Saturday, February 28, 2009

The secret to brilliant sports management

1) Shop around an injury-plagued underperforming star with a big cap number for weeks.

2) Actually trade him. It's okay, the trade will be rejected because your underperforming star is too injury-plagued to pass a physical.

3) Presto! Instant MVP candidate.

What do you think the Saints could get for Reggie Bush?

PBJ's train from Harrah's to Tigerland

At the same time that PBJ was on teevee half-smirkingly pouting about the magnetic train, "from Las Vegas to Disneyland" Jindal's administration was planning to ask to use the same pot of money to build...a train from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.

Two questions come to mind.

1) How can we expect such a small-scale project to come anywhere near to servicing the massive transit needs of New Orleans's high-level administrators? (see post below)

2) Will the new train feature a special fare for gunshot victims in New Orleans in need of urgent medical care at the new hospital LSU has threatened to build in Baton Rouge instead of Mid-City?

Here's how stupid I am. It took me all week to notice but here is more typical Jindal at work. On Tuesday Jindal whines about the irresponsible gubmint trying to build a "train to Disneyland" By the end of the week, Jindal is 1) asking to build a train and 2) in Disneyworld.

Which leads to a third and more serious question. If one magnetic train left Bobby Jindal on Tuesday traveling at the speed of "caution" how long would it take that train to approach anything like sincerity? Keep in mind, your answer may have to be expressed on some sort of evolutionary scale of time... which means Jindal may never understand it.

Upperdate: More from Oyster who has been gleefuly amping up the "liberal blogger B.S." over Jindal's flame-out all this week.

Uppestdate: CenLaMar also picked up on PBJ's "Disney Dissonance"

Paul Vallas's take-home car

Dude takes it ALL the way home.

In an unusual, perhaps unique, arrangement, State Education Superintendent Paul Pastorek has, in his words, "infrequently granted" Vallas permission to drive the state-owned car from Louisiana to visit family in the Chicago area.

In a written statement, Pastorek estimated the number of New Orleans-Chicago excursions -- a round trip of 1,800 miles -- at "about six." He said Vallas pays for his gas and lodging.

Pastorek added that Vallas spends "the majority of his time" in New Orleans but returns to visit family for a few days every four to six weeks. He called Vallas "one of the hardest-working people I know" and said it "would be impractical to expect Mr. Vallas to maintain custody of another vehicle in Louisiana" apart from the state-owned one he uses on the job in New Orleans.

We really should try to get the people charged with shaping the future of New Orleans's schools and neighborhoods to actually live in New Orleans. This Chicago-Dubai-Dallas-Australia metro region we've developed just isn't sustainable until Jindal finally lets us build all those levitating trains.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Make this stop

Far be it for me to say anything against the ongoing Jindal-bashing party in the mainstream press, the liberal blogosphere, the conservative blogosphere, the streets, townhalls, schoolyards, and volcano monitoring stations of Everytown USA.

But for chrissakes, so-called liberal Americans, equating "post-Katrina aid" with "suck(ing) up most federal dollars" is utter bullshit and I really wish you would "make it stop."

NOLA.com headlines

Who else thinks "keystone Corps" is more than just an accident?

There was a lot of good stuff happening

Still working on the Mardi Gras post. Here are the Cheyenne Indians dancing on Second Street to tide you over.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I thought they wanted to stop measuring it this way

Although I never understood the reasoning behind that decision.

Palin-esque flame-out

E is obviously not too hungover this morning to take a critical look at PBJ's performance last night.

Maybe it isn't fair to Sarah Palin to liken the newly initiated failure of Bobby Jindal to rally the nation to the cause of neo-Hooverism to her embarrassing post-debutante career. Palin's big flop came under the bright lights of the frenetic and extra-stupid Presidential campaign season. Jindal's flame-out will probably be a longer, slower burn.

Update: Oyster catalogs the mass "unappeal" of the geeky Jindal here... and here (needed a whole second post)

We'll talk later

Despite what you're seeing and hearing in the national media about something that happened on my block yesterday, Mardi Gras was also a gorgeous day when lots of great things happened just as they do every year.

I know that, in one-dimensional teevee land, it sounds difficult to believe that a day can be both beautiful and sad but, trust me, it happens all the time. I'll have the obligatory post-Mardi Gras recap post up later when I get my pictures uploaded.

(Maybe teevee-land is technically two-dimensional...whatever... deal with it)

Adrastos was on the scene yesterday and offers this combination crime scene report/culinary review.

Jindal FAIL

David asks, "What was the worst thing about Jindal's presentation tonight?" (Meaning last night)
Was it that he sounded like that museum tour guide who talked your ninth grade class as if he were talking to a third grade class?

Isn't that pretty much always how Jindal sounds? But I guess that's how Jindal gets credit in the Louisiana press for being so "smart". He knows how to address them on their level.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


See you outside somewhere. Looks like a pretty one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Lundi Gras

Obviously I've been doing Carnival-type stuff this weekend. It's no big loss to the general discourse, however. There certainly wouldn't have been anything here more worth reading than Oyster's two recent posts about the coming 2010 mayoral election and our ridiculous Governor's posturings over Louisiana's share of the stimulus package.

Meanwhile I've been busy getting drunk in the streets. I'll take the time to write about it after it's over but tomorrow is a big day and I've got to get some sleep. In the meantime, please enjoy these photos (and one video) of folks cleaning St Charles Avenue after tonight's Orpheus parade. Over the years I had come to call the elaborate procession of street sweepers, trucks and clean-up crews that follow each parade the Krewe of Municipal Vehicles. But I may have to give that name up as I fear it may raise suspicions from the Inspector General's Office.

Krewe of Municipal Vehicles


Happy Mardi Gras

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Rolls out of bed at 3:00PM

There are times when we face the shocking possibility that we may be getting too old for this. However, as many things, it is not a possibility that we intend to face gracefully. Just stepped outside to take a look at Thoth.... and then back inside for more hangover food.

Everything seems to be deteriorating quite nicely out there. The neutral ground is a tent city. The air is filled with grill smoke. And some dude is playing music by blowing into his comb.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hermes and his Flambeaux

Coming down St Charles Avenue last night

Flambeaux escorting King

Hermes was a beautiful parade. More later. Right now it's time to go back outside and play. Happy Mardi Gras.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Actual reasonable discussion underway right now in a NOLA.com comment thread! And it's about ladder usage!

With apologies to Angus Lind

I've received the following photo from Lind's infamous Carnival source, "Deep Float" It appears the reveal the super-secret theme for tonight's Le Krewe D'Etat parade.

