Archive for April, 2006

Going Postal

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Uptown is getting mail regularly and they are going to start processing bulk rate mail this week so people like Craig are getting magazines again. At work we have been trying to send our members mailings but we get a lot returned to us as undeliverable. We have to cull the database based on this information.

I like trying to decipher the various different secret codes the post office is using to describe the undeliverability of mail. Fowarding expired, vacant, etc. Some neighborhoods are beginning to get cluster boxes installed. They are about one per block, it helps save the post office on manpower but this seems like one daunting task on top of another until they are all installed. The people I have talked to aren’t happy with the idea of cluster boxes but it’s much better than having to go to the warehouse and wait in line.

Many residents have to go to this postal facility to get mail. Today, I took my neighbor, Ella, over there to show her how it goes. You get there and put your name and address on a piece of paper and wait for them to go back into the warehouse and hunt down your address and then maybe you’ll actually get something. I have sent mail to an address to see if it gets there to test it out and try to get it consistently but so far this week I have gotten nothing. Ella got an important piece of mail from the government that she was waiting for, so that was worth the trouble. Ella’s an older woman on disability. She’s still waiting on electricity but she’s moved all her stuff back from Arkansas and she’s feeling pretty beat down right now. The postal facility is close to the Fairgrounds, we saw people carrying their festival gear in their festive wear as we were leaving. We felt the need to go home an soak in the bathtub.

Neighborhood Planning

Today I did something crazy. I gave the friend hug to Renee Gill Pratt. She came to the PNOLA neighborhood meeting today. I had her undivided attention for quite a while and quickly covered many questions I have had for her. It was really nice of her to show up so I was nice, I mean, she’s part of the process of planning but it sure sucks not knowing if she will be our councilwoman in three weeks.

The neighborhood is getting down to the business of putting pen to paper and outlining our viability plan. The past few months have been spent evaluating all the property in our area to see what needs to be gutted and what should be targeted for zoning changes to improve the quality of life for residents as well as monitoring sales of large parcels. The PanAm building has been sold to an attorney who will make it mixed use housing for elderly and rent-controlled tenants. Someone from the EPA showed up to talk to us about the Falstaff and Dixie breweries. Looks like Falstaff is being bought to become housing too. Pratt confirmed that the medical corridor is going to be back and that a cancer center will be built at Claiborne and Tulane. A parcel on St. Louis is being auctioned and
the proposed project is Film Factory, LLC. Should Film Factory, LLC be the winning bidder on the property, it plans to build a 320,000 square foot film studio and vocational school at that location. This is a good start but clearly we have a very long way to go in this part of town.
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Another sign of normalcy

The return of most normal mail to New Orleans is something I’m not sure I’m ready to see.

I mean, it’ll be good to finally be able to get Food and Wine again (this is, of course, assuming the subscription hasn’t long-since expired. Hell — I don’t know anymore). At least in some ways. I like the recipes and whatnot (food IS my business). But at the same time, I’m not sure I want daily reminders about how neat and pretty and normal other places are. I’m afraid it’s going to be like someone sending me a daily letter that says, “See? You could move away from all this and things will be neat and clean again.” Used to be we took an odd pride in living in a town that was a bit grittier, funkier and askance from the rest of the country. But we had a choice. Now that’s just How Things Are. Maybe I can come up with a new magazine idea, such as “Flood Zone Living” with articles like “50 Ideas For Soggy Wallboard” or “Mold Spore Decorating” or something. It’ll also be weird to get junk mail again. Maybe instead of addressing it to “Resident” or “Homeowner,” they should send it to “Survivor” or “Psychophant.”

On another note, I stopped for gas yesterday at Broad and Canal and pulled up to the pump behind some guy obviously in town for JazzFest. He had on the requisite Hawaiian shirt, cargo shorts and straw hat and was filling his Tennessee-plated rice rocket with gas. We both go to the booth to pay and we’re in line behind this late-20ish couple getting smokes or whatever. The couple gets their stuff and goes back to their car at a nearby pump. We’re not paying much attention when suddenly the guy yells at the woman, “JUST SHUT THE FUCKING DOOR!” which she does. Then we can see this guy going all Al Pacino on her. Not that he hit her (at least not while they were there), but both me and Mr. JazzFest took a step toward their car. The guy noticed and calmed down in a big hurry.

Jeez, dude — it’s Friday. It’s JazzFest. Life’s tough enough around here.

I hope she ditches the bastard.

No Way

My neighbor had his big ass truck stolen from in front of our building on St. Charles Ave last night. Apparently, they just towed it away. A whole new level of car theft ! The cops said they have had a rash of this type of theft in recent days. So now another hard working person will be unable to do good work for us.

Chaz Fest

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I am not a fan of Jazz Fest. I don’t like eating my food over a trash can, I don’t like the weekend hippie crowd, the port o’ lets, the parking situation. But last year I made myself go to Jazz Fest because I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing something. I mean, I can go see most of the performers I like anytime, it’s the luxury of living here. I went ahead and got a Brass Pass and I volunteered doing backstage hospitality for musicians, I volunteered at the workshops with kids during the week. It was nice. I saw Ceux Que Marchent Debout, this French funk band I love, four times while they were here but they didn’t actually play at JF. One day I went to JF during the day and saw CQMD in Lafayette at night. One day I went to Papa Joe’s jazz funeral in the morning and spent the rest of the day at the fairgrounds. Truth be typed, I kept defaulting to the Jazz and Heritage Stage. I love the brass.

