taqueria trucks couldn’t care less.

It isn’t a big deal. I don’t feel strongly about it either way. So why would I write a crappy post about Jefferson Parish effectively shutting down the taqueria trucks? Well, it’s really because of one line: “…banning them is in keeping with other parish efforts to clear away signs of Katrina…”. I don’t know why this line struck me so but I just haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. Jefferson Parish is right there. I cross over and back all the time – every day in fact. And there’s just something about the idea that they’re trying to scrub away the effects of the storm as we approach the two year mark. There’s something nice about that. It’s optimistic. It’s confident. It’s like saying ‘alright, that sucked now what’s next?’

Still, I can’t help but think of it in terms of Suburban living (of which I am not a fan). Living in the city is dynamic and I like it that way. If I was to move I’d likely move to Queens or Brooklyn. I love the energy of city living. Suburban living is so stoic and consistent. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not my thing. So on the one hand Jefferson Parish is taking distinct steps to return to that normalcy its suburban residents find comfort in. The irony is that they are, in these efforts, being dynamic in moving on in ways Orleans Parish seems unable to do.

Orleans seems stuck in this ‘no body move and nobody will get hurt’ mode. We’re stuck in a very real sense in a one day window almost two years ago. It’s clear when you read the paper, it’s clear when you read this blog, it’s clear in bar conversations and conversations in the grocery store checkout. Personally I make efforts to shake that feeling and get my mind on other things. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The Freret area really didn’t get significant overall storm damage as much as it exasperated the condition of long neglected properties. The shanty, for example, gutted because of mold, but honesty, I suspect there was significant mold there all along and was only made more significant by the few inches of water that sat there for some time. I don’t know if its a healthier thing but when I look around my neighborhood I see blight due to neglect, not due to storm damage.

In all fairness, I’m not in Lakeview or New Orleans East. I’m not dealing with the nightmare of frustration that is Road Home. Not dealing with contractors except to seek advice. So my situation isn’t all that dire in many respects. Having said that I should be able to pull out, move on, and leave it all behind me. And yet, I constantly fail at that. And I don’t think it’s inborn to me. I feel like the frustration and preoccupation is coming from outside. Spreading like the flu. It hangs in the air with the humidity. You can almost see it swirling around people in waviness like gasoline on the pavement bends and curves the light in strange ways. Maybe its seeping out of them like termites hatching just under their skin and swarming around them. Metaphors and Similes come easy in describing it.

I wonder if they’re aware of the swarm around them. I wonder if they realize that everything they see is slightly skewed due to the light bending around them. A stranger had a little Katrina breakdown in the bar last weekend and it was, uh, odd. Odd because I haven’t seen one in a while. It used to be common for someone to walk in, have a seat at the bar, order a beer, and when the bartender starts idle chit chat the person just breaks down in tears. It was really pretty frequent. For months there couldn’t have been many times I went out that someone wasn’t sitting at the bar crying at some point. I prefer to do my whimpering in privacy whenever possible. But back to my point, the other thing that made it odd was how I perceived it. It was like the person’s mass went critical which caused a huge amount of gravity that pulled all that orbiting shit back in on them. Everything went back to the singularity. The singularity of that one person pulling in all the fear and frustration and anger; possibly guilt. Not just their own either but almost like it pulled all the bad in the room in. And it all starts over again. for a moment there’s a bit of calm and that first little bit of vapor wisps out and bends the light just so. Barely noticeable. Is this what we’re doing? Is this who we are now? I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want my friends to be that way. I don’t want to pick up others’ bad energy and I don’t want to push my shit on others but I’m not sure how you avoid that. Aluminum foil hat maybe…I dunno.

Taqueria trucks? Couldn’t care less.

12 Comments so far

  1. Paulp (unregistered) on June 20th, 2007 @ 7:22 pm

    The main reason why they are shutting down the trucks is because they don’t have permits. They don’t pay parish tax and no state health inspector has been called to check them out. Jefferson Parish is very hardcore when it comes to sales tax revenue. If you are selling shit and have no permits you get shut down because emperor Lee is not getting his cut. I have to pay hundreds of dollars to the state and parish every month from sales tax. Why should they be exempt? It is nice though to see that at least one Parish has gotten their shit together. You won’t see too many FEMA trailers in JP anymore either.


  2. Paulp (unregistered) on June 20th, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

    Don’t take the previous post as a glorification of Jefferson Parish. I have been stuck in Metairie for almost two years now and it suuuuuuuuuucks beyond recognition. It is so frickin boring and plain vanilla it makes you sick.