"The Dictator Does Broadway"

People Vs Ladders

Who even knew there was a non-binding (so far) referendum on ladder usage underway at the The Gambit site? Remember, the choice here isn't necessarily "Ladders" vs "No Ladders" All we really want is for people to use ladders in accordance with the law and show a little common courtesy toward their fellow parade goers.

The key thing to keep in mind is that everyone has the right to enjoy the parade. Claiming common territory and obstructing free movement is the main problem. Such obstructions can be created by ladders, ropes, or clusters of lawn chairs like the one we had to deal with last night. I'll try to provide a photo later. Somehow it didn't make my latest Flickr upload. (Never drink and organize photos)

Update: Here it is

Phalanx of lawn chairs

Just ridiculous. Most of the people utilizing these chairs were in their teens and pre-teens. No healthy child needs to sit through a parade like that. The chairs block street access to other parade-goers AND obstruct the intersection for emergency vehicles. It needs to stop.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ladders in the news!

Fenced-in ladders

From yesterday's idiot page:

Parade patrols are inconsistent
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

While I realize the Orleans Police Department has bigger fish to fry and that this rant may sound trivial, I made some observations this weekend of enforcement of our ordinances.

At one intersection, there was a police officer diligently enforcing the rules against ladders or chairs in the intersection and dogs at parades. Meanwhile, around the block there were six or seven dogs at the street line and chairs and ladders in the intersection.

Doesn't this lax enforcement at one corner make it harder for more vigilant police officers at the next corner?

Surely if the police expect respect from us they should begin by uniformly enforcing the laws.

Maria Huete

New Orleans

Actually, I find the news that police were enforcing the rules at all quite encouraging. I think the best thing NOPD can do is get out there and inform people. A major cause of ladder misuse is lack of public awareness.

The dog issue mentioned by the letter writer provides an excellent example of responsible enforcement. As I've said before, most dogs love Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, it is illegal to walk your dog within 50 feet of the parade route. It has been my experience, however, that NOPD exercises excellent discretion in enforcing this rule. They are usually more lax during the early parades with smaller and calmer crowds and are pretty good at laying off the better behaved animals.

Last night, a neighbor of mine brought her dog out to see the parade formerly known as "Ancient Druids" but now calling itself "Mystick Krewe of Druids". An officer came over to us and politely told us that the rule was 50 ft. We retreated about 20 ft, and that seemed to work out fine for everyone.

Dog on the parade route

If the police can courteously help dogs to enjoy the parade safely, surely they can remind people to be respectful of one another as well. Mark Folse gets to the heart of the problem here.
But on that same neutral ground every year, people (mostly not from our neighborhood) show up and spray paint themselves blocks of neutral ground larger than some homes in our neighborhood, and if you want to challenge their right to do so you had best be ready for fisticuffs. This is insane. Parades are supposed to be for everyone. That is why we allow them to roll down the city’s public streets, rather than having them circle the floor of the Superdome for ticket buyers. But try telling that to the neutral ground Nazi’s.

It is simply another example of the continued crumbling of the basic social contract, and the tendency of some in the greater world to privatize the commons for their own benefit to the greater society’s detriment. When Washington and Baton Rouge are run on this basis, why not grab your own piece of public property for your private party?

People need to be reminded they are there to share the parade experience not to hoard their private piece. Simply put, if you don't want to interact with other people, you should probably stay inside. The police are quite capable of communicating this to folks in a completely benign way with little or no risk of Mark's above-mentioned fisticuffs.

Notes on Druids:

  • Before I say what I want to say here, let's be clear on one thing. Last night was a great night for a parade and I enjoyed it very much. I am always happy to walk around outside drinking beer and talking to people under any pretense and this was as good a night for it as any. The dreaded thunderstorm never materialized. A lot of people were out. It was nice.

  • Having said that, I think we can all agree that Druids put on a pretty crappy parade. The floats were ho-hum, the riders were the stingiest so far this year, and the theme was unbelievably lame.

    One would expect the theme, "Why?" would have lent itself to all manner of mischievous satire but Druids dropped that ball pretty quickly. One of the first floats was entitled, "Why, Archbishop, Why?" in reference to the recent local controversy over church closings. Not a terrible start, but it was the last float of any topical relevance in the procession.

    Subsequent floats titled, "Why don't snakes have legs?" and "Why is the ocean salty?" didn't seem to have anything to do with anything. Reading these float titles was sort of like manning the reference desk... at a library for 4 year olds. I got the impression that the Krewe members either couldn't decide what to do with their theme or maybe had disagreements over how to handle controversial topics other than the church closings. In any event, they just seemed to have given up. This float, titled "K Why" was the low point in the lame progress of puns and inanities.

    Druids float

  • On a more encouraging note, I am happy to report that affordable parade food is not quite a thing of the past.

    BTT Food Services

    This little truck on Josephine Street was selling pretty decent tacos for $2.00 each as well as Polish Sausage for $4.00. Just down the block nearer Felicity the Polishes were going for $8.00. I didn't try the Boudin Balls but there is plenty Carnival left.

  • And, finally, my neighbors are back with their head-mounted target contraption.

    Beadmaster 2009

    He calls it the "Beadmaster 2009" (The name changes every year). And, yes, it works. Just don't stand between it and enthusiastic riders trying to nail the target.

One more note for anyone reading who may be new to all of this. DO NOT MISS tonight's Krewe of Muses. Nothing else in Carnival achieves Muses' mix of the traditional feel of a neighborhood-style parade, the bombast of the Super-Krewes, and the cleverness of a satirical theme... not to mention the odd surprise. It really has become the highlight of the season.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bobby Jindal on science and caution

While doing a little research for an upcoming post, I forced myself to re-read Geek Appeal, Jeremy Alford's campaign puff piece on Jindal which appeared in the The Gambit (then Gambit Weekly) in September of 2007. In that article we find the following quotation.

He's (Jindal) also extremely careful, even calculated -- a trait that surfaces during even the most mundane activities, like taking medicine. Jindal, who has a background in biology, medicine and public policy, never follows the directions on prescription medicines. "I always just take half the dose," he says. "I'm very cautious."

Now, I'll admit I don't have a "background in biology, medicine and public policy" but I can read the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding use of antibiotics.

Take an antibiotic exactly as the healthcare provider tells you. Do not skip doses. Complete the prescribed course of treatment even if you are feeling better. If treatment stops too soon, some bacteria may survive and re-infect.