So for probably another five years, I’ll be pretending it’s not happening. I am big fan of Washboard Chaz, so this one day festival will make me happy enough. Chaz Fest

Oh, fancy that

An otherwise unremarkable 1.2 inches of rainfall burned up three massive Sewerage & Water Board pumps Wednesday, officials said, underscoring the vast municipal drainage system’s need for almost $40 million in post-Katrina work that has received little public attention, even as much-publicized levee repairs have been racing forward for months.

The pumps, among the largest in New Orleans’ unique drainage system, were at stations in Lakeview, Gentilly and Mid-City, but no flooding was reported, officials said.

Source: http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-5/1146120536239260.xml

Great news as we approach May, a.k.a. monsoon season. Folks in low-lying neighborhoods may want to be extra sure their garden hoses are turned off, otherwise they might flood their block.

Looking good, New Orleans, looking good.

Really?

Here’s something interesting:

Louisiana currently cares for its uninsured and underinsured patients mainly through a statewide network of charity hospitals, the only state in the nation to run a statewide system of public hospitals.

WWLTV.com

Really? Is that true?

I mean, Mississippi used to have tons of charity hospitals–there was even one in my rinky-dink hometown–and if Mississippi has ’em, you’d think maybe Connecticut had a few… But then, maybe all those have been shuttered, making Louisiana the last state to realize that public hospitals are a losing game….

Healthcare professionals, please weigh in. Me, I’m just a marketing guy.

NyQuil Martini’s for lunch

Well, I guess I need to write something. It isn’t like I’ve been trying to write and couldn’t – I really haven’t bothered. I don’t know why. I’ve been back in the city now for the longest stretch since the storm.It feels different here – not better or worse – just different. It’s almost like its lonely here. I dunno. Maybe its just getting me down a little.

The house isn’t helping. I’ve been avoiding moving in for about a week now. Making cheap excuses that even I don’t believe to keep from moving into that gutted-ass-shanty. I own onenongettingyoulaidpieceofproperty which is what I’m going to have carved on a decorative rock which I will then place through one of my windows. As I sit here listening to it rain I find myself wishing I’d gotten at least the felt paper over the plywood roof last weekend. Oh well.

So the cable people are coming out tomorrow morning between 8 and 10. Of course, if they don’t get there by 8:45 there’s a better than likely chance my ass won’t be there. See, the problem is that I have to work so I have money to buy food, a kitchen to cook it in and a toilet to put it in when I’m done with it. Ah, the circle of life….well, more like the circle of food….or something like that, but not the circle of life because the only thing alive in the circle is me….which I’m not sure counts for some reason.

(should delete that last paragraph but I promised myself I wouldn’t delete anything in this post because that’s how I end up not posting anything. So really that last paragraph is a glimpse at how I think – sad hu. Yeah, whatever)
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The Men From the Boys

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I actually almost love summer in New Orleans. I get strong, skinny and tan. I know, there are like only five of us who actually like sitting out on the porch, laughing at the fact that sweatballs are still rolling down your back in the middle of the night. I know it’s about summer when I am saying, ‘yeah, but the air is moving’. Which is many degrees more tolerable than when it is not. I decided it’s official because for the first time since the storm I heard the creepy ice cream truck going thru Louisville yesterday and I am pretty much doing two/three showers a day and for the hardcore folks. . . it’s ICEE season!
I noticed a UPS guy was sippin on one today.
The ICEE is not always an easy thing to find, as true ICEE consumers in the third world know. The Circle K near Henry Clay is a pretty good bet, then there was the Sleazy Serve on Prytania near Upperline, and the another only blocks from there by Touro on my regular circuit. And you gotta have a circuit cuz the damn machines are always broke or out of your flavor. I am strictly coke with a splash of cherry, so already my chances of success are greatly diminished. If you live off the island, then good luck to ya because with the price of gas and the driving from one E-Serve to the next, an ICEE is gonna run you about seven bucks.

Mortal Kombat Style

May 20th. Let the showdown begin.

Yeah, sure … I’m more interested in this graphic.

Observe that the votes follow the flooding following Katrina. There are three main regions as follows: 1) the dry “Sliver OnThe River” minus Uptown, 2) everywhere that flooded minus Lakeview and 3) Lakeview and Uptown.

The Sliver minus Uptown – A mixed bag of votes for Nagin, Landrieu and Forman. Looks like the Quarter, Marigny and Bywater went Landrieu, however.

Flooded New Orleans minus Lakeview – A sea of Nagin red.

Lakeview and Uptown – Forman and Landrieu, in that order. Nagin booted.

(I love how City Park voted for Landrieu and Audubon Park went Forman.)

Given the height and extent of their deluge, Lakeview’s outrage and desire for regime change is understandable. But, why the sharp demarcation between two adjacent areas on the sliver that are relatively fine, i.e. Uptown (District A) and the Garden District (District B)? Is this Uptown’s chance to “relieve” Nagin of his duties? Of course, I wonder if the divide is racial, economic or Batt-driven.

May 20th. Get ready for the goat rodeo. My only hope is the contenders entertain us.

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