Archive for May, 2005

Today’s headlines

ON THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION…

Tangipahoa School Board Sued Again
In Orleans Parish, it’s race. There, it’s religion. Anyone for creed?

Girl, 16, Accused of Running Sex Ring
At least St. Bernard schools are teaching our children some entrepreneurial skills

Opening a can of worms

You know what’s funny? I grew up in rural Mississippi–a state with a civil rights record that ranks right up there with Myanmar, China, Congo, Uzbekistan, and Alabama. My parents both came from lower middle-class families, and neither were what anyone would call “forward-thinking.” Like most of the folks in our all-white neighborhood, we had a black maid, and when my mom took to her bed with chronic depression during my teen years, we had black cleaning ladies, a black cook, and black yard men. And of course, up at my grandfather’s farm, all of the fieldhands were black.

Despite all that–despite the fact that to outsiders, it might seem like I was raised to be a card-carrying member of the KKK (if, indeed, the KKK issues cards), and despite Nina Simone’s numerous laments in “Mississippi Goddamn”–I can honestly say I never witnessed virulent, hardcore racism until I moved to New Orleans.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t some really interesting dynamics here in the way that racial lines blur: the proud heritage of the Creole community, the unique opportunities afforded slaves by the Napoleonic Code (under which slaves could buy their freedom and live as Free People of Color, many of whom owned slaves themselves). But in other ways, the lines drawn between blacks and whites here seem harsher and more confrontational than anywhere else I’ve been.

Nowhere is this aggression more obvious than in the Orleans Parish School Board. Is there anyone who’s not completely sickened by the way they behave? Is there anyone who thinks they’re doing a good job? Is there anyone who holds out hope that one day, they’ll stop thinking with their skin and use their brains? Is there anyone who doesn’t think that the State of Louisiana should step in and kick their collective asses to kingdom come?

I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been said about them. If there were any justice in the world, they’d all be extradited to Sudanese refugee camps for some life lessons. Or at the very least, someone ought to make them watch a couple of ABC After-School Specials.

Feedback humbly requested

New Orleanian car purchasers: given Tom Benson’s recalcitrant, hardball tactics with the Governor and the state over keeping the Saints in New Orleans, would you be less likely to buy a car from a Benson owned dealership? Or, perhaps, would you go out of your way not to support Benson’s businesses, as he won’t slightly renegotiate the “sweetest deal in NFL history” and prefers to instead play the fear game with Saints fans and the state of Louisiana?

What I’m getting at is: should we be talking about a boycott?

Pigtail macaques

53 of them escaped yesterday from the Tulane University National Primate Research Center south of Covington, and as of this moment, eight of them are still missing. They were used for breeding.

Why do I feel like there is going to be a comminity of Monkeys living on the Northshore in the next few years? If they’re still bit caught later today, I’m heading out to see if I can spot one. How often do you get a chance to see monkeys running through suburbs?

I didn’t even know Tulane had a primate program. I want to take a tour.

ADDED: All right, I actually did head up to the Northshore today to try and find those darned monkeys, somewhat unsuccessfully, although I did attract the attention of the local police. I made a little film of my tiny adventure.

Dowry?

Last week while surfing the web I came across this definition of the word “Dowry” — n. from the days when a groom expected to profit from a marriage, the money and personal property which a bride brings to her new husband which becomes his alone. Dowry still exists in the Civil Code of Louisiana. (Source)

Encyclopedia.com also mentions that “In England and the United States (except for Louisiana), the dowry system is not recognized as law.”

However, after searching through the Louisiana Civil Code I was unable to find any laws that mentioned this. I was hoping maybe some of the law types who read this could fill the rest of us in on the details.

This could have a significant impact on my life. My current maiden is mired in peasantry and I can’t imagine that her family could scrape together more than a pittance for dowry. I’m thinking perhaps I need to be in a more, how you say, ‘supportive’ relationship. Here’s my new personals ad:

Gentleman caller, 24, in search of matron, 35-50, for long term relationship. Me: Lover of music, food, dowries, long walks. You: Financially secure, generous, etc. Serious inquries only.

But seriously, is this still law, or has it been phased out in recent times?

Southern Comfort: Nobody drinks this horrid piss.

The marketing minds at Southern Comfort have, since I have lived here, been engaged in a behemoth marketing campaign aimed at tourists and locals alike. Their mission is to convince people that the swill they produce is actually consumable in some form. Of course, it isn’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from penetrating all possible advertising outlets… They’re everywhere, all over the conventional billboards, busses, newspapers, etc. They have street teams out in bars, they have party busses, and even a citywide “best bartender” contest– the bartenders are required to create a cocktail based on Southern Comfort. They claim it’s the city’s native beverage – created by a local bartender in the 1800’s – a guy who was most definitely trying to get some 17 year old girls out of their bustles and hoop skirts.

I generally ignore this crass, obnoxious propaganda, figuring that the only people who drink this syrupy trash are either 18, or retarded. But Southern Comfort won’t quit. In fact, they’re opening a “museum” in the French Quarter and have just gotten a nod from the state senate to serve liquor there.

Laughable as this is, I find one line in today’s Times-Picayune article a bit troubling. It reads “Murray said his bill is tailored to allow the special liquor permit to be issued only to the Southern Comfort Museum in the French Quarter and could not be extended to include serving liquor at other museums.” I’m not quite sure how to read this, but it almost sounds like this grants Southern Comfort exclusivity and that another museum, the Museum of the American Cocktail would not ever be able to serve alcohol. That’s probably an overreaction on my part, but it does seem kinda fishy.

I would just like to clear something up for everyone, especially the unwitting visitor who is caught up in the SoCo marketing blitz. We don’t drink Southern Comfort down here. Southern Comfort has absolutely nothing to do with the history of New Orleans. If it was invented here as they claim, it has since been bought by a major liquor company and is made somewhere in Kentucky. Only recently have they decided to spend millions of dollars trying to attach our city’s good name to their shitty beverage. Please don’t fall for it. Thanks.

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