This week we learned that Jindal's "cautious" approach to his "background in biology" cost New Orleans some much-needed convention business and brought some unwelcome national publicity to Louisiana's backwards attempt to push creationism in the public schools.

Next week, the Governor will explain his "cautious" approach to math. It starts with billions of federal dollars to help fix the state budget, provide health care to poor people, build roads, etc. And then you start subtracting the "strings"

Update: More from Oyster: "He really believes this stuff"

Katy Reckdahl answers my Twitter

While watching Pygmalion pass on Friday night, I saw something I hadn't seen before so I asked the Tweeter Tube, "What is Roots of Music"?

And here's the answer.

Neat how that works

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Super huge Carnival omnibus post

Friday afternoon we held a minor ceremony at the library during which we posted a fresh set of "Please do not throw trash into the library bookdrop" signs on the bookdrop. It's become a pre-Carnival ritual for us similar to the "Greasing of the poles" in the French Quarter.

Of course, we know this act to be purely ceremonial in nature as it has proven an unreliable deterrent to the behavior. Monday morning, we found this pack of Parliaments.

Cigarettes in the bookdrop

Carnival has obviously kicked into gear.

As is the case most years, it's difficult to conceive of us missing any of the Uptown parades. So far this year is no exception. Here's a quick review of the weekend's events.

  • By far the most interesting development this season has been the emergence of WDSU's new parade-tracking system. The local TV station has managed to position inconspicuous vehicles like this one here near the head of each parade.

    WDSU car

    The vans are carrying GPS devices which allow the vehicle's location to be plotted on the station's map here. If you click on that map right now, you will see all of the vans are parked at Channel 6's studio on Howard Avenue. But during the parades, they move along the map displaying the approximate position of the parade on its route. This is a remarkable tool for anyone who lives within a few blocks of the parade route and wants to know exactly when it's time to walk on down. And, yes, it actually works!

    WDSU is also updating parade locations via Twitter. Theoretically this is an even better tool than the GPS map but anyone familiar with Twitter's fits of texting unreliability will be less than enthused. The Tweeter Tube updates weren't working at all for me on Friday and Saturday but were fine during Sunday's parades.

    As fun as all this is, I'm a little saddened to see technology infringe upon the Carnival mystique. I like to think that, over the years, I've developed a sixth sense for knowing exactly when to take a walk out to the route, or down the street to visit a friend, or when to run back to the house for more beer.

    These skills are particularly important on the morning of Fat Tuesday when I'm running back and forth from Zulu on Jackson Avenue, to the Wild Magnolias on Dryades Street, to Rex on St. Charles, and to the giant pot of red beans at my apartment. The golden moments on Mardi Gras day are the serendipitous accidents that arise out of just happening to be in a certain place at the right time.

    On Saturday, r and I decided to take a walk down to the corner store between parades. If we hadn't made this sojourn, I wouldn't have come across the world's tiniest dogshit sign.

    Dog's eye level sign

    Or this horrifying concoction in the store's cooler.

    Bud Light and Clamato

    I am uncomfortable with the thought that this magic will now be guided by GPS and text messaging.

  • The weather has become unpredictable just in time for parade season. Every day we've had a "60% chance" of heavy rain but have managed to squeeze every parade through without getting washed out. I'm hoping this holds up.

  • The parades on the first weekend are simple. The themes are accessible. Quite often they care built around saccharine New Orleans-centric nostalgia. The floats are basic and you are likely to see them re-run on consecutive days. For example, on Saturday night, Pegasus's theme was "Celebrating New Orleans" and many of the floats were recycled from Friday's "It's Been 10 Years, Dawlin, And We Love Nawlins" Pygmalion parade. On Sunday, Carrollton's theme was based on remembrances of the 1984 World's Fair. Here is the title float with the Fair's mascot, "Seymour D Fair" riding up front.

    Seymour D Fair

    Yes, I am old enough to remember the 1984 World's Fair.

  • I am also old enough to remember when the Krewe of Pontchartrain rolled down Hayne Blvd in Eastern New Orleans. Here they are now on the St. Charles Avenue route like just about everyone else these days.

    Captian Sam

    It's nice to see some krewes extend their route this year, but it's still not the same thing as seeing the parades go back to the neighborhoods they once represented. We've lost a whole generation of people who now see Mardi Gras strictly as a show for tourists. The standardized route is a big contributor to this.

  • Also not helping matters is the insidious Jefferson Parish "Family Gras" (literally "Fat Family") celebration. I know I rant about this every year, but it's a horrifying label that demands push-back. The absurdism "Famliy Gras" directly implies that there is something inherently un-"family" about Mardi Gras. In this case, the organizers mean to say that there is something un-"family" about Mardi Gras in Orleans Parish. The message is, bring your children to see Tony Orlando in the parking lot at Lakeside Mall because NO ONE in their right mind would bring their children to a parade in New Orleans.

    Above: Children obviously not enjoying a parade in New Orleans

    Those of us who have been attending parades in town with our families all our lives know this to be untrue. But, again, we are dealing with the rapidly calcifying effect of a lost generation of people with no real memory of what Carnival in New Orleans is all about.

    My father's generation came around just prior to the major white flight events that changed the city's demographics and relationship to its suburbs. Whether they resisted the exodus or jumped right in, that generation retained first-person memories of life and Carnival in the city. I was in a minority of my generation in that my family still lived and participated here. Most of my peers in school grew up in Metairie, attended parades there, and were taught mostly to fear the city. As they got older, they would come into town to party or to work but the majority never really learned to live here. And these kids were brought up by people who at one time actually knew New Orleans. What will this generation of Jefferson Parish natives teach their children? To the next generation, the bifurcation of "white, safe" Jefferson and "black, scary" New Orleans isn't a recent phenomenon, it's an age-old fact of history. I think about this when I watch the news and see young white parents on Veterans Boulevard talk about how their celebration is uniquely "family friendly". It worries me.

  • Another worry of mine in recent years has been the increasing lack of respect for their peers shown by parade-goers who block access to common property through the roping off of territory, or improper use of ladders. I've explained the problem at length previously. Today, I'd just like to show you some examples of ladders used well and ladders used poorly this past weekend.

    Exhibit A

    Proper ladder usage

    Here we see perfectly acceptable ladder usage in practice. The ladder is set back from the street, the child is well-attended, and the crowd is allowed to pass and move about freely in front of the ladder.

