Archive for November, 2004

New Orleans outranked–in a good way

New Orleans is no longer among the top 20 cities for car thefts, according to a nationwide ranking of metropolitan areas by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.Out of 336 metropolitan areas, New Orleans fell from 17th place in 2001 to 33rd in 2003 on the list of hot spots for auto theft.

full story at Biz New Orleans

Rally the troops

Not to get too heavy and stuff, but if you care at all about the arts in New Orleans, may I suggest you scurry on down to the City Council Chambers at our none-too-glamorous City Hall (1300 Perdido Street) tomorrow (i.e. Tuesday) morning at 10:00am? As it stands, funding for the Arts Council of New Orleans’ Community Arts Grants Program is up in the air, and presenting a unified front at tomorrow’s budget hearing is perhaps the best way to ensure that such funding is secured. The Community Arts Grants Program is extremely important to many arts orgs–especially the smaller ones. In a city like New Orleans, with a shrinking (read: practically non-existent) corporate community to tap for support, funds from the Arts Council can make or break some organizations.

If you can’t spare the hour to show up in person, you might wanna call or email your councilperson directly. Hell, call and email ’em, just to keep ’em on their toes. Phone numbers and email addys are below. Just remember, the squeaky wheel yadda yadda yadda…

NEW ORLEANS CITY COUNCIL

District A
Jay Batt
Phone (504) 658-1010
E-mail: JBatt@cityofno.com

District B
Renee Gill Pratt
Phone (504) 658-1020
E-mail: RPratt@cityofno.com

District C
Jackie Clarkson
Phone (504) 658-1030
E-mail: JClarkson@cityofno.com

District D
David Payton
Phone (504) 658-1040
E-mail: DPayton@cityofnocom

District E
Cynthia Willard-Lewis
Phone (504) 658-1050
E-mail: CWLewis@cityofno.com

At Large
Eddie L. Sapir
Phone (504) 658-1060
E-mail: ESapir@cityofno.com

At Large
Oliver Thomas
Phone (504) 658-1070
E-mail: OThomas@cityofno.com

4am in the morning

and a crowd of kids just wandered by our apartment screaming their fool heads off. Of course, you get a little of this every night in the Quarter, and you learn to get used to it. But this has been happening every five minutes, making it impossible to sleep without earplugs, which neither I nor my girlfriend currently possess. Not to mention the cars with their preposterously overloud bass systems rattling our window every 10 minutes.

God bless the Bayou Classic. Somebody needs to remind our noisy visitors that the French Quarter is also a residential neighborhood, home to about 4000 people, none of whom appreciate thoughtless tourists. Keep that behavior on Bourbon.

Z’otz

The owners of Z’otz, the coffeeshop in the Marigny, have opened a second twenty-four-hour store in the 8200 block of Oak Street, where they go head-to-head with the venerable Rue de la Course by day, but own the street by night. The interior decor is very well done, each room with its own motif, ranging from botany to voodoo. There’s a big selection of pastries, including vegan pralines, for those of you who like that sort of thing. The blueberry crunch, which does not carry the Vegan Housekeeping Seal of Approval, is very tasty, especially if you ask your cute barista to heat it for you. The music is different every night and usually very interesting. (Last night, Leonard Cohen was crooning from the speakers and I laughed all over again at his insane lyric, “First, we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!.” Is he taking a shot at The Protocols?) The shop is wi-fi enabled, so bring your laptop.

