Archive for January, 2007

Cheap Fundraiser

Cheap Thr!ll is one of NOLA’s most bold and vivacious skater’s. She broke two of her ankle bones when skating derby in a shark-infested tank a couple weeks ago.

The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen in the French Quarter (at 95 French Market Place in the French Quarter) is donating 25% of all proceeds today only to go to Cheap and the shark’s medical expenses. So go eat there tonight!

Gimmea U! Gimmea N! Gimmea O! Gimmea P!

I took about 15 hours and read through the UNOP online and tried to summarize it to save you all the trouble of having to read it. Actually, I didn’t quite make it through in the 15 hours I alloted myself. I mean, I know this stuff is important and felt obligated to read it but I have to confess it isn’t an exciting read (I suppose it would be if you are one of those people who’s life now revolves around meetings about the recovery since this is the fruit of your labor). I didn’t see anything profound or that made me feel more optimistic. It’s just a pretty dry, sober, prosaic look at how shit is and how it’s probably going to be between now and 2017. Quite an undertaking if nothing else.

I am concerned that the plan seems to have been compromised before it even began by political rhetoric. The phrase: “that every citizen, regardless of current residence, has the right to return to New Orleans” is almost ever present. First of all, I don’t understand the literal meaning of that statement and how it is significant. I mean, I can live where ever I want. There are no artificial restrictions or laws keeping me from living anywhere. That isn’t to say there aren’t real and natural restrictions and even social morays. I’d like to live in Monterey, California but I can’t afford it. I wouldn’t mind living in the south of France near Lyons but I don’t know French so it seems like an impractical choice. Hell, when you get right down to it, I’d just like to have a nicer house in a better part of town than what I’ve got but what I have was the right choice for me right now. I guess what I’m saying is that the aforementioned quote either has a meaning that completely escapes me, or (and this seems more likely) it is bullshit and means nothing at all. Maybe they’re just words haphazardly thrown together as a political slogan with no intended meaning. But if that’s the case, shouldn’t it be an acronym – like FEMA?

If anyone wants to help me understand what the quote means, that would be great. Otherwise, please feel free to comment to your hearts’ content about this important, though painfully dull document.

My summary notes are after the jump so keep reading.
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Need Your Help: Mardi Gras Second Line Routes

A friend’s architecture studio this semester is constructing some maps of social conditions in New Orleans. She is trying to locate second line routes as compared to traditional Mardi Gras parade routes. This information is not very well documented on the internet (as you might expect) but there is some. It may not be possible to locate all the routes but it would be useful to locate a few (10-20?) in order to visually demonstrate the degree of local parading by these social clubs and their place at the neighborhood or block level.

Can you help me by giving me exact routes that some Mardi Gras Indian communities, St. Ann’s parade and other smaller Uptown and non-Uptown krewes take? In return, I will publish these routes as Google maps, on Google Earth or as PDFs. Thanks in advance for your help. Remember, exact routes with start and end point will be much appreciated as these are going on maps.

The House That Drives Men Mad

If any of you have had kids and know anything about the French comic book hero Asterix, you will recognize the title of this entry. It is the name of an aptly-named place Asterix had to conquer as one of his 12 Tasks — in other words, he had to enter a government building to get a simple form. To wit…..

It’s time to pay my 2007 property tax bill to the (also aptly-named) City of NO. But wait! There is no homestead exemption subtracted from my total — so I call the office of politically connected Betty Jefferson (my assessor, who seems bent on making things as tough as possible while she’s still around). I”m told I can solve this situation by bringing a picture ID and my power bill to prove residence. Hey — I can do that. It’s the same thing I did back when I bought the house two years ago.

…so it’s off to Perdido St. I go, amazingly finding a convenient parking space and (up music) entering The House That Makes Men Mad.
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Update from Lonelyland*

After several ill-advised conversations with people over the last couple of weeks, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really shouldn’t interact with people any more than necessary. But then I thought it might be nice to not completely disappear from the planet – funny thing about disappearing: sometimes people don’t really notice you’re gone and won’t be there when you get back.