    Exhibit B

    Ladder with bicycle wheels

    Even this purple monstrosity with bicycle wheels is being put to proper use. It is situated away from the curb and is not impeding the progress or enjoyment of anyone around it. The ample space in front will allow the crowd to expand and contract as necessary during the parade. (This photo was taken early in the day. The crowd did get larger)

    Exhibit C

    Ladders in the intersection

    This, however, is no good. These ladders are not only butt up against the street, they are standing directly in the intersection. This is in violation of city ordinances as it can impede the progress of emergency vehicles across the parade route. Obviously, these two ladders aren't a serious problem. But come next weekend, there will be many many more which could cause a dangerous obstruction here.

    I don't have any photos of multiple ladders roped together... because there weren't any. The first weekend generally draws friendly, considerate, local crowds who know what they're doing.

  • Menckles is a doubloon freak. Here's something fun to do. Carry a doubloon with you and repeatedly drop it on the ground where she can hear. She jumps like a cat at the sound of a can-opener every time.

  • Miller Lite sipped from the can has a strange undertone of bubblegum for some reason. The experience is greatly enhanced if you have a home-knitted koozie like this one.

    Mardi Gras Koozie

  • I like the Krewe of King Arthur as much as everybody. Their theme, based on things in the news over the past year, was.... at least topical... if not particularly clever. They throw neat stuff.


    Many of their floats make have live bands aboard, which is a lot of fun. Plus we saw Maitri's D who threw us a bunch of stuff.

    But still, it's obviously a Week 1 parade. The art direction isn't exactly the most sophisticated, often involving a few signs and props plastered onto otherwise generic backgrounds. For example, here's their "Snow on St. Charles Avenue" float.

    Snowflakes on streetcar float

    It's some snowflakes hung from a basic streetcar float. Not very elaborate, but you have to admit, it gets the job done.

  • Regardless of what one thinks of their performance of late, NOPD definitely looks a lot better in the new (old) unis. Just please do not call it "Creole Blue"


  • And now, gratuitous photos of Carnival swag:

    The prized glass beads:
    Glass beads in a bag

    The delicious Moon Pie:
    Moon Pie

    Beads with alligator heads:
    Beads that bite

    The Bead Pile (will grow larger):
    Bead Pile

Last week I started to write a bit about my Krewe Du Vieux experience this year. I was going to write a bunch of depressing stuff about how the mood in the city feels a bit off for Carnival... how worries about crime, the economy, other stuff, are preventing us from getting in the right frame of mind for this time of year. But I don't quite feel like that anymore.

Every year there comes a point when the holiday comes and gets you whether you're ready for it or not. When it finds you, you just say, "Okay I'm coming" and you follow along. And no, you can't see it coming with a GPS map.

Wow what a crappy sports day

Hornets deal Chandler to OKC for big men


I think I might cancel my season tickets.

F-Mook of the century

Adam Freaking Nossiter

Monday, February 16, 2009


The King Cake babies seem larger this year than in years past. I believe this must be due to some sort of inappropriate use of growth hormones down on the King Cake baby farm. Does anyone know where I can buy an organic free-range King Cake?

Liberry aside

Eastern New Orleans library to be demolished today

I make it a rule to stay away from library-in-the-news items on this site. But the East New Orleans Branch demolition is more of a sentimental moment to me. When I was a young boy, my mother would bring us out to the East fairly regularly. In those days, the still-viable Lake Forest Plaza was a closer, more convenient trip than Metairie for Mom's mall-related errands and the regional library across the street was a typical stop for us on these trips.

It was the building where I was introduced to the concept of a "Public Library"

Photo stolen from GNOCDC.org

Like everything else in the East, the library was in one of those mid-60s multi-purpose style buildings. The long box could have just as easily been a bank or real estate office on this decidedly un-New Orleans suburban boulevard. Its only distinctive outer featrue was the green copper roofing which reminded me of the Statue of Liberty. The "modern" interior, while retaining the boxy feel, still managed to stoke the young imagination with its surprising number of private corners and hiding places among the stacks, behind the furniture, and in the staff work room where no child could resist wandering from time to time.

As an adult, I would come to do a great deal of wandering around that building. I worked there from 2001 until 2005 when it was inundated by floodwaters. I manned its circulation desk and tech center. I helped to maintain the collections weeding and ordering reference and children's materials. I conducted storytime on a semi-regular basis (often acting as a substitute or, more frequently, a comic-relief prop for Daisy). I decorated the place for holidays.

In preparation for a traveling NASA exhibit, Daisy and I spent a week painting the library's large meeting room space. We were told we would be compensated for our efforts with beer. This never materialized. We didn't care.

I performed various "outreach" functions to the East New Orleans community in promotion of library programs and events... often with Daisy... and often with bizarre results.

I got involved with our hosting of the Prime Time Family Reading program which is sort of like a graduate literature seminar only with read-aloud children's books and 6-10 year old participants... so, in other words, far more interesting. This program also gave me the opportunity to gross out the participants by mixing the snack foods in horrifying ways (hot dogs and vanilla pudding, Cheese and jelly sandwiches with raisins). I miss Prime Time.

At the East New Orleans Library, I met Aaron Brooks and Ruby Bridges. The two of them made a joint-appearance and spoke to a massive crowd of parents and children. I got the impression that he had no idea who she was.

Daisy and I were standing on the front steps watching the Women of Excellence parade on Read Blvd when one of the "Excellent Women" threw us an inflatable tiger pool toy. We named him Skooks.

I also met Cynthia Willard Lewis who appeared one night with some sort of gospel choir she was involved with. They had booked the meeting space for a concert/party after hours and I was the staff member tagged with the responsibility of staying late to lock up after them. I remember CWL getting very excited on stage as she proclaimed that we were "taking this country back for God's people".

Another time, CWL spoke at the unveiling of that NASA exhibit Daisy and I painted the meeting room for. She told us then that she was grateful for all the "wonderful adventure people" who make space exploration possible.

I met Daisy there too. She left after the flood and ended up in California. I miss my friend quite often. Just prior to the flood, we had co-authored a grant application to stage a series of performing arts education programs at our library. In the introduction to our application, I wrote

Despite New Orleans's reputation as a city rich in cultural heritage, the area of the city east of the Industrial Canal is remarkable for its lack of access to cultural and arts resources. While home to 20% of the city's population, including 31% of its school-aged population, Eastern New Orleans is home to only two of its more than 140 art galleries, none of its more than twenty regularly operating stage theater venues, and only a handful (fewer than five) of its hundreds of live music venues. Due to this relative dearth of arts resources, the East New Orleans Regional Library functions as a major center of arts education in the New Orleans East community. In 2004, our branch hosted nine arts programs for an average audience of 60 people. This year, funding for arts programming, ordinarily available through the Friends of the New Orleans Public Library, has been assigned to other priorities. The purpose of this grant proposal is to stage a performing arts series which will allow East New Orleans Regional Library to maintain and expand its vital role at the center of arts education in Eastern New Orleans in 2005 and 2006.