  3. Craig (unregistered) on June 20th, 2007 @ 11:36 pm

    I’m all for a parish being able to enforce its licensing situation. I mean hell — you gotta raise revenue and all that. I’m in the food biz and have been for years and that’s just how it is. Get a license, keep it clean, pay your taxes and you oughta be good to go.

    What I don’t like about the enforcement in Jeff Parish is the rules on WHERE the trucks can and can’t be. Far as I’m concerned, if Joe Blow finds an abandoned gas station and wants to set up shop under the canopy — let him (long as the has the property owner’s OK). The corner becomes revenue-producing again, as opposed to just being derelict for another six months.


  4. Puddinhead (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 6:49 am

    So which health department inspections, parish sales taxes, and parish permits are the roadside shrimp vendors and the like (who the parish council says won’t be effected) complying with that the taco trucks are in such grave violation of? Nah…it’s your basic deep-seated Jefferson xenophobia bubbling up again. Every so many years you can count on whoever happens to be on the Parish Council at the moment to pander to the public with some ordinance aimed at somehow singling out “the Other”.


  5. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 8:29 am

    I don’t disagree that there are political motivations for the change. But really, they aren’t off base since as Craig and Paul pointed out, the trucks really aren’t following the rules the parish has in place. And the stipulation as to where the trucks can be seems the most inconsistent thing since they really aren’t eye-sores (to me anyway). I also don’t like the concept put forth by the council that suggested the trucks aren’t dedicated to the region and will tool on off to the next tragedy. That’s true of course since they’re following their market, but it shouldn’t be a consideration. It’s like JP is saying ‘you aren’t dedicated to us so we’re not dedicated to you’. If JP was interested in being more accommodating to the trucks they could have established a permit for such businesses though I doubt the businesses would conform to that either given their gypsy nature.

    On the other side of the issue, when someone is expected to follow the same rules as everyone else and screams racism they lose a lot of credibility in my book. It makes it difficult for me to support them at that point. I will concede that there are some who hope removing the trucks will get rid of their customers as well. I mean I can see living somewhere and not bothering to learn the language, but refusing to eat the food? That’s a little weird.

    At any rate, I don’t think they’re going to leave the city because of this. They’ll just come to Orleans. OP has no ability to enforce anything at this point. er, except for parking violations. I paid eight parking tickets last week during the amnesty – eight in less than two years – many were gotten at 10 or 11 at night. Bastards.


  6. peggy (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 10:23 am

    Just got back from NO. We had a great time!

    It was strange, though, that almost everyone we talked to brought up Katrina or Rita and told us their story. Strange in that usually you don’t tell total strangers about your life, especially a painful part. After awhile I considered it to be kind of therapy for them to tell their experience of the storm. Maybe after so many times going over and over the event, the brain can finally process the experience and then move on.


  7. Please (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

    JP wasn’t as affected by Katrina as Orleans Parish was. And banning immigrant businesses is dynamism? What a stupid post.


  8. Kenny (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

    Jack, not to make light of your message because your message is captivating and important, but I just wanted to chime in to say that this is really good writing. I’m fucking struck right now.


  9. Kenny (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

    Jack, not to make light of your message because your message is captivating and important, but I just wanted to chime in to say that this is really good writing. I’m fucking struck right now.


  10. Jack Ware (unregistered) on June 21st, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

    Hey Please, I thought I made it clear the last time the sun got bright enough for that little synapse of yours to fire and share a thought with me, that I couldn’t possibly care less what the fuck you think.


  11. sally g (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 10:37 pm

    i ate at one- it was better than KFC-
    However, I dont like that they roll ( or park as the case may be) if they roll into Orleans, then we got a captive audience- But nola isnt writing passes for food trucks, or ice cream trucks are they? like the cops are gonna write you a ticket for feeding ( and charging for said food) the workmen- it surely would save on traffic if you control vehciles with folks seeking cheap mexican
    I MISS MY CRAPPY PANCHOS DAMMIT


  12. sally g (unregistered) on June 25th, 2007 @ 10:38 pm

    i ate at one- it was better than KFC-
    However, I dont like that they roll ( or park as the case may be) if they roll into Orleans, then we got a captive audience- But nola isnt writing passes for food trucks, or ice cream trucks are they? like the cops are gonna write you a ticket for feeding ( and charging for said food) the workmen- it surely would save on traffic if you control vehciles with folks seeking cheap mexican
    I MISS MY CRAPPY PANCHOS DAMMIT



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