On with the show!!
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The Track

I can’t decide if I like the track better when it’s cloudy or sunny. We haven’t had much sun lately and I’ve gotten used to it, when it rains the horses fling mud everywhere and nobody goes outside to watch, they just huddle inside and watch the races on the TVs. There’s something nice and Dickensian about it. But when the sun is out, more people show up, they go outside and have a drink on the paddock and watch the horses up close, and people bring their kids and the kids eat that shit up. I hate children. Except at the track. The track makes me want to have children and bring them there every day and gamble away the money I would have spent to feed them. So I think the best days at the track happen when the sun is shining. Unfortunately, the season only lasts from Thanksgiving through late March, and sunny days are few and far between. That’s why I’ve decided to refrain from work on sunny days, except Tuesdays and Wednesdays, because the track is closed then.

I’ve been going to the Fair Grounds whenever I get a chance this year. I know that sounds like I’m some kind of compulsive gambler, but I only get a chance every couple weeks or so. Okay, I won’t lie, I wish I could go there more often.. hell, I wish I could go there every day. Actually I wish I could just have my paycheck direct deposited right into their coffers and skip the whole bit and start squatting in the abandoned house next door.
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Louisiana Speaks?

Please educate me on the aim of the Louisiana Speaks poll making its rounds on the local internet. How much did this glossy piece of fluff cost our recovery budget? To what end? And, is the LRA really dead?

For instance, take Question 1: What are your top priorities for economic development in Louisiana? Have a look at the answers. How am I supposed to pick my top three among seven different interrelated requirements for building a better Louisiana?

Onto the topics of community preservation, habitat preservation, hunting and fishing (commerical and recreational) and oil & gas infrastructure, which the poll collectively places under the heading of Protection From Storms. Each one of us likes and doesn’t like ALL of the above. For southern Louisiana, however, ALL of the above are important, but are not going to protect us against storms.

Seriously, this poll feels like questions on the SAT/GRE for which an essay is required, but all you are allotted is one of four or five mind-numbing and exasperating choices. This is real life and not a standardized test, and there is still time for a grown-up discussion. Furthermore, just like a multiple choice test of progression, all this poll offers is yet another illusion of participation.

Amusing side-note: The poll is another one that keeps track of online respondents by requiring an email address. I offer you the letters a, b, c, x, y, z, the symbol @ and the extensions .org and .com – that’s a lot of permutations for one person to work with.

Spike Lee

Next Wednesday January 31st at 6:00pm the Westbank Barnes and Noble in Harvey will host a very special guest. Spike Lee will be signing copies of his books and of course copies of the DVD When The Levees Broke.

I am very happy I am not back from maternity leave yet because this is going to be one hell of a mess to deal with from the organization side of things. If you are interested in meeting this controversial filmmaker, then go and go early. Doors open at 8:00am and they start giving out wristbands at that time. If you get out of line you loose your place and have to start all over again at the back so bring a friend to send for coffee and plan to spend the day.
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First weekend this year

…so TBK and I have nailed down our JazzFest tickets for this year. The talent lineup is a good one again (like we expected something else) and we’ve chosen to go the first weekend this time so we can see Van Morrison. The guy never comes to the US anymore, much less to New Orleans, so we’re considering it a rare treat. Last year we accidentally wound up with tickets for BOTH weekends, but our budget isn’t as, um, flexible this time around. Bankruptcy can do that.

We’re entering that sublime time of year in New Orleans, when things just seem to move from weekend to weekend in a blur (figuratively and, for many, literally). Krewe du Vieux kicks off the Carnival parade season next weekend as things begin heating up toward Mardi Gras. Once that’s done on the 20th, then there’s St. Patrick’s Day (a big deal in our Irish Channel neighborhood — since we’re only a block down from Parasol’s), French Quarter Fest and then JazzFest. And, in mid-April, we’ll see resumption of Wednesdays at the Square (2007 talent lineup still pending). A good time to plan trips to New Orleans and, particularly, to live here. Before it gets hotter than Rangoon in mid-summer — but then the Saints head back to training camp.
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Short and Sweet

Jefferson Parish is asking FEMA for funds to repair roads that were damaged post-K. A committee is getting $650,000 to assess the damage to the streets. Would it not make more sense to spend the $650,000 to repair the streets? This is yet another example of your tax dollars at work. How do I get on this committee?

Hail Ming!

Love, Paul p

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