The grant was approved. And then the flood came and none of the above information about East New Orleans was relevant anymore. The photos of the flood damage are still visible on the library's website. (In one of those shots you can see my and Daisy's old desks!) I visited the building and all of the flood-damaged libraries to help salvage materials and equipment. This was not an easy series of trips for me. For obvious reasons, the trips to the East were the hardest.

I'm sorry to see a place I remember so well and so fondly demolished but, knowing what I know about the role that place played in its community, I am extremely happy to see the neighborhood is getting its library back.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Post-Friday Random 10


Don't worry. There probably won't be too many more of these T-Bogg rip-offs. Just a few more until the gloss wears off and the surface gets all scratchy and boring and we have to find something shinier to play with.

1) River Euphrates - Pixies
2) Tipp City - The Amps
3) (Big Chief Like Plenty of) Fire Water - Wild Magnolias
4) Marchers in Orange - GBV
5) The Pain of Pain - Yo La Tengo
6) Women Named Kitten - Bingo!
7) Gasoline Ragtime - Robert Pollard
8) Go to the Mardi Gras - Professor Longhair
9) Strange - Wire
10) It's Later Than You Think - Kermit Ruffins

And the bonus is Red Ink Superman live on tape.

Gotta run (literally) and then small errands before the parades start. If you're not getting out to see the Krewe of Pontchartrain uptown today, stop by the Maple Street Book Shop where Mark Folse will be signing Carry Me Home between 12 and 2.

Try not to go too nuts today. Marathon, not a sprint.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday Parades

  • The rain let up just long enough for everything to pass. Perfect Carnival atmosphere. Warm but not too warm. Not too crowded but not empty. Sound of drum cadence, smell of exhaust fumes, taste of light beer. Nothing better.

  • Oshun has a lot of rinky dink little floats and they hardly throw anything but they also have lots and lots of marching bands. Not a bad way to start. But someone needs to explain to me why the King and Queen floats come 9th and 10th in the procession.

  • Pygmalion is a bit bigger floatwise... but not by much. The maids had elaborate headdresses depicting classic New Orleans schlock. I especially liked the K&B and Pontchartrain Beach maids. The floats were also themed with New Orleansy things. It's pretty typical of the early parades to have light and easy themes. This goes just fine with the bare-bones floats and bands format. We need to build up to the crazy stuff, ya know.

  • One of the first things I caught was a "pair" of what Daisy likes to call "gay beads" (rainbow colored strand). This is keeping with tradition. I was pleased to get them.

  • NOPD looks a lot better in the powder blue. No more SS on the parade route.

  • Another great thing about the early parades is that the crowd is mostly just people from the neighborhood. The man standing next to us was there to see his son march in the Cohen High band. The kid's 4 year old daughter was also there to watch her daddy in the band. An old lady in the crowd was probably the best dancer on our block. It helped that she was double-fisting a beer and a bottle of... something harder.

  • r was a bit late arriving and, since she had the Pink Thing, we weren't able to load it in time to get it into action. Instead we just kept the cold beers in a plastic bag and tried to down them as soon as fast as we could.

  • No photos tonight. I was too chickenshit to bring the camera out where I thought it might get wet.

Great first night. Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint.. but with the opening leg underway, I feel 100% better than I did this morning.

Cao's conscience

Did it win or lose here? I can't decide.

WASHINGTON -- The House has passed a $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy, handing President Barack Obama a big victory.

The measure was passed on a 246-183, with no Republican "yes" votes. It will now go to the Senate, where a vote is expected later today.

New Orleans Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao was the only Republican member who had signaled a willingness to support the bill, but he apparently reversed course.

Maybe he's just hewing to the strategy.

According to Vitter, the GOP is basically betting the farm that the stimulus package is going to fail, and the party wants Democrats to go down with it. “Our next goal is to make President Obama and liberal Democrats in Congress own it completely,” he said. Instead of coming up with serious measures to save the economy, the party intends to devote its time to an “we told you so” agenda that will include GOP-only hearings on the bill’s impact in the coming months to highlight the bill’s purportedly wasteful elements and shortcomings.

Speaking of "political press"

Nice headline, NOLA.com.

Weird Carnival

Usually at this time of year, people are far more optimistic and joyful than they seem lately. The rain doesn't help but we can handle that okay. Something else is... a bit off right now. Last night I slipped and cut my thumb while slicing a piece of king cake. I am tempted to consider this an unlucky portent but am, admittedly, not an expert in such things.

One sentence pop culture observation

"Earnest" is the current preferred word used to excuse "trite pretentious bullshit"

Maybe it's a sign of age..

But I used to get annoyed when the political press would revise history in order to fit its arguments. Now it seems they're revising stuff that... like... just happened. Am I just old, or have we shortened the expectations for our collective memory?

How to get your streetlights repaired in New Orleans

1) Wait until Mardi Gras

2) Be somewhere that tourists might notice

Actually I run this block just about every night and the lights are working there now. It helps if you're jogging on the neutral ground after dark to be able to see if you're about to step in dog shit.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


On the front page with a handsome photo, no less.

Cao may cast lone GOP vote for stimulus
His district needs aid it provides, he says
Thursday, February 12, 2009
By Jonathan Tilove
Washington bureau

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, R-New Orleans, said Wednesday he is likely to vote for the economic stimulus bill when it comes to a vote, probably today or Friday, even if he is the only Republican member of the House to do so.

"I'm voting along what my conscience dictates and the needs of the 2nd Congressional District dictate, even if I were to be the only member of the GOP to vote for the stimulus package," he said.

If Cao were really acting according to what his "conscience dictates" he would have been involved in the process that shaped the bill from the beginning. This way, he could have helped deliver a bill that better reflects the needs of his district.

Instead, Cao ignored this opportunity in order to make a callous political statement against the bill while it was up for debate in the house. I actually heard Cao on WWL radio try to tell Bob and Monica that he voted against the bill because it included "money for condoms". Luckily Rep Charlie Melancon was on at the same time and pointed out that Cao was dishonestly referring to a provision that had already been stripped from the bill.
When Cao could have been conscientiously protecting his constituents, he was happily singing the "I'm Against It" song with the rest of the Groucho caucus.

