Archive for November, 2004

Better late than never

Yo, yo, yo: if you’re in the Quarter this evening around 8pm, drop by One Eyed Jacks for some free porn, courtesy of the late, great Ed Wood.

Heh-heh. I said “wood.”

A drunk girl on St. Ann

staggering toward Bourbon, which I had just crossed on my way to work, asked me “Is Bourbon bumping?”


“You know,” she said, frustrated, and then fluttered her hands in the air. “Bumping!”

I saw scattered businessmen wandering around with go cups, seemingly delighted that they could drink in public. Several college-age boys were leaning off the galleries of Bourbon Street bars, dangling beads and demanding to see breasts. There were human statues every half-block, begging money from tourists by posing with toy dogs or footballs. If that’s “bumping,” then, yeah, Bourbon was bumping at 6:30 this evening.

I don’t know what the hell “bumping” means.

A question for the crusty punks that hang out in the Quarter

What, on earth, is the logic behind your horrific body odor? I know you live on the road, and that you basically beg your way from town to town, and I suppose that experience might be defensible as some sort of modern hobo counterculture. But, you know, the absolute refusal to bathe? Is it some sort of misconceived rejection of your parents’ middle class values? If so, please take note: Poor people bathe too. And with good reason. It is cleanliness that has eliminated many of the diseases of urban life (for example, in 1847 Dr. Ignaz Semmelweiss insisted that doctors in his hospital wash their hands between patients, dramatically reducing the incidence of childbed fever). Cleanliness is not a middle class value, it is a human value, unless, for some reason, you have resorted to a Middle Age mindset and believe you might actually die if you bathe more than once a year.

Listen, I’m not asking you to be obsessive about it. I don’t demand that you scrub your hands every few minutes in scalding water like Howard Hughes. There’s certainly no need to shower every single day, or wash your hair more than once every few weeks. You don’t need to clean your clothes after every time you wear them. But the sort of odor you currently produce, which can be smelled from down the street, is something that previously I had only associated with being a classic symptom of schizophrenia.

Why the complaint? Because most of you don’t live here, and I do, and, just as it is infuriating for me to see drunk frat boys vomiting and urinating on my street before flying back to Boise or Des Moines, it is equally infuriating to see a tourist choose to make an entire block of the French Quarter uninhabitable due to their overpungance. It’s being a bad guest. Be a good guest

Litigation part of the menu at New Orleans’ finest

The Brennan family splintered years ago into the sect that runs Brennans in the French Quarter and the sect that emerged from the operators of Commanders’ Palace. Both sects are committed to continuing the tradition of fine dining. And apparently they are also continuing the tradition of litigious acrimony.

A fatal mix of “misinformation and authority”

The Gambit has an excellent article about the city’s voting problems, which I observed firsthand as an Election Protection volunteer. I quote from it extensively, but go read the whole thing if you can.

On the heels of Florida in 2000 and Sept. 18 in New Orleans, every part of the Nov. 2 election received more scrutiny than ever, mostly due to the efforts of the Louisiana Election Protection Coalition. The locally based group — part of the National Election Protection Program, an organization devoted to safeguarding minority voting rights — marshaled more than 300 volunteers to monitor local polls and amassed a volunteer team of attorneys.

Local flavor

Starbucks‘ invasion of New Orleans has fared only slightly better than the British invasion in 1814.  Against the local competition, they have survived, but have not prevailed.  This story from the Times Picayune has some interesting numbers.

When you visit New Orleans, do yourself a favor.  Pass on the McCoffee, and go for the real thing.  Try Cafe du Monde, or PJ’s, or CC’s, or Rue de la Course, or …

Hot, Old-School Mob Action

the big picture
[ click above to enlarge ]

Sunday afternoon as I was walking home from the French Quarter, I took a shortcut. Usually I follow Chartres Street back to the Marigny: it’s pretty, and I often see friends, so there’s potential for some social interaction. This week, though, I wasn’t feeling chatty. I deperately needed a nap and opted instead to follow the levee wall that runs along the backside of the French Market, behind the local power station, and past several blocks of coffee roasting plants. It’s not a glamorous walk, and even I–an intrepid perambulator, if I do say so–wouldn’t take it at night, but it was bright and sunny, so I said, “What the hey?”

When I got to the diciest stretch–where the homeless and gutter punks sleep side-by-side–I noticed a curious flash of light reflecting off something shiny. A few steps later, I saw the source: men moving large, mylar-wrapped objects from the back of an 18-wheeler into an open minivan. A couple more paces and it was apparent that the objects in question were computers: large-ish desktop towers. I was shocked and excited to see [moderately] organized crime operating so brazenly in broad daylight. It was a total turn-on.

As I passed by, I made eye contact with the man moving the computers off the truck–a hot, hunky worker-bee who looked like he’d been doing this all his life. From the glance he shot me, it was all-too-apparent that he didn’t give a damn who saw what he was doing. I don’t think he would’ve batted an eye if I’d driven up with Wolf Blitzer and a CNN news van. But despite his gruff nonchalance, I waited half a block before I turned around and snapped a photo. I mean, I’m not stupid. Well, not much.

Holy crap!

How did I miss the fact that Pat Taylor died last Friday? Given his considerable wealth (he was easily one of the richest men in the state), you’d think word would have spread a little faster.

Now, Pat wasn’t what you’d call well-liked. In fact, to some people he was a downright ornery, backbiting snake-in-the-grass. He was a major supporter of the controversial Confederate Museum, and by all accounts, he was a virulent racist and homophobe. And he wasn’t particularly friendly with the synagogue set either, if you know what I mean. I’m sure there are those in the greater metro area who danced a jig all weekend long.

Free Wi-Fi in Uptown New Orleans

In addition to Cooter Browns, Carrollton Station and the various coffee shops (PJ’s and CC’s for example), there is yet another Wi-Fi location.  The Boot Bar & Grill at 1039 Broadway, right next to Tulane University, is reported to have free Wi-Fi that is pretty reliable (thanks Beth for pointing that out!).

Wi-Fi Music Clubs in New Orleans

For you out-of-towners, it appears that there are at least two music clubs in New Orleans that have free Wi-Fi.  Carrollton Station is an uptown venue that is mostly frequented by college kids, and dba is a club just above the French Quarter in the Marigny section.  I’ve tested the Wi-Fi at dba, but I have not yet tested Carrollton Station’s signal, mostly because I just found out about it (they now prominently mention it in the ad they run in the local alternative newspaper, Gambit).

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