Sunday, February 28, 2010


30 plus years of an admittedly poor overtime system may finally get overturned.

I've been watching pro football and complaining about sudden death OT for a long time. I've seen a lot of great games (including playoff games) come to unsatisfying ends because somebody wins a coin flip and gets into field goal range. But nothing in all of that time motivated the NFL to do anything about it until it ended up benefiting the Saints one time. Why is that? I wonder if someday they'll be tempted to add an asterisk to the Saints' NFC Championship.

Because we all hate poor people, I guess

I'll never understand the continuing quest to find an excuse for bad tippers. Just shut up and stop being a dick already.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jackie hearts Jay

New Orleans City Council District A candidates wield dueling endorsements

I still haven't said much about the election results but if I had to put it into one short thought I'd say the whole thing was about restoring as much of the old pre-Flood buisiness-as-usual in NOLA as possible. (obviously without the Jeffersons but that's a whole different issue) Putting Batt back on the Council fits well with that narrative.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Who elects these people?

I often wonder about the many surprising ways we end up deferring power to certain "community leaders" who don't have any direct responsibility to the citizenry. It's bad enough that we've somehow all agreed that University Presidents can be our arbiters of all things ethicsy. (Really, think about how ridiculous that is for a sec) But why the hell would anyone think it's a good idea to give billionaire leeches like Tom Benson and George Shinn a say in how the city manages its public playgrounds?
The other proposed charter amendment would create a new entity to govern the city's recreation facilities and programs. A new 12-member commission would include appointees from the mayor's office, the council and the city's two major professional sports organizations.
What qualifications do they have to fill this function, exactly?


I ride a bike to get around pretty often. But I'm not always clear what people are getting at when they say they want to make New Orleans a more "bikeable" city. I think it's pretty bikeable as it is. The terrain is flat. Finding a route accross town on lightly trafficked streets isn't too difficult. There's usually something to tie up to once you get where you're going. Aside from encouraging motorists to be slightly less dickish toward cyclists, I'm not sure what else needs to be done.

A lot of "bikeability" enthusiasts get excited about bike lanes. The city is currently installing a few of those, most notably right now on Carrollton Avenue. I'm not as sold. So-called "vehicular cycling" advocates suggest that bike paths exist primarily for the convenience of motorists to the detriment of the convenience and even safety of cyclists. One example of the argument:
Bike paths are far more dangerous than roads because they increase the risk of collision with the large numbers of pedestrians, dogs and inexperienced cyclists that these facilities inevitably attract. These risks are often exacerbated by unsafe designs. Bike lanes promote unsafe turning practices by both motorists and cyclists. Bike lanes tend to collect road debris that would normally be swept to the curb by passing cars. Both types of facilities discourage competent vehicular cycling and undermine our status as legitimate road users.
Furthermore, critics argue, convincingly I think, that bike lanes also provide an excuse for motorists to be less than courteous toward cyclists with whom they share the road.

Other bike advocates oppose efforts to move cyclists to separate bikeways and argue instead that bicycles need to reclaim the city streets. "The bikeway system was designed for the convenience of motorists -- the safety arguments are bunkum," says John Forester, a bicycling engineer from Lemon Grove in San Diego County.

Forester is the father of the "vehicular cycling" movement -- a philosophy that views the bicycle as a form of transportation that belongs on the streets alongside cars.

According to Forester and others in the vehicular cycling camp, efforts to push bikes into separate lanes or bike paths reinforce the notion that bicycles don't belong on the street and relegates them to separate and not-quite-equal status. Segregating cyclists to their own paths reinforces motorist resentment toward cyclists and may encourage drivers to view cyclists on the road as scofflaws unworthy of their courtesy, Forester says.

I think bike lanes get a lot of attention because they're easy. They're inexpensive to install, most often going in as an afterthought to other resurfacing or maintenance projects. And they're a tangible, visible thing advocates can tout as an accomplishment and the city can use as an cheap example of its "forward thinking". But, beyond the cosmetic appeal, I'm not sure that they really do anything useful.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fun day A lot going on

Don't plan to be around here much today. When I can, I'll follow the health care summit via the Weiner-wire.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cartman in Afghanistan

Blackwater Took Hundreds of Guns From U.S. Military, Afghan Police

Employees of the CIA-connected private security corporation Blackwater diverted hundreds of weapons, including more than 500 AK-47 assault rifles, from a U.S. weapons bunker in Afghanistan intended to equip Afghan policemen, according to an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee. On at least one occasion, an individual claiming to work for the company evidently signed for a weapons shipment using the name of a “South Park” cartoon character. And Blackwater has yet to return hundreds of the guns to the military.

Hmm... I guess they really were trying to rescue Stevie Nicks.

Maybe they just wanted to make someone respect their authoritah

Maybe "The Coon" needed all those guns to stop "Professor Chaos"

He didn't want to but his hand was possessed by Mitch Connor

Because... he's a goddamn asshole. And... that's about it.

You guys, I am so seriously. I could do this all day.

Were you sent here by the devil?

No, good man, I'm on the level!

What About Trains

Okay so we haven't worked out the full musical number but Transport for NOLA's Jeff Schwartz was good enough to respond to yesterday's post. I'll copy his response here since I know not everybody reads the comments.

Hi all. I am the artist formerly known as Jeffrey S.

I'm glad this is getting some interest here and elsewhere! I think that's nothing but a good thing: the whole initial point of TfNOLA was to try and start a conversation around transportation in this city. The folks who founded TfNOLA--and many of our colleagues, neighbors, and other fellow communitymembers--feel that transportation (not just streetcars) touches so many of the issues that we find important, from affordable housing, equal access to jobs and amenities, and long-term sustainable development to promoting reinvestment in our old commercial corridors, promoting larger economic and community development, and getting to Saints and Hornets games without having to drive.

We're trying to create a grassroots effort to change the fact that the agencies and elected representatives who are formally responsible for planning for a future that presents New Orleanians with transportation alternatives--namely, the Regional Planning Commission, the RTA, the City Planning Commission, and others--have no long term plans for improving transit. If you look at the RPC's Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP)--the 20-year master plan for transportation enhancements in our metro area--on their website (http://www.norpc.org/projects_programs/transportation/transp_documents/transp_docs_about.html),you'll notice a preponderance of highways and suburban projects, and an almost complete absence of transit projects.

Transport for NOLA is not a shadow organization with an agenda to push, but rather a group of individuals who want to see better transit in New Orleans, and who also saw that literally no one is advocating for that future. You can look us up on the Secretary of State's corporations database and see that we're already a Louisiana non-profit, and we are in the process of getting our federal 501(c)(3) designation. Of the people who have been actively involved with TfNOLA so far, we're mostly pretty young, and we're not faux-historicists just looking to put Perley streetcars back where they were. We want bus and streetcars to run on-time. We want shelters that protect our residents. We want to take a train to the airport. We believe crosswalks, bike lanes, and ADA-compliance should be a matter-of-course in all city road projects, not an "enhancement." We're all-volunteer, and we have had various public meetings related to the RTA's streetcar expansion. The reason why my name comes up most is not because I am looking to personally profit from advocating for transit, but because I am one of the members of TfNOLA whose day jobs lets me be an advocate on these sorts of issues. I don't know what else to say except that we aren't bird-dogging anything for firms from here or elsewhere looking to get some contract or other. My UPT comment on Eli's post was simply one that I've been thinking about for some time: the city has been trying to reform how it manages TIFs, and one great way to set a policy is to make it geography-based, rather than ad hoc, project-based. The UPT and the parking lots around it could be a good fit--I brought it up more to argue the point that transit can drive development than actually advocating for such a TIF district.