One more time, please

If he wants to cosmetically attach his name to a bill he did nothing to shape, he's certainly welcome. But let's not mistake cowardly opportunism for conscientiousness or concern for the "needs of the district".

See Also: Adrastos and WCBF


What is it about Ed Blakely and "mythical" cranes that guides their seemingly interlocked destinies?

Crane link via TBP (this is really the interesting link in this post)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Jindal threatens to refuse some stimulus funds. Probably because our bang-up economy continues to "buck the trend"

Or maybe he figured this guy would pick up the slack.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The grown-ups' table

Yglesias somehow finds this comforting.

David Sirota has observed previously and observes once again that there seem to be many more progressive voices on the political side of the administration than on the wonkier policy side. What the implications of that are would depend a lot on the character of the president. This president seems determined to listen to his policy aides on policy questions. Which is as it should be. But it means that the prevailing balance is very disadvantageous to progressives.

And I suppose that, from some detached intellectual perspective, we should feel relieved that the President listens to his "policy wonks" and speaks in complete sentences and all that stuff that really smart people do. But this, to me, appears as artifice designed to please the easily flattered. It allows people who fashion themselves exceptionally intelligent to demonstrate this by expressing their appreciation of these personality traits of the President's.

But if one puts the pretty pleasantries aside what this really tells us is that Obama has chosen to seat his more progressive political advisers, the people more in tune with the popular movement that swept him into office, at the children's table. Meanwhile the grown ups at the wonks' table all happen to be members of the Wall Street club. That is very convenient.

Update: And no I wouldn't be surprised to learn that there is a degree of Kabuki involved in the process of leaks and denials by which these things are rolled out. But there is a related tendency to use this as supporting evidence of the Ninja President theory... which is something I'm pretty much done with.

Guess we'll have to cancel Mardi Gras, then

Residents along St. Charles Ave don't want this sort of thing in their neighborhood.

"There's too many people, too loud. It's just very, very stressful actually, because you can't sleep because you hear people yelling and screaming," Kozin said. "I mean the police have to patrol the whole area. The flashing lights, the noise, the parking, the music."

I think I've figured out the problem

But I am the eternal optimist. I think that, over time, people respond to civility and -- and rational argument. I think that's what the people of Elkhart and the people around America are looking for. And that's what I'm -- that's the kind of leadership I'm going to try to provide.

I will now laugh my ass off... until I cry... and then try to sleep.

Monday, February 09, 2009


This President sucks. It's now officially Obama's Depression.

WASHINGTON— The Obama administration’s new plan to bail out the nation’s banks was fashioned after a spirited internal debate that pitted the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, against some of the president’s top political hands.

In the end, Mr. Geithner largely prevailed in opposing tougher conditions on financial institutions that were sought by presidential aides, including David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the president, according to administration and Congressional officials.

Mr. Geithner, who will announce the broad outlines of the plan on Tuesday, successfully fought against more severe limits on executive pay for companies receiving government aid.

He resisted those who wanted to dictate how banks would spend their rescue money. And he prevailed over top administration aides who wanted to replace bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.

Update: Just for good measure, some other facts about your sucky President.

1) He hates your freedom

2) He also hates your Social Security

But he's really really "bi-partisan" so that's nice.

Quick KDV notes

  • I decided at the last minute not to bring my camera. It's a bit cumbersome to lug around while you're trying to dance and drink and watch the parade. Plus my nighttime photos always come out really crappy.

  • Besides, there will always be better photos somewhere.

  • I stupidly decided to drive this year. Started at 6:45. Didn't park until 8:30. It was a trying experience. ON THE OTHER HAND this meant that we watched the parade on N Rampart St just before it crossed Elysian Fields where the crowd is thin and mostly devoid of tourists. And when the parade passes, you can second line with it to the ball. PLUS we left the ball just as the parking restrictions on Royal Street were lifting so we ended up with a great spot in the Quarter. I don't know if all this is worth the two hours of sitting in traffic, but it worked out well.

  • During the parking hunt debacle, the Tercel was assaulted by a drunken dirty Marigny hipster who thought it would be funny to perform an ollie off of my trunk. Dirty hippies tend to make things miserable on Frenchmen Street in surprisingly similar ways to which the tourists do on Bourbon Street and the frat boys do on St. Charles. They're all just variations on the same self-satisfied asshole. As he lay on the ground and giggled to himself for an aggressively long period of time, I contemplated the exact amount of force I would require to bust his skull with his skateboard... which I was holding as I stood over him. Lucky for all of us Menckles picked up on that line of thinking as it crossed my face and called me back into the car. I felt better after I got a few drinks in me... but this morning I still sort of regret not meting out a little street justice.

  • We debuted a new Carnival tool this year. It is visible below in the grasp of the douchebag on the left

    Photo by Dr. A

    It's sort of the wine enthusiast's corollary to the Pink Thing allowing us to carry a nice Rioja out to the parade route along with the PT's requisite load of Miller Lite. However I am loathe to call it something so stupid as "The Beige Thing" We need to come up with something before the parade season begins in earnest this weekend.

The Geithner plan

Apparently they went with low Popahiram* this time.
It now seems like we're going to go the 'bad bank' route. Only instead of buying the crappy assets at inflated values (to absorb the bank's loses for them), we're going insure the assets so we can absorb the losses dribbled out over time.


Update: Whoops! Now we're not getting that anymore. Must not have been slimy enough.

Nice rant but ill directed

The problem really isn't with "the centrists". Mush heads like Claire McCaskill can only be expected to behave like mush heads when left on their own recognizance. The problem is the President's staggering failure of leadership. It was the President set the "let's not be too partisan" tone in the first place and sent the Democrats into perpetual retreat mode. It's his fault the bill was allowed to become this shitty and ineffective.

And in 2010, when the Republicans start complaining about how shitty and ineffective the stimulus was... well that will be the President's fault too.

Update: How shitty is this bill in the "compromise" form? REALLY SHITTY.
Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years.

If this is the plan that gets out of conference, Obama should veto it and make them start over.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Post-Friday Random 10


So I went out and bought me a cheap off-brand version of one of them portable music making machines the kids all talk about... partially so that I would have something light to carry with me while running (6 miles today in 46:28) but also so that I can continue to rip-off the classics.

I must say these off-brand music players really do spit out a lame selection on the first try. Just goes to show you the kind of crap a bastardized bi-partisan stimulus will buy you these days.

