over my dead body"

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday Sports

Eli goes down in flames. This pleases me as now I don't have to listen to Dad's constant blather about an all-Manning Superbowl.

Young is coming out. If the Saints take Leinart ahead of him they are making a huge mistake... which wouldn't be out of character.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The sides are lining up

It's Carnival season. Which side are you on? This attempt by the Quality Inn on St Charles to throw evacuees out on the street in order to prepare for the "city's season of special events" is only a taste of the coming atrocities the city's aristocratic and corporate classes intend to inflict upon the poor and the displaced in New Orleans as we get closer and closer to the Most Soulless Mardi Gras Ever. I've got some thoughts on this coming in a future post. The short version is I'm having difficulty getting excited about Mardi Gras this year. There are too many sinister side stories to justify supporting it. Anyone who is familiar with the annual fanatic Carnival blogging on this site will know that that is indeed saying something

Again with the sports predictions and recommendations and so forth

Super Bowl XL: Patriots vs Redskins

Draft: If Vince Young is available, the Saints should take him. If not, trade the pick. Leinart is a Wuerffel waiting to happen.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ethnic Cleansing

Appears to be the cause celeb over at the Metblog this week. Unfortunately we're going to be dealing with more and more of this over the coming year. At the moment I have only the energy to refer the participants in this conversation to the T-P's James Gill
There is no question that the uprooted denizens of the Lower 9th Ward and eastern New Orleans, for instance, include some pretty rough customers. Murders are way down in New Orleans and way up in Houston since Katrina, and the population shift is the most obvious explanation.

There are plenty of respectable citizens in New Orleans, therefore, who hope the displaced will stay where they are.

But it turns out that the newcomers do not deserve all, or even most, of the blame for the recent surge in murders reported in Houston. Sure, our guys have contributed, but statistics indicate that they have toned it down since they left New Orleans.

When Katrina struck, New Orleans had recorded 205 murders in 2005 and was on pace to exceed the 2004 total of 265 by a comfortable margin.

Since then there have been only six murders in New Orleans on account of there is hardly anyone here to fire or stop a bullet. Murders in Houston, meanwhile, are up by 25 percent, and local officials are inclined to point the finger at evacuees from New Orleans.

But their own figures suggest this may be a case of post Katrina ergo propter Katrina, because only nine of the 122 murders reported since have involved evacuees. And, in some of them, it was as victim, conceivably even innocent victim.

Given that the holiday season always tends to bring a spike in homicides and suicides, it appears that Houstonians would be dropping like flies even if everyone from New Orleans had stayed home. Why our hoodlums should have remained relatively inactive in their exile is a bafflement, but it appears to be the case.
Please, people. If we're going to rebuild our city it is imperative that we try to be more careful before we introduce too much hateful poison into the environment.

Today's worst news

There was never and still is absolutely no call for this. Even if we tolerate it this year (which we should not) it must not be permitted in the future.

Today's best news

The mayor is starting to relent on his "more compact city" rhetoric and is opening New Orleans East to 24 hour traffic. The East is home to a large number of the city's black middle class homeowners many of whom have the means to rebuild should they choose to do so. If enough of these residents return and rebuild soon, the misguided ULI plan will become unworkable.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Late Night Debris Blogging

This overturned tree at the corner of Harmony and Prytania is getting to be quite the landmark. The holiday ribbons are, I think, a nice touch.

This really is a shame

He certainly made some mistakes but I really did like Jim Haslett... and that's saying something as I have a generally low tolerance for all football coaches. I still think he'll be successful in his next job.

Watching me watching you

A look at Big Brother on St Charles Ave