The CityBusiness write-up was a pretty-poorly executed re-working of one of our press releases on last week's TIGER announcement. TfNOLA has indeed helped the RTA's consultant (HDR) write a portion of their TIGER grant (and their current Urban Circulator grant). We did it for free (we're just advocates, not a consulting firm), and despite our qualms about it, we felt that they were going to do such a bad job of writing about how the proposed streetcar line would help promote neighborhood economic development in the communities through which it is going to run, that we'd just hold our noses and write those sections for them. FYI, the CityBiz write-up also bungled a few other significant points--the two most salient are the fact that I wasn't on WIST (it was Kaare who was interviewing Justin Augustine), and Justin still hasn't made the commitment to extend the line to the existing St. Charles line, even though it's so mind-numbingly stupid not to do so.

A few points of clarification: our website is heavily oriented towards streetcars/lightrail because the site was designed as a conversation starter. Light rail is sexy and it has money behind it right now, and the site was meant to say: "Why can't we have something like this?" It wasn't meant to be a site that would inform folks about TfNOLA--we're working on that. It also wasn't supposed to imply that we're only looking for investments in streetcars/light rail/rail--we want everything from bike/ped infrastructure to better bus lines to rail. Lastly, the lines on the map are definitely NOT monorails. Most of them would be streetcars or light rail lines, except for potential high speed rail corridors, which are noted.

I love the conversation, and would like to keep it up. I also would suggest that you all sign up for our email newsletter, which will not only keep you abreast of the things we're working on, but also let you know when the IRS application is approved and when we're forming committees and expanding the board--I would hope that a lot of you want to get involved.

Which brings me to the last point I wanted to make: just cause we're advocating for transit as our 'hobby' doesn't mean that it's only about a single issue--I would argue that you can't name an issue facing the city where transit and transportation isn't at least a moderately important factor. Plus, I like bikes and long walks on the beach, so it's not my only hobby, anyway.

Holler back at me with any thoughts, comments, suggestions, ideas, criticisms...

PS--I can't believe you dug up that old-ass blogspot blog!

Thanks to Jeff for responding. I'm not sure it clears everything up but it does help. I wanted to ask about TfNOLA because I agree in principle with much of TfNOLA's stated purpose. I believe a city's public services, including its transit system, should be an asset to all of its citizens and not just an amusement for its visitors. I also think it's natural to ask questions about advocacy non-profits with obvious connections to consulting firms working for city agencies who don't clearly identify themselves through their "conversation starter" website. Looking forward to seeing more from this group in the future.

Police Work

Oh my.

Lohman also participated in a plan to plant a gun at the scene, the bill of information says. The investigating officer told him that he planned to place a gun under the bridge, and Lohman "asked whether the investigator knew that the gun was 'clean,' meaning it could not be traced back to another crime." The investigator said it was, and "Lohman went along with the plan."

In addition, Lohman signed off on a report that said the investigator found the gun under the bridge on Sept. 5, the bill of information says. In fact, the document says, Lohman was so "frustrated" with the implausibility of the initial report that he "personally drafted" a 17-page replacement that included "numerous false facts."

Could get interesting.

The fact that prosecutors have charged Lohman by bill of information -- which outlines the allegations against him in 11 pages -- is a strong indicator that he has signed a plea agreement and is cooperating with the federal government. Prosecutors can charge a defendant with a bill of information only when a defendant waives his right to a grand jury indictment.

Gotta spend money to make money, I guess

But what's the deal with Joe Cao?

At the same time, he spent more than he raised -- with nearly $9 of every $10 going to buy conservative donor databases, send solicitations and pay for consultants and other fundraising expenses, according to an Associated Press review of his campaign finance report.

There are no rules governing how much a candidate should spend on fundraising, but Cao's ratio is unusually high, particularly for a sitting congressman.

Since starting his re-election campaign last year, at least $640,000 of the $874,602 Cao has reported spending has gone toward fundraising -- about 75 percent. Instead of promoting him in the district, most of the money went to a network of conservative Washington-area consultants.

The article is written in a way that highlights Cao's difficulty courting conservative donors after voting in favor of health care reform. I'm sure that's true but the real story here looks to me to be the Congressman's high "burn rate" in his fundraising operation. Is he being taken advantage of by professional consultants? Or is the real flaw here the conflict between trying to represent a Democratic district with a candidate funded by national conservative interests?

Erroll Williams for City Sommelier

Obviously what we need to do is consolidate all the restaurants into one big cafeteria. That way everyone can pay 70 bucks for 10 dollar wine at one place instead of 200.

Uh oh

So, I guess it's Day -70?

Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu is making it abundantly clear that he has his gaze focused on the calendar as he builds a new administration from the ground up. "For those of you who are counting, and I am, we have 70 days left in the transition," he said Monday, marking the second time since election day that he has publicly checked his countdown clock. He will be inaugurated May 3.

Which, as we all know, means we're on our way back to Day Zero.

Thank God I'm not into numerology.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I spent much of this afternoon trying to find out exactly who Transport For NOLA is and why they're so interested in offering us free advice on redeveloping our public transit system. As a citizen of New Orleans, I am interested in improving city services such as transportation but am generally suspicious of folks who make single-issue advocacy a full-time hobby. I am especially suspicious when the full-time hobbyism comes with the dreaded Monorail! proposal. (As we've said previously, this is one of your classic red flags) Usually when someone gets this interested in potential development, it's because they see themselves with a piece of the action eventually.

But, hey, maybe this bunch is on the up-and-up. They write pretty ideas on their website which I would like to support.
Transport for NOLA is an idea: state-of-the art transportation in New Orleans as a public service and a public good.

And it is a group of people: advocating for the creation of public transit in New Orleans that provides transport choices and transportation innovation for New Orleanians. We want transit that is connected to our daily lives, that is a public service, that we use by choice.

But, again, who the heck is this "group of people" and what do they want? The site doesn't tell us. Neither does the Facebook page, although it does have 60 "fans" Are any of the "fans" involved with it? Who knows? (Side note: I am curious about this organization and would like to keep up to date with its activity but am hesitant to add myself as a "fan" because I don't want to make an implicit endorsement of something I'm just curious about. It's one of the worst things about the way social media works these days)

Last week, the investigative journalists at The Lens told me this about Transport for NOLA.
Thankfully, citizens organized Transport For Nola, which quickly raised awareness of the impending decision and advocated for a hybrid proposal essentially combining the Loyola Avenue and Rampart Street routes. Though their composite idea didn’t make it into the RTA’s grant applications, the public relations brush fire they caused was enough to ensure that the RTA didn’t simply submit the Convention Center route.
Well done, "citizens"! Looks like you saved our asses.... or at least managed to get tangentially credited for doing so. But, again, who are you?

In comments below a subsequent Lens opinion piece, someone named "Jeff" identifies himself with Transport for NOLA while arguing 1) That Governor PBJ has a poor grasp of the value of investing in infrastructure. (I agree with that) 2) Perhaps improvements to Union Passenger Terminal and rail development could be funded through Tax Increment Financing (Not so sure I would agree with that) He is obviously very interested in this development happening. But... who is he?