1) Make Believe - Pixies
2) Fitter Happier - Radiohead
3) Alright - Guided By Voices
4) Frequent Weaver Who Burns - Robert Pollard with Doug Gillard
5) The Right Thing - Pollard
6) A House is Not a Motel - Yo La Tengo
7) Carnival Time - Al Johnson
8) For You Blue - Beatles
9) Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
10) Welcome to the Occupation - R.E.M.

The shittying up of the stimulus

Basically they've thrown out $40 billion in much-needed fiscal aid to states and municipalities in order to subsidize an AMT patch and reinflate the housing bubble.

I'm sure that will go down nice and easy.
BATON ROUGE — LSU would close some of the 10 public hospitals in Louisiana under the most severe budget cuts being considered by the Jindal administration, a university official said today, Feb. 6.

"The worst-case scenario, we'd have to close hospitals in several places," said Fred Cerise, LSU vice chancellor for health affairs and medical education.

Cerise wouldn't say what hospitals would be on the list because the cuts remain uncertain. He said one proposal would convert the university-run hospitals in Lake Charles and Independence to outpatient clinics that no longer provide emergency services and inpatient care.

Under the most severe scenarios, the charity hospitals would face $58 million in cuts in the new year that begins July 1 -- plus further uncertain reductions in money for Medicaid and uninsured care that hospitals receive for providing care

And even when you've changed it or condensed it...

So even after "co-Presidents" Nelson and Collins finish shittying up the stimulus bill, Mitch McConnell announces.. to no one's surprise... that he's still against it. McConnell's remarks are once again available for your review below.

Yes, it's the same speech he's been making. And it's the same speech the Republicans will continue to make as long as they know the Democrats will be stupid enough to allow them to get away with it.

And that's just what they're doing. This morning, President Obama and Senator Reid each made statements that included the phrase, "we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good" As noble as that sounds, the implication is that the problem lies with DEMOCRATIC uncompromising advocates of "the perfect". The clear fact is, however, that it's Groucho and the "I'm Against It" caucus who have repeatedly refused to budge... who have in fact managed to redefine the word "bi-partisan" to describe their obstinate behavior.

But again, the fault here lies squarely on the President's shoulders. The Republicans and the media are all too happy to play pretend for as long as they are allowed to do so.

Happy Mardi Gras

KDV tonight!! (I have resolved to include !s in any links to Adrastos from now on)

Charging the camera now.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bacchus appearance to launch political career

Val Kilmer ponders running for N.M. governor

Wait wait... I almost left out the campaign slogan.

"I'm just looking for ways to be contributive," Kilmer told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Do over

Well this is where we find out whether or not Obama has learned anything in his first few weeks on the job. Here are three lessons he should be taking away from the Stimulus debate.

1) The Democrats in both houses of Congress are pathetic, selfish, sniveling idiots. I know it's an unpopular point of view to say this but the distorted GOP criticism of the stimulus as a "pork" package does have some basis in fact. It is loaded down with pet projects and dumb ideas that give too much power to the lie that the whole endeavor is worthless when all reasonable people agree that the opposite is true. This is mostly the fault of Congressional Democrats but also Obama's mistake for opening the process with an insufficiently narrow definition of "shovel-ready project" If the idea behind a stimulus bill is "let's throw a bunch of money around" it shouldn't be this difficult to get people in line behind throwing the money at building things and putting people to work. But letting the stupid and selfish Congressional Democrats fantasize their way to a bill isn't the best way to get there. Even so, Obama's major fault lies in his refusal to understand that...

2) No matter what you do, Republican dead-enders will not help you. See, for example, the following footage of Senator Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor yesterday.

There is no point in flattering these clowns. They're just waiting to turn on you with more bullshit. Also the last election cycle (3 months ago!) was a resounding negation of public support for their so-called ideas. They don't get to drive the bus right now. Stop giving them a spot in the front seat.

3) Also in the back of the bus we should find the hostile/ignorant/indifferent national punditry elite. The so called journalists in the entertainment industry continue to cling to their fantasy that wisdom in public affairs springs only from the mythical fount of "bi-partisanship" Few ideas could be stupider not only because "one of the parties is insane" but also because it... well... it just flies in the face of logic to sell out the people who put you in office in order to make the the TV people smile prettier. Obama, the candidate, was a master at handling the stupid media. Obama the President needs to follow that example.

One way for Obama to regain the initiative and bring everyone back in line is to call them all out. Obama should threaten to veto any stimulus package that either a) throws the money at too many dumb ideas or worse b) contains more of the same discredited Republican tax giveaways to the wealthy. A veto threat is credible because even the stupidest lawmakers have to acknowledge that we are in deep shit here. The consequences of doing nothing are too great to ignore. Make them all shut the fuck up and get back to work doing it right.

Update: Let the record show that, through this crisis, Louisiana continues to be represented in the Senate by a "high-hung nincompoop" We are all very proud.

Upperdate: And, of course, this should have been Obama's first move.

Uppestdate: Looks like the crappy Senators may have reached some sort of crappy deal. More on how possibly crappy tomorrow.

Old West

Roving gangs of ruffians preying on citizens... and they're the ones with the badges.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

BREAKING: Bloggers veto Mencia

Or so says NOLA.com anyway. This is a monumental triumph of the blogosphere's potential to make Carnival not suck.

Now that we know it can be done, let's get started on that ladder project. If we can improve the parades, surely we can get the crowd to follow some simple etiquette... perhaps even encourage the police to enforce the law.


Has the Carrollton-Riverbend Neighborhood Association purchased the domain name, "Getoffmylawn.com" yet? Because it might help more of us find their site.


Larry Summers may or may not be this administration's Cheney... but either way, the man is a dick.

The problem is that Summers and Geithner seem to have retained their dispositional trust in the market and skepticism of public sector involvement. So instead of nationalizing banks, as many economists urge, they're reportedly busy crafting a plan for TARP II similar to former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's ill-fated attempt to purchase bad assets from the banks. According to The New Republic's Noam Scheiber, whenever someone proposes a policy that crosses Summers's delicate threshold for Big Government, he derides it as "Putinesque." Unfortunately, reviving the financial sector may require measures that would make even Putin blush.


Would it help if we had a T-P reporter photograph their television sets?

The FEMA-style TARP

Ritholtz has a plan for spending the remaining TARP funds.

My plan is very simple: Take 175 million taxpaying households — the bottom 80% or so of all taxpayers. They each get a Debt Reduction check for $2,000 each from Uncle Sam. The twist is it can only be used to pay a pre-existing debt (February 1, 2009 or older) — Mortgages, auto lease/loans, student loans, and revolving credit (MC, V, AMEX) or any retail credit card (Sears, Macys, etc.). The check must be used within 90 days — or its forfeited.

