Archive for March, 2006

Stacy Head, City Council District B: A leader for the heart of the city.

Stacy%20Head.jpg
I met with Stacy Head yesterday because some readers began responding to a previous post with requests to hear from her, particularly regarding the issue of development v. preservation. See comments.

So I told Stacy right away, that someone accused her of being a ‘sell out’ to developers. Apparently, there is an issue that has been brought up on Valence St.. A&A Restored Living wants to tear down Trinity Methodist Church and put up condos. This is not cool. Well, Stacy didn’t show up at a meeting and people automatically thought she was not with them, but against them. Stacy has invested her own money to hunt down deliquent owners in her neighborhood and purchase blighted homes to renovate them AND she rents to section 8 too, which is important. There is no doubt that we need affordable housing, also a more pressing issue since Katrina. She has a very wise response to those people posted on the last discussion. Please read it. Shane Landry Post
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Canal Streetcars To Return

Sunday is the day. The green St. Charles cars will be running the length of Canal St. The Carrollton spur won’t be working just yet.

Article here: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-13/1143788873269270.xml

Bullet Proof Soul

As I walked out of Canal Place after last night’s showing of Capote, a friend remarked, “It’s been seven months since Katrina hit. Two days after that, this mall was on fire and being looted. And here we are walking out of it like nothing happened.” Such is an example of statements from The Sliver. While the rest of the city struggles back from destruction, a small part of it lives on.

This reminded me of Kuwait and the last home I never saw again after the Iraqis invaded in the late summer of 1990. In the last week of February, as we celebrated the first Mardi Gras in a shocked, awed and rejuvenating city, Kuwait marked 15 years of freedom from Iraqi occupation. Fifteen years later, the marks of invasion, destruction and violation still scar the landscape of that small Arabian nation. A lot of people like us left, some returned and a new generation of Kuwaitis and immigrants appeared to fill our voids. Life went and goes on. Mines have been completely removed from all the beaches and parks. Hospitals, schools, mosques, soccer stadiums and other buildings have been rebuilt, while some have been razed to the ground, like the one I was born in. Parks and malls have been restored and people walk, shop, eat, laugh and live in spaces that were once deserted, burned and scary. Universities were revamped like never before and more women than men make up the student population. Kuwaiti women now have the vote. Life got better for some.

As I fell asleep last night, these thoughts gave me some hope for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. And then, this morning’s paper said that the cost of fixing the levees has doubled.

[Donald Powell, the federal coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding] … did not commit to a financing source or whether the administration would seek the traditional 35 percent local share for the work. He said that “will be part of the deliberations” in coming weeks … Some of those who attended the meeting said they believe, based on information they received from Powell, that the final total could be even higher.

Powell also told the officials that the Bush administration believes the release of flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, eagerly awaited by residents and businesses deciding whether they can rebuild their properties, requires authorization that the levee restoration work will in fact go forward.

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Something Scary I Saw Today

This morning I was navigating the Claiborne no traffic light zone right….heading East. It was oh, about 11:00 am. Lots of traffic . . . and I am getting across the last neutral ground doing the two-step shuffle and hear people yelling on Westbound side. I look over and there is this big ass black dude beating the shit out of some middle aged white man who is still in his van. The dude was pummeling him through the driver’s side window. I was pretty shocked, and getting ready to dial 911 because this could easily get even uglier. Thank god it didn’t but I think only because the black dude’s little girl had got out of the back seat of the car with another woman from the same car screaming at him to stop and get back in his car. I saw him walking away and the dumb shit in the van was still yelling at the guy. Look, man, knock it off already, you are lucky he didn’t just cap your ass. Geez, the only person I want to kill when I have to deal with our awful traffic problems is myself. So it is a jungle out there. Be careful. Sorry, no photo.

Oh, and I have been gone for the weekend and in that time the McDonalds on Claiborne as well as the retro one at Tulane and Broad were demolished. (for those of you who are so totally concerned ’bout your fast food). Also, the house across the street from Whole Foods that was ready to collapse has been safely dismantled and removed. There is so much to watch all the time it’s hard for people who are not here to imagine. I love the challenge of trying to stay on top of things though, it’s become like a wicked real life memory game.

And has anybody else seen the blue and yellow streetcars? Wow, that tripped me out too.

And then there were two…

…open Popeyes restaurants in the city, after a five alarm fire destroyed the one at Canal & Chartres. GOD NO!!!!!!!!!

Fire guts building, forces hotel evacuations
3/28/2006, 8:12 a.m. CT
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A five-alarm fire gutted a fast-food restaurant in the downtown section early Tuesday and a nearby hotel was evacuated for a time as a safety precaution, authorities said.

Ten police officers were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Authorities said the fire, which was reported about 3 a.m., near Canal Street was first believed to have been in a hotel, but firefighters instead discovered a building housing a Popeyes restaurant ablaze.

No firefighters were injured, said fire department Superintendent Charles Parent.

The fire did not pose a threat to the nearby French Quarter, authorities said.

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There are pictures here: http://www.wdsu.com/slideshow/slideshows/8312266/detail.html?qs=;s=1;w=320

Welcome to the Jungle

There’s an article in the paper this morning about the city’s Parks and Parkways Department, which lost 80% of its staff and much of its equipment following the storm. This is the department that is responsible for keeping the city’s public spaces and neutral grounds from becoming an overgrown jungle.

I think they’ll be able to manage, what with some outsourced help and volunteer efforts. As I see it, the much greater problem is going to be the overgrowth of private property around the city, in flooded neighborhoods where the property owners are abandoning or neglecting their properties. Even if the neighborhood citizens who are back band together and manage to keep the front yards of these places mowed, the backyards and alleys are going to become a nightmare come mid-summer.