The shop is also cute-boy enabled, so bring your libido. Mack, one of the owners, is the butchest member of the staff; by his slick-bald head, bass voice, and bone earrings ye shall know him. His adorable, sweet boyfriend Robert doubles as an employee. (Look for the slim boy with a chain and lock on his neck. He’s so Sid Vicious, in a cute sort of way; Mack has the key.) A lovely twink-with-a-beard named Walt works the night shift around weekend nights. And although I don’t have his name (yet!), check out the tall guy with smooth, golden skin and blonde dreadlocks. Except for the dreadlocks and the sad fact that he has clothes on, he looks like an Olympic diver. He told me he’s been growing out the dreads for six years; he makes them look really good. Oh, yeah, there are some female baristas, too, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

The patrons are mostly twenty-something and, I think, mostly students. The rest are young fashion masterminds, the kind who know how to accessorize an outfit with suspenders and striped socks and make it look good. I know from experience, though, that if you have to show up in your office apparel, you’ll be warmly received; just keep telling yourself, “I’m the alternative alternative.”

Here’s a tip for when you visit: Tip. The baristas, “the kids” as Mack calls them, love their store. We don’t want them to have to take soulless jobs on Bourbon Street in order to keep body and soul together, do we?

Z’otz, by the way, is a bat. He is the Mayan god of twilight, crossroads, and other transitions. Ask to see His glyph. Oh, one more thing: Check out the leaves lacquered into the floor of the botany-themed restroom next to the coffee bar. It’s not “possession”–it’s art!

The Saints vs. The BGR Report

I’m sure you’ve all heard something about the Bureau of Governmental Research Research (BGR) Report regarding the evaluation concerning the spending of funds meant for economic development between 1998 and 2002. If nothing else, it puts the dilema of investing money in the Saints into context.

The conclusion? “…expenditures tend to be considered on an ad hoc basis, without evaluation of their relative value or the “opportunity cost” of a particular investment. As a result, public investment, particularly in private ventures, runs the risk of being based on political, rather than economic, considerations.” (See Bayoubuzz.com)

I think we’ve all wondered how economic decisions are made in New Orleans and we’ve all joked about how there’s no solid reasoning behind it. Now we have proof. Sad, sad proof.

Now the issue is: who is going to be accountable?

While there are changes in the Department of Economic Development, they’re certainly not for the better. The head of the entertainment division and the IT division are stepping down. Both department heads are moving towards private sector opportunities.

After all this, are we still arguing over giving money to the Saints?
Speaking of the mistake of making economic decisions based off of politics… Let’s use the opportunity to reprioritize.

A means to economic development based off of sound economic reasoning is not a lot to ask for.

Today’s oxymoron

Courtesy of Mr. Copeland, here is today’s oxymoron.

Here is now good loving in city

He has big house, big job, big penis. Sometimes I love Craigslist.

I’ve been meaning to say this for a while

Damn that Andrew Jackson had great hair. Every time I look at the $20 bill, I’m flabbergasted. Even in statue form, as in Jackson Square, where he is tipping his hat to Madame Pontalba’s bedroom, his hair is extraordinary. And while historic images are often prettied up, Old Hickory’s hair is fabulous in every known image of him,, leading me to think he may actually have had such an extraordinary collection of locks. I’m not the first person to notice it, either. (Interestingly, Jackson’s gorgeous tresses were used in 1999 to determine that he suffered heavy metal poisoning.) I’m starting to wonder if the British weren’t so cowed by his long, luxurious shock of hair at the Battle of New Orleans that they turned tail and ran

I like this

From the Times Picayune’s front page:

In what could be the catalyst for development along some of the most visible portions of the riverfront, the Port of New Orleans and the city are close to finishing an agreement that would turn over to the city most of the port-controlled riverfront property from Poland Avenue to Jackson Avenue.

Although no contracts have been signed and negotiations continue, the parties have what amounts to a handshake agreement that says the port will relinquish control of its wharves along the 4

All I have to say about this last election

is in response to this extremely popular Webpage, which, in email form, has been filling the inboxes of almost everybody I know. It’s an angry anti-South diatribe, which, when I was a few weeks younger and lived in the North, I might have found funny, but now that I am a few weeks older and live in the South I find misconcieved.

My complaint is that it casts Bush’s win this year as the fault of the South, as though party lines were perfectly split along the Mason Dixon line. It’s an understandable error

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