It may not be the most ingenious idea in the world but at least it's a stab at helping out innocent victims of the financial crisis (most of us) and giving taxpayers a return on their investment. Anyway it is certainly preferable to shoveling billions of dollars into the void the way team Geithner/Summers/Obama seems to be proposing.

It's just that the idea of $2,000 dollar checks from the government in the wake of disaster seems so... 2005 around here.

Clinton II

Meanwhile, when it came to stimulus legislation, when Obama finally introduced his economic plan he immediately began negotiating with himself, preemptively offering concessions to the GOP, which voted against the plan anyway. (And Obama appears, in the name of bipartisanship, to have thrown away a Senate vote he may well need.)

Seen this movie before...

Still confused

Grace on yesterday's trash stunt:

Oh, about that letter: One, given to The Times-Picayune by a resident, was dated Jan. 28, and said the recipient had 45 to days to line up private collection. Nowhere does it mention the looming crackdown, which came just five days later.

The list of supposedly ineligible addresses, meanwhile, clearly hasn't been scrubbed.

At least two sites are improperly included on the city collection list, SDT owner SidneyTorres said. He knows this because one is a hotel on Royal Street that he owns, and the second a six-unit condo that he developed and later sold.

Some residents of smaller units say they've been wrongly excluded.

And there are residents of larger units report that they've been been assessed the $12 monthly sanitation fee on their Sewerage and Water Board bills. So when Nagin says "we can no longer afford to subsidize and to cover those individuals, so we're asking everyone out there to pay your fair share, " he should remember that some of them already are.

Who exactly needs 45 days to sort things out? The property owners who aren't paying the sanitation fee? The one's who are paying it but shouldn't be? The city, maybe?

See also Moldy City where much of this was foreseen long ago.

Never a dull moment

Yesterday was another weird one. To begin with, I spent the day at home failing to communicate effectively with my building's new maintenance dude. If you're a longtime reader of the Yellow Blog (may God have mercy on you), you will be familiar with the episodic delights of renting at my place. There was the (first) time the kitchen ceiling caved in, the saga of the mini geyser which threatened to carry the building and sidewalk away with it, and the multiferous and sometimes frightening plumbers and a/c repairmen we have exchanged hostilities with over the nearly 10 years that I've lived there.

Last week, the property changed hands. I was relieved to learn that the new Slumlord had decided not to raise our rent (yet) or convert the building to condos (which DID happen to the building across the street and is always a threat). Less encouraging was the reappearance of the occasional and apparently unvanquishable water leak above the kitchen only a week after the new management took over.

This time the leak seemed to be coming from a sink drain as the discharge carries the distinct odor of dishwater... and occasionally beer. It's not the sort of unpleasantry one wants to occasion the breaking of the ice with one's new Slumlord but... well... there are so few things we actually get to choose for ourselves in this world. I am going to reserve judgment on Slumlord 2.0 for now. It's hard not to sound dismissive when you're telling someone whose kitchen is being peed on by the apartment above to expect a stranger to come look at it "sometime tomorrow".

"Sometime tomorrow", of course, became "all day Wednesday" as the new maintenance guy and I spent the hours, taking the kitchen apart, staring at things and attempting to exchange observations with one another although he speaks slightly more English than I do Spanish. (Menckles, by the way, is fluent in Spanish but was uselessly away at work. I'm the only one with a pointless enough job to take off on a moment's notice)

One thing that I do appreciate is that the new guy actually tried to figure the problem out where his predecessors had a tendency to downplay its severity. We even have a reasonable expectation that the source of the leak has been isolated and repaired this time... although I have had this impression before and have been mistaken. Time will tell, I suppose. Frankly I'm just happy to still be living there after all this time as these little incidents always end up entertaining me as much as they inconvenience me in the first place.

Meanwhile, since I spent the day cooped up in the house, I was in place to witness something I haven't seen before. The Walter Cohen High School Marching Band was out in the neighborhood practicing for the Carnival parade season which is suddenly upon us. Here they are coming down Carondelet Street.

Cohen practice march

Meanwhile, in the French Quarter, a much more ridiculous parade was taking place. Sidney Torres is, indeed, this generation's Al Copeland.

Again... never a dull moment.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Note how none of this has anything to do with pressure washing

And yet it is, indeed.... messy.

Update: Meanwhile Celcus takes back to the scene where excited onlookers continue to watch the trash pile up.

Upperdate: And, as usual, reality outpaces satire.

This is your life moment

Someone emailed me a link to this crazy customer stories site. The one thing I've learned from it is that both of the so-called careers I've occupied my adult life with basically distill down to perpetual beratement at the hands of crazy people.

Just in case you were wondering where I get my sunny disposition.

Adding: Or maybe it's part of the subtle absurdity of life in New Orleans. In some very real ways, my experience in the hotels was much like working at the Night O' Joy while the library has... at times.... seemed to work like Levy Pants.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Tonight I'm going out Uptown

But that's only because it's trivia night. Otherwise, I would LOVE to have a few drinks in the Quarter and watch the garbage pile up. Thank God there are reporters on the case to keep me updated.

Getting our Carnival ducks in a row


With less than a week to go before Krewe du Vieux and less than two weeks before the parade season begins in earnest, now is the time to ramp up public awareness of ladder safety and crowd etiquette. Write your favorite paper or TV station. Call your favorite radio talk idiot. Remind them that it only takes some simple attention to easily enforceable regulations already on the books to keep this Carnival season from sucking.

Bank branch across the street from a bank branch

First Bank and Trust plans to build on the same corner where FNBC has been planning to build for over a year now. Because St. Charles Avenue apparently doesn't have enough bank branches.

Now we'll never get that Taco Cabana


1800 Chippewa is not technically in the Garden District. I know that headline makes the story seem more sensational... which is itself another problem.

Lolis's people

I don't have a very good feeling about Lolis Eric Elie's move from columnist to reporter at the T-P. Lolis has been one of the paper's more reasonable voices on civic and political issues... particularly during the post-Flood years.

Unfortunately, his description of his new role looks kind of puff-intensive to me.

As a reporter, I'll be covering the city's neighborhoods and writing occasional profiles of its colorful citizens.

Groundhog day

If Sidney Torres's ego doesn't cast a shadow... does that mean we get 6 more weeks of lemon scent?

I really don't understand

How a football team can get away with hiring a guy named "Wisenhut" to be its coach.