So, because I'm curious, I've been "following" T-for NOLA on Twitter. (I like that "follow" thing much better than "friending" or "fanning" It's much nearer to describing my nosing around) And this afternoon, this pops up.
CityBusiness features TfNOLA's comments on new streetcar line; RTA still not committed to connecting to Lee Circle

Here's the CityBiz piece.

New Orleans will receive $45 million in federal money to build a streetcar line along Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District, and transportation advocates would like to see it connected with the St. Charles Avenue route and the Bywater neighborhood.

The nonprofit Transport for NOLA was among the groups that reviewed route options before planners submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation for grant consideration. The advocacy group supports the proposed Loyola route but wants the Regional Transit Authority to use the money to improve streetcar access to other parts of the city.

The Loyola line will run from Canal Street to the Union Passenger Terminal, taking passengers through the Central Business District, past City Hall and near the Louisiana Superdome to the city’s Amtrak passenger train station.

Jeff Schwartz, a Transport for NOLA founding member and urban planner, is calling for the RTA to turn its attention now to extending the Loyola line down contiguous Rampart Street and St. Claude Avenue until it reaches Press Street in the Bywater.

“Without this, the $45 million won’t amount to much,” Schwartz said. “Who will ride a line only for less than a mile from Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street? It needs to connect to neighborhoods.”

Jeff Schwartz. Okay okay that's this guy. He's that guy on Blogger who would always confuse the hell out of the comment threads at WCBF whenever he and I were in the same conversation. I sort of know who that is. He usually has a lot of helpful stuff to say. In the quote above, he says something very helpful which I agree with very strongly.

Although this other stuff, I dunno, seems a little nit-picky.
During an interview on WIST Radio last week, Schwartz noted to an RTA official that there was no connection between the Loyola line and the existing St. Charles Avenue route as was proposed last year during the community review process. Justin Augstine, who oversees RTA operations for management contractor Veolia, said money from the $45 million grant will be used to connect the Loyola line with St. Charles via existing rail on Howard Avenue.

Schwartz also suggested that RTA officials improve the design of the Loyola line.

“Currently, the RTA is looking at six stops along the 0.75 miles between the UPT and Canal Street,” he said. “That is more stops per mile than you even get on the St. Charles line today, and that means slow service.”

Here's what I don't understand about this. On the one hand, Schwartz is saying that the Loyola line stops too often meaning that people should be able to walk a bit further to catch a stop. On the other hand, he's disappointed that the St. Charles line, which stops at Carondelet and Howard, won't connect to UPT? That's like a three block walk as it is. Anyway, now maybe I'm being nit-picky.

I still do wonder why Schwartz doesn't put his name on his monorail drawings. At the very least, it would help me to know that the "group of citizens" I was interested in following had professional planning experience.

Odd Fetish

I never really understood why this was such a big deal either.
Seriously, can we get over ourselves about the Miracle on Ice? It was great and all, but you hear about it every five minutes in this country. I lived in Russia for 10 years and didn’t even once hear about a bunch of Soviets with hideous mustaches whipping the asses of David Robinson, Danny Manning and Mitch Richmond in basketball in Seoul in ‘88. I heard a lot about the 1972 thing, but that was only in the context of Russians being so amused by how much we whined about getting jobbed by the refs.

I mean, first of all, it's hockey which is barely even a thing anyone cares about. Secondly, it's the Olympics which nobody cares about. And then it's 30 years ago and.. well.. I still have no clue why it's a big deal apart from some sort of jingoistic fetish among the sports media.

Loser mentality

The White House just cannot Smell the Greatness. Doesn't want to Finish Strong, etc.

Maybe we need to Fire Miles, so to speak.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Here we go

Tomlinson released by Chargers

You may begin speculating, Saints fans.

Oh but not you, Fletcher. This technically wouldn't be a trade.

Lackluster or condescending?

As we all know, I'm probably even less enthusiastic about the "reform" movement in NOLA politics than Adrastos. This year, the two most reform-y of the reformers, Janis Lemle and James Perry ran what Adrastos charitably refers to as "lackluster" campaigns. To me, it looked more like the purpose of these campaigns (especially the Perry campaign) was more about raising the candidate's cred within the smallish enlightened reform-y echo-chamber rather than actually bringing that message to voters. And that's really their point anyway. As long as the enlightened reform-y types all recognize them, who really cares about what happens to the rest of us?

And no, I don't mean that these candidates should have tempered their platforms. I mean they didn't care that anyone outside of their self-selecting circles of enlightened people got an opportunity to see those platforms.

No help

The sexy headline is the proposed rate-hike review board (which I'm not all that impressed with) but really, the President's compromise is every bit as crappy as the Senate bill.

Our weak President is proposing to give us an individual mandate to buy insurance from criminals with no public option. And, look, that's not a result of his hands-off approach anymore. That's his bill which he now owns. And it's crap.

Note to NBA owners

Please consider Fletcher Mackel for any available GM job. That way he can finally trade everybody for everybody and I can stop reading this same column over and over.

Essential coastal restoration is just another 5 year study away

Actually that's not true. It's a five year study away from becoming an official "purpose"

Many of these issues were raised several years ago, when the corps revised its master plan for operating locks and dams along the Missouri. But Congress last year approved legislation requiring the corps to reconsider the eight purposes under which it has operated its Missouri River project since it was established by the 1944 Flood Control Act.

The purposes listed in that law were simple: flood control, hydropower, water supply, irrigation, navigation, recreation, water quality, and fish and wildlife.

The corps has embarked on a five-year study that will offer recommendations to Congress on whether and how to change those purposes.

As part of that process, the corps is sponsoring a public meeting on Tuesday in Kenner to discuss the study's direction. Assuring sediment for wetland rebuilding, reducing nutrients to lessen the size of the dead zone and guaranteeing the flow of water necessary for navigation are likely to be proposed for the new purposes list.

On some level I like that we're tackling the problem of new land creation on a geologic timeline. Seems appropriate. I guess the good news is the annual gamble is supposedly giving better odds (but higher stakes)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bests and worsts of Carnival 2010

Conquests with colorful parades
Not so fulfilling as they make them seem

I like posting things with lots of bullet points. I think this is because it's a cheap way to throw a bunch of thoughts up somewhere without having to connect those ideas with actual writing. Anyway here's some random crap about Carnival.

  • Best Parade: Certainly the most memorable parade was the Lombardi Gras Saints victory parade. But that really should be considered its own event. I got some great pictures and will probably put them all in a separate post. The most disappointing parades were Krewe D'Etat and Muses for reasons described in a previous post although we managed to have a lot of fun there anyway. Bacchus was great if for no other reason than that they decided to go with a more timely celebrity monarch than usual. But, as usual, I have trouble remembering most of Bacchus. So this year I'm going to surprise myself a little and say my favorite parades were Hermes, Proteus and Rex. In a year when nobody did anything special, at least these three managed to deliver what you expect from them. I was pleased to notice that Rex is still throwing their classic cheap non-glossy plastic beads we thought they were phasing out. And maybe it was just the daylight but the Rex floats really did look amazing.

    Rex float

    Rex Parade


  • Worst Parade: Druids. A lot of people like to pick on Oshun but at least it rolls on the first Friday and, in that slot, serves as a modest opening act. Druids presents a humdrum parade on the Wednesday night before the big weekend. This year, I learned something interesting about this parade. Turns out it's actually sort of intentionally crappy. The members all belong to other Krewes and Druids is their excuse to be irreverent for the sake of just being irreverent. Which is an attitude I can seriously get behind. But I still don't see why this gets them a night all to themselves on the schedule. When I wrote about Druids last Thursday, I noted that the parade calendar had become too condensed toward the end of the week. There are enough parades to have at least one every night. At the very least, Muses should go back to Wednesday and headline that evening.

  • Best Crunk We knew there would be numerous renditions of "When the Saints Go Marching In" as well as "Halftime: Stand Up and Get Crunk" from the marching bands this year. They did not disappoint. I tried to record as much of it as I could, but I'm not always very quick on the draw with the camera so the only videos that are even presentable are this from St. Mary's

    And this somewhat better sounding version.

    I'm sorry I didn't get the name of the second band. I think they were from out of town. And I was too busy talking to strange masked persons at the moment to go find out.

    Loki and Alexis

  • Worst Crunk In the final weeks of the football season, there emerged a knock-off Saints-specific version of "Halftime" featuring a cloying "Blaaaack and Goooollld to the Suuperbowl" whine over the original track. Everybody bought a copy. And then blasted it out of every car window, float, or streetside sound system within five miles of any parade route for two weeks. During the season I wrote that New Orleans would never ever get tired of hearing "Halftime". This version of the song has proven me wrong. I want to murder those responsible.

  • Worst Carnival Tech FAIL Last year, WDSU introduced an innovative use of Twitter with its Parade Tracker service. The station placed vehicles at the head of each Orleans Parish parade from where someone would tweet its progress along the route. Additionally, GPS devices inside the vehicles mapped the parade's location in real time on WDSU's website. It was the breakthrough hit of the season.

    This year, the service wasn't quite as reliable. The GPS did not always function properly making the map less certain of a tool. That in itself wouldn't be so bad since most of us rely more on the live tweeting to track the parade while we're out at the route. But the tweets themselves were far less reliable this year. They were less frequent, originated from random spots along the route, and were, at times, comically uninformative. Sometimes they were not specific enough to be of any use.

    Okeanos is rolling down St. Charles Ave.

    Or not specific and with poor spelling. (This is my re-tweet of a post now apparently deleted from WDSU's stream)

    Okay now you're not even trying RT @parades Toth is now rolling.

    At times they referred to intersections which do not exist.

    Oshun is rolling on Prytania and St. Charles. WDSU Parade Tracker is sponsored by Party City.

    The good news here is that there are so many people on Twitter now that, if you're following enough of them, you can get an idea of where things are anyway. But Parade Tracker is a great idea which should be improved next time around.

    The bad news is if you were trying to use Twitter from the parade route and you're on T-Mobil or AT&T you were often shit out of luck no matter who you were following. (Or at least that's what I've been told. I'm on Verizon and didn't have much of a problem) AT&T says their network was overloaded. Currently this means they'll have to invest in upgrading their infrastructure if they want to continue competing. But what they'd like to do is simply restrict access more tightly. It's one of the reasons telecoms hate net neutrality.

  • Best Weird Moment: Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu appeared in one of the leading floats of the Krewe of Orpheus Lundi Gras evening. You'd have to have a good eye to spot him, though, because he was one of a few riders inconspicuously standing below the featured guest, long-forgotten pop star, Taylor Dayne.

  • Best Only-in-New-Orleans Moment Saints head coach Sean Payton also rode in Orpheus. When his float stopped in front of us for a moment, the coach got down off of the float with the Lombardi Trophy in his hand and allowed himself and the trophy to be mobbed by the onrushing crowd. When it was time to move again, Payton returned to the float unharmed. This just would not happen anywhere else.

  • Best Parade Food First of all, I gotta say that we made Endymion this year and it was the best experience I've had at that parade in over a decade. We caught it just accross from Mandina's at Cortez Street. It has been a long long time since I've been in an Endymion crowd that let everyone move freely from front to back as they pleased. Everyone shared. Everyone had a great time.

    Endymion Big heads

    When you can actually participate, Endymion is a lot of fun. Everything is big and loud and garish, and as long as it's accessible, that's exactly what you're looking for on the Saturday night before Mardi Gras. This reminded me of why I loved Endymion so much as a child. I hope we can get as lucky next time.

    Oh and Mandina's sells a limited menu of plates and sandwiches out the back window. I had a plate of perfectly cooked-to-order fried chicken. Must remember to do this again.

  • Worst White People Okay so I, like a lot of other people, like to go back up in the neighborhood on Mardi Gras Morning and watch the Indians do their thing. I even manage to take a few pictures and videos. Examples below:

    1st Chief

    In the video the chant is the well-known "Let's go get 'em" On the day of the NFC Championship, one of the many second lines I found downtown was singing this on the way to the Superdome. It gave me goosebumps. I love this city. I love Carnival. And I love taking in as much of the spectacle of the day as I can. But I try to keep a respectful distance. I try not to get in the face of people I don't know. I try not to interfere with a scene I didn't have a hand in creating. I try not to be this guy.

    Lots of cameras

    It's Mardi Gras day. We're supposed to be out in the street getting rowdy. Sure we bring the camera, but some people, it seems, are out directing their own personal feature films. There's a certain type of hipster who specializes in attaching him/herself to things that other people have created and making it all about him/her somehow. Recently I've noticed a lot of these types hanging out on Dryades street on Mardi Gras morning. It detracts from things a bit.

    Oh one more thing. Yesterday, I noticed the term "The Gras" being thrown around in reference to Carnival season. This must stop and it must stop now.

  • Best catches Well I had a football thrown by Reggie Bush glance off my fingertips. Not quite as bad a drop as Bush's muffed punt in the NFC Championship game but still I could have said I had done something if I had caught it. Menckles is a doubloon freak and makes a point of collecting one from each event she attends. She had to barter for a Drew Brees Bacchus doubloon but by God she managed to get a hold of that damn thing. I mentioned this in a previous post and promised a picture but she's locked it away somewhere for safekeeping and... I'll get to it sooner or later.

    King Arthur was chucking these on the day of the Superbowl. Pretty neat, I guess.

    Black and Gold Doubloons

    And, of course, somebody got a shoe.

    Muses shoe

  • Best hippie shit I was pretty hammered at the time, but I thought the marching groups that came down St. Charles between Thoth and Bacchus were pretty cool. The Noisician Coalition produced unusual marching music from electronic sirens and homemade percussion instruments.

    Noisician Coalition

    Some people followed dispensing free wine from boxes. (I didn't get a picture. Was too busy drinking Franzia.) And then this.... I don't know what this was.


  • Best Overall Moment We had a pretty good set-up for Endymion thanks to easy access to nearby parking and bathrooms. But, after the parade, the traffic is going to be a bitch no matter what so there's no reason to be in a rush. While most of our group went to wait things out in the parking lot, Ros and I just stood around drinking beer in the middle of Canal Street.

    Post-parade mess

    We watched the people scatter and then stayed while the crews cleaned up around us. Then we stayed and watched the traffic. We saw some guys almost get arrested for trying to drive through police barricades. We gave directions to fellow stragglers trying to get down to the Quarter. People riding in the back of pickup trucks hooted and hollered at us. Other motorists honked and waved. Mostly we just stood around drinking while the world moved around us.

    This is what Mardi Gras is all about to me. It's not about rushing to some specific place to see any can't-miss event. There's no ridiculous admission fee. You don't have to get dressed up and perform for anybody. It's just an opportunity to stand around in the street talking to people doing nothing in particular while random absurdities happen around you. Every year there comes at least one moment in the Carnival season where I'm fully aware that this is exactly what I'm doing and this year, this was that moment.

    We must have been out there nearly forty-five minutes before one of our party came back out from the parking lot to lecture us about how inconsiderate we were being. People were waiting for us, she told us. Waiting for what? Waiting to go, but go where? She was in a hurry to go downtown, I guess. But all we were going to do when we got there was stand around and drink and do nothing. We were standing around and drinking and doing nothing right where we were. We figured the downtown nothing would wait for us. We tried to tell her this but she didn't get it.

    She's still young and a recent transplant so maybe she'll learn better but, that Saturday night, during the most divinely perfect moment of Mardi Gras loafing around, this girl was standing there complaining that our laziness was keeping her from getting something done somewhere else. We were drunk so I guess we were a little rude in telling her to fuck off. Are we married to you? Are we sleeping with you? No? Why do we care what you think? Something along those lines anyway... and laughing the whole time. Not us at our most gallant, I guess.

    A few days later the local press was full of feel-good stories about the Great Post-Lombardi Gras Golden Age we've supposedly ushered in. One of the high points of the Golden Age is supposed to be the so-called "Brain Gain" flood of young ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs... people like our young friend from Saturday night... coming to live with us and show us all how to be better people. I wonder, while they're busy doing this, if there will be time for us to teach them something about the exquisite joy of doing nothing on a busy night. And if not, will it be as easy for us to laugh and tell them to fuck off?

And that's Mardi Gras. Now we just have to summarize a city-wide election and THE GREATEST FOOTBALL GAME OF ALL TIME and we'll be all caught up, I guess. But, as always... no hurry.

Tension makes it
Transition breaks it
So let's don't chase it
Let it rest a little while

Here's a cool video from the best rock album of 2009.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can we all agree on this one thing?

This excuse is just transparent horseshit.

In his statement, Mauberret cited a desire to avoid an expensive campaign that he felt would likely turn ugly and racially divisive. Williams is black and Mauberret is white.

"I did not look forward to a bruising campaign against someone for whom I have a great deal of personal and professional regard," he said. "... Despite the friendship that Erroll and I share, I fear that others would cast this election in racial terms and try to divide our citizens, who came together in unprecedented fashion on Feb. 6 across racial, geographic, party and socioeconomic lines. I love my city too much to let anything threaten this historic time of unity."

Listening to people talk about this today I've heard these possibilities suggested: 1) Mauberret simply had no chance at winning a runoff and just waited until after the ballots were certified before withdrawing so as to keep the "refrom" candidate Janis Lemle out of the runoff. 2) Mauberret may have struck a deal with Williams in exchange for doing that. 3) Williams already had reached an understanding with all of the former seven assessors that he would be the unified assessor when the change took place. 4) This is somehow all Clancy Dubos' fault.

I'm willing to entertain any or all of these possibilities. But what I'm not going to buy is this lame line that Ed Murray and now Claude Mauberret is feeding us about not wanting to threaten the Great Post Lombardi Gras Golden Age Era of Good Feelings with a "divisive" political campaign. I'll believe a lot of stuff but that is horseshit.

Happy Stimulus Day, New Orleans

Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, you will receive a neat new train set.
The Regional Transit Authority didn't win the lottery Wednesday, but the agency did beat some long odds by landing a $45 million federal grant that will pay the full cost for a new streetcar line along Loyola Avenue from the Union Passenger Terminal to Canal Street.

Yesterday, the Obama Administration spent the day talking up the Stimulus bill while announcing a number of new projects around the country which, like the new streetcar line, will also be funded through the act. We're going to spend much of this election year arguing over the impact of the stimulus bill. Partially because the unemployment situation continues to be as crappy as it is, the argument we're about to have is going to be predictably stupid. It doesn't have to be as stupid as it's going to be but Obama and the Democrats will see to it that it is because 1) they failed to argue for an original stimulus bill as robust as it should have been, 2) they will spend the Summer aruguing that the half-assed bill they did pass made the shitty situation less bad than it could have been.

This argument will be correct, of course, but it's a lame thing to try and sell to voters who are still looking at stagnated job growth and listening to the simpler sounding but economically unsound argument from conservative deficit hawks. "Too much spending!" They will say, "How can we be spending all this money while we're in a recession?" Via Oyster we find Ritholtz exploding the illogic of counter-cyclical deficit hawkism.
The current group of anti-deficit spenders are pro-cyclical, rather than counter-cyclical. This means that during an expansion, they have no problem with expanding deficits, running big spending programs, giving generous tax cuts. During a recession is where they suddenly rediscover fiscal prudence.

This is ass backwards. During an economic expansion, with employment gaining and GDP growing is when you should be thinking about saving for the next rainy day. Counter-cyclical spending means that governments should watch the budget carefully during the good times, but spend spend more freely during the downturns. What we are hearing from this crowd is the exact opposite of what should be.

You can read both of those YRHT and TBP posts for more ranting on the subject. It's pretty much just textbook macroeconomics. But policy is not determined by sound economics alone. Republicans aren't harping on deficit reduction simply because they don't understand theory. Rather, they fundamentally believe that government shouldn't be spending any money on things that poor and working people use at all. With conservatives in charge, none of these transportation infrastructure projects, including the new streetcar, would be funded recession or no recession. Keep in mind, it's fine for them to hold these positions but I doubt that any of it truly reflects what most of us want. And so they will continue to make a simple sounding but absurd argument. And the Democrats will continue to let them make it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday Morning

Just as it is every year, today will be the greatest day in all of our lives. Go live it.

Mardi Gras morning

Happy Mardi Gras

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pompey's Triumph

Pompey, it is said, to gall and vex them the more, designed to have his triumphant chariot drawn with four elephants, (having brought over several which belonged to the African kings,) but the gates of the city being too narrow, he was forced to desist from that project, and be content with horses

Okay it really wasn't like that at all, butI imagine something comparable could have looked like this.

As the photo below clearly demonstrates, the conquering general decided to go with horses instead of elephants for his triumphal Bacchanalia. Worked out pretty well.

Drew Brees Reigns over Bacchus
Photo by David Grunfeld, Times-Picayune

There were also commemorative coins struck with the general's likeness for the occasion. We managed to barter a few off of the citizens in attendance. Photo to be added later.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mid-Mardi Gras photo dump

It isn't hard to guess that while we're knee deep in Carnival season, you're not going to see much here other than occasional drunken exclamations and crappy photographs. Here's a bit of what's been going on the past few days.

Thursday's cancellations moved Muses to Friday meaning there would be four parades that night on what was still a cold and damp Uptown route.

Pre-parade slop on Friday

Fortunately, I had time to prepare during the day so, Thursday night, I pulled another wild hog roast out of the freezer and brined it overnight. Here it is all dressed up with cumin, paprika, oregano, thyme, onions, garlic, potatoes, bacon... um... some other stuff.

Wild Hog Roast

Add a little beer and some lime and orange juice, throw it in the oven around 10 AM and come parade time, it should look like this.

Wild Hog Roast

That should keep the folks warmed and well fed as they trudge in and out from the cold and mud of a long evening of Carnival.


Hermes might be the prettiest parade of all. The floats are elaborately designed but not stuffy. They could pass as either a super-huge "old line" krewe or a super-artsy Superkrewe. I'm afraid my blurry night photography can be a little hit or miss. My best looks at Hermes were of the the signature float above, this blurry float,


And this blurry flambeaux carrier.

Blurry Flambeaux

If it helps, keep in mind that my actual vision is usually about this blurry during the parade anyway so these shots are fair approximations of my memories of the event. Some of those border on the nightmarish such as when the Skeleton Krewe arrives at the head of Le Krewe D'Etat.

Blurry skeleton

I was disappointed in both the Krewe D'Etat and Muses parades this year. They are known as two of the most witty and satirical krewes but I thought the theming was a bit uninspired Friday. D'Etat's political commentary was mostly driven by parting shots at Ray Nagin which, already, seem a little passe. There were some base celebrity gossip items (Tiger Woods, John and Kate) which strike me as irrelevant material. Finally, a few of the floats such as one depicting ACORN appeared to be informed mostly by the FOX News side of things. The Saints float featured a prominent representation of Tom Benson. I really despise this business of glorifying the owner in a triumph that really belongs to the players and to the city. But a lot of these krewe people tend to identify with ownership for the most part so I guess this was to be expected. On the bright side, I really enjoyed the Dancing Buddy Ds.

Dancing Buddy Ds

Muses' theme was "The Muses' Guide to Love and Romance" The floats were a string of trite "women be different from men" cliches that put me in mind of this Athenae rant about a similarly stereotype-ridden Dodge commercial. It's a shame to see the creative talents of these two Krewes so badly misused. Typically I enjoy both parades. I especially like the numerous marching clubs Muses incorporates into the procession. Here are the Camel Toe Lady Steppers,

Camel Toe Lady Steppers

The Pussyfooters,


And the 610 Stompers trying to get crunk as the parade speeds up unexpectedly

These are all very creative people and I love that they take their creativity to the streets every year to help us celebrate. Some years, though, the parades serve to remind me how little I have in common with the Krewes' membership.

I think the Muses krewe members, like the Krewe D'Etat members are comfortable with this kind of banal humor because they're typically the sort of people who are comfortable with their station and are reassured by its associated humdrum. The very act of joining a club is, after all, a calculated attempt to improve or cement one's status and fortune through contrived interaction with a group of similarly desperate social climbers. It's the same as what I said about John Georges' decision to join the Tulane goat-fucking society. They're all aiming at the same phony idea of success through the act of joining a club. Some clubs have their members show off their worthiness by parading through the streets in silly costumes. Some have their members do funny things with goats. And some, it turns out, wear silly costumes while parading their goats through the streets on mule-drawn carts.


Either way it's all part of the same exercise.

So that's the bad news, I guess. The good news is, you don't have to be in the dumb club to be a part of Carnival. For that all you have to do is get out in the street and play. Which is what I'm about to do right now. But first a few techniques for optimizing your chances at catching stuff. One, just be generally awesome like I am. I got this cool sword at Endymion last night which I'd love to show you but there's no time to add a photo now. Two, wear an appropriate shirt. This one seems to be the winner this year.

Brees shirt

Note: She's worn it to every event and hasn't washed it yet.

Three, wear an appropriate hair color and maybe someone will throw you a glittery shoe.

Muses shoe

Failing all of that, just keep drinking. Seems to be the catch all solution anyway.

Going back outside. More later.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Uh oh

Gonna be one of those massive crowds tomorrow night. Nothing like Lombardi Gras, I'm sure, but still pretty big.

Krewe of Muses parade, pre-party postponed until Friday

Last night we stood out in the surprisingly-not-so-cold to catch the Krewe of Druids with about five or six other people.


As a parade, Druids is pretty much just filler. It exists as a sort of collaboration among members of other Krewes to add another "traditional" looking parade to the calendar. We're glad they do it. We tend to think the parade schedule is too compacted at the end of the week.

[Begin tangent] There are enough parades to hold one or two on each night of the week instead of what we have now. Things are a bit different this year because of the addition of the Saints parade on Tuesday but usually we get zero Monday, zero Tuesday, one Wednesday, three Thursday, and three Friday. Now some people may want to keep a short break on Monday, which is okay, but the rest of these parades could be spread out to better balance out the week. An ideal schedule of the current parades would move Morpheus to Tuesday and Muses to Wednesday. That way we get Monday off, one parade Tuesday, two Wednesday, two Thursday, and two Friday. Plus, extending the schedule opens more opportunities for make-up dates in the case of bad weather.[End of tangent]

Anyway, in parade aesthetics, there's a fine line between traditional and lame and Druids tends toward the latter category. The floats are not very elaborate. The theme is uninspired. Last night's theme was various puns on the word hole. Floats were things like "Man-hole" "Fire-in-the-hole" "Key Hole" etc. None was particularly witty or satirical or really worth looking at. Also they don't throw very much... except for this one guy but he was obviously kind of nuts.

Adding: Oh and now Babylon is also postponing until Sunday which means we'll have five parades that day.

Shut up

Everybody wants a piece, I guess.

Food for Thought: Alamo City's impact on Saints

Go away, you bastards. Don't bother us anymore.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I really was determined not to worry about blogging for a few days

But shit like this keeps coming up. I found these Fleur de Ham steaks at Rouses after the Lombardi Gras parade last night.

Fleur de Ham

I don't know why I didn't buy them. I'm sure they must be the most delicious cut of meat ever devised by man.

The Saints parade was nuts. Crowd was like three Endymions deep. Coach Soupy was.. um... hamming it up big time with the trophy atop the Smokey Mary float. I caught some beads from Gumbo. I saw Thomas Morstead riding in the giant Muses shoe. This is all the stuff of fever dreams brought to life. I got a few pics but haven't uploaded them all yet.

Here's a shot of the crowd I took with my phone.

Lombardi Gras Night

More later.

Saints win Tecmo Bowl

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Literally, "Fat Lombardi"

Otherwise known as Lombardi Gras.

This will be a jam-packed parade route. Actually I'm hearing it is already. I wasn't going to post anything for a few days but I just saw one blurb that necessitated a quick run-down of where we are right now.

  • Imperfect but hopeful election results at least suggest a moment of hopeful, multi-racial solidarity. (This is simplistic, of course. But we'll take it at that for this week, anyway. I have gripes but will get to that later)

  • Rickey Jackson elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

  • Saints win Superbowl. Awesome parade to follow

  • It's Carnival Time

The point is, we kind of feel like we're on a roll here. So maybe it really is time to free EWE and just keep it going.

Going out to the parade. Back in a few days.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Oh and also

Happy Mardi Gras

Black and Gold Doubloons

Black and gold doubloons

Turns out we really were distracted

Of course I've been trying to write the long re-cap of the Vikings game but... well there have been distractions. The stuff I have won't go to waste. I'll use most of it after the Superbowl. But the things I wanted most to say and to point to beforehand were these.

A few weeks back, Richard Campanella presented an op-ed in the T-P which, while a little on the intellectual masturbatory side, still comes close to expressing the importance we've all placed on our little football team.

Countless politicians, activists, and keynote speakers have, since 2005, invoked the name of our city as a metaphor for everything from federal neglect, urban decay, environmental deterioration, and American decline, to poverty, bigotry, disparity, and iniquity. Do a Google search on the metaphor ["New Orleans is a poster child for"], and you will see New Orleans invoked as a metaphor for "global warming," "economic insecurity," "urban vulnerability," "the harm done by blanket government social programs," "human arrogance in the face of nature and disregard for the environment" -- and that's just the first five hits.

Pretty grim stuff.

But recently New Orleanians have metaphorically turned the tables on this rhetorical trend. Consider, for example, the poignantly enigmatic slogan, "Be a New Orleanian Wherever You Are." How interesting: here we are ascribing certain positive characteristics to the people and culture of this place, and advocating that they be recognized, appreciated, and adopted in other places. Exactly what those characteristics are goes cleverly unexplained. For some it may be love-of-place; for others it's festivity, creativity, musicality, carpe diem, or simply greeting a stranger on the street--an act, incidentally, viewed as bizarre or even threatening in some cities. New Orleanians as metaphors for something positive, something from which the rest of the nation can benefit: now that's starting to sound more balanced.

And speaking of nations, consider the "Who Dat Nation." Here we have a metaphorical nationality in which citizenship depends not on borders or birthplace, but passionate love of the Saints -- and, right behind that, of New Orleans. It's no coincidence that, while the chant "Who Dat" dates back decades, the phrase "Who Dat Nation" appears to be mostly a post-Katrina phenomenon. Why? Because the cheerful defiance of adversity has universal human appeal. The Who Dat Nation defies four decades of franchise frustration, four decades of municipal decline, and, most significantly, four recent years of bad memories. "Who Dat Nation" offers an alternative to the use of New Orleans as a metaphor for despair. To those who dismiss sports as a trivial and illusionary distraction, consider the civic narratives at work here: Unity. Resilience.


Pretty powerful stuff.

Now I would resist the implication Campanella makes about pan-NOLA Saints fandom being a "post-katrina phenomenon" I think the city rallied around the Saints because they were already this crucial to who we were. But I'm not going to split too many hairs over that. I think, if there is a difference, it's more related to the heightened intensity of everything after the Flood. Following the Saints has always brought people together and people really needed to come together these past few years. We wear our emotions on the outside in this town. What's not to like about that?

Next there's this letter to the editor which appeared in the Friday Picayune one week ago.

This past week I traveled to New Orleans to attend the NFC championship game. Many of my Minnesota friends cautioned me against wearing my Jared Allen Vikings jersey to pregame festivities and the game itself. I threw caution to the wind and wore my colors proudly. I expected at least some random abuse from Saints fans, but I have to tell the people of New Orleans that my experience was absolutely at the other end of that spectrum.

If I had one, I had 100 Saints fans approach me with comments like "thank you for visiting our city," "I hope you are having a good time," "I'm glad you traveled here, spend lots of money" and many other comments that were nothing but friendly.

I attended the game with three Saints fans. Before going to the game we wandered Bourbon Street, made stops at a couple local bars and enjoyed passing by the many tailgate activities on the way to the stadium. In all those areas, not once was a threatening statement ever made. In fact I was offered drinks and food by a number of partiers.

Once in our seats, there was not another purple jersey within sight, but again I was surrounded by a group of fans respectful of my loyalties and willing to give and take a little fun as the scores changed. Of course I would have preferred a different outcome of the game, but I take my hat off to the fans in New Orleans for their loyalty and unbelievably friendly demeanor.

Thank you for your hospitality. I will be cheering for your team in the Super Bowl.
Darrell Bates
Winona, Minn.

I, of course, was in the Dome that night. It was a tense game with the highest of stakes on the line. And yet Saints fans were as gracious as they've ever been. I couldn't have been more proud.

We'll talk about the game itself later. For now, we'll just say it was not the easiest game to watch. It was frustrating, intense, scary. I guess a championship game should be like that. There's more to say about it but, more than anything, I'll say that my impression of that moment was sort of the opposite of Wang's.

God knows I love the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. God knows I appreciate the bigger-than-football bond we have with our team, and with one another. God knows I raise my glass to those who came before, and those whose time came too early to witness the day we've waited for so long to finally arrive.

But for now, for me anyway, this time it's all about them. Our football team. Our heroes. And never before have I used the term heroes to describe our Saints more pointedly than I do today. Not just because of what they've accomplished, but because it couldn't have happened to a better group of people. It's not just about what they've done, it's about who they are. It's about how they've carried themselves and how they've handled their business. More than any Saints team that's come before them, these Saints deserve it. They've earned it.

And I think that's all well and good. We like this team. We like Brees and Frenchy and Fujita and Morstead. They're a fun group to pull for and they've done well for themselves. But that isn't my main takeaway from that NFC Championship or this season. Years from now what I'll remember most about all of this will be the fans and the city and they way they dance they way they parade, the way they celebrate the moment and make it theirs the way only they can.

Years from now, I'll most remember the moment in overtime just as the Saints were about to cross into field goal range when, during a stoppage in play, I went around our section in the Dome telling each and every stranger there that, no matter what happens, I love them and I love my city. I'll remember watching Garrett Hartley's kick drift toward the goalpost just as I closed my eyes and practically blacked out for a few seconds only to be revived by the roar of the ecstatic crowd. I'll remember hugging everyone I saw in the Quarter for the rest of the night. In my mind that game, this season, is all about us. And so is today. I love you, New Orleans.

Here is your Superbowl altar.

Superbowl Altar

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Congratulations to Mayor Rickey Jackson

Still waiting to learn who will be Mayor of the "Shadow Government" Won't know that until after the goat ceremony.

Some quick thoughts:

  • Turnout sucked. In the 2006 primary there were about 120,000 votes cast. This year I at least thought we'd get something like 105,000 or 110,000. As of this moment, with 90 percent reporting, there have been about 82,000 votes counted. That's pathetic; even for an election held in the middle of Mardi Gras with the Saints in the Superbowl.

  • ABB lives. I badly underestimated the enduring anti-Batt sentiment in District A. I really thought this was the year the voters there went back to being who they were before the flood. Maybe they will some day. But it will have to involve the "next" Jay Batt and not this one.

  • Plagiarism FAIL: Tom Arnold got smacked by Kristen Palmer in District C. I didn't see that coming at all. But, admittedly, Arnold didn't appear to give much of a shit.

  • I.Q. FAIL The new extremely powerful single Assessor's office will go to either Claude Mauberret or Erroll Williams. Not a good day for advocates of unifying the office.

  • I was right about some stuff: Stacy Head beat the shit out of Corey Watson. Watson wasn't really offering anything other than the negative impression Head's personality leaves on people (including on me). But that's a pretty crappy way to run a campaign. He deserves what he got.

    McKenna ran some entertaining commercials but couldn't even come close to unseating Minyard.

    Rickey Jackson made the Hall of Fame.

    I hope I'm right about the Superbowl.

  • I'm so old I remember when Austin Badon was the "next Mayor of New Orleans": Yeah. Not so much now. Badon will have to fight his way onto the Council vs Jon Johnson. That could be anybody's race.

  • Did anybody even vote in the East? Jackie Clarkson squeaked by Cynthia Willard-Lewis for the second At-Large seat. That's pretty amazing.

Anyway I'm tired. Was supposed to go downtown. Probably won't make it. See y'all in the morning.

Mid-Afternoon report

Congratulations to Rickey "City Champ" Jackson for becoming the first member of the NFL Hall of Fame primarily for his exploits as a New Orleans Saint. I've written this before, but it's worth repeating. In all my years of watching the game, I have never seen a better football player than Rickey. That's it. (BTW: This means I am perfect so far on last night's "predictions" list)

Meanwhile, the rumblings on the Tweeter Tube have it that today's election is on pace for a record low turnout. I don't know how much stock to place in these rumblings but, if they are accurate, that's disappointing. I took a few pictures of signage around the neighborhood earlier. Here's one at Louisiana and St. Charles.


Didn't see any goats anywhere.

By the way: What the hell is Ray Nagin even talking about here? A coach? A coat? A Colt? What? Please. Somebody.

The telephone poles of Central City are decked out for Carnival.

Toledano and Baronne

Don't know who did it, but there's one of these on just about every corner.

S. Saratoga and Harmony

Seventh and S. Saratoga

Caught the Krewe of Pontchartrain this afternoon on St. Charles Avenue. Their theme was "Can You Name That Idiom?"

Can You Name that Idiom?

So the floats were all titled things like "G_ ___ A K___" and you had to fill in the blank based on the decor of the float. (That one was "Go Fly A Kite") Of course there was a "W__ __T S__ ___ G____ ___t D__ S____S?" Speaking of which, there was also this.

Who Dat Nation

Of course, there was politicking at the parade route. I spotted this.. um... house? shed? being towed down St. Charles opposite the parade.

Erroll and Mitch - mobile

Finally, the wait is over. We now know who the first marching band is to offer up a rendition of "Halftime" by the Ying Yang Twins this Carnival season. It is St. Mary's Academy.

Won't be the last, I'm sure.

Quote of the Day

Rachel Maddow: "America is lucky enough to have New Orleans in it"

Oshun XIII

Maddow's broadcast from New Orleans tonight was pretty cute. Plus it managed to get more essential things right about NOLA in one hour than most national media have over the space of the past five years. The program featured John Barry on flood control, Norman Francis and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the Saints and politics, Clancy DuBos on food, and Terrance Blanchard on trumpet. Not bad.

Meanwhile, we stepped outside and caught the season's first Uptown Carnival parade of 2010. The modest Krewe of Oshun featured only a few medium-sized floats carrying a generic TV-inspired theme. They weren't throwing a whole lot but we did manage to get a krewe-emblemed medallion which made us happy.

Also the bands were pretty good. We saw St. Mary's Academy, Xavier Prep, and Roots of Music who were playing the first of many renditions of "When the Saints Go Marching In" we expect to hear this year.

Roots of Music

The best sounding band of the night was McDonogh 35. We caught a bit of their performance on grainy video.

Later, we ordered dinner from Juan's. When I went to pick it up, I saw a guy running up and down Magazine Street randomly "Who Dat"-ing at any passing people and cars he could find.

This is going to be quite the weekend.


As always, this site does not do political endorsements because 1) Nobody cares what we think or who we're voting for 2) None of the candidates are worth getting behind anyway. Instead, we like to keep to the tried and true political media tradition of playing horse race. Here's what I'm thinking for what that's worth:

Mayor: I think we're gonna get a Landrieu-Henry runoff. Henry went full in with the racial stuff once Ed Murray dropped out. I think he probably expected a better response than what he got. But it would be naive to think that he hasn't helped himself. Expect him to turn up the volume in the runoff and expect it to be a rough contest provided he has enough money to keep up. Landrieu has known all along that his best chance in this race would be to win outright in the primary. If Georges weren't still hanging around, he might have had a chance to do that. Here's my guess at the numbers:

Landrieu: 46%

Henry: 19%

Georges: 12%

Couhig: 9%

Ramsey: 7%

Perry: 4%

Others: 3%

Assessor: Mauberret vs Lemle in a bloody bloody runoff

Council At Large: Boring result. Fielkow is in. Jackie Clarkson and Cynthia Willard-Lewis will be in a runoff.

District A: Jay Batt will win in the primary.

District B: Stacy Head will really trounce Corey Watson. People will be a little surprised at the large margin here.

District C: Runoff between Tom Arnold and Kristen Palmer.

District D:
Cynthia Hedge-Morrell will win in the primary.

District E: Austin Badon (once considered a Mayoral front-runner) will win in the primary.

State Senate: Karen Carter Peterson will win convincingly.

Coroner: Wow what a pile of money Dwight McKenna has wasted trying to knock out Frank Minyard. It won't work.

NFL Hall of Fame Balloting: This is the year Rickey Jackson gets in, dammit! Yes, the voting will take place tomorrow. Yes, it will be in Florida. Of course, we should send in the lawyers if the outcome looks suspicious.

Superbowl XLIV: As of right now the Colts are back up to a 5 point favorite. I don't see it. The Colts are quick on defense but undersized. The Saints have an all-pro interior line and a healthy backfield rotation. I think they'll be able to run right at Indy. Look for more Mike Bell than you've seen in a while. The Colts also like to play a lot of deep zone coverage. If Shockey is healthy, and I think he is, the Saints will exploit the seams and Brees will kill them.

Peyton Manning's genius, the Colts' many ways to beat you, blah blah blah... it's nothing the Saints haven't seen before this year. The healthy Saints secondary has proven it can play with anybody. I think they can handle these people. Also, did you know the Colts were last in the league in rushing this year? And that the Saints were third best in defending red zone scoring opportunities? Those two facts seem pretty relevant to me. Not saying the Colts won't move the ball and score points, but they won't do it all day and they won't be able to keep up.

When the Saints won the NFC Championship, I didn't think I'd care if they actually won the Superbowl. But after listening to all the crap from ESPN these past two weeks, I'm ready. Of course, don't expect a whole lot of attaboys from that crowd even if the Saints do win. Odds are still pretty good that we'll spend the summer hearing about how the Colts were "technically the better team." Maybe they'll find a way to force a runoff.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Today's Mail

I have no idea how they stuffed this much crap in there.

Campaign crap

My favorite in this batch is the one on your right with the woman in the red sweater. That's John Georges' wife testifying to the general awesomeness of her husband. Unfortunately, when a candidate like John Georges decides to use his family as a cheap political prop all it does is cause me to speculate about the details of the Gerorgeses' courtship. Did they meet in college? Because, according to comments at AZ...
When I was 16 in 1970 I went to a DEKE party. The frat brothers would disappear upstairs, strip down, paint themselves various colors and appear naked downstairs. It was the first naked grown man I had seen. It was meant to shock the women and the reaction was supposed to discern if the gal was loose. So we have misogyny as well. They were a pretty raunchy crew as well as very wealthy. I think that is why they were tolerated for so long.

Dambala has been taking a lot of heat for putting all of this stuff up the other day but I, for one, think it's not only relevant but crucial to understanding just what kind of people your business, civic, and professional "leaders" are in New Orleans. All of them are where they are today, in part, because, at some point in their lives, they decided to join a club. They joined a club whose purpose is to reinforce the smug, racist, classist, sexist culture of power they all hoped to be a part of one day. And they all got what they wanted. They're all very successful in the sense that they understand success. But to get there, they sure as shit did pour punch for the franchise. They sure as shit did join the club.

These are not "youthful indiscretions" we're talking about. These are moral life choices with real consequences. John Georges is in the club now. That means he'll be just fine whether or not he ever becomes Mayor or Senator or Governor. But it also means that if he wants to be those things, it's only appropriate that the people he's asking to put him there know that he's in the club, and that they know exactly what that means.

Isn't his area of expertise in horses anyway?

Former FEMA Director Mike Brown picks Colts over Saints

My favorite bit from the Politco blurb:

He has a good sense of humor about being called "Brownie" and Bush's notorious "heckuva job" comment, joking that he's trademarked the two phrases.

"It'll cost you $25 every time you say it."

Uh oh, NOLA T-shirt makers. Brownie is coming after your ass next. #Defendheckuvajobbrownie