Anyone who gardens here knows what will happen if a piece of cleared land goes unattended for a year. Between nasty weeds that grow several feet in a week and climbing vines that entangle everything in sight, we will literally have a jungle on our hands if property owners can’t keep their land attended to. And though I kind of like the idea of lush, green overgrowth and decay everywhere, the problem it brings to an urban environment is unacceptable. It will create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, snakes, rodents, stray pets, and a multitude of other nasty creatures. Hell, we’d probably have jaguars and monkeys running around the city if it goes unchecked for too long.

I’ll admit that my own backyard & alley is getting a little overgrown. I have these mutant dandelion looking things that seem to grow about 4 feet tall overnight. I’m too busy trying to fix the house to do anything, and the weed trimmer I had got ruined in the flood. But I do have a machete, and anything that’s waist high gets mutilated by it. I don’t think that’s too much to ask of people; if you have a flooded place, at least try to go there every few weeks and pretend you’re in the Amazon rainforest trying to slash your way to a native village to escape the giant Anaconda that’s been eating the other members of your group. Please. If you don’t, that damned Anaconda is going to eat us all.

Oust Judge Elloie

We were discussing starting a petition to get this evil entity out our judicial system but I do not believe in the effectiveness of online petitions, I delete them. But I contacted the Metropolitan Crime Commission, our most effective watchdog group to ask them the proper route for revolt. I have posted their response below. Individual letters mean a lot more than putting your name on a petition. Even if it’s a simple sentence, if you really want to do something, this one is easy and effective. I was going to post a photo, in case you meet him over at Table One or something, in reality a picture of Satan would have been appropriate . . .

Metropolitan Crime Commission:

Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding Judge Elloie. You are one of many who have contacted us expressing their outrage and frustration, and we ask that you write a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court expressing your concerns about Judge Elloie’s lowering of bonds for criminals.

Please address your letter to:
Chief Justice Pascal F. Calogero, Jr.
Supreme Court of Louisiana
400 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

I ask that you also send a copy to us, and you may also want to carbon copy the Times-Picayune:
The Times-Picayune
3800 Howard Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70125-1429

It is our hope that letters from you and other citizens will communicate the immediacy with which the community feels this threat to our safety needs to be addressed and motivate expedient action to curtail Judge Elloie’s bond lowering practices.

Thank you,
John R. Humphries, Jr.
jhumphries@metrocrimeno.org
Metropolitan Crime Commission
1615 Poydras Street, Suite 1060
New Orleans, LA 70112
Phone: (504) 524-3148
Fax: (504) 566-0658

Second New Orleans Mayoral Debate: Open Thread

Confusion \Con*fu”sion\, n. [F. confusion, L. confusio.]
1. The state of being mixed or blended

You call it a mess of challenges and ways forward. I see it as a collection of ideas, good or bad, of a city reinventing itself. Yes, this is a reference to the passionate argument between the mayoral candidates on TV right now. If we were grading on vocal, I’d vote for Rev. Tom Watson. In terms of idea generation, what about Virginia Boulet? Rob Couhig needs a stiff drink and some sleep.

What’s your opinion of today’s debate? Here is an open thread to collect all of your thoughts. Please be constructive.

Seven months

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any more of these articles from Chris Rose.

True — it has been seven months. And msot of us are still trying to reassemble things. Many of us are lucky enough to be back and to be in secure homes. Some of us are lucky enough to start scrimping together a living again. We’re all under a lot of stress, yadda, yadda, yadda. It’s simply the facts of life these days in New Orleans and the central Gulf Coast.

(Special note — we spent some time driving between Biloxi and Gulfport yesterday. You think we got it rough here in Orleans Parish? At least a lot of us still got walls, as moldy as they might be. Try having just a slab or a dozen pilings.)

But back to the point. Chris Rose has been a lifeline for many of us since The Thing (as he calls it) happened. He has often said what we needed to hear, and said it in a public forum. I will thank him when I meet him (I think I was behind him in line at La Boulangerie a couple weeks ago — not sure). But dude…

I know you’re not whining. But it sounds like it. We gotta look forward, since the present is depressing. We need more fuck-you stories and less of the up-by-the-bootstrap ilk. Bootstrapping is the norm here these days — at least you’ve still got your salary (I know it’s only a journalist’s salary. I had one for roughly 30 years — but at least it was consistent and has bennies).

I had a long talk with an SBA guy today (while I was bootstrapping it peddling BBQ out in Mid-City. He was nice enough and hungry enough to actually buy some.). He asked what we really needed, and I hesitated. But then I told him what we really need and want right now is what we have — someone like him (who’s from the federal government and here to help us) to be angry at. To show we’re not beaten and we don’t have our hands out and we’re going to recreate this city. He was a good enough guy — just trying to do his job and his agency IS providing help to lots of folks who need it — so I kinda soft-peddled it. But I think he got the point — that we need to be pissed-off enough to keep pushing forward.

Our local and state folks also deserve their share of the anger. But, frankly, it’s hard to be angry at some schmuck who still trying to do a job after his/her own place is in as bad a shape (or worse) than our own. We need a symbol and the feds are providing it. For that, at least, we thank you.

It’s kinda what keeps a lot of us going, y’know? So maybe they ARE helping. Whatever works.

Hey Judge Elloie!! Step the FUCK DOWN!!

I believe you are a useless, incompetent fuck that serves no purpose other than to ensure that criminals remain on the streets to repeat crimes again and again. I also feel there is a very good chance that you’ve completely lost your fucking mind. STEP DOWN NOW!!

For those of you not familiar with why I would be so hostile toward this fucktard, NOLA has